ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Suspect in Failed US Airliner Attack Heads to Court


US - AIRLINE SECURITY: The lone suspect in the failed Christmas Day (December 25) attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner is scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday . U.S. prosecutors say Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will hear the charges against him during a brief hearing in (the U.S. city of) Detroit. The 23-year-old Nigerian has been charged with six criminal counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder. Prosecutors say he tried to ignite explosives concealed in his underwear during a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Pakistani officials say it appears militants accidentally detonated explosives, flattening their safehouse in the commercial center of Karachi and killing at least seven people. Bomb squads helped search through the rubble. Police say some of the victims are militants and that at least two suspects have been arrested. Officials also recovered guns, grenades, suicide vests and other explosives from the scene. Interior Minister Rehman Malik says some of the men in the house were from the country's Swat Valley. Pakistan's military launched a massive offensive there last April to drive out the Taliban, causing millions of people to flee their homes.

UN - SRI LANKA - VIDEO: Sri Lanka's human rights minister is dismissing calls for an independent investigation into possible war crimes, saying a video of the alleged atrocity is a fraud. The video shows ethnic Tamils -- bound, blindfolded and naked -- being shot at close range by men in military camouflage. On Friday, Mahinda Samarasinghe accused the United Nations official demanding a war crimes inquiry of going on "a crusade" against Sri Lanka and insisted the video had been doctored. U.N. human rights investigator Philip Alston said Thursday that the video was independently reviewed by three experts who concluded it appears to be authentic.

MALAYSIA - RELIGION: Authorities in Malaysia have increased police patrols around Christian churches after attacks against three of them early Friday, as tensions rise over a court decision allowing a Catholic newspaper to use the word "Allah" for God. The entire ground floor of the Metro Tabernacle Church in suburban Kuala Lumpur was destroyed in a firebomb attack. Authorities say firebombs were also thrown at two other churches, one of them Catholic. The Catholic church sustained minimal damage. No injuries or fatalities have been reported from the attacks.

BURMA - STATE SECRETS: Two former Burmese officials have been sentenced to death for allegedly leaking classified information to exiled media. Sources say ex-Major Win Naing Kyaw and Thura Kyaw, an former official in the Burmese Foreign Ministry, were sentenced Friday in a Rangoon court under the state emergency act. The two men were jailed after exiled news media published photos last year of a trip to North Korea by General Shwe Mann, the ruling military junta's third-ranking official. The Irrawaddy magazine says Shwe Mann's trip to North Korea involved procuring military arms and visiting military facilities.

IRAQ - ELECTION: Iraqi officials said Thursday a prominent Sunni and secular lawmaker and his party have been barred from participating in the upcoming parliamentary election because of ties to the previous regime. Ali Faysal al-Lami, director of the Accountability and Justice Committee, said the party leader, Salah al-Mutlak was disqualified for speaking out in support of members of Saddam Hussein's former ruling Baath Party. Al-Mutlak dismissed the allegation and says he plans to appeal the decision. Nevertheless, analysts say the move is a blow to U.S. officials who hope the election will bring opposition factions into the political process and stabilize the Iraqi government.

RUSSIA - GEORGIA - FLIGHTS: Georgia and Russia have temporarily opened air traffic for the first time since they fought a brief war in 2008. A Georgian Airways charter flight left from Tbilisi for Moscow Friday morning. Georgian Airways plans to fly to Moscow and St. Petersburg from January 8th to the 10th. Georgian Airways officials are hopeful about the resumption of regular flights, but no agreement has been reached. Direct flights between Russia and Georgia have been suspended since the August 2008 war over the pro-Russian breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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