Monday, April 21, 2008


Spain holds lottery scam suspects

Spanish police have arrested 87 Nigerians suspected of defrauding at least 1,500 people in a postal and internet lottery scam. The arrests were made in and around Madrid in an operation co-ordinated with the FBI. Full Story

Houses evacuated after Bristol terror arrest

A man was arrested under the Terrorism Act yesterday before a controlled explosion forced the evacuation of homes in Bristol early this morning, police have confirmed. The controlled blast, carried out by explosive ordnance disposal specialists just after 02:00 BST, followed the arrest of a teenager man from the local area yesterday afternoon. Full Story

British PM: Bush owed 'a huge debt of gratitude'

President Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown discussed a range of topics at the White House on Thursday including terrorism, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran and economic issues, Bush told reporters afterward. "I'm pleased to welcome a good friend to the Oval Office, and we had a good discussion. I appreciate our good relationship with Great Britain," Bush said at the start of a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden. Full Story

Terror arrest in Bristol after controlled explosion

A controlled explosion was carried out in Bristol early this morning after a man was arrested under the Terrorism Act. About 30 people were evacuated from their homes in Westbury-on-Trym during the operation. Full Story

Son of Dutch military chief killed in Afghanistan

The son of the new head of the Dutch military and another Dutch soldier serving with NATO-led forces in Afghanistan were killed on Friday when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. Taliban insurgents leading an insurgency to topple the Afghan government and expel the foreign troops claimed responsibility for the blast, part of rising violence in Afghanistan in recent weeks following the traditional winter lull. Full Story

Chinese rights activist loses chance to appeal

One of China's most prominent human rights advocates has missed the deadline to appeal his recent conviction for inciting subversion after prison guards denied him the chance to meet with his lawyer to discuss whether to proceed, his wife and his lawyer said. Full Story

Japan temple rejects torch relay

A major Buddhist temple has withdrawn from plans to host Japan's opening stage of the Olympic torch relay. Zenkoji Temple, in the city of Nagano, had been due to serve as the starting point for the parade on 26 April. Full Story

Politician who backed king shot in Nepal

A candidate in last week's election from a party that supports Nepal's discredited king was fatally shot Friday in a southern village, police said. Several men burst into the home of Rudra Bahadur Singh early in the morning and shot him in the stomach, local police chief Sushil Bhandari said. Full Story

Olympic torch arrives in Thailand amid tight security

The Olympic flame arrived under tight security in Thailand on Friday for the latest leg of its round-the-world relay and was quickly taken to a luxury hotel to await an official welcome by the country's crown princess. The military and thousands of police have been ordered to secure Saturday's torch relay in Bangkok to prevent disruptions from protesters of China's human rights record that have plagued the flame on other stops. Full Story

China braces for Typhoon Neoguri

China ordered tens of thousands of fishing boats back to port Friday as it braced for the first typhoon of the year, state media said. Typhoon Neoguri was expected to make landfall on the southern island province of Hainan Friday night or Saturday morning, the Xinhua news agency reported. Full Story

Eight killed in fresh fighting: Sri Lanka military

At least six Tamil Tiger guerrillas and twosoldiers were killed in fresh fighting in northern Sri Lanka, the defence ministry said on Friday. Two members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed in the Mannar district while four others were killed in nearby Weli Oya district on Thursday, the ministry said. Full Story

IDF kills militant leader wanted in plot to poison Ramat Gan restaurant

Israel Defense Forces troops operating in the West Bank killed a senior member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade accused of devising a recent plot to poison diners at a Ramat Gan restaurant. Full Story

Israel closes off West Bank, Gaza for Passover

Israel closed off the West Bank and Gaza for the Jewish Passover holiday on Friday, a day after Gaza militants attacked a vital crossing, raising the possibility of a large-scale Israeli offensive within weeks. Full Story

Iraqi troops, Sadrists in Basra standoff

Iraqi troops were in a tense standoff with radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's supporters on Friday after they surrounded an office block occupied by the group in the southern city of Basra. Full Story

Hezbollah attack and kidnap Lebanese police officer

Members of Hezbollah attacked and kidnapped a police officer in south Beirut on Thursday, marking the second attack on Lebanese police by Hezbollah in as many days, security sources reported. Full Story

Iran denial

Iran's U.N. Mission said allegations by U.S. officials that the country is supporting the insurgency in Iraq are "unfounded" and "baseless." Full Story n

'Iran smuggling arms into Gaza by sea'

Iran has stepped up its efforts to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip by using floatable devices that it drops near the waters off the Gaza coast to be picked up by Palestinian fisherman, senior defense officials have told The Jerusalem Post. Full Story

Al-Qaida No. 2 al-Zawahri says US options in Iraq all bad

Al-Qaida's No. 2 said in an audiotape released Friday that the United States will lose whether it stays in Iraq or withdraws, and he sneered that President Bush just wants to pass the problem on to his successor. Full Story

Company of Iraqi troops abandons position after attack

A company of government troops in Sadr City retreated when they came under attack from Shiite militiamen who used the cover of a sandstorm, police said Friday. Full Story

Indonesia arrests E Timor rebels

Indonesia has said it has arrested three men suspected of involvement in the shooting of East Timor's President, Jose Ramos-Horta, in February. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the suspects were all former Timorese soldiers who had crossed the border between the two countries illegally. Full Story

Police foil protests by Islamists over gender issue in Bangladesh

Hundreds of policemen and paramilitary border guards foiled a planned demonstration by militant Islamists in central Dhaka Friday after weekly Juma prayers against a proposed women's development policy of the interim government, officials and witnesses said. Full Story

EU tightens anti-terrorism laws

European Union ministers have agreed to punish incitement to terrorism through the internet. At a meeting in Luxembourg, EU justice and interior ministers tightened existing laws. Full Story

France charges Somali 'pirates'

A Paris court has charged six Somalis with taking a French luxury yacht's crew hostage off Africa this month, officials say. The six were flown to Paris after being detained on Friday by French commandos in a helicopter raid, soon after the 30 hostages were released. Full Story

Euro 2008 fans at risk of measles

Football supporters travelling to Euro 2008 may be at risk of catching measles, health officials have warned. Significant outbreaks are occurring in Switzerland and Austria, the two countries hosting the competition this summer, Europe-wide figures show. Full Story

Brown urges new US-Europe links

Gordon Brown has urged a "new dawn" in cooperation between Europe and America, in a foreign policy speech on the last day of his US trip. All European leaders could work with the US to forge "stronger transatlantic links," the prime minister said. Full Story

Since 2001, a huge increase in suicide bombings

Suicide bombers conducted 658 attacks around the world last year, including 542 in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, according to data compiled by U.S. government experts. The large number of attacks -- more than double the number in any of the past 25 years -- reflects a trend that has surprised and worried U.S. intelligence and military analysts. Full Story

German anti-terror bill criticized

Germany's political parties are not happy with the look of a bill that aims to make anti-terror operations easier. German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries earlier this week struck a compromise over the legal framework regarding the surveillance of personal computers in cases of terrorism or other serious crimes. Full Story

Israeli military: Gaza militants attack crossing

The Israeli military says Gaza militants are attacking a border crossing with Israel and that several soldiers have been wounded. Full Story

Pakistan tests long-range ballistic missile

Pakistan successfully test fired a long-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Saturday, the military said. Full Story

Heavy fighting in Iraq's Basra

Heavy fighting broke out in the Iraqi city of Basra on Saturday, where police said government forces entered a neighbourhood known as a stronghold of fighters loyal to the anti-U.S. cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr. Full Story

Anti-French protests reported in Beijing and Wuhan

Hundreds of Chinese citizens protested on Saturday in the central city of Wuhan and in Beijing against France's attitude towards Tibet and the Olympic Games, according to police and witnesses. Full Story

Nine militants arrested in Swat

Security forces during an operation arrested 6 extremists at Bara Bandai and Kanju and 3 from Fizagut areas here. Full Story

Pakistan's ambassador says held by Taliban: TV

Pakistan's ambassador to Afghanistan who went missing in February appeared in a video on Al Arabiya television on Saturday saying that he is being held by Taliban militants and urged his government to meet their demands. Full Story

Zimbabwe starts partial recount of March 29 vote

Zimbabwe began a partial recount of votes from the March 29 elections on Saturday, despite opposition efforts to block it and widespread fears political stalemate could erupt into violence. Full Story

Two killed in restive Thai south

A member of a pro-government militia and a suspected rebel were killed Saturday in Thailand's far south, police said, where a bloody separatist insurgency is raging. Full Story

Shell sees 'small' oil production cut in Nigeria after attack

Anglo-Dutch oil group Shell said Saturday it had slightly reduced oil production following a militant attack on a major supply pipeline in southern Nigeria. Full Story

Japan PM tells China that Tibet is an 'international issue'

Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda bluntly told China Friday that Tibetan unrest had become an international issue, contradicting Beijing's official line, and hinted it could hit the Olympics. Full Story

Maoists in Nepal ask king to step down

Nepal's Maoist leader Prachanda has said he would like King Gyanendra to step down. He says the results of the recent elections are now clear and the the king should respect the people's verdict. Full Story

IDF: Hamas attack at Gaza crossing most ambitious since pullout

Two cars exploded at a crossing on the Israel-Gaza Strip border on Saturday morning, leaving 13 Israel Defense Forces soldiers hurt - one moderately to seriously, two moderately and the rest lightly. Full Story

Afghan commandos emerge

Night after night, commandos in U.S. Chinook helicopters descend into remote Afghan villages, wielding M-4 rifles as they swarm Taliban compounds. Full Story

U.S., Pakistan Say Taliban Commander Killed in Shootout

A Taliban commander blamed for the deadliest attack on U.S. troops since they entered Afghanistan in 2001 has been killed in a shootout with security forces in Pakistan, American and Pakistani officials said. Full Story

Al Qaeda planning Baghdad attacks, says U.S.

Al Qaeda in Iraq is planning suicide attacks against Iraqis in Baghdad "in the near future," the U.S. military warned Friday. Full Story

Suspects arrested over Malaysian airport shootout: report

Malaysian police have arrested suspects in connection with a dramatic shootout and robbery at the country's main airport which left five injured in a hail of bullets, news reports said Sunday. Full Story

Chinese troops are on the streets of Zimbabwean city, witnesses say

Chinese troops have been seen on the streets of Zimbabwe's third largest city, Mutare, according to local witnesses. They were seen patrolling with Zimbabwean soldiers before and during Tuesday's ill-fated general strike called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Full Story

Bomb in rubbish bin wounds 7 in Thai Muslim south

A bomb hidden in a rubbish bin exploded in a busy market in Thailand's rebellious Muslim south on Sunday, wounding seven people, police said. Full Story

Chinese hold pro-Olympic protests in Europe, US

Several thousand Chinese rallied Saturday in Paris, Britain, Berlin and Los Angeles in support of their country and against allegedly biased media coverage of the Olympic torch relay and unrest in Tibet. Full Story

Leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al Masri Vows 30 Day Offensive Against U.S.

