US AIRLINE SECURITY: The White House is set to share more details Thursday on the
intelligence failures that led to the attempted Christmas Day (December
25) bombing of a U.S. jetliner. Spokemsan Robert Gibbs says officials
will release a declassified
account of a probe into a Nigerian man's alleged attempt to detonate
explosives on a flight as it approached Detroit. President Barack Obama
is expected to address the nation on the matter later in the day.
National Security Advisor James Jones tells USA Today that
Americans will feel "a certain shock" when they find out what went
EGYPT - CHRISTIANS - SHOOTING: Egyptian officials say gunmen have opened fire on Christian worshippers
outside a church in southern Egypt, killing seven people.
Officials say the drive-by shooting happened late Wednesday in Egypt's
Qena province as Coptic Christians were leaving mass for Coptic
Christmas. The attack in the town of Nag Hamadi killed six worshippers
and a security officer and wounded several other people.
A Coptic Christian bishop in the town told the Associated Press that he
believes Muslim extremists were behind the shooting.
AFGHANISTAN: An explosion has ripped through the office of an Afghan provincial governor, wounding him and several other senior officials. Afghan officials said Thursday that the bomb was hidden in some trash just outside the office of acting Khost governor Tahr Khan Sabari and sprayed him with broken glass. Also in Khost Thursday, Afghan security forces said they killed two would-be suicide bombers. Khost borders on the tribal region separating Afghanistan from Pakistan, an area thought to be a stronghold for Taliban and al-Qaida militants.
INDIA KASHMIR: Security forces in Indian Kashmir have stormed a hotel in the main city of Srinagar, killing two gunmen after a 22-hour standoff. Kashmir Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda said one of the gunmen set the blaze in an attempt to escape. He said the other dead gunman was a Pakistani national and a commander with the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and called the attack a sign the militants are getting desperate. Police say forces barged into the hotel after evacuating the last of hundreds of civilians who had been hiding in nearby buildings.
CHINA - AFRICA: Kenya's president says China has committed to helping the African
nation build a second port on its northeast coast, along with related
President Mwai Kibaki made the announcement on Wednesday, after meeting
with China's foreign minister Yang Jiechi, who is visiting as part of a
two-week tour of Africa and the Middle East.
Mr. Kibaki said in a statement he "welcomed the commitment" from China to develop a second port at Lamu.
The large-scale project is also planned to include a railroad and an international highway.
CHINA - DRUGS: An international human rights group says China's drug detention centers are full of human rights violations, including beatings and forced labor. In a report Thursday, Human Rights Watch said Chinese drug addicts are often denied proper treatment and have difficulty receiving basic medical care. It says drug addicts are routinely sent to state-run rehabilitation centers for terms of at least two years, without being charged or tried. The group says a 2008 law meant to better help drug addicts has failed to improve their situation, and in some cases has even made things worse.
JAPAN - POLITICS: Japanese Finance Minister Naoto Kan says he wants to see a further weakening of the the country's currency.
Kan made the comments Thursday, shortly after he was formally installed
in the post, replacing Hirohisa Fujii. The 77-year-old veteran
politician resigned Wednesday due to health problems.
The new finance minister told reporters he will cooperate with the Bank
of Japan to steer the yen to "an appropriate level." Kan's support for
a weaker yen reflects concerns a strong yen will hurt Japan's
SUDAN - WAR: A coalition of aid groups is warning that Sudan could be on the path back to civil war unless the international communtiy takes action to salvage a 2005 peace deal that ended a brutal 21-year conflict. Oxfam's Maya Mailer says it is "not yet too late," but without help, 2009's resurgence of violence in southern Sudan could become "one of the biggest emergencies in Africa in 2010." The report, released Thursday, said in 2009, southern Sudan saw 2,500 people die and 350,000 flee violence, more than Darfur saw in the same year.
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