IRAQ: Iraqi officials say gunmen wearing military uniforms have stormed three
houses in a Sunni village near Baghdad, killing at least 24 people.
Police say the victims, including five women, were handcuffed before
being shot in the head late Friday in the Arab Jabour area, south of
the capital. At least seven others with their hands bound were found
alive after the killings.
Interior Ministry officials put the death toll at 25, while Baghdad's
security spokesman (, Major-General Qassim al-Moussawi,) said two dozen
people were killed.
Iraqi officials cordoned off the area and detained at least 25 people
in connection with the murders.
AFGHAN VIOLENCE: The German military says its troops have mistakenly killed five Afghan soldiers in northern Afghanistan.
German officials said Saturday the incident occurred as troops were on
their way to the scene of a deadly clash with Taliban insurgents near
the city of Kunduz late Friday.
The military says the German patrol opened fire on two unmarked
civilian vehicles that refused to stop after being warned. Troops later
discovered that Afghan soldiers were inside.
German troops were rushing to the scene of a gun battle with the
Taliban that killed three German soldiers and wounded several others
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan President Hamid Karzai called U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Friday in an effort to defuse controversy over his remarks accusing the international community of being behind election fraud in Afghanistan last year. U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said President Karzai reaffirmed his commitment to the U.S.-Afghan partnership, and expressed his appreciation for the contributions and sacrifices of the international community. Earlier, a senior State Department official told VOA the conversation was "constructive" and said the two sides are ready to move forward.<!-- IMAGE -->
THAILAND PROTESTS: Tens of thousands of red-shirted protesters loyal to ousted Thai Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra mounted yet another mass rally in Bangkok
Saturday, crowding into the city's upscale shopping district.
Several department stores closed their doors in response to the
protests and threats by the so-called Red Shirts to maintain their
demonstration through the night. The rally has been peaceful.
Police estimate the number of protesters at more than 55,000.
A week ago, 80,000 Red Shirts forced government troops to abandon their positions in the capital city to avoid confrontations.
CHINA MINE: Chinese media say a group of rescuers and divers entered a mine Saturday where 153 workers have been trapped for nearly a week. The official Xinhua news agency reports that a team of 13 rescuers, including six divers, entered a flooded mine in China's Shanxi Province after tapping noises were heard Friday afternoon. One team of rescuers heard what appeared to be someone tapping on a metal pipe, while another team believed it heard shouting coming from below. However, nothing new had been heard as of noon Saturday.<!-- IMAGE -->
IRAN NUCLEAR: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the threat of sanctions
because of the country's nuclear program only makes Iran more
determined to pursue its nuclear program.
Mr. Ahmadinejad said Saturday international pressure on Iran can not
stop the Islamic Republic's progress and the motivation of its people.
He made the comments during a televised speech in the southern Iranian
city of Sirjan.
U.S. President Barack Obama is calling on members of the United Nations
Security Council to approve a fourth round of sanctions against Iran
because of its nuclear activities.
VENEZUELA - RUSSIA: Russia has agreed to help Venezuela draw up plans to build a nuclear power plant.
Atomic energy was one of many areas of cooperation discussed as Russian
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made his first trip to the South American
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday the goal of the power
plant is to develop nuclear energy for "peaceful purposes," and not to
develop a bomb.
The two leaders also signed agreements aimed at deepening their countries' financial and military ties.
They formalized an agreement to establish a joint venture for oil and gas exploration in eastern Venezuela.
SOMALIA - VIOLENCE: Medical officials in Somalia say fighting in several parts of the capital, Mogadishu, has left at least 11 civilians dead.
The officials say the fighting Friday between government forces and
Islamic insurgents took part in both northern and southern areas of the
Medical workers say at least 20 others were wounded in the fighting.
Islamic militants control much of Mogadishu, and large parts of
southern Somalia, and have been trying to topple Somalia's fragile
transitional government for three years.
The U.N.-backed government controls the airport, seaport and
presidential palace in Mogadishu with the help of African Union
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