A man claiming to be the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq vowed in an audiotape released Saturday to launch a monthlong offensive against U.S. troops. Full Story

7 Hamas militants killed in Israeli airstrikesPosted on Sunday, April 20, 2008 at 3:32amIsrael killed seven Hamas militants in a series of airstrikes after the group detonated two jeeps packed with hundreds of kilograms of explosives at an Israeli crossing on the Gaza border. Full Story

Mosques blare call to arms after Sadr threat of open war in Iraq

Loudspeakers at mosques in Baghdad's Shiite bastion Sadr City blared out a call to arms soon after radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr warned of a new uprising by his militia, residents said on Sunday. Full Story

Nepal puts troops on Everest ahead of China torch relay

Authorities in Nepal said Sunday they have deployed security forces on their side of Mount Everest to prevent pro-Tibet protests when China takes the Olympic torch to the summit early next month. Full Story

Zardari says no power to confront Musharraf

The widower of assassinated Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto, whose party heads a coalition government, said he does not have the power to confront President Pervez Musharraf. Full Story

Gunmen kidnap wife of Nigerian oil worker: military

Nigerian kidnappers have kidnapped the wife of a senior oil worker in Port Harcourt, the hub of the country's oil industry, a military spokesman said Sunday. Full Story

Hardline Indonesian Muslims protest against 'deviant' group

About 1,000 Indonesian Muslims demonstrated outside the presidential palace here on Sunday demanding Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issue a decree disbanding a "deviant" Islamic group, an AFP reporter witnessed. Full Story

Scores of Zimbabwe opposition supporters detained in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe police are detaining at least 75 opposition supporters for offences linked to a strike last week to force the release of results from last month's presidential poll, their lawyer said Sunday. Full Story

Egypt police shoot two Africans at Israel border

Egyptian police shot and wounded two migrants from Mali and Kenya who tried to slip over Egypt's desert frontier into Israel on Sunday, security sources said. Full Story

Breakaway Abkhazia says it downed Georgian drone plane

The air defense forces of Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia have shot down a Georgian pilotless reconnaissance aircraft, Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh said over the phone on Sunday. Full Story

Tigers accuse Sri Lanka of killing Catholic priest

Sri Lankan forces Sunday killed a Roman Catholic priest who was also a top human rights campaigner inside rebel-held territory, Tiger guerrillas said as fighting raged in the troubled north. Full Story

Baghdad Clashes Intensify, 6 Dead

Clashes spread from the Sadr City district to another Shiite militia stronghold in Baghdad on Sunday as fighting left at least six people dead, including two children, officials said. Full Story

Iraqi students seized near Baquba

Three male students and their driver have been kidnapped close to the town of Baquba, north of Baghdad. The students, who were returning to Diyala University after a weekend break, were halted by gunmen at a fake checkpoint and taken away. Full Story

Somali clashes kill at least 20 in last day

Somali Islamist insurgents and Ethiopian troops exchanged mortar fire on Sunday in some of the heaviest clashes in months with at least 20 people killed in the last 24 hours, residents and witnesses said. Full Story

Iranian, Afghan forces clash at southwestern border

Afghan police clashed with Iranian forces at the southwestern border between the two countries, leaving one civilian dead and two Iranian officers wounded, officials said Sunday. Full Story

Ecuador could suspend US accords

Ecuador could suspend some military accords with the United States to block what it calls U.S. ideological influence in its armed forces, Defense Minister Javier Ponce said Sunday. Ponce told the news program UNO that current agreements with the U.S. were signed under previous administrations "in the spirit of colonialism" and are under review. He did not give details or say which agreements could be suspended. Full Story

Japan, South Korea resume summit talks after 3-year halt

Japan's prime minister told the South Korean president Monday he wanted a new era in relations between their countries as the two resumed regular summit talks suspended three years ago amid a dispute over a Tokyo war shrine. Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and South Korea's new President Lee Myung-bak were expected to discuss expanding business and culture exchanges and explore ways to step up cooperation on North Korea's nuclear disarmament. Full Story

Japan moves start of Olympic torch relay to parking lot

Japan has decided to start the upcoming Olympic torch relay in a parking lot, officials said Monday, after a major Buddhist temple backed out of the event over security concerns and sympathy for Tibetans. On Friday, Buddhist monks at the centuries-old Zenkoji temple refused to host the start of the relay, which has been a magnet for critics of China's human rights record and its recent crackdown in Tibet after anti-government riots there. Full Story

Pakistan tests nuclear capable ballistic missile

Pakistan's army test-fired a long-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Monday, the military said, the second test since the weekend. The launch marked the culmination of a field training exercise for the Hatf-VI (Shaheen-II), which included a test firing on Saturday. Full Story

Militant commander sentenced to 15 years prison in Indonesia

An Indonesian court has sentenced the self-proclaimed commander of an al-Qaida-linked Southeast Asian terror network to 15 years in prison. Abu Dujana was arrested in June on charges of illegal possession of explosives and firearms. Full Story

Iraqi PM confident of defeating Al-Qaeda

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Wednesday he was more confident than ever of defeating Al-Qaeda and its allies, the day after a wave of attacks left over 60 people dead. "We are determined to defeat terrorism," the Iraqi leader told the European parliament's foreign affairs committee during a visit to Brussels. He also gave an implicit warning to Iran, suspected of supporting extremist groups operating in Iraq. Full Story

Three Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza fighting

Three Israeli soldiers and four Hamas gunmen were killed in clashes in the Gaza Strip near its main fuel terminal on Wednesday, the Israeli military and Hamas said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said three soldiers had been killed and Israeli forces had shot several Palestinian gunmen during the fighting. Full Story

Hamas says Carter will meet two of its leaders

Hamas said on Wednesday former U.S. President Jimmy Carter would meet two of its leaders from Gaza in Egypt, in further defiance of Israeli leaders, who have shunned him over his contacts with the Islamist group. Hamas official Ayman Taha told Reuters senior leaders Mahmoud al-Zahar and Saeed Seyam would travel to Cairo later in the day for talks with Carter, who began a Middle East visit on Sunday. "Mr Carter asked for the meeting. He wanted to hear the Hamas vision regarding the situation, and we are interested in clarifying our position and emphasising the rights of our people," Taha said. Full Story

Iran says open for talks on nuclear, other issues

Iran is ready for negotiations on nuclear and other issues provided such talks do not violate the country's rights, the president said on Wednesday.But Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, showing uncharacteristic restraint, told a rally he would not address Iran's nuclear row with the West in detail and would save his comments for another occasion. Full Story

Migrant crime fears 'unfounded'

The influx of migrant workers into England and Wales from eastern Europe has not led to the crime wave that some have suggested, a police report says. Since 2004, about 800,000 people have registered for work in Britain from many eastern European countries. Full Story

Fresh jump in eurozone inflation

Surging food and fuel prices pushed up annual inflation in the eurozone to a record 3.6% last month, official figures have shown. March's figure was sharply ahead of February's 3.3% number and was also higher than the initial 3.5% estimate. Full Story

Smith pledges more terror police

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced an extra 300 police jobs to target radicalisation. She said it was not possible to "arrest our way out of the terrorist threat" and the aim was to stop people becoming terrorists in the first place. Full Story

Lord Jones: 'I believe in Brown'

Trade Minister Lord Jones has given his "100% support" to Gordon Brown and said there was "nothing new" in reports he would quit before the next election. The ex-CBI chief, who is not a Labour member, was one of the "government of all the talents" appointed by Mr Brown. Full Story

Brown to meet Wall Street bankers

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to urge Wall Street bankers to reveal their financial losses quickly as he begins a three-day trip to the United States. Mr Brown believes the move is necessary to help end a global credit crunch. Full Story

Italian vote abroad swells numbers of Berlusconi's forces in Senate

Votes from Italians abroad have helped give even more seats to Silvio Berlusconi and his conservative allies in the Senate. Votes from the overseas constituency give Berlusconi's forces three Senate seats, and Walter Veltroni's center-left bloc two seats. A sixth Senate seat goes to a party of Italians abroad. Full Story

Berlusconi promises new Italian government within week

Media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi, winner of last weekend's Italian general election, made a triumphant descent on Rome last night, promising to form a new government within a week and also extending olive branches to his defeated centreleft opponents, saying he is ready to involve them in the drawing up of constitutional and institutional reforms. Full Story

French students skirmish during protest

French high school students threw bottles and rocks Tuesday on the fringes of a Paris demonstration that drew thousands of protesters to a march against a government plan to cut teaching jobs. Though most demonstrators were calm, police charged at and used tear gas against some protesters to break up fighting between groups of students from rival neighborhoods. Several people were taken into custody, though the exact number was not immediately available. Full Story

India detains 50 ahead of Olympic torch arrival

Police detained at least 50 Tibetans on Wednesday for protesting in front of the Chinese embassy, hours before the Olympic torch was to arrive in the Indian capital, witnesses said. Thousands of policemen were being deployed to guard the torch relay route in the face of threats by Tibetan exiles to disrupt the run on Thursday. Full Story

Australian police get extra powers for torch relay: officials

Australian police have been given extra powers for the Olympic torch relay through Canberra to ensure planned demonstrations do not turn violent, officials said Wednesday. Thousands of Chinese supporters are planning to welcome the Olympic flame to the Australian capital, raising concerns over potential clashes with Tibetan groups protesting Beijing's rule of their Himalayan homeland. Full Story

About 100,000 health and day care workers on strike in Denmark

Unions say about 100,000 health and day-care workers are striking in Denmark after wage talks collapsed. Wednesday's walkout includes nurses, social workers and preschool employees in the public sector, but does not affect employees in emergency care. Full Story

Pirates who attacked French yacht arrive in Paris

Six Somali pirates who attacked a French luxury yacht arrived in Paris on Wednesday for eventual trial, five days after being captured in a daring chase, police officials said. The six were brought to France aboard a military plane and quickly placed in detention. Full Story

