Monday, May 26, 2008

CONFLICT & TERROR 5/26 Memorial Day USA

Cameron hails 'end of New Labour'

Conservative leader David Cameron says his party's first by-election win since 1982 marks "the end of New Labour". Mr Cameron told cheering supporters in Crewe and Nantwich that Labour had run a negative, xenophobic and class war campaign that "completely backfired". Full Story

British police say restaurant blast suspect Islamic convert

A bombing suspect arrested after a blast in the southwest English city of Exeter on Thursday is a vulnerable Islamic convert with mental illness who was taken advantage of and radicalized, police said. Police evacuated a large part of Exeter city center after a small explosion at the Giraffe restaurant around lunchtime. Police said a man  identified as 22-year-old Nicky Reilly  was seen entering the restaurant's bathroom shortly before the blast. Full Story

Lufthansa strikes cause havoc at German airports

German pilots stopped work briefly at three Lufthansa subsidiaries early on Wednesday, causing cancellations and delays at most of the country's major airports in support of demands for higher pay. Eurowings, Germanwings and Lufthansa-CityLine were hit by the token strikes with 46 flights cancelled by the time the strikes ended at 8am. Full Story

Hungarian police prepare for Euro2008

Hungary's police force has started preparing for the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship taking place in Austria and Switzerland in June, a senior police official said on Thursday. Full Story

Stone 'bomb to go off in minutes

A security guard has told the Michael Stone trial that when he asked him was there a bomb, he replied it would "go off in two minutes". Mark Smith, one of three guards who restrained and disarmed Stone, told the court he was injured when he removed a knife from the defendant's pocket. Full Story

Muslim convert quizzed after blast in Exeter

Police on Friday questioned a "radicalised" convert to Islam after a bomb explosion in the centre of Exeter, as locals revealed more details about him. One neighbour said the man, 22-year-old Nicky Reilly, had been "brainwashed" and took on a Muslim name, adding that he had an image of the burning Twin Towers on his computer screen saver. Full Story

Warning over rising fish prices

The price of fish landed in the UK could rise by an average of 23% in the next 12 to 18 months because of rising fuel prices, a government agency warns. Seafish says the cost of some types of fish could go up by as much as 50%. Full Story

Quebec issues report on ethnic tensions in the French-speaking province

Quebec's premier objected to a proposal to remove a crucifix from the provincial legislature as part of an effort to be more accomodating to minorities, arguing that the Christian icon is part of the province's history. Premier Jean Charest on Thursday rejected the proposal, one of 37 recommendations from a commission that he had formed to look into ethnic tensions in the French-speaking Canadian province. Full Story

Brown, Dalai Lama hold 'warm, constructive' talks

Prime Minister Gordon Brown held "very warm and constructive" talks with the Dalai Lama Friday, his office said, pledging Britain's full support towards a rapprochement between Tibet and China. The 25-minute meeting -- held at the Archbishop of Canterbury's official residence on the south bank of the River Thames in London -- was the most contentious part of an 11-day visit by the Tibetan spiritual leader. Full Story

British eatery bombing suspect has home searched

British police and intelligence officials searched a house in southwest England on Friday to try to determine what drove a young Muslim convert with a history of mental illness to walk into a busy restaurant with two bombs. Armed officers raided the home of 22-year-old Nicky Reilly in Plymouth late Thursday. Police said Friday that the search was continuing. Full Story

Blair jet faced Israeli warplanes

Israeli fighter aircraft were scrambled to intercept a jet carrying former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair after its crew failed to identify themselves. Aircrew used the radio to explain who they were after the two warplanes adopted an attack position, prompting them to peel off and return to base. Full Story

Brown faces leadership concerns

Gordon Brown has said he can steer Britain through "difficult" economic times - amid signs of growing backbench disquiet over his leadership. Mr Brown reacted to Thursday's crushing by-election defeat in Crewe and Nantwich by stressing his economic record and pledging to listen. Full Story

