AFGHANISTAN: Afghan police say at least 17 people, including foreigners, have been
killed in a suicide bombing and other explosions in the capital, Kabul.
Investigators say at least 32 people have been wounded in the attacks
that occurred near a nine-story shopping area and two residential
hotels that are frequented by foreigners.
Afghan officials say at least four of the dead are Indian nationals.
Authorities say at least one Italian national was either killed or
wounded and that police shot and killed two suspected attackers.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned the attacks "in the
strongest terms" and extended his "deep sympathies and condolences" to
THAILAND - POLITICS: The Thai Supreme Court has begun reading its decision on the
government's petition to seize ousted Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra's $2.3 billion fortune for alleged corruption.
The high court is considering whether Mr. Thaksin abused his position to add to his family's telecommunications fortune.
Prosecutors say Mr. Thaksin illegally passed his company shares off to
family members to avoid a ban on holding them while in office. They
also accuse him of tailoring government policy to benefit his business.
BURMA - SUU KYI: Burma's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi against the latest extension of her house arrest. The Nobel Peace laureate was convicted last year of violating the terms of her detention when she gave shelter to an American man who swam to her lakeside Rangoon house uninvited. She was initially sentenced to three years of hard labor, but Senior General Than Shwe, the head of the ruling military junta, commuted her sentence to an extra 18 months of house detention.
KOREAS - TENSIONS: North Korea says it has detained four South Koreans for illegally crossing the border dividing the bitter rivals.
A statement issued Friday through the North's official Korean Central News Agency says the four are now investigation.
South Korea's Unification Ministry says it has seen the report, and is
checking to see if any of the 1,054 South Koreans reportedly staying in
North Korea are safe.
North Korea recently released a U.S. missionary and human rights
activist who illegally crossed the border in December.
THAILAND - IVORY - AFRICA: Thailand has confiscated two tons of African elephant tusks in the country's largest-ever seizure of illegal ivory.
Thai customs officials say a tip-off led them to find the 239 tusks
Wednesday in a warehouse at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi international
airport. They say the ivory originated in South Africa and was
transported by air from Dubai to Thailand.
Officials say smugglers labeled the ivory as telecommunications
equipment and asked for the cargo to transit through Bangkok en route
to Laos to avoid screening by Thai authorities.
TURKEY - COUP: A Turkish court has jailed 11 additional military officers for
involvement in an alleged military 2003 plot to overthrow the
The suspects detained Friday include two admirals and a retired general. They will stay in jail pending a trial.
Authorities have arrested thirty-one officers so far in connection with
the alleged plot, raising tensions with the armed forces.
Earlier, the court released three senior retired military officers
after questioning. Prosecutors said the men were not immediately
charged because they were unlikely to flee.
US - HEALTH CARE: A special health care reform meeting hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama has ended with no breakthroughs between Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the divisive issue. The six-hour meeting Thursday in Washington was contentious at times, with majority Democrats voicing support for their health care legislation and minority Republicans urging lawmakers to start over. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it is too late to write a new bill. She said many parts of the existing proposal came from Republicans and deserve their support.
OBIT: FRANCE - GERMANY - WW II: Henri Salmide, a World War Two German sailor who refused a command from retreating Nazi forces to blow up the French port of Bordeaux, has died in his adopted homeland of France. He was 91. Salmide, born Heinz Stahlschmidt, was ordered to destroy the southwestern city's port facilities as the Germans pulled out ahead of advancing allied troops. He refused. Instead, he blew up the depot where the the explosive materials were housed, preventing mass carnage in the port area and saving thousands of lives. Salmide was considered a traitor in Germany, but was hailed as a hero in France, receiving the French Legion of Honor in 2000.
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