S.Korea upgrades alert as bird flu nears Seoul

South Korea upgraded its bird flu alert to the second highest on Wednesday and sent in soldiers to help cull and bury birds amid the worst poultry influenza outbreak in four years. In less than two weeks, South Korea has confirmed 11 cases of the deadly H5N1 strain, which had been contained in the southwest of the country, some 320 km (200 miles) south of Seoul. Full Story

Ultras raid railway station in Bihar, hold 5 staff captive

Armed Maoists raided Fesar railway station in the district last night and held its five employees captive, disrupting rail traffic on the Aurangabad-Mughalsarai section of the East Central Railway. Over 200 heavily-armed Naxalites stormed the railway station on the Aurangabad-Mughalsarai section and held captive the employees, police sources said on Wednesday. Full Story

600 flee erupting Indonesian volcano

A volcano in eastern Indonesia spewed ash and smoke 2 1/2 miles into the sky, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of nearby villagers, officials said Wednesday. The eruption of Mount Egon on Flores island was caused by magma coming into contact with water, said Surono, a senior government vulcanologist who uses one name. Full Story

Nato troops killed in Afghanistan

Two Nato soldiers have been killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the alliance said in a statement. Two soldiers have also been wounded in the attack which took place on Wednesday morning, it said. Full Story

Tibetan monks, women protest in Nepal

About 80 Tibetan protesters, many of them young monks and women, were arrested Wednesday as they staged an anti-Beijing demonstration near the Chinese Embassy. The group shouted "stop killing in Tibet" and other slogans before being dragged into waiting trucks by riot police and whisked away. Police officer Basanta Rajauria said about 80 were detained. Full Story

Talks on Iran end in China with no resolution

Talks on whether to offer stronger incentives to Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions ended in the Chinese city of Shanghai on Wednesday without "all problems being resolved", the Chinese delegate said. Full Story

Pirates held for questioning in Paris

Six pirates who hijacked a French luxury yacht off the coast of Somalia are now in custody in France, a diplomatic official said Wednesday. The six men are being held at the Paris court where they are being questioned, said an official from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs who did not want to be named. Full Story

New security camera can 'see' through clothes

New technology that can "see" through clothing and detect what's underneath can now be used to scan crowds, making it a potentially effective tool to prevent terrorist attacks in public places. The ThruVision T5000 camera picks up Terahertz rays, or T-rays, which are naturally emitted by all objects and can pass through fabric or even walls. Full Story

Exiled leader arrested in Spain over arms trafficking

Spanish police have arrested Equatorial Guinea opposition leader Severo Moto on suspicion of links to arms trafficking, a National Court spokeswoman told CNN on Tuesday. Moto, 64, has been living in exile in Spain, the former colonial power in Equatorial Guinea. Full Story

Defense requests Berlusconi testimony in CIA kidnap case

Lawyers for a former Italian intelligence chief requested Wednesday that Premier-elect Silvio Berlusconi testify in the trial of 26 American and Italian suspects charged with kidnapping a terror suspect during a CIA operation. Nicolo Pollari's defense also requested outgoing Premier Romano Prodi as a witness, said lawyer Alessia Sorgato, who represents some of the American defendants. Full Story

Afghan parliament committee drafts Taliban-style moral law

An Afghan legislative committee has drafted a bill seeking to introduce Taliban-style Islamic morality codes banning women from wearing make-up in public and forbidding young boys from wearing female fashions. The draft, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, needs approval by both chambers of the Islamist-dominated parliament and President Hamid Karzai signature to become a law. Full Story

Germany to press EU over Iraqi Christian refugees

Germany will appeal to other European Union countries this week to take in more Christians from Iraq and attempt to reach a common policy toward Iraqi refugees, officials said Wednesday. The government here is already considering granting Christians preferential treatment over other religions and groups. Interior Minister Wolfgang Schduble stated his intention to open Germany's doors to Iraqi Christians during interviews last weekend and expects full agreement Thursday when interior ministers from the 16 states meet near Berlin. Full Story

Bomb explodes at checkpoint in Yemen, killing 3 soldiers

A bombing at a military checkpoint Wednesday in central Yemen killed three soldiers and wounded four, a Yemeni security official said. Full Story

Man arrested in Las Vegas ricin case

A man at the center of a mysterious case of exposure to the deadly biological agent ricin has been arrested, FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said Wednesday. Roger Bergendorff was taken into custody Wednesday morning in Las Vegas, Nevada, Kolko said. Full Story

Italian election draws to a close

Voting will end shortly in Italy's two-day election for a new parliament and prime minister. The main contenders for the premiership are centre-right former PM Silvio Berlusconi and the centre-left former mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni. Full Story

Taliban insurgents kill 11 Afghan policemen, 2 NATO soldiers

Taliban militants attacked a group of police sleeping in an isolated roadside checkpoint early Monday in southern Afghanistan, killing 11  the latest assault on the nation's vulnerable police force. Meanwhile, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said two of its soldiers were killed and two wounded in a separate explosion Sunday in the south. Full Story

Cholera outbreak in Vietnam; over 130 infected

Vietnam, battling a cholera outbreak that has infected over 130 people, this week launches a month-long public hygiene drive while cracking down on dirty food stalls and dredging sewage-choked lakes. The epidemic of the dangerous bacterial disease - the country's third major outbreak since October - has spread in recent weeks from its epicentre in Hanoi to southern H Chi Minh City and 16 provinces, officials said. Full Story

Al-Qaeda-linked militants blamed for twin bombings in Philippines

Al-Qaeda-linked Muslim militants are the primary suspects in the bombing of a Catholic church and a coffee house in the southern Philippines over the weekend, officials said Monday. No one was hurt in the pre-dawn attacks in Zamboanga City, 875 kilometres south of Manila, on Sunday. Full Story

11 policemen, two NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Dozens of Taliban militants stormed a police post in southern Afghanistan early Monday, shooting dead 11 policemen, while two NATO soldiers were killed in a blast, officials said. The Taliban, a hardline Islamist movement that was ousted from government in a US-led invasion in late 2001, claimed responsibility for the attack on the policemen in troubled Kandahar province. Full Story

Pakistan power cuts spark rioting

A crowd protesting power cuts rioted Monday in the home city of Pakistan's new prime minister, ransacking the office of the state electricity company, torching a bank and leaving at least 13 people injured. Several hundred men marched on the office of the Water and Power Development Authority in Multan to protest power cuts that the city's textile industry said were killing business. Full Story

India hit by two Maoist attacks

Maoist rebels in the Indian state of Bihar have attacked a railway station, killing five policemen and a porter, officials say. Police say that the rebels surrounded a police railway outpost at Jhajha railway station in Jamui district. Full Story

Indonesia arrests two JI members

Indonesian authorities have arrested two more members of the Islamic militant group Jemaah Islamiah. A senior police official in Jakarta says the arrests may help police to track down Noordin Mohammad Top, one of the most senior members of the Jemaah Islamiah who is still on the run. Full Story

Accused ex-terror chief cleared

A former head of specialist operations at the Metropolitan Police will have no further action taken against him over an investigation into his expenses. Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman was asked to explain #15,000 of his expenses. Full Story

Brown says economy is sole focus

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he understands people's fears over the economy and insisted that keeping it on track was his "sole focus". "We are on the side of home owners, business and individuals," he said. Full Story

British journalist freed in Iraq

A British journalist has been rescued by Iraqi forces after being held hostage for more than two months. Richard Butler, who works for the US television network CBS, was found in a house in Basra with a sack over his head, said the Iraqi defence ministry. Full Story

Suspect 'vowed lesson for West'

The suspected leader of an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic planes mid-air promised to teach the West a "lesson they will never forget", a court heard. Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, made the vow during the 16-minute "martyrdom" video played at Woolwich Crown Court. Full Story

Crime in Glasgow 'worse than NY'

Glasgow could learn lessons from New York about how to tackle crime, according to a report by an independent think tank. The Reform Scotland report said there was now more violent crime per head of population in Glasgow than in New York. Full Story

Robinson to follow Paisley path

Peter Robinson will become the next Northern Ireland first minister when Ian Paisley steps down in May. The East Belfast MP, 59, was the choice of the 36-strong Democratic Unionist Party assembly group on Monday. Full Story

London stocks suffer from global jitters

Leading shares closed near lows as Wall Street fell back into negative territory with Friends Provident lower after JC Flowers threatened to withdraw its offer if the group does not enter takeover talks by Friday. At the close, the FTSE 100 index was down 63.9 points at 5,831.6, having been down as much as 68.5 points earlier in the session. The FTSE 250 was 85.9 points lower at 9,845.5. Full Story

Berlusconi projected to win Italian elections

Self-made billionaire Silvio Berlusconi looked set to win a third term as Italian prime minister Monday, with early projections giving him a wide margin of victory in the all-important Senate. Berlusconi's centre-right coalition has a lead of between 4.6 and 9.1 percentage points in the Senate, according to projections based on about one-third of statistical samplings of the vote. Full Story

Britons, Kenyans killed in Somalia attack

Suspected Islamist insurgents dragged two British nationals and two Kenyans out of their home in a Somali town and killed them, witnesses said Monday. The four victims were all from an English school in the town of Beledweyn. They were a British-Somali female teacher, another dual national who was the school's headmaster and two Kenyan teachers, according to witnesses and relatives. Full Story

New Spanish cabinet includes first woman defense minister

Spain's first woman defense minister was among 17 members of the Cabinet sworn into office Monday. Carme Chacon, 37  who is seven months pregnant  is one of nine women in Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's new government. Full Story

Northern Ireland's major Protestant party elects new leader

Democratic Unionist deputy leader Peter Robinson was unanimously elected Monday to replace Ian Paisley atop the dominant Protestant party in Northern Ireland  a victory that means he will become the next leader of the territory's power-sharing government with Catholics. Full Story

BA boss says 'no intention' of resigning over terminal fiasco

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh said Monday he had "no intention" of resigning over the disastrous opening of London Heathrow airport's new Terminal 5. BA has exclusive use of T5 but the multi-billion-pound facility has been plagued by severe logistical problems since its launch last month. Full Story

Saudi Blogger Releases Christian Version of 'Fitna'

The recent film "Fitna" by the controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders was seen by many as an attack on Islam. Now a Saudi blogger has created a film featuring violent texts from the Bible, with the intention of showing that stereotyping can go both ways. Full Story

West Bank security crackdown masks a growing bitterness

After seven years of hiding from the Israeli army in the narrow streets of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Abu Islam has traded his rifle and mask for an oven and an apron. The 39-year-old veteran of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a group loosely tied to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fateh Party, now runs a bakery in the centre of town thanks to an amnesty agreement. Full Story