Assault at gas pumps related to attacks on Nigerian pipelines

Violence in oil-rich southern Nigeria is having a ripple effect thousands of miles away -- at gas stations in the United States. One reason for record high gas prices, analysts say, is a spate of attacks on oil pipelines in Nigeria, the fourth largest supplier of oil to the United States. Full Story

Rubbish demonstrators clash with police in Naples

Italian police clashed Friday with demonstrators opposed to the opening of a new rubbish dump proposed by the government to ease the Naples garbage crisis. Demonstrators tried to set fire to a bus and hurled rocks at police who staged a baton charge and fired tear gas in a bid to end the protests. Full Story

Xenophobic party leader emerges as Italy's kingmaker

Umberto Bossi, who once suggested shooting at boats carrying immigrants, is a key force in the right's return to power. Measures against foreigners and violence toward Gypsies have followed. Full Story

Pakistan party leader shot dead in southern city

Tariq Khan, a leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was shot dead in southern port city of Karachi, local TV channel reported Friday evening. Tariq Khan, vice president of PML-N in southern Sindh province, was shot near Tariq road in Karachi and died after being shifted to a hospital, private Dawn TV said. Full Story

Taiwan's new president calls for reopening of dialogue with China

Taiwan's new President Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang (KMT) party Saturday renewed his call on Beijing to set aside sovereignty disputes and reopen negotiations with the island. Full Story

Hezbollah image in Arab world less shiny

Hezbollah's offensive against mostly Sunni Muslim political rivals in Lebanon has sullied its image in the Arab world as an armed force engaged in a righteous struggle against Israel. But interviews with analysts and Arab news media accounts suggest that the Shiite Muslim group still came out ahead. Full Story

China raises quake death toll to 60,560

China's government says the confirmed death toll from this month's massive earthquake has risen to 60,560. A spokesman for the State Council, the Cabinet, told reporters Saturday that aside from the dead, 26,221 people are missing following the May 12th quake that struck central China. Full Story

Israeli attacks kill 5 Palestinian militants in Gaza

Israeli troops killed five Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Friday, in violence that complicated efforts to bring a brief truce to the violence-wracked area. Israeli aircraft fired missiles at three Hamas militants on motorcycles, killing all three, Gaza health officials said. The Israeli military said the men were carrying antitank missiles. Full Story

Homicides up sharply in Mexico

Homicides related to organized crime have jumped 47% in Mexico this year, the country's attorney general said Friday in a rare confirmation of how bad the violence has become. Police later made two gruesome discoveries in northern Mexico. Five bodies, two of them decapitated, were found wrapped in blankets in a city on the border with Texas, along with two heads in sacks. Full Story

Egypt police shoot Sudanese migrant at Israel border

Egyptian police shot and wounded a Sudanese man who tried to cross its border illegally into Israel from the Sinai peninsula on Saturday, medical and security sources said. A security official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters the 29-year-old Sudanese Ahmed Khater Mohamed was shot in his thigh by an Egyptian patrol after he ignored orders to stop. Full Story

Militants kill 'US spy' in Pakistan tribal area: official

Pro-Taliban militants in a lawless Pakistani tribal district killed an Afghan after accusing him of spying for the US forces in neighboring Afghanistan, an official said Saturday. The body of Akhtar Nawaz, 40, was dumped in the main bazaar of a border town in North Waziristan district, a known hub of Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, the official said. Full Story

Serbia withdraws ambassador from Czech Republic

Serbia has withdrawn its ambassador from the Czech Republic after Prague's recognition of independent Kosovo. Serbian ambassador to Prague Vladimir Veres delivered a protest note to the Czech government ahead of his planned departure Sunday, the Czech foreign ministry said Friday. Full Story

UN committed to helping Somalia draw up new constitution

After a call from the Somali Prime Minister for help in drawing up a new constitution, a United Nations official today said the world body is committed to providing assistance for the process. Full Story

Sacked judges to be restored: Zardari

Pakistan's political roller coaster continues. Asif Ali Zardari, leader of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), has declared finally that the judges sacked after President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency last year would be reinstated. Full Story

