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Turkey Recalls Envoy After US Panel Passes Armenian Genocide Resolution


US - TURKEY - ARMENIA: Turkey has recalled its ambassador from the United States after a U.S. congressional panel passed a resolution declaring the World War One-era killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide. Turkey condemned the resolution and said Thursday's measure charges Turkey with a crime it did not commit. Turkey also expressed concern that the resolution could harm U.S.-Turkish relations and efforts to normalize Turkish-Armenian relations. The White House and State Department had opposed passage of the measure, which will now go to the full House for consideration.

CHINA - BUDGET: China says it will focus its attenion on boosting economic growth in the coming year, while working to address a large wealth disparity between the country's professional and working classes. Opening the annual session of the Chinese parliament Friday, Premier Wen Jiabao urged caution moving forward from the global economic crisis, saying 2010 is a "crucial" year for recovery. Mr. Wen acknowledged lawmakers' concerns about rising inflation caused by a lending program implemented last year to cushion the blow of the economic crisis.

SINGAPORE - THREAT: Authorities in Singapore have boosted security after receiving information of a terrorist plot against ships docked outside the city-state. Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng made the announcement during a parliamentary meeting Friday. He told lawmakers security is being increased at land checkpoints to the sea. On Thursday, Singapore's navy warned that a terrorist group may be planning attacks on oil tankers and other large ships in the Strait of Malacca -- one of the world's busiest waterways. The navy did not identify the group.

PAKISTAN: Pakistani police say a suicide bomber has killed at least eight people and wounded many others in northwest Pakistan. Police and witnesses said at least two women and two children were among the dead. Police say the attacker targeted a convoy of Shi'ite Muslims being escorted by security forces in the town of Hangu near the border with Afghanistan. Shi'ite Muslims, a minority in Sunni-majority Pakistan, have been targeted by Pakistani Taliban. Pakistan has launched a military offensive against the Islamist militants in northwest Pakistan, succeeding in destroying militant bases and, it is widely believed, killing Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

GREECE - STRIKE: A strike called by Greek workers has severely disrupted the country's air and rail transportation and caused traffic jams across Athens. Public school teachers and hospital workers are also participating in Friday's strike, called to protest the government's austerity cuts. The strike comes as parliament is to vote on a six billion dollar austerity package to defuse a debt crisis that has shaken the European Union and undermined the euro currency. Prime Minister George Papandreou has said the country risked "catastrophe" if it failed to make decisive spending cuts.

PENTAGON - SHOOTING: U.S. officials say the gunman who opened fire outside the Pentagon Thursday before being fatally shot by police was armed with two semi-automatic weapons. Pentagon police chief Richard Keevill says John Patrick Bedell was carrying several magazines of ammunition and had additional ammunition in his car, which was parked in a nearby garage. Three security officers returned fire after Bedell began shooting outside of the military complex near Washington. Two of the officers were initially hospitalized with minor injures but have since been released.

US EDUCATION - TUITION: Students at universities across the United States have staged rallies to protest major tuition increases and deep budget cuts. Some of the protests turned violent Thursday and resulted in arrests. Authorities arrested at least 120 protesters in California after they blocked a major highway. Meanwhile, at least 15 demonstrators were arrested at a (north-central state of) Wisconsin rally after protesters pelted police with ice. Protests were also held on college campuses in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Minnesota, and Colorado.

US - COMPUTER SECURTIY: A top U.S. law enforcement official says terrorists, spies and hired mercenaries are posing a growing threat to U.S. cyber security. FBI Director Robert Mueller says militant groups, such as al-Qaida, have "shown a clear interest in pursuing hacking skills." He says a cyber attack could potentially have the same impact as a "well-placed bomb." The FBI director commented Thursday during a speech at an Internet security conference in (the western state of) California. Mueller said cooperation is a key component in fighting the problem.

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