One quarter of Israel sixth-formers carry weapons

About one in four secondary school sixth-formers in Israel brought a weapon to school in 2006, according to a study published on Monday in the Yediot Aharonot daily. Full Story

US counting on 'diplomatic surge' for Iraq

President George W. Bush this week celebrated security gains from the US troop "surge" in Iraq -- but made clear that US hopes rest heavily on what some aides call "the diplomatic surge." Full Story

Iran and U.S. said to have been holding secret talks for 5 years

The United States and Iran have been holding secret talks over the last five years regarding Tehran's contentious nuclear program, according to a report released Monday by Britain's The Independent. The discussions also related to the general ties between the two countries, said the report. Full Story

Kurdish rebels in Iraq threaten to attack IranPosted on Monday, April 14, 2008 at 3:07pmA Kurdish rebel group based in northern Iraq threatened on Sunday to launch bomb attacks inside Iran if Tehran fails to halt anti-Kurdish policies in the Islamic country. Pejak (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) warned it has the ability to "carry out bombings against Iranian forces" inside Iran. Full Story

Death toll in Iran explosion up to 12

Iranian officials raised the death toll from an explosion in a packed mosque in southern Iran to 12 on Sunday and said more than 200 had been injured in the blast. Iranian media initially quoted local officials as saying the explosion Saturday in the city of Shiraz was caused by a homemade bomb and could have been religiously motivated. Full Story

IAEA, Iran meeting abruptly canceled

A top Iranian official on Sunday abruptly canceled a meeting with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, dealing a blow to the U.N. monitor's efforts to investigate allegations that Iran tried to make nuclear arms, an agency official said. Full Story

Germany Concerned About PJAK Activities

A new Kurdish party, the PJAK, is causing Germany's intelligence agencies concern. Public prosecutors are investigating whether the group, whose leader lives in Cologne, is a terrorist organization. Full Story

Billionaire Berlusconi wins Italian elections

Self-made billionaire Silvio Berlusconi won a third term as Italian prime minister on Monday after his centre-left rival Walter Veltroni conceded defeat. "As is the custom in all Western democracies, I telephoned Berlusconi to acknowledge his victory and wish him good luck in his work," Veltroni, 52, told supporters of his Democratic Party (PD). Full Story

Pakistani President Proposes Construction of Oil, Gas Pipeline to China

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has urged China's leaders to consider participating in the construction of an oil pipeline from the Middle East to China. Speaking with students Monday at Beijing's Tsinghua University, Mr. Musharraf suggested that a multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline that his country is pushing for could be expanded to include China. Full Story

Le Monde journalists go on strike

Tuesday's edition of the prestigious French newspaper, Le Monde, will not be published after journalists walked off the job. Unions are protesting against management plans to get rid of 130 jobs, most of them journalists. Full Story

French push for EU food response

France is urging EU countries to come up with a global initiative on food security in the wake of violence linked to price rises in basic foodstuffs. Full Story

7/7 friends 'made tourism calls'

Two men accused of helping the 7 July bombers plan their attacks made calls to tourist bodies on a reconnaissance mission in London, a court has heard. Waheed Ali, Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil spent two days with two of the bombers in 2004, the jury heard. Full Story

Intelligence agency sees increased terror threat against Denmark

The Danish intelligence service warned Thursday of an "aggravated" terror threat against Denmark since the reprinting in February of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Full Story

France signals further boost to Afghan force

France will boost its contribution to NATO forces fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan to some 3,000 troops, around double the present level, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Friday. Full Story

17 Tamil Tigers killed in clashes in Sri Lanka

At least 17 LTTE cadres were killed in clashes in the embattled northern Sri Lanka as fighter jets attacked a target in the rebel stronghold of Mullaitivu. Air Force fighter planes attacked a sea Tiger camp in Chemmalai area in Alampil in the rebel stronghold area on Thursday and confirmed the air strike was a total success, PTI reported here quoting Sri Lankan defence official. Full Story