Violence in Iraq falls to lowest level in 4 years

Violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level in more than four years, figures released by the U.S. military showed on Saturday, but officials said progress was still fragile and reversible. Full Story

Colombia says rebel leader may be dead

The legendary leader of Latin America's largest guerrilla army may be dead, Colombia's defense minister said in an interview published Saturday. Full Story

Russia and China join to condemn U.S. missile shield

President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia and President Hu Jintao of China met Friday to conclude a deal on nuclear cooperation and together condemn U.S. proposals for a missile shield in Europe. Both countries called the U.S. plan a setback to international trust that was likely to upset the balance of power. Full Story

Arabs keen on boosting ties with Africa

The Arab League (AL) on Saturday expressed its willingness to boost relations with the African Union (AU) and the African people, the official Egyptian MENA news agency reported. Full Story

Lebanon MPs to vote in president

The parliament in Lebanon is expected to elect a new president and end a deadlock which has left the country without a head of state since November. Full Story

North Africa, Southern Europe join hands to tackle terrorism

In light of mounted terrorism risks in North Africa and Southern Europe, interior ministers from western Mediterranean countries have agreed to step up the fight against terrorism and establish a central body to investigate drug trafficking. Ten interior ministers from Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Malta and France, took part in the 13th Conference of Interior Ministers of Western Mediterranean Countries on May 21-22 in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott. Full Story

Toll rises to 37 in Indian caste rioting

Authorities invited leaders of one of India's lowest castes for talks as the death toll rose to 37 Sunday from three days of bloody demonstrations over caste classification. Police repeatedly opened fire on violent protests by the Gujjar community on Friday and Saturday in half a dozen villages and towns in western Rajasthan state. Full Story

Ex-army chief says Israel can 'manage' without Golan

A former army chief said on Sunday that Israel can manage without the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau Syria wants returned as the two countries relaunch indirect peace talks. "We can manage without (the Golan) as we did in the past," Dan Halutz said on military radio. "In exchange for a real peace we must be ready to pay a real price -- if not it's all a waste to time." Full Story

Hamas and Hizbullah Recruiting in Increasingly Islamist Turkey

Turkey, a vacation destination for many Israelis and the home newly launched talks with Syria, is experiencing an upsurge in Islamist programs targeting Israel for destruction. According to Turkish web site, radical Turkish Islamists have been organizing nightly programs in cities across Turkey under the slogan, A free Al-Quds [the Muslim term for Jerusalem], A world without Israel. Full Story

Europe, and especially Germany, are banking on coal

Much of Europe may be moving toward renewable energy, but here in the Rhine Valley, where coal has always been king, this little town has become more roadkill on the fossil fuels autobahn. Three power plants fueled by lignite coal, the granddaddy of the greenhouse gas emitters, belch more than 64 million tons of carbon dioxide a year into the atmosphere, the highest concentration in Europe. Full Story

ANALYSIS: Iraq PM rides high on successes

After two years in office, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has managed only in the past two months to stamp a semblance of authority in this unwieldy nation with bold crackdowns on Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents in Baghdad, Basra and the north. The progress has brought the Shiite prime minister's political rehabilitation, quieting critics at home who have long seen him as ineffective, indifferent to corruption or biased toward Shiite interests. Full Story

24 extremists sentenced to death in Algeria on terrorism charges

Twenty-four extremists were sentenced to death in Algeria on Saturday on charges of terrorism and other crimes, local media reported.The extremists had also been convicted of illegal possession of weapons, use of explosives as well as involvement in kidnapping, the Algerian Press Service reported. Full Story

Nepal PM urges Maoist chief to form govt

Nepal's Maoists said yesterday the country's prime minister has asked their leader Prachanda to form the next government. The former rebels emerged as the surprise winners in landmark polls last month, garnering more than twice as many seats in a new constitution-drafting assembly as their nearest rivals. Full Story

Pakistan ceasefire doesn't mean respite in Afghanistan, Taliban warns

The ceasefire between some Taliban fighters in Pakistan and the country's government won't bring peace to nearby Afghanistan, a Taliban leader said Saturday. Baitullah Mehsud, a Taliban leader in Pakistan, said he wants to end the fighting with Pakistani government forces but will continue to battle Western troops in Afghanistan, where about 2,500 Canadian soldiers are part of the NATO force. Full Story

