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Bin Laden Claims Responsibility for Christmas Day Bombing Attempt


BIN LADEN MESSAGE: The al-Jazeera Arab television network has aired what it says is a new audio message from al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, in which he claims responsibility for the failed Christmas day airliner bombing attempt in the United States. In the message broadcast Sunday, bin Laden said al-Qaida would launch further attacks against the United States as long as it continues to support Israel.He said there will be no U.S. security until the Palestinians are secure. There was no immediate confirmation that the voice was bin Laden's, but it resembled previous recordings attributed to him.
On Christmas Day (December 25), a 23-year-old Nigerian man (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab) tried to detonate explosives on a U.S.-bound jetliner with nearly 300 people on board as the plane approached Detroit from Amsterdam.
HAITI: International aid workers in Haiti are looking to speed up their relief efforts Sunday, after criticism that food, water and medical supplies have not yet reached survivors 12 days after a devastating earthquake. Rajiv Shah, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told Reuters news agency the disaster is "unparalleled" and his organization is "never going to meet the need as quickly as we'd like." Up to 1.5 million Haitians lost their homes in the earthquake. Makeshift tent camps have sprung up across Port-au-Prince, the capital, where hurt and homeless people are living with little or no water, food, or sanitation. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports the number of people leaving the capital and going to Haiti's interior is increasing. The Haitian government called off search and rescue operations on Friday, but international rescue teams pulled a man from the rubble of a grocery store on Saturday in Port-au-Prince.
AFGHAN ELECTIONS: Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission has confirmed it is postponing the parliamentary elections because of a funding shortage and security concerns. Election commissioner Fazil Ahmed Manawi said Sunday the vote will be pushed back from May 22 to September 18.
An election official said earlier Sunday the commission decided to delay the vote because it lacks the $120 million needed to pay for it.
The international community spent more than $220 million on Afghanistan's presidential poll last August, which was marred by widespread fraud.
PAKISTAN: Pakistan officials say militants in the restive northwest tribal region have killed six men after accusing them of spying for the U.S.
Authorities said Sunday five of the men were found on the outskirts of Miran Shah, the main town of North Waziristan. Officials say a sixth body was found in another town, also near Miran Shah. Police say notes accusing the men of working as U.S. spies were found on the bodies in both locations.
On Saturday, Pakistani officials said fighting between security forces and the Taliban in the northwest killed 22 militants and two soldiers.
VENEZUELA: Venezuelan cable television providers have stopped transmitting a channel critical of President Hugo Chavez. Radio Caracas Television disappeared from cable systems Sunday morning, after the government cited the channel's noncompliance with new regulations requiring channels to televise the president's speeches. The director of Venezuela's state-run television telecommunications agency (, Diosdado Cabello,) warned cable providers Saturday they would be breaking the law if they continued to show channels that refused to televise Mr. Chavez's speeches.
Critics accuse the populist leader of trying to model Venezuela after communist-led Cuba, but Mr. Chavez says he is working to improve the lives of the country's impoverished majority.
KOREAS-TENSIONS: North Korea is warning that it will consider any pre-emptive strike by South Korea as a declaration of war.
The message, carried Sunday by the official Korean Central News Agency, said the North's military would take decisive military action against any South Korean attempt to violate Pyongyang's sovereignty. It said that would include blowing up major targets in South Korea.
The statement is in response to recent comments by South Korea's defense minister who said the South would be willing to launch a pre-emptive strike if it was apparent Pyongyang was preparing a nuclear attack.
Last week, the two Koreas also exchanged sharp words with Pyongyang threatening to launch a "holy war" against Seoul over an alleged contingency plan by South Korea in the case the communist regime collapses.

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