Scores hurt as Bangladesh Islamists battle policePosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 8:30amHundreds of members of a group campaigning for Islamic rule in Bangladesh clashed with police on Friday over a plan to give women equal inheritance rights. Full Story
Indonesia Ends Ban on YouTube Over FilmPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 8:32amIndonesian Internet providers have stopped blocking YouTube and other file-sharing Web sites showing an anti-Islam film made by a Dutch politician after complaints from Web users. The online service providers said Friday they will instead try to block access to individual pages on the sites carrying Geert Wilders' short film. Full Story
Pakistan moves to abolish Musharraf's media checksPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 8:34amPakistan's new government on Friday set the ball rolling to abolish media curbs imposed by President Pervez Musharraf when he declared emergency rule in the country in November. Hours after suspending the constitution, Musharraf, who was also then the Army chief, amended the laws governing both print and electronic media, banning content that defamed or brought ridicule on him, the military and state agencies. Full Story
Philippine troops free captive from Muslim rebelsPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 8:38amPhilippine troops freed a female trader, held captive for more than two months by Islamic militants on a remote southern island, after a brief gun battle on Friday, officials said. Abdusakur Tan, a local governor, said soldiers discovered a group of Abu Sayyaf militants holding Maria Rosalie Lao in a wooded area near Patikul town on Jolo island at dawn. Full Story
Berlusconi leads polls ahead of Italian electionsPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 8:40amThe bid by Walter Veltroni  Rome's centre-left mayor - to become Italy's next prime minister has sparked strong interest both at home and in wider Europe, but polls and analysts suggest that media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi has a higher chance of winning and achieving a third-time comeback as leader of the EU's fourth largest country. Full Story
Pirates release French yacht crewPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 9:04amThe crew of a luxury French yacht held by pirates near Somalia have been freed "without incident", French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said. He thanked the French military for their role in freeing the 30 hostages on board The Ponant which was taken in the Gulf of Aden last Friday. Full Story
Slovak MPs end row to pass treatyPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 9:05amSlovakia's parliament has ratified the Lisbon Treaty, despite a boycott of the vote by some opposition parties. Previous attempts to hold a vote had to be scrapped because of a series of walkouts by MPs over a media law, which critics say harms press freedom. Full Story
Germany eases law on stem cellsPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 9:06amThe German parliament has voted to ease restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, which is controversial on ethical grounds. Under the existing German law, researchers have only been allowed to use human embryonic stem cells harvested abroad before January 2002. Full Story
MEPs call for EU Olympics boycottPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 9:07amThe European Parliament has adopted a resolution urging EU leaders to boycott the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony. MEPs want China to begin a dialogue with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama by August. Full Story
Private Taxis Proving a Cheap Ride to TroublePosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 9:38amWomen looking for cheap transport often use private cars moonlighting as taxis. Although these vehicles are economical, they are also very risky. Drivers are known to sexually harass women, at times even raping them. Full Story
Middle East water crisis warningPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 9:39amGovernments in the Middle East and North Africa need to invest now if they want to avoid severe water shortages in the future, the World Bank has warned. Full Story
Kuwait activists blast law restricting public gatheringsPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 9:41amKuwaiti civil society groups on Thursday blasted a new law that restricts the right to hold public gatherings including rallies and demonstrations, branding it "unconstitutional." "The new law constitutes a flagrant violation of the constitution and shows disrespect to the Constitutional Court," Saud al-Enezi, head of the liberal Graduates Society, told a news conference. Full Story
Crane, Nails and a Bomb Used in Denmark HeistPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 9:51amIn a spectacular heist that had all the precision of a military operation, armed robbers in Denmark stole 30 million kroner ($6.3 million) in cash early on Tuesday by smashing down the wall of a money transport firm with a crane and storming through the breach armed with submachine guns and rifles. Full Story
Northern Ireland Marks 10 Years Since Belfast AgreementPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 9:55amA decade has passed since the opposing sides in Northern Ireland hammered out a peace deal that ended decades of bitter sectarian violence. On Thursday many of the key architects of that agreement gathered in Belfast for a symposium to mark the anniversary. Full Story
Europe rejects anti-piracy plansPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 10:00amEuropean politicians have voted down calls to throw suspected file-sharers off the net. The idea to cut off persistent pirates formed part of a wide-ranging report on creative industries written for the European parliament. Full Story
Aide to radical Shiite cleric Sadr shot dead in IraqPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 10:05amGunmen shot dead a top official from radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's movement in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf after Friday prayers, police and an aide to the cleric told AFP. Full Story
French march against school planPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 10:06amAt least 19,000 school students and teachers have demonstrated on the streets of Paris against a proposed reform of the French education system. They marched against job cuts in secondary schools. The government plans to cut some 11,200 education jobs this year, including 8,500 teaching posts. Full Story
Terror cell planned to poison diners at Ramat Gan restaurantPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 10:06amTwo Palestinians have been arrested only days before they executed a plan to poison diners at the Ramat Gan restaurant in which they worked. A tip-off led the Shin Bet security service and Tel Aviv police to the pair of Nablus residents, who were staying in Israel illegally and working at Ramat Gan's Grill Express. Full Story
Police law moves Bosnia toward EUPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 10:10amThe parliament of Bosnia-Hercegovina has approved police reforms demanded by the European Union as a condition for continuing the steps toward membership. The lower house of parliament approved long-disputed reforms to more closely integrate the country's two separate police forces. Full Story
BA postpones long-haul move to T5Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 10:13amBritish Airways has delayed moving most of its long-haul flights to Heathrow's new Terminal 5 until June. "It is only sensible to ensure that Terminal 5 is operating consistently at a high standard before the move begins," said BA boss Willie Walsh. Full Story
US shifts enemy in IraqPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 10:14amThe top U.S. commander has shifted the focus from al-Qaida to Iranian-backed "special groups" as the main threat to a democratic Iraq  a significant change that reflects both the complexity of the war and its changing nature. Full Story
Doctor admits Glasgow bomb chargePosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 10:23amThe brother of a man who died attacking Glasgow Airport with a car bomb has admitted withholding information. Sabeel Ahmed, 26, from Bangalore, India, pleaded guilty to the charge at the Old Bailey in London and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. Full Story
Bahrain Leader Urges Arrest of Protesters After Police DeathPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 10:34amBahrain's Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa urged security forces to arrest Shiite Muslim protesters suspected of killing a policeman, the state-run Bahrain News Agency said. Full Story
Secret Iranian missile site revealed in new spy photosPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 10:35amA series of recently released spy photos have uncovered the secret lcoation where Iran has allegedly been developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of striking Europe, The Times reported on Friday. Full Story
Northern Ireland: Man 'shot in front of children'Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 10:50amA man was shot in a paramilitary-style attack in west Belfast while his children were in the house, according to a neighbour. The 29-year-old was admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds to both legs. He is in a stable condition. Full Story
US funding for NI 'unprecedented'Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 10:59amNorthern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers have gone to New York to hear an announcement of major US investment. Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness are due to meet New York City Comptroller William Thompson. Full Story
UN chief to miss Olympics openingPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 11:02amUN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will not attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, an aide has said. The decision was due to "schedule issues" and had been made months ago, said UN spokeswoman, Marie Mukabe. Full Story
Zapatero gets nod from Spanish parliament to begin second term as PMPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 11:06amSpanish lawmakers approved Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as prime minister for a second term Friday, formally handing him the challenges of a slumping economy, resurgent Basque militants and governing with no set allies in parliament. Zapatero, whose Socialists won a general election on March 9 but fell short of an absolute majority, failed to garner enough support in parliament in a first vote this week, forcing a second-round ballot, in which the threshold for approval was lower. Full Story
Spain PM wins investiture votePosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 11:10amSpanish Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero won an investiture vote in parliament Friday to formally begin a second term in office, two days after losing his investiture bid on the first ballot. Full Story
French hold six pirates after hostages releasedPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 12:26pmFrench troops are holding six pirates after the 30-member crew of a luxury yacht hijacked a week ago off Somalia's coast were released, officials said Friday. The French armed forces resolved the hostage-taking without incident, Sarkozy said in a statement that gave no details. Full Story
Gunmen kill Pakistani intelligence officialPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 12:33pmGunmen riding a car shot dead an intelligence agent in a northwestern Pakistani town on Friday, the third official from the government's security agency to be killed in little over two weeks, police said. Full Story
Vietnam arrests three for smuggling explosivesPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 12:34pmPolice in northern Vietnam arrested three people Friday morning for illegally transporting more than 320 kilograms of explosives and 1,800 detonators, a police official said. Full Story
German exporter denies helping Pakistan bomb projectPosted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 12:35pmAn exporter in Germany who is accused of helping Pakistan make nuclear weapons told a court Friday he was not guilty, because the equipment he sold was for university use. Full Story
Malaysian PM hints at hand-overPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:11amMalaysia's embattled Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has signalled he would support a transition of power to his deputy. The move comes after the government suffered its worst ever showing in last month's general election. Full Story
Iraq says captures senior al Qaeda figurePosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:13amIraqi authorities captured a senior figure from al Qaeda on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said. Major-General Abdul-Karim Khalaf said the captured man, Nazal Sabar al-Jughaify, also known as Abu al-Jarrah, was a senior lieutenant to the Sunni Arab militant group's leader in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri. Full Story
Baghdad raid leaves many deadPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:13amThe US military says security forces have killed at least 13 fighters in fresh clashes in eastern Baghdad. But Iraqi police and hospital officials said seven civilians died when US helicopters fired on homes and shops in the capital's Sadr City district early on Saturday. Full Story
Israeli tanks in Gaza incursionPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:16amIsrael has sent tanks and bulldozers into the Gaza Strip after pledging to retaliate against a deadly militant attack on a fuel depot this week. Medical sources in the Gaza Strip said four Palestinian teenagers were killed by Israeli fire during the operation. Full Story
24 Taliban Militants Killed in Afghanistan Operation, Homicide Bomber Kills 2Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:17amAfghan and foreign troops clashed with and called airstrikes on militants in southern Afghanistan, leaving 24 dead and eight wounded, an official said Saturday.The fighting was in two separate mountainous areas of Zabul province late Friday, said provincial deputy governor Ghulab Shah Alikheil. Full Story
Macedonian parliament votes for early electionPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:18amMacedonian legislators voted to dissolve parliament on Saturday, clearing the way for an early election after months of political stagnation and rejection of the country's NATO membership bid. Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's fractious ruling coalition backed the motion, which ushers in a new period of political uncertainty in the Balkan republic less than two years since the government took office. Full Story
Battles kill 13 in Sadr City, blockade easedPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:19amU.S. and Iraqi forces killed at least 13 gunmen in heavy battles overnight around Baghdad's Sadr City, the U.S. military said on Saturday, but authorities went ahead and eased a two-week-old blockade of the slum. Cars were allowed in and out of Sadr City through some entrances, although other routes remained blocked and the sound of fighting was still audible on Saturday morning. Full Story
Food crisis looms in BangladeshPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:20amBangladesh - For a 13-year-old boy in this impoverished, teeming city, some things are more important than classes  rice, for one."I need to eat first, then school," said Mohammad Hasan, standing at the back of a line of hundreds of people waiting to pick up government-subsidized rice.With the price of food skyrocketing around the world, desperately poor and overpopulated Bangladesh is considered one of the world's most vulnerable nations. Full Story
Chinese president says Tibet not human rights issuePosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:21amChinese President Hu Jintao Saturday defended the Tibet crackdown and said the problem was a separatist issue and not related to human rights."Our conflict with the Dalai clique is not an ethnic problem, not a religious problem, nor a human rights problem," Hu told visiting Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, according to Xinhua news agency. Full Story
Spain Arrests 20 for Treasure PlunderPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:25amTwenty people accused in the plunder and sale of thousands of archaeological items have been arrested and their suspected booty - including Roman and Stone Age pieces - seized, police said Friday.The suspects and used metal detectors at archaeological sites throughout Spain, often selling their finds on the Internet, police said in a statement. Full Story
Eight killed, 50 hurt in Iran mosque bomb blastPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 4:08pmEight people were killed and another 50 were wounded by an explosion in a mosque in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, the Fars news agency reported, citing city officials. Full Story
Olympic torch flickers into TanzaniaPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 4:51pmThe Olympic torch, symbol of this year's 2008 Games in Beijing, has arrived in the Tanzanian capital under tight security for a low-risk, albeit drastically curtailed African leg. Full Story
Haiti senators fire PM over food riotsPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 4:52pmThe Haitian Senate on Saturday fired the impoverished country's prime minister after a week of violent food riots and ignored an emergency plan announced by President Rene Preval to slash the cost of rice. Full Story
Nigerian army detains four Americans in Niger DeltaPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:15pmNigerian security forces on Saturday detained four U.S. citizens and a Nigerian who were travelling in the western Niger Delta, the scene of numerous militant attacks, a military commander said. Full Story
Zimbabwe announces vote recount in 23 constituenciesPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 9:26pmZimbabwe'e electoral commission has ordered a total recount to be held next Saturday in 23 constituencies, potentially enough to overturn the opposition's slim parliamentary majority. Full Story
Ex-communist rebels ahead in NepalPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 9:27pmThe former leader of Nepal's bloody Maoist insurgency captured a seat Saturday on a new assembly that will chart the Himalayan country's future, election officials said. Full Story
Pakistan drops media restrictionsPosted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 9:30pmPakistan's new government has moved to withdraw restrictions on the media that were imposed by President Pervez Musharraf last year. Full Story
Iraq orders gas station crackdownPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 4:50pmThe Iraqi government on Sunday announced plans to crack down on militiamen controlling gas stations and oil distribution in a new move to curb the resources of armed groups. Full Story
Dalai Lama Threatens to Resign if Tibet Violence WorsensPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 4:51pmThe Dalai Lama has threatened to resign as leader of Tibet's exiled government if violence in his homeland spirals out of control. Full Story
Kurdish rebels in Iraq threaten to attack IranPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 5:10pmA Kurdish rebel group based in northern Iraq threatened on Sunday to launch bomb attacks inside Iran if Tehran fails to halt anti-Kurdish policies in the Islamic country. Full Story
Dalai Lama fears more Chinese forcePosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 5:11pmThe Dalai Lama said Sunday that Tibet cannot make any more concessions to China and renewed his calls for the government to cease suppression in his former homeland and withdraw troops. Full Story
Britain offers to host Darfur peace summitPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 5:30pmBritain offered Sunday to host peace talks on the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur under proposals put forward by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Full Story
China's 'silent treatment' of Taiwan closer to endingPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 5:32pmA landmark meeting Saturday between Taiwan's vice president-elect and China's president Hu Jintao has raised hopes for the first cross-strait talks in a decade. But analysts say many pitfalls lie ahead  and any breakthrough likely to be economic, not political. Full Story
Pirates can claim UK asylumPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 5:32pmTHE Royal Navy, once the scourge of brigands on the high seas, has been told by the Foreign Office not to detain pirates because doing so may breach their human rights. Full Story
Irans Top Terrorist Emerges From the ShadowsPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 5:34pmWhen Irans Brigadier Gen. Qassem Suleimani was leaving on a foreign mission a few years ago, his daughters begged him to bring back designer jeans. It must have been a dispiriting request for Irans terrorist chief, head of the Quds Force, or The Jerusalem Brigade, Irans supersecret overseas intelligence and sabotage unit. Full Story
Palestinian gunmen attack Abbas aide in West BankPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 5:56pmPalestinian gunmen attacked and destroyed the car of a close aide of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday and Nablus security officials blamed Islamic Jihad. Full Story
Maoists raid rly station, 5 cops killedPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 6:37pmFive policemen were killed on Sunday when about 300 heavily armed Maoists attacked the Jhajha railway station on Patna-Howrah mainline in Bihar. Full Story
Red star over Nepal may put India in a spotPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 6:38pmWith the "Madheshi" factor boomeranging in the Nepal polls, the Manmohan Singh government is faced with a new challenge in the form of Maoists dominating the constituent assembly while traditional forces like Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal have been virtually relegated to the sidelines. Full Story
Protest over graves in KashmirPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 6:39pmPolice in Indian-administered Kashmir have lobbed teargas shells to break up a violent demonstration in Srinagar. Full Story
Three injured in Quetta grenade attackPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 6:58pmThree persons were injured when unknown armed men hurled a hand grenade at the Ayub Stadium here on Sunday. Police said two armed men riding on a motorcycle hurled a hand grenade on three persons in the premises of the Ayub Stadium. The injured were identified as Maula Dad, Tauseef Raza and Hussain. Full Story
Bush fears attack by terrorists hiding in PakistanPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 7:00pmIf another September-11 style attack is being planned, it probably is being plotted in Pakistan and not Afghanistan, the AP news agency quoted US President George Bush as saying on Saturday. Full Story
Odinga named PM in bid to end Kenyan vote crisisPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 7:02pmPresident Mwai Kibaki named rival Raila Odinga as prime minister Sunday, implementing a power-sharing deal after protracted negotiations over the agreement they signed more than a month ago. Full Story
Zimbabwean court to rule on election result appealPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 8:19pmZimbabwe's High Court was expected to rule on Monday on an opposition appeal to force election officials to release results of a presidential ballot that has raised fears of a military crackdown. Full Story
Chinese envoy walks out on Irish minister's speechPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 8:21pmIrish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern denied reports of a diplomatic row on Sunday after China's ambassador walked out on a speech in which Environment Minister John Gormley accused China of human rights abuses in Tibet. Full Story
Lebanon marks war's 33rd anniversaryPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 8:26pmHundreds of Lebanese marked the 33rd anniversary of the start of their country's civil war with a march Sunday along the line that divided Beirut into two sectors during the bloody conflict. Full Story
Haiti food crisis may widen: aid groupsPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 8:27pmAid organisations say they fear the nutritional crisis could deepen in impoverished Haiti, where skyrocketing food prices have already led to deadly protests and the ouster of the nation's number two politician. Full Story
Iraq: State Of CorruptionPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 8:28pmGeneral David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told Congress this past week that there has been substantial progress, but not enough to begin withdrawing American troops. Full Story
Deadly Iran mosque blast reportedly not an attackPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 8:59pmA blast in a mosque in Iran that killed at least 12 people was an accident and not an attack, a senior official said on Sunday, but others cautioned the investigation into the cause was continuing. Full Story
Cabinet split on 42-day terror detention as Commons defeat loomsPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 9:00pmCabinet ministers are split over the need to force through new laws to extend the maximum detention of suspected terror suspects from 28 to 42 days without charge - a month before ministers could face a bruising defeat by up to 30 votes in the Commons over the issue. Full Story
Bulgarian interior minister resigns amid corruption scandalPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 9:04pmBulgaria's powerful Interior Minister Rumen Petkov resigned on Sunday amid a snowballing corruption scandal that exposed links between top crime-busters and suspected criminals. Full Story
Torch in peaceful Tanzania relayPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 9:17pmThe torch for the Beijing Olympics has completed an incident-free relay run in Tanzania, bringing respite from its so-far troubled world tour. Full Story
Musharraf allies reject coalition offerPosted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 9:34pmA party allied with President Pervez Musharraf has spurned an offer to join Pakistan's new coalition government, officials said Sunday. Full Story