US ambassador: al-Qaida close to defeat in Iraq

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq said Saturday that al-Qaida's network in the country has never been closer to defeat, and he praised Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for his moves to rein in Shiite and Sunni militant groups. Ryan Crocker's comments came as Iraqi forces have been conducting crackdowns on al-Qaida militants in the northern city of Mosul and on Shiite militiamen in the southern city of Basra. Full Story

Lebanon army chief is elected president

General Michel Suleiman was sworn in as president Sunday after Parliament elected him in a long-delayed vote following an 18-month political stalemate that brought Lebanon to the brink of another civil war. Full Story

U.S. lifts Indonesia travel warning

The United States lifted a travel warning placed on Indonesia following a string of deadly terrorist attacks, saying the security situation in the world's most populous Muslim nation had improved. Full Story

Bemba arrest removes rival to Congo president

The arrest for war crimes of Congo's exiled former Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba ends his career as a political challenger to President Joseph Kabila but leaves the risk of a possible backlash from Bemba's followers. Full Story

Eritrea and Djibouti square off over wasteland at the Horn of Africa

The distance between the rival armies is shorter than the barrel of a gun. Hundreds of opposing troops are lined up on the border, staring each other down, from just inches away. Full Story

Angry France diverts Myanmar aid to Thailand

The French navy has given up the idea of trying to deliver humanitarian aid directly to Myanmar and will instead divert its cargo to neighbouring Thailand, the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday. Full Story

Nigeria ruling party wins two re-run elections

Nigeria's ruling party has retained the governorships of the oil-producing state of Bayelsa and of northern Sokoto in re-runs of elections last year that were condemned as not credible, officials said on Sunday. Full Story

Colombian rebels say leader dies of heart attack

Manuel "Sureshot" Marulanda, a peasant's son who built Latin America's mightiest guerrilla army but failed in a half century of struggle to trigger a communist revolution in Colombia, is dead. He was believed to be 78. Full Story

US warns Mexico on aid terms

A top member of staff at the US Senate has said that a multi-million-dollar package to help Mexico fight drugs would be agreed by mid-June, but warned that the final version would contain strong conditions on human rights. Full Story

Iraq holy city tells US it wants alms, not armsPosted on Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 5:34pmIraq's holiest Shiite city of Najaf had a blunt message for visiting US Ambassador Ryan Crocker -- your arms are not welcome here, but your alms certainly are. Full Story

Taliban commander shuns Bhutto probe

A Taliban commander in Pakistan said he would not cooperate with a U.N. investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Full Story

Israelis Prefer Military Action Against Hamas

Many people in Israel want their military forces to continue to fight Hamas instead of seeking a truce, according to a poll by Maagar Mochot released by Israel Radio. Full Story

Egypt plans to extend emergency law

The Egyptian government plans a one-year extension to an emergency law that grants police sweeping powers of arrest, an official said on Sunday. Full Story

Malta misses crucial terrorism meeting as threat seen increasing

In the wake of a US State Department report citing concern over Maltas potential as a staging post for terrorists entering Europe and another warning from Maltas security service, Malta missed a crucial meeting this week between southern European and north African security ministers on the subject of trans-national terrorism risks threatening both regions. Full Story

Russians, militants clash in Caucasus

Trouble flared in the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia Saturday when Russian troops and militant separatists engaged in a shootout, state media reported. Full Story

The Return of Iraq's Ayatollah

High-profile visits by political figures are relatively rare in Najaf, the quiet holy city in southern Iraq where Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani lives. Sistani, the most venerated Shi'ite religious leader in the country, shuns the limelight. Full Story

Iran 'paid Iraq insurgents to kill UK soldiers'

The allegations are contained in a confidential "field report" written by a British officer who served in Basra during one of the most dangerous periods of the conflict. The report, which has never been made public, shows the full level of Iran's involvement in the insurgency for the first time. Full Story

