AFGHANISTAN VIOLENCE: An Afghan police official says border police have shot and killed seven civilians after mistaking them for insurgents. Abdul Raziq, head of the border police, told reporters the incident occurred in Kandahar's Shubarak district in southern Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan. The civilians were gathering wood when they were spotted by a six-member border police patrol. Raziq said the officers involved have been detained for questioning, and the incident is under investigation.
PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Thousands of mourners gathered in the southern Pakistani city of
Karachi Saturday amid high security to attend funerals for some of the
31 people killed in two bomb attacks the day before.
The death toll rose as several people died overnight.
Some of the bombing victims were marking the end of 40 days of mourning
for the Prophet Muhammad's grandson. The Shi'ite ritual takes place
Karachi has been the scene of sporadic violence between Sunni and
Shi'ite Muslims in the past. The city was tense Saturday. Many
businesses were closed.
US - NORTH KOREA: North Korea has released an American missionary and sent him to China after holding him for more than a month. Officials with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing say Robert Park arrived there early Saturday and is expected to be flown to the U.S. later in the day. Park was arrested on December 25th, (Christmas Day) when he intentionally crossed the frozen Tumen River from China into North Korea to raise awareness of human rights issues. Fellow activists say Park was carrying a Bible and a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, urging him to close the country's notorious prison camps and step down from power.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says he does not
believe Iran is close to an agreement with the international community
on its nuclear program.
Gates spoke Saturday from Turkey. A day earlier, Iran's foreign
minister said at an international security conference that Iran was
open to accepting a U.N.-backed proposal to send its uranium abroad for
conversion into nuclear fuel.
Gates told reporters the information he has shows Iran is not close to accepting the deal, proposed last year.
Iran has so far refused to accept the agreement, which is aimed at
alleviating international fears it is enriching uranium to produce
RUSSIA - CAUCASUS - VIOLENCE: Russian officials say the police chief from the capital of Dagestan has
been shot to death, one of 16 people killed in a string of attacks in
Russia's violence-plagued North Caucasus region.
Dagestan's police spokesman said Friday
that Makhachkala city police chief Akhmed Magomedov was killed along
with his driver and two bodyguards after unidentified gunmen opened
fire on his vehicle.
Magomedov's shooting came just hours after a senior Dagestani
counter-terrorism official in the town of Izberbash was killed when a
bomb planted beneath his car exploded.
US - LIBERIA - TAYLOR: A federal court in the U.S. state of Florida has awarded five Liberians
$22.4 million in damages for torture ordered by the son of former
Liberian President Charles Taylor.
The Liberians sued Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Chuckie Taylor, for mental and physical suffering.
The group that represented the Liberians, Human Rights USA, said the
award recognized what it called the "egregious nature and
extraordinarily brutal acts" the victims suffered.
Last year, a U.S. federal court sentenced Taylor to 97 years in prison for torturing opponents of his father's rule.
LEBANON - PLANE: A search team has pinpointed the location of several large pieces of an
Ethiopian passenger jet that crashed off the Lebanese coast last month,
killing all 90 people on board.
Lebanese Transport Minister Ghazi Aridi said the "Ocean Alert" vessel
located the latest jet segments underwater in the Mediterranean Sea at
a depth of 45 meters.
The search teams are also working on retrieving the flight recorders (black boxes), which were detected last week.
The recorders are about 10 kilometers west of the airport, and about 1,300 meters below the surface of the Mediterranean Sea.
US - WEATHER: A massive snowstorm is bearing down on the region of the United States
known as the Middle Atlantic states, an area that includes Washington,
Predictions are for as much as 75 centimeters of snow to fall from Friday into Saturday.
Life in the nation's capital has ground to a halt with the federal
government and most businesses closing early on Friday and residents
warned to stay off the snow-clogged roads.
The National Weather Service says heavy, wet snow and strong winds are
producing "extremely dangerous" conditions in states reaching from
Virginia and West Virginia across to Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware
and New Jersey.
Listen to our World News for details.