Abu Sayyaf abducts six in PhilippinesPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 7:23amPhilippine police have mounted a search for six people abducted by Al Qaeda-linked militants from a minibus in the south of the country, police said yesterday. Full Story
China 'uncovers Olympic terror plot'Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 7:23amChina said Thursday it had uncovered a criminal ring planning to kidnap athletes and others at the Beijing Olympic Games. Full Story
Pakistan lawyers protest against deadly clashesPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 7:24amThousands of lawyers protested in Pakistan Thursday as tension mounted over the deaths of 10 people in political clashes between supporters and opponents of President Pervez Musharraf. Full Story
Leading figures mark NI AgreementPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 8:33amSome of the main players who helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement are in Belfast for a conference to mark its 10th anniversary. But the significance of the event has been reduced because of the absence of others, including ex-President Bill Clinton and former PM Tony Blair. Full Story
EU treaty vote threat in SlovakiaPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 8:35amSlovakia's opposition has renewed threats to block ratification of the EU reform treaty over the government's passing of a controversial media law. Critics of the media bill say it undermines editorial freedom because it orders newspapers to print responses from anyone mentioned in news stories. Full Story
54 Myanmar Migrants Die in ThailandPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 9:30amFifty-four illegal migrant workers from Myanmar suffocated in the back of an unventilated truck Thursday, while the rest of the passengers being smuggled to Thailand pounded on the container and screamed in vain for the driver's help. Full Story
Paramilitary patrols Karachi streetsPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 9:34amPAKISTAN deployed paramilitary troops and police in Karachi today, a day after clashes between supporters and opponents of President Pervez Musharraf left eight people dead. Authorities warned of "extreme action" to prevent further bloodshed in the wake of the worst violence to hit the country since a new government hostile to key US ally Mr Musharraf won elections in February. Full Story
British leader skipping opening ceremonyPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 9:38amBritish Prime Minister Gordon Brown will skip the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. He became the second major world leader after German Chancellor Angela Merkel to decide to stay away from the opening ceremonies, although Brown's office insisted Wednesday that he was not boycotting the Olympics and would attend the closing ceremony. Full Story
Indonesia approves law for first Islamic bondPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 9:43amIndonesia's government on Wednesday passed a new bill on Sharia-compliant debt, paving the way for country's first Islamic bonds (sukouk) to be sold in international and domestic markets. Full Story
Cholera spreads in VietnamPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 9:46amA cholera outbreak that began in mid-March has expanded to 16 provinces throughout Vietnam and infected at least 121 people, health officials said Thursday. "The situation is dangerous, and the possibility that the outbreak will further expand to other provinces is very high," said Nguyen Huy Nga, director of the Ministry of Heath's Preventive Medicine Department. Full Story
Afghan suicide attack kills 8Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 9:53amA suicide car bomb has exploded in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, killing at least eight civilians, officials say. The target of the attack was a Nato military convoy, police said. Full Story
Indonesia to cut short Olympic torch relay routePosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 10:06amAlarmed by recent disruptions, the organizer of the Jakarta Olympic torch relay has decided to cut short its route in the Indonesian capital, a local media report said Thursday. Full Story
Ex-President Carter to meet Hamas leader: JazeeraPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 10:09amFormer U.S. President Jimmy Carter plans to meet Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Syria next week, despite U.S. efforts to isolate the Islamist Palestinian group, Al Jazeera television said. The meeting was expected to take place in the Syrian capital Damascus on April 18, and may also include former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and former South African President Nelson Mandela. Full Story
Air raid kills more in BaghdadPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 10:10amAt least four people have been killed in a US raid in Baghdad's Shia stronghold of Sadr City amid fresh fighting between Shia fighters and Iraqi security forces. Six people were also wounded in the air raid after midnight near the Al-Albaith mosque. Full Story
Chaos in Tokyo train stations after firePosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 10:10amNearly 250,000 Tokyo residents saw their daily commutes turn into day-long ordeals on Thursday as a fire shut down a major train line for more than 10 hours, officials said. Full Story
Four members of Petah Tikva neo-Nazi cell convicted in plea dealPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 10:11amThe Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday convicted four members of a neo-Nazi cell from central Israel in the framework of a plea bargain. Alex Flich, 20, from Karnei Shomron, was convicted along with three minors of conspiring to commit a crime, assault, racial incitement and the distribution of racist materials. Full Story
Israel threatens retaliation after Gaza violencePosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 10:12amIsrael warned on Thursday it will retaliate against Hamas, blaming the Palestinian Islamist group for a deadly explosion of violence in the Gaza Strip that followed a month of relative calm. Israeli authorities said they temporarily shut down the Nahal Oz fuel terminal following Wednesday's attack, but insisted they would continue providing minimal fuel supplies to the Palestinian territory that has been under a crippling blockade for months. Full Story
UK wrong to halt Saudi arms probePosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 10:47amThe High Court has ruled that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) acted unlawfully by dropping a corruption inquiry into a #43bn Saudi arms deal. Defence firm BAE was accused of making illegal payments to Saudi officials to secure contracts, but the firm maintains that it acted lawfully. Full Story
British trials offer insights into terror casesPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 12:56pmn the first case of its kind since the London bombings of July 2005, prosecutors Thursday accused three British Muslims of helping the bombers with a preparatory mission seven months before the attacks. The prosecution asserted that the three man reconnoitered a number of tourist attractions, including the London Eye Ferris wheel overlooking the River Thames. Full Story
Two aid workers reported missing in AfghanistanPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 1:35pmGerman humanitarian organisation KinderBerg International said on Thursday that two of its workers are missing in Afghanistan. Abdul Rab, a 44-year-old Afghan medical doctor, and his driver, Abdul Hafiz, left Kabul for Kunduz in the far north on Tuesday, but failed to arrive at their destination, the organisation said in a statement. Full Story
Italy's Berlusconi Preens for ComebackPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 1:43pmThis weekend's elections in Italy could mark billionaire Silvio Berlusconi's return to power in what would be his third term in office. But rarely have Italian voters been so weary of their politicians -- and rarely has there been so little hope of any real change. Full Story
German State Introduces Autobahn Speed LimitPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 1:53pmFor years, Germans have worried that speed limits may be coming for the autobahn. On Wednesday, the first state-wide slowdown went into effect. Are more such regulations on the way? Full Story
Jurors shown bomb plotter 'martyr' videoPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 2:02pmJurors saw video Thursday of a man accused of plotting to blow up trans-Atlantic aircraft praising Osama bin Laden and vowing to wage a holy war against nonbelievers. Umar Islam, 29, made the comments in a video found in the trunk of a car belonging to another suspect. Prosecutors say it was a suicide video intended to be viewed after his death. Full Story
Big Ben marks 150th birthdayPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 2:04pmOne of Britain's last bell foundries on Thursday marked the 150th anniversary of its biggest creation  the massive bell whose bongs sound the hour at the Houses of Parliament. Full Story
Britain's Brown calls for food aid boostPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 2:06pmGrowing global hunger because of rising food prices threatens to set back development in some of the world's poorest countries, Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned Thursday. In a letter to world leaders ahead of a July summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations, Brown cautioned that "rising food prices threaten to roll back progress we have made in recent years on development." Full Story
7/7 London terror attack planner is deadPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 2:50pmThe al-Qaeda leader thought to be behind London's July 7 bombings has died in hiding in Pakistan. Abu Ubaida al-Masri is believed to have helped recruit, train and direct the British Muslims who killed themselves and 52 people three years ago. Full Story
CCTV footage reveals moment of 7/7 bombingsPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 2:55pmThe moments two of the London suicide bombers blew themselves up alongside innocent commuters were screened in public for the first time today before a conspiracy trial jury. Full Story
Switzerland holding $900 million in French-Taiwan arms deal scandalPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 3:13pmSwiss authorities said Thursday that $900 million (?572 million) belonging to Taiwanese citizens remained frozen in Swiss bank accounts linked to the alleged corrupt sale of six French frigates to Taiwan in the 1990s. Full Story
Housing roils Spain's economy as Zapatero starts second termPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 3:15pmNewly reelected Spanish Prime Minister Josi Luis Rodrmguez Zapatero used his lengthy investiture debate this week to lay out plans to ease what he called Spain's economic slowdown. But with the country's fortunes riding disproportionately on the hard-hit real estate industry, many experts see something worse than a slowdown at hand. Full Story
Influx of illegals to Spain continues - Indians protest expulsionPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 3:17pmThe influx of undocumented immigrants from Africa to Spain continued Thursday, with a boat carrying 62 people landing on the Canary Island of Tenerife. The Africans, 15 of whom appeared to be minors, were reported to be in good health. Full Story
Rome to play 'active role' to woo Air France back to Alitalia talksPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 3:23pmThe Italian government pledged Thursday to take an "active role" in trying to convince Air France-KLM to reopen takeover talks with unions at the country's failing carrier Alitalia. "We are working to make it possible to reach a preliminary accord next week," government under-secretary Enrico Letta told a news conference after a meeting with the unions. France denies killing Hariri probe witnessPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 3:27pmFrance on Thursday denied accusations that French agents murdered a Syrian former intelligence officer who is a key witness in the inquiry into Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri's assassination. Full Story
France assures safe release of crewmen in Somalia hostagePosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 3:29pmFrench Ambassador to the country Gerard Chesnel said Thursday that he was very confident of the resolution of the April 4 hijack of a French-registered cruise ship which included six Filipinos among its crew. In a chance interview, Chesnel said that the French authorities were directly negotiating with the hijackers, since there was no effective government in Somalia. Full Story
Berlusconi seeks third term in Italian electionPosted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 3:46pmBillionaire Silvio Berlusconi is hoping for a decisive victory over centre-left rival Walter Veltroni in Italy's parliamentary election to boost the next government's chances of tackling a social and economic malaise. Berlusconi has consistently led opinion polls by about 5 to 9 percentage points but up to a third of the 47 million eligible voters are expected to make their choice at the last minute before they vote on Sunday and Monday. Full Story