Kenya hit by nationwide power outage, sparking panic

A nationwide power outage hit Kenya on Sunday as a result of a transmission fault from its hydro-electric plants, officials said, sparking panic in the east African nation. Full Story

Swelling China lakes a danger 2 weeks after quake

China planned to dynamite rock, mud and rubble forming a dangerously large "quake lake" on Monday, hoping to avert a new disaster two weeks after a catastrophic tremor struck Sichuan province. Full Story

Hindu nationalists claim victory in key Indian state polls

India's opposition Hindu nationalists claimed victory Sunday in provincial polls in southern Karnataka state, dealing a huge blow to the ruling Congress party ahead of next year's national polls. Full Story

Fire erupts at Burma embassy in Bangkok

A fire broke out in the main building of the Burma embassy in the Thai capital Monday. Full Story

Transport grinds to a halt as strikes hit France

Strikes are hobbling train services around France during a day of protests against a pension plan reform that the government says is needed to fill empty coffers. The transport strikes come amid protests by fishermen over rising fuel prices. The state-run train authority estimates one in two trains for the day. However, international lines like the Eurostar to London were expected to run normally. Full Story

French workers in national strike

Workers from France's five largest unions have begun strike action against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to reform public-sector pensions. Bus, train and air transport were disrupted across the country, though workers stuck to a commitment to offer a minimum service. Full Story

Fans call for homecoming parade

Manchester United fans are calling for a homecoming victory parade after the club's win against Chelsea in the Champions League final. Police said last week that any parade would be postponed until the summer, a position they are maintaining, citing a "serious risk to public safety". Full Story

Woodward in new weapons appeal

All paramilitaries must get rid of their weapons, Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward has again said. He said they should do so sooner rather than later, as the legal mechanism for doing so will not last indefinitely. Full Story

Bombs left in baby-changing room

Two fire bombs have been found in a baby-changing room in a fast food outlet, police have said. The incendiary devices - one of which had partially exploded - were found in a McDonald's restaurant in Cookstown, County Tyrone. Full Story

NATO soldier, 2 civilians die in Afghan protest

Officials say a NATO soldier and two Afghan civilians have been killed in a protest over the shooting of the Quran by a U.S. sniper in Iraq. NATO spokesman Maj. Martin O'Donnell says the alliance soldier was hit by gunfire, and it is not clear who had fired. Full Story

Global monitor finds no radioactive leaks in quake zone

A global network of sensors has found no evidence that China's complex of nuclear facilities in the earthquake zone let any radioactivity escape, its operator reported Wednesday. The finding supports reassurances by China and the United States that the giant earthquake of May 12 resulted in no large nuclear releases, even though the stricken zone in Sichuan Province shelters China's main centers for designing, making and storing nuclear arms. Full Story

NATO to keep rotating command in Afghan south

NATO will continue to rotate command of its troops in the violent South of Afghanistan despite U.S. generals' concerns that the arrangement disrupts operations, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. To minimize problems caused by the changeovers, each nation with major troop contingents in the South will take command for one year rather than the current nine months, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters. Full Story

UN chief Ban meets Myanmar prime minister

UN chief Ban Ki-moon met Thursday with Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein, in a high-profile diplomatic push to press the military government to accept a full-scale relief operation for cyclone survivors. Shortly after Ban's arrival, the two men met for about 20 minutes at the Sedona Hotel in Myanmar's main city of Yangon. Full Story

Bangladesh reports first human case of bird flu

Bangladesh reported its first confirmed case of human bird flu on Thursday, but said the 16-month-old victim had now recovered from the virus. The baby boy from a Dhaka slum was diagnosed with the H5N1 strain of the disease in January, but this was only confirmed by a US laboratory this week, the government said. Full Story

Malaysian PM taking proactive steps to strengthen UMNO

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi appears to be taking proactive steps to strengthen the ruling party, UMNO. One day after UMNO's highest decision-making body unanimously voiced their support for Mr Abdullah, speculation is rife that the ruling party is now courting Ezam Mohd Nor, the former political secretary of Anwar Ibrahim, to join the party youth wing. Full Story

