Iraq's interim Defense Minister Hazim al-Shaalan says Shi'ite militiamen fighting in Najaf must surrender within hours or face a major assault. During a visit to Najaf today (Wednesday), Mr. al-Shaalan said militiamen loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have a chance to lay down their arms and leave the city's holy sites within the next few hours. If they do not, he said the military will "teach them a lesson they will never forget."
He made the remark as renewed heavy fighting was reported, with U.S. -led forces said to be pounding militia positions around the Imam Ali Shrine.
A United Nations official says North Korea continues to struggle to feed its citizens as it switches from a state-run economy to a market-based economy. Richard Ragan, who heads the UN World Food Program in North Korea, says the price of food is steadily rising, while the average wage has stayed the same.
Mr. Ragan says the change in the economy has created a new group of vulnerable citizens, mainly city dwellers with no access to land and no means of generating income. He says the situation is forcing parents to send their children to orphanages for months at a time because they are unable to feed them.
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says the Burmese military government's plan for democracy will fail without input from the opposition National League for Democracy. Mr. Annan released the statement Tuesday (today) after Burma's military-run court system turned down the first legal bid to have democratic opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi released after more than a year of detention.
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