Nepal police fire on protesters, killing at least onePosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 8:06amPolice opened fire on rampaging protesters in western Nepal on Wednesday, killing at least one of them a day ahead of a landmark election to chart the country's political future, officials said. Full Story
Two-party system takes shape in MalaysiaPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 8:09amFollowing its big gains in the March 8 polls, Malaysia's once disparate opposition, led by the charismatic former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, has forged a formal coalition capable of taking on the ruling 14-party National Front (NF) coalition. Full Story
Pakistan: New Government Announces Major Reforms In Tribal AreasPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 8:15amPakistan's new coalition government has announced plans to abolish the century-old Frontier Crimes Regulations in the troubled tribal areas along the Afghan border as one of its major reform initiatives. The century-old legal regime has long been seen as violating basic human rights while secluding these underdeveloped regions from modernity and progress. Full Story
Philippines Police Seize Bomb MaterialsPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 8:17amPolice seized hundreds of components for making bombs in a raid on a suspected terrorist hide-out in the northern Philippines, officials said Wednesday. The target of Tuesday's raid in Laguna province's Alaminos town was Khalid Pagayao, a Filipino allegedly tied to the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network and a plot to bomb Western embassies in the Philippines. Full Story
Six abducted by Al-Qaeda-linked group in PhilippinesPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 8:25amPhilippine police have mounted a search for six people abducted by Al-Qaeda-linked Muslim militants from a minibus in the south of the country, police said Wednesday. The six, all local Muslim residents, were passengers on the bus in Maimbung town on the island of Jolo when the militants seized them on Monday, said provincial police chief, Superintendent Julasirim Kasim. Full Story
Iran tests advanced, 'efficient' centrifugesPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 8:50amPresident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran has tested new advanced centrifuges, a breakthrough in a uranium enrichment program that the U.N. has demanded the country halt. The hard-line president says a "new machine was put to test" that is smaller but five times more efficient than the P-1 centrifuges already in use. Full Story
Iraq's Sadr threatens to scrap ceasefirePosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 8:52amShi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threatened on Tuesday to end a truce he imposed on his militia last year, raising the prospect of worsening violence on a day when top U.S. officials testified on Iraq in Washington. Full Story
Security Council yet to agree on Lebanon statementPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 8:54amThe UN Security Council has reportedly not yet agreed on a statement on Lebanon, the Saudi daily Okaz reported Tuesday. Citing Western diplomatic sources in Beirut, Okaz said the Security Council was due to discuss on Tuesday a draft statement on Lebanon that would pave the way for the a resolution of the country's ongoing political crisis in line with Resolution 1559. Full Story
Trouble brews in KirkukPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 8:57amThe question of who will control Iraq's disputed oil province of Kirkuk is looming large as a UN-brokered deadline for a vote on its future approaches amid continuing ethnic and political tensions. It is five years since US-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein, who had tried to remake the area by driving out its Kurdish residents and bringing in Arabs, and the debate still rages as each side claims the territory belongs to them. Full Story
Dominant Russian party to nominate Putin as leaderPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:14amThe leader of Russia's lower house of Parliament says the dominant United Russia political party will nominate Vladimir Putin as its leader, a role that would further bolster Putin's influence after he steps down from the presidency next month. Putin has said he will become prime minister after his successor, Dmitri Medvedev, is sworn in on May 7, but leadership of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party would effectively give him control of Parliament, where the party has a large majority. Full Story
Kosovo's actions hearten a Hungarian enclavePosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:16amDozens of wreaths trailing ribbons in red, white and green, the colors of the Hungarian flag, covered the base of a memorial to the 1848 revolution in the town park here on a recent day. Deep in the heart of Romania, just one lonely garland bears the country's own blue, yellow and red banner. New Year's is celebrated twice here, first at the stroke of midnight and then an hour later, when it is midnight in Budapest. When Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February, hundreds of the town's Hungarians took to the main square to demonstrate in favor of Kosovo, and by extension their own aspirations for autonomy. Full Story
Turkeys ruling party expels maverick ex-MPPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:20amThe disciplinary board of Turkeys ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has expelled a former parliamentary deputy with a reputation for criticizing senior ministers. Late on Tuesday, the AKPs disciplinary board announced it had expelled Turhan Comez, who had represented the party in the parliament for the western province of Balikesir until the July 22 general election. Comez did not stand in the last general election. Full Story
Turkey needs more reforms to meet EU target, says Foreign MinisterPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:24amTurkey will have to make further amendments to its constitution and laws to reinforce previous reforms intended to bring the countrys legislation into line with that of the European Union, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Tuesday. Full Story
Not even a day of respect for RomaPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:28amThe whole Sulukule Roma neighborhood looked like a battlefield with all the wrecks, people trying to find shelter by building tents amid the cries of children, whereas they were supposed to celebrate the international Roma day. People were devastated both physically and spiritually. In place of festivities celebrating Roma culture, the 18th annual “International Roma Day" was marked in the world's oldest Roma settlement in Istanbul yesterday amid despair and demolition. Full Story
PM pledges to uphold democracy in face of closure casePosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:35amPrime Minister Tayyip Erdo─čan said on Tuesday his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) would defend democracy as fiercely as it had up to this point, despite a closure case facing the party. "The process that we are involved in will not in the slightest lessen our fervor for serving the country or dampen our struggle for democracy," he told an AK Party parliamentary group meeting yesterday. Full Story
New Armenian leader promises to work with opponentsPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:38amArmenian President Serzh Sarksyan promised at his inauguration on Wednesday to heal rifts with his opponents, one month after clashes between police and protesters killed eight people.After the inauguration Sarksyan, as expected, appointed central bank chief Tigran Sarksyan to be his replacement as prime minister. The two men are not related. With his right hand lying on the Armenian constitution and an ancient religious text, Serzh Sarksyan was sworn in as president at Yerevan's opera house in front of an audience of hundreds including parliamentarians and foreign guests. Full Story
Group was plotting to kill Serb prosecutor-officialPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:41amSerbian police are investigating an alleged assassination plot targeting war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic, who has angered nationalists by pursuing suspects from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. The plan involved Bosnian Serb former security officers, and was uncovered through the testimony of a man that the plotters tried to recruit, the prosecutor's spokesman Bruno Vekaric told Reuters on Wednesday. "We believe the reason for this assassination plot is that Vukcevic is active in chasing war crime fugitives indicted by The Hague," Vekaric said. Full Story
Uzbekistan: Shadowy Group Agitates For 'Free Karakalpakstan'Posted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:45amThey call their group the "Free Karakalpakstan National Revival Party." And they accuse Uzbekistan of genocide against "Karakalpaks as an ethnicity." Supporters of the group have been vocal on Internet chat boards. One person identifying himself as Yernazar Konyratov wrote on March 5 that "devastation, chaos, poverty, [and] environmental disaster" have gripped Karakalpakstan. He went on to call for a referendum on the autonomous republic's independence from Tashkent. Full Story
Tajikistan: National Bank Admits Lying To IMF To Secure LoansPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:48amThe new chief of the National Bank of Tajikistan has admitted that the bank intentionally gave incorrect information to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to secure essential loans worth nearly $48 million. "We have to support the agricultural sector somehow, and this was one of the ways to support it," said Sharif Rahimzoda. "As of today, the Tajik National Bank will no longer engage in such [dishonest] activities." Rahimzoda replaced Murodali Alimardon in January. Alimardon had been in charge of the bank for 13 years and headed it when the false information was given to the IMF. Tajikistan is in the process of repaying the loans in question. Many in Tajikistan believe that international lending organizations like the IMF will now be reluctant to give money to Tajikistan, one of the world's poorest countries. Full Story
Russia, Poland in deadlock over missile shieldPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:58amRussia and Poland have failed again to reach an agreement over the proposed U.S. missile shield in Central Europe, Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak and his Polish counterpart, Witold Waszczykowski, met on Tuesday in Moscow to discuss U.S. plans to deploy elements of its missile defense system in Poland. "The new round of [Russian-Polish] consultations confirmed the presence of serious differences in the approach to the proposed U.S. interceptor missile base in Poland," the ministry said in a statement. Full Story
New Irish governing party leaderPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 11:45amBrian Cowen has been formally elected leader of the Irish Republic's ruling party, replacing Bertie Ahern. However, the 48-year-old will not succeed Mr Ahern as taoiseach (prime minister) for another four weeks. Full Story
France vows to trace BetancourtPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 11:59amFrench Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has vowed France will not abandon its efforts to free Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt. He spoke a day after the breakdown of a humanitarian mission sent by France to help the missing 46-year-old, who has Colombian and French nationality. Full Story
Denmark 'most networked economy'Posted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 12:01pmDenmark has topped the table of most networked economies from the World Economic Forum (WEF). It was followed for the second year running by Sweden, with Switzerland going up two places into third. Full Story
Preacher Abu Qatada wins appealPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 12:48pmIslamic preacher Abu Qatada has won an appeal against deportation from the UK which could lead to him being freed. Qatada - in prison pending deportation to Jordan - has been dubbed "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe". Full Story
Shoukri admits being UDA memberPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 12:50pmNorth Belfast loyalist Ihab Shoukri has pleaded guilty to being a member of the UDA at Belfast Crown Court. Shoukri and five other men were arrested at a bar in March 2006. The court was told they were involved in a rehearsal for a UDA show of strength. Full Story
IMF slashes world growth forecastPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 12:51pmThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that the world economy will grow much more slowly in the next two years as a result of the credit crunch. In its latest economic forecast, the IMF says that world economic growth will slow to 3.7% in 2008 and 2009, 1.25% lower than growth in 2007. Full Story
Top Al Qaeda Leader Abu Ubaida al-Masri Confirmed Dead in PakistanPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 1:32pmAbu Ubaida al-Masri, one of Al Qaeda's top operatives and the mastermind behind a plot to use liquid explosives to blow British passenger jets out of the sky, is dead, a U.S. official confirmed to FOX News Wednesday. The unidentified official said it is believed that al-Masri died of natural causes, possibly hepatitis, in Pakistan, and are staying away from a report that he was killed in a January CIA predator strike. Full Story
Kosovo assembly approves constitutionPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 1:43pmKosovo's lawmakers unanimously adopted a constitution Wednesday and pledged to build a state with broad provisions for Serb and other minorities. The protection of minorities is a key issue because many of Kosovo's Serbs fear they will not be safe in newly independent Kosovo, which is 90 percent ethnic Albanian. Full Story
London shares close lowerPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 1:54pmUK blue chips closed lower after a cautious session ahead of the Bank of England's rate decision on Thursday, following a weaker start to Wall Street, with HBOS among the main faller after a broker downgrade. At the close, the FTSE 100 was 6.3 points down to 5,983.9, off the session low of 5,947.2, with the FTSE 250 index down 36.9 points to 10,071.8. Full Story
Spanish leader promises to spur the economyPosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 3:20pmPrime Minister Josi Luis Rodrmguez Zapatero promised a raft of measures to stimulate Spain's ailing economy on Tuesday and challenged the conservative opposition to support the Socialist government in fighting Basque terrorism. In a 90-minute speech to Parliament that was a curtain raiser to Zapatero's second term in office, the prime minister, who was re-elected in March, said that economic growth and employment rates would be lower than during his first term but insisted that Spain faced the downturn "in very good condition." Full Story