French unions protest Sarkozy's plan to change retirement system

French unions staged nationwide protests on Thursday against plans by President Nicolas Sarkozy to make people work longer to qualify for a full pension. In a rare show of unity, France's five largest unions called on members to take to the streets in 80 cities to denounce the government's decision to make people work 41 years before retiring against 40 years at present. Full Story

German president will seek 2nd term

President Horst Kvhler announced Thursday that he would seek a second term, setting up a probable replay of the last election that would also pit the governing coalition parties against each other. Kvhler made the announcement a year and a day before the vote is scheduled to take place. In a short statement, he said that he wanted to continue "on the path of change and preservation." He added that he was not afraid of "democratic competition," but that he would not campaign for the office, which is meant to be apolitical. Full Story

Nuclear sabotage suspects released in Sweden

Two men arrested after an explosives scare at a Swedish nuclear plant were released Thursday and police said they were no longer considered a threat to the power station. The two maintenance workers were arrested Wednesday after security guards at the Oskarshamn nuclear plant found traces of a highly explosive substance on a plastic bag that one of them was carrying. Full Story

Functional Afghan airforce five years away: US general

Afghanistan's army will need international air support in combat operations for another five years, the US general leading efforts to build and train the Afghan security forces said Thursday. US Major General Robert Cone, speaking to reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels, said the support would have to continue until the fledgling Afghan airforce is fully operational, probably in 2013. Full Story

Demos on third day of Dalai Lama visit to Britain

Demonstrators targeted the Dalai Lama on the third day of his visit to Britain on Thursday, on the eve of closely-watched talks between the Tibetan spiritual leader and Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Supporters and critics rallied outside the Royal Albert Hall, where the 72-year-old Buddhist monk made his first public address since arriving in London as part of a five-nation tour. Full Story

Man arrested after blast in Exeter city centre

Police have arrested a 22-year-old man who was injured in a bomb explosion which forced the closure of Exeter city centre Thursday. The centre of Exeter was evacuated after the lunchtime blast at a restaurant in a shopping centre and bomb disposal experts and sniffer dogs were sent in. Full Story

Irish PM urges Yes vote as EU poll looms

Prime Minister Brian Cowen appealed to Irish people Thursday to vote "Yes" in a crunch referendum on the European Union's Lisbon Treaty next month, saying it was of vital national interest. Cowen, who succeeded Bertie Ahern earlier this month, made the comments in a keynote address three weeks to the day ahead of the June 12 referendum, which is being closely watched by Ireland's EU partners. Full Story

Italy wants to bring back nuclear power

Italy's industry minister says the new government plans to restart the country's nuclear power program. Claudio Scajola told a business lobby group Thursday that the government has scheduled the start of construction of the first new nuclear-powered plant by 2013. Full Story

Dalai Lama starts tour in London

The Dalai Lama has arrived in London at the start of a 10-day visit to the UK. The Tibetan spiritual leader will address Parliament and give evidence on human rights to a parliamentary committee during his trip. Full Story

Taliban targeted for Australian offensive

Australian soldiers have started "a major push" against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, the Australian government said Monday. Full Story

Philippines rebels reject direct talks with Manila

The Philippines' largest Muslim rebel group on Tuesday rejected proposals by Manila peace negotiators for direct talks to move stalled negotiations forward. Khaled Musa, a rebel spokesman, said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) opposed the government's attempt to "localise the peace process", describing the proposal as a crude attempt to ease out Malaysia, which is brokering the talks. Full Story

Four held over car bomb released

Four men arrested over the attempted murder of a police officer in County Tyrone last week have been released without charge. The officer suffered leg injuries when a booby-trap bomb on his car exploded at Drumnaby Road in Spamount village, outside Castlederg, last Monday. Full Story

Police to decide right-to-strike

Frontline police officers in England and Wales are set to reveal whether they will demand the right to strike. Police are currently banned from taking industrial action, but members of the Police Federation have been balloted on whether they want the law changed. Full Story

