Thursday, October 18, 2007


Turkey lawmakers OK possible Iraq attack

Parliament authorized the government Wednesday to send troops into northern Iraq to root out Kurdish rebels who've been conducting raids into Turkey. The vote removed the last legal obstacle to an offensive, but there was no sign of imminent action as the United States urged restraint. Turkish leaders, under pressure from Washington and Baghdad, have signaled they would not immediately give the order to send in 60,000 soldiers, armor and attack helicopters into a region that has largely escaped the chaos of the Iraq war. Full Story

Russia test fires ballistic missile

Russia launched an inter-continental ballistic missile on Thursday from its Plesetsk cosmodrome in the north of the country, a Russian military spokesman said. The RS-12M Topol', called the SS-25 Sickle by NATO and configured for a mobile platform, was successfully launched at 9:10 a.m. Moscow time (1:10 a.m. EDT). Full Story

Commuter woe as strike tests France's Sarkozy

French commuters faced travel chaos on Thursday after transport workers went on strike over plans to scrap their pension privileges, handing President Nicolas Sarkozy a first major challenge of his reforms. Unions called the 24-hour strike from late on Wednesday in an attempt to force concessions from the government, which plans to scrap privileges that allow a minority of public sector workers to retire earlier than their peers. Full Story

Egypt protests EU nuclear vote

Egypt has sent a high-level protest to dozens of European nations expressing "astonishment and regret" at their refusal to endorse Cairo's call for a Middle East nuclear free zone at a conference last month. The Oct. 4 letter, which was made available Wednesday to The Associated Press, was signed by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and asked for an explanation. Full Story

Brazil slum raids leave 12 dead

Hundreds of police agents swooped in on drug gangs in two Rio de Janeiro shantytowns, setting off gunbattles that killed 12 people, including an officer and a 4-year-old boy, officials said. About 400 police officers, including members of elite units, entered the sprawling Coreia and Senador Camara slums on Wednesday to search for weapons and serve arrest warrants, said a police spokesman who declined to be identified according to department policy. Full Story

Haiti's Preval seeks to amend term limit

Haitian President Rene Preval on Wednesday called for a constitutional amendment to allow presidents to serve consecutive terms  a change he said would bring more stability to a country frequently mired in political chaos. Preval, in a speech at the National Palace, proposed overhauling the country's entire constitution to give the government more flexibility to promote development and fight corruption. Full Story

Pakistan court rejects Musharraf martial law fears

Pakistan's top court rejected concerns that President Pervez Musharraf would declare martial law if it rules his controversial election victory invalid. The Supreme Court is hearing challenges against his landslide victory in the October 6 presidential election, which was boycotted by most of the opposition. Full Story

India, Pakistan open new round of peace talks

India and Pakistan resumed talks in New Delhi on Thursday as part of their slow-moving peace process, officials said. The Indian foreign ministry said the day-long meeting between mid-ranking diplomats would focus on reducing tensions along maritime borders and the repatriation of people inadvertently straying across land frontiers. Full Story

Arroyo bribery scandal could spark coup bid: military sources

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, battling claims that lawmakers were given cash to block an impeachment bid against her, risks a mutiny by soldiers angry about corruption, military sources said Thursday. Troops battling Al Qaeda-linked Islamic rebels and Communist insurgents in the restive south are demanding answers from Arroyo about the bribery scandal, with one officer saying they are fed up with seeing government money disappear. Full Story

Sri Lanka military says it killed five rebels

Sri Lanka said it killed five suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in overnight clashes, while the rebels accused the government of bombing a civilian settlement in the north. The Sri Lankan navy fired early Thursday at a cluster of Tamil Tiger boats gathered off the northwest coast. They recovered an abandoned rebel boat with four bodies and three survivors, the defence ministry said in a statement. Full Story

Taiwan police on alert over return of gang boss's remains

Taiwanese police were on high alert Thursday as hundreds of gang members gathered for the return of the remains of triad leader Chen Chi-li from Hong Kong. Chen, who turned the Bamboo Union into one of Taiwan's largest gangs, died of pancreatic cancer in Hong Kong on October 4. He was 64. Full Story

Courtesy Terror Research Center

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