'Major terror figure behind jet bomb plot'Posted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 7:58amAn al Qaeda-inspired Muslim flew to London from South Africa to head up a plot to blow up at least seven trans-Atlantic airliners with suicide strikes, a prosecutor told a British court Monday. Mohammed Gulzar, 26, arrived in Britain in July 2006 as the final pieces of the deadly plan were being put together, prosecutor Peter Wright said as he continued his opening statement in the trial. Full Story
RPT-No word on Hekmatyar link to Afghan attackPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 8:06amAfghanistan's government has no information on whether a wanted guerrilla leader was in a village hit by a U.S.-led air strike in the east of the country this week, a spokesman said on Tuesday. Full Story
Spain smashes 'Russian sex ring'Posted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 8:10amSpanish police say they have smashed a major Russian prostitution ring, arresting 76 people and detaining 400 women suspected of illegal residence. The gangs were based in Lerida and Gerona in the north-east of the country and Almeria and Granada in the south, police said. Full Story
9 sentenced in Philippine coup attemptPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 8:16amA Philippine court on Tuesday sentenced nine military officers to prison terms of up to 40 years for participating in a 2003 coup attempt against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Full Story
Vietnam expels three foreign activistsPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 8:22amThree ethnic Vietnamese political activists, all foreign citizens, were expelled from Vietnam over the weekend after they tried to visit a Vietnamese-American activist who has been imprisoned since November, local press reported Tuesday. Full Story
U.S., N.Korea begin new nuclear talks but firm deal unlikely in SingaporePosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 8:23amThe United States and North Korea opened a new round of talks Tuesday to resolve a deadlock over the communist nation's nuclear programs, amid warnings by Washington that time was running out. Full Story
PPP supporters assault PML-Q leader in Pakistan's Sindh provincePosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 8:24amPML-Q leader and former Sindh Chief Minister of Sindh Arbab Ghulam Rahim was hit on the face with a shoe by a PPP supporter when he came to the provincial assembly to take oath. Full Story
IOC raises prospect of scrapping global torch relayPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 8:33amOlympic chiefs on Tuesday raised the prospect for the first time of abandoning the international legs of the Beijing Games torch relay, amid a wave of protests targeting the flame overseas. Full Story
Maoists kill eight in eastern India: policePosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 8:40amSuspected Maoist rebels ambushed and set ablaze a civilian vehicle on Tuesday in eastern India, killing all eight people on board, police said. The attack took place in a forested area of Gumla district, 170 kilometres (105 miles) from Jharkhand state capital Ranchi, said police spokesman Raj Kumar Mallik. Full Story
NI should bid for more EU fundingPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 8:57amThe European Commission is pressing Northern Ireland to tap into unexploited EU grants. Officials working on a NI Task Force, set up by Brussels nearly a year ago, say in a new report that there is plenty of funding for poorer regions. Full Story
Brown seeks to calm economy fearsPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 8:59amGordon Brown has said the UK is well placed to deal with global economic crises, after figures showed a sharp decline in house prices. The prime minister said a 2.5% fall in March, recorded by the Halifax, should be seen in the context of 10 years of big increases and low interest rates. Full Story
Youths held after gang dawn raidsPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 9:00amPolice in East Ayrshire have arrested 17 youths in a series of dawn raids aimed at tackling gang violence. The youngsters - who were aged between 16 and 18 - were arrested in Auchinleck and Drongan. Full Story
IRA will not police areas: AdamsPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 9:52amSinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has said the IRA will not return to "dealing with criminality" in nationalist areas of Northern Ireland. Mr Adams was speaking to party members ahead of a meeting with Security Minister Paul Goggins. Full Story
Gas leak kills 2 at nuclear plantPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 10:17amA gas leak killed two workers at a nuclear plant undergoing annual maintenance Tuesday, Pakistani officials said. The Khushab heavy water plant was shut down for maintenance when the gas leaked, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission said. Full Story
Home-grown terrorism rising in EU, Europol saysPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 10:41amThe number of arrests connected to terrorism doubled in the European Union in 2007, while the overwhelming majority of attacks carried out in its territory were linked to separatism, the EU's police office, Europol, said in a report released on Monday (7 April). Last year, EU member states reported to Europol a total number of 583 attacks and 1044 arrested suspects - something that amounts to a 24 percent and a 48 percent increase respectively compared to 2006. Full Story
EU To Takeover Kosovo 'By June 15'Posted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 10:43amThe European Union will takeover the administration of Kosovo when Pristinas new Constitution comes into force on June 15. This is according to the EU Special Representative of the International Civilian Office, ICO, Pieter Feith. Full Story
Return of jihadists: Europe's fears subsidePosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 10:57amAfter the Paris police smashed a cell suspected of sending insurgents to Iraq early in 2005, the French authorities predicted a new and dangerous threat: would-be fighters lured to the Iraqi battlefields who would return to use their newfound battlefield skills in terrorist acts inside France. Dominique de Villepin, as interior minister, singled out the cell in a speech two months later as proof of a risk that Iraqi-trained jihadists would "come back to France, armed with their experience, to carry out attacks." Full Story
Eurotunnel reports first annual profitPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 10:59amEnglish Channel tunnel operator Groupe Eurotunnel SA on Tuesday reported profits of $1.57 million for 2007, its first annual net profit, less than a year after the company nearly drowned in debt. Since the first train ran under the sea in 1994, Eurotunnel has been plagued by financial problems. Full Story
Man is cleared of UDA membershipPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 11:07amOne of six men accused of helping to organise a UDA "show of strength" has been cleared of membership of the terror group. George McHenry, 40, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of supporting the terrorists. Full Story
Russia demands permanent access to shield sitesPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 11:19amRussia is demanding that the United States give the Russian military permanent access to its planned missile shield sites in eastern Europe, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Tuesday. "For us it is important that we should see second-by-second where that radar is looking, and what is happening at the interceptor (missile) base in the Czech Republic," Ekho Moskvy radio station quoted Lavrov as saying in an interview. Full Story
Omagh 'carnage was horrendous'Posted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 12:34pmA police officer giving evidence to the Omagh bombing civil action has said it made the aftermath of another NI atrocity "pale into insignificance". Sergeant Wesley McCracken described seeing bodies without limbs, some without clothes strewn across a tremendous flood of water. Full Story
IMF says credit crisis threatens economic growthPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 1:11pmThe International Monetary Fund on Tuesday said the global credit crisis, despite some recent improvement, remains a significant threat to economic growth. Despite "unprecedented intervention" by central banks such as the Federal Reserve, "financial markets remain under considerable strain, now compounded" by a slowing economy, low levels of capital at financial companies and widespread efforts to unload debt, the fund said. Full Story
EU warns Bulgaria after killingsPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 1:16pmThe EU has called on Bulgaria to take "urgent action" to fight organised crime after two prominent figures were shot dead in 24 hours. The European Commission said the killings in the capital, Sofia, were not just another statistic. Full Story
Iraqis fly into UK for new lifePosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 1:24pmThree Iraqis who worked for the British government have arrived in the UK with their families to begin a new life. They came on the first of a series of flights leaving Iraq which could see up to 2,000 Iraqis resettle in the UK under a #25m government programme. Full Story
High court declares new immigration rules unlawfulPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 1:27pmThe government suffered a blow today when new, tougher immigration rules for skilled workers who want to remain in the UK were declared unlawful by the high court. The decision torpedoes controversial changes that would have forced skilled migrants who had already qualified to remain in the UK to reapply under stricter criteria. Full Story
Brown denies avoiding China rowPosted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 3:40pmGordon Brown has rejected suggestions he avoided a human rights row with China because Britain could not afford to jeopardise economic relations. "It's nothing to do with that - in a human rights dialogue with China we make our views perfectly clear," the prime minister told the BBC. Full Story
Suspect 'planned bombs in diary'Posted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 3:46pmThe suspected leader of an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic planes mid-air kept notes of his plans in his pocket diary, a court has heard. Detectives told Woolwich Crown Court they found suspicious notes and diagrams in Abdulla Ahmed Ali's diary, and lists of flights on a memory stick. Full Story

Courtesy Terrorism Research Center, Inc.

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