7/7 accused denies bomb plotting

A man accused of a reconnaissance trip for the 7 July suicide bombers has told a jury he had nothing to do with 2005's attacks on London's transport system. Michael Wolkind QC, for Mr Ali, told the jury that his client had wanted to train for violent jihad in Pakistan. Full Story

Arrests in fan violence inquiry

Seventeen people have been arrested by police investigating fighting between rival football fans earlier this year. About 130 police officers took part in the morning raids at six addresses in Coventry and 14 in Leicester. Full Story

Police evacuate Berlin school after alert on armed man

German police have evacuated a school in Berlin after a telephone warning that an armed man was inside but after searching all morning, no one was found, a police spokesman said Tuesday. Full Story

Afghan cop beheaded, bombs kill seven civilians

Taliban militants beheaded a policeman in Afghanistan and killed an aid agency's driver in a separate attack, while bombs killed seven civilians, authorities said Tuesday. The decapitated body of the policeman was found in the southwestern province of Farah on Monday, a day after he had been captured by Taliban fighters, the police spokesman for the region told AFP. Full Story

Belgian railway strike paralyzes commuters, halts trains to other nations

A 24-hour nationwide strike by rail workers left commuters struggling to get to work on Tuesday, and the government said it could cost the Belgian economy 40 million (US$62 million) in lost business. Train stations across the country were empty and most people were choosing to either stay home or brave long hours on the highway to get to work. The strike paralyzed rail cargo services to the ports of Antwerp and Zeebruges, causing delays for shipping companies. Full Story

12 Norwegian airports closed after ground crews step up strike

A strike by key ground personnel was stepped up Tuesday and stranded more than 30,000 people at 12 airports, including the one serving Stavanger, a city in western Norway that is considered the capital of the Nordic nation's oil industry. The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions' LO Stat chapter said the labor conflict that began Friday over wages and working hours was expanded to include six more airports. Full Story

Four injured in grenade blast in Assam

Four persons were injured when militants hurled a grenade at a busy market here, official sources said on Tuesday. Full Story

Bangladesh gets tough on terror, enacts new law

Bangladesh on Monday enacted a tough anti-terror ordinance that may not provide any respite to India, which is battling HuJI terrorists from Bangladesh, but it gives the country new teeth to fight extremism within. Full Story

200 aid workers killed by mudslides in China

At least 200 relief workers have been killed in mudslides caused by aftershocks in the past three days in China's quake-hit southwestern province of Sichuan, the country's transport ministry said on Monday. The workers were travelling in five vehicles when the mudslides overtook them. Full Story

Myanmar opens door to help from Asian neighbors for cyclone victims

Myanmar began three days of mourning Tuesday for some 78,000 cyclone victims after its ruling junta appeared to relent to foreign pressure to let in more outside help. Full Story

Military to add troops, speed up modernization

To boost efforts to meet President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos 2010 deadline to defeat so-called enemies of the state, the military will recruit 600 Marines and fast track its modernization program, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said Tuesday. Full Story

China earthquake toll tops 40,000

Chinese aid workers are struggling to find shelter for millions who lost their homes. Foreign medical teams have started arriving in the area. Full Story

Turkey expects more concrete steps from regional government against PKK

The northern Iraqi regional government should take real steps against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, to expand ties with neighboring Turkey, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told reporters in Egypt, the Anatolia news agency reported yesterday. Full Story

Iran's nuclear program feeding proliferation

Iran's disputed nuclear program has sent a wave of interest in atomic energy across the Middle East, a think tank said Tuesday, warning that it risked setting the scene for a regional nuclear arms race. Full Story

Iraqi troops enter Baghdad's Shiite stronghold

Thousands of Iraqi troops moved unchallenged into Baghdad's Sadr City Tuesday to seize the Shiite militia stronghold, in the largest attempt yet by the government to impose control, an Iraqi military spokesman said. Full Story

3 Palestinians killed in IDF strikes

Third Palestinian reported killed after Israel launches strikes against targets in Gaza, one fatality said to be 13-year-old youth. Hamas delegation expected to give Egyptian mediators final response regarding ceasefire proposal later in afternoon. Full Story

