OBAMA - SECURITY: U.S. President Barack Obama, for the first time, has publicly connected
the suspect who tried to blow up a U.S.-bound passenger plane on
Christmas Day (December 25) to al-Qaida.
In his weekly (radio and Internet) address released early Saturday (on the White House Web site),
Mr. Obama said it appeared a Yemeni affiliate of al-Qaida trained the
suspect, "equipped him with...explosives, and directed him to attack"
the plane "headed for America."
Mr. Obama said the group had attacked American targets before,
including killing an American at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen in 2008.
YEMEN - SOMALIA: Yemen's government vowed it will not tolerate foreign terrorists on its
soil, one day after a Somali insurgent group said it was sending
Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi told the official Saba news agency
Saturday that Yemen is ready to oppose anyone threatening its security
His comments follow a promise Friday by Somalia's al-Shabab to send
fighters to aid al-Qaida militants currently battling Yemeni government
A senior al-Shabab official (Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansour) also called on Muslims in other countries to join the fight.
PAKISTAN: More bodies are being pulled from the rubble of a sports complex in
northwestern Pakistan, raising the death toll in Friday's attack on a
volleyball game to at least 95.
Officials say women and children are among the dead, and warn the
number of victims is likely to increase as recovery efforts move into
their second day.
Police say the suicide bomber drove onto a crowded field in the
North-West Frontier Province town of Lakki Marwat Friday and detonated
his explosive-laden vehicle while hundreds of spectators watched the
The blast destroyed the field and caused nearby homes to collapse.
DENMARK CARTOONIST: Danish police say they have shot and wounded a Somali man who attempted to enter the home of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, whose controversial 2005 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad sparked riots across the Muslim world. The head of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (Jakob Scharf) said (in a statement) early Saturday that the 28-year-old intruder, armed with an ax and a knife, has close ties to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab, as well as al-Qaida leaders in eastern Africa. The suspect, who failed to enter Westergaard's home (in Viby) near the western city of Aarhus, was wounded and is now in police custody.
ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: Israeli warplanes have launched missiles at several open fields in the Gaza Strip, sparking a series of loud explosions.
Military officials say the strikes late Friday night were designed to destroy a series of tunnels into Israel.
They say Palestinian militants intended to use the tunnels to carry out terrorist attacks.
Palestinian medical officials said four people, including a child, suffered minor injuries.
Hours before the Israeli strikes, Palestinian militants in Gaza fired a mortar shell at Israel.
On Thursday, a rocket fired from Gaza hit the southern Israeli town of Netivot.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan lawmakers could soon decide the fate of President Hamid Karzai's proposed Cabinet.
Parliament members began casting secret ballots Saturday for each of
the 24 ministers chosen by Mr. Karzai to help ease the country's
The Afghan leader unveiled his nominees last month, promising they
would be held accountable for tackling widespread government corruption.
Critics say most key nominees served in Mr. Karzai's previous
government, and complain none of them is a member of the opposition,
despite Mr. Karzai's pledge to work closely with political opponents.
COLOMBIA REBELS: Colombian officials say an aerial bombardment has killed 18 rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Authorities say the air attack took place early Friday in the province of Meta. Officials say ground troops followed the bombing by storming a rebel base and capturing at least 13 fighters in the area. Officials say Meta is a lucrative cocaine-producing region for the rebels. Late Thursday, officials say rebels killed a soldier and a 14-year-old civilian in an attack several hundred kilometers southwest of Bogota.
OBAMA - VACATION: For U.S. President Barack Obama, the Christmas and New Year season has
meant a trip down memory lane. The American first family has spent the
past week on vacation in Mr.
Obama's home state of Hawaii, where alongside security briefings and
taking care of national business, the president has golfed, played
basketball, hit the beach, eaten in his favorite Honolulu restaurant,
and visited with old friends. On New Year's Day (January 1), Mr. Obama
daughters out for a traditional Hawaiian treat of shaved ice with
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