Qatar sets Lebanon opposition Wednesday deadline

Qatari-led mediators gave Lebanon's Hezbollah-led opposition a Wednesday deadline to respond to proposals aimed at resolving a political crisis which brought the country to the brink of civil war. Full Story

Germany jails attacker of rabbi

A German court has jailed a Muslim of Afghan origin for three and a half years for stabbing an Orthodox Jewish rabbi in the stomach in the street. The court in the south-western city of Frankfurt convicted Sajed Aziz, 23, of grievous bodily harm. Full Story

'Armed man' clears Berlin school

German police have evacuated a school in the capital, Berlin, following an anonymous telephone warning that an armed man had entered the building. Full Story

Record number take UK citizenship

A record 164,635 people were granted British citizenship last year, government figures have shown. Almost one third of the new citizens were from Africa, and 22% were Asian. Full Story

North Korea nearing nuclear declaration

North Korea appears close to making a long-overdue declaration of its nuclear programs, the top U.S. negotiator with Pyongyang said, in an upbeat assessment after months of difficult negotiations. Full Story

Top bankers should be accountable for risks: Buffett

Warren Buffett, the world's richest man, said Tuesday that few banking chief executives appeared willing to assume responsibility for the risks their institutions take. "I think that the head of any bank or financial institution has to be the chief risk officer, you cannot delegate (the job) to someone who comes in once a week," said the famed investor, known widely as the "Sage of Omaha." Full Story

Gov't gives go-ahead for two new aircraft carriers

The government has given a green light for the construction of two new "super-aircraft carriers" for the country's Royal Navy, the defence ministry said Tuesday. The carriers, to be named Her Majesty's Ship (HMS) Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will be the biggest and most powerful surface warships ever constructed in Britain, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement. Full Story

IRA suspect arrested in N.Ireland for 1977 killing

Northern Ireland police arrested an Irish Republican Army suspect Tuesday over his alleged role in the killing of an undercover British soldier more than 30 years ago, one of the most controversial killings from the province's long conflict. Capt. Robert Nairac was abducted from a border pub by an IRA gang on May 14, 1977, taken across the border into a Republic of Ireland forest, and shot through the head. His body was never been found. Full Story

France confirms informal talks to Hamas

France has had informal contacts with Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that rules Gaza, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Monday. Kouchner, speaking on Europe-1 radio, was confirming a report in the daily Le Figaro that quoted a retired diplomat as saying he met with Hamas leaders a month ago. Full Story

'Highest ETA commander' arrested

The most senior commander of the Basque separatist movement, Eta, has been arrested in a joint Spanish-French operation, Spanish authorities say. Javier Lopez Pena - alias "Thierry" - was seized with three other Eta suspects in a late-night raid in the city of Bordeaux, in south-west France. Full Story

Arrest at Swedish nuclear plant

A man found with traces of explosives at the entrance to a nuclear plant in Sweden has been arrested, police said. The Oskarshamn plant - owned by German energy giant E.On - has been sealed, the company said. Full Story

Aid workers abducted in Somalia

Two Italian aid workers and a Somali colleague have been kidnapped by gunmen south of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Dozens of armed gunmen attacked the offices of Italian aid agency Cooperazione Italiana Nord Sud in the village of Awdhigle. Full Story

Naples hosts cabinet crisis talks

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is holding his first cabinet meeting in the southern city of Naples, mired in a rubbish crisis. Angry residents have taken to burning the piles of rotting waste, which have littered the streets for months. Full Story

Smith 'betrayed' police over pay

The home secretary has "betrayed the police service" by refusing to backdate a 2.5% pay rise, the chairman of the Police Federation has said. Jan Berry told its annual conference that Jacqui Smith's decision, affecting Wales, England and Northern Ireland, had been "a monumental mistake". Full Story

Youth crime drive has 'no impact'

A decade-long government drive to cut youth offending has had "no measurable impact", an independent study suggests. Criminologists at King's College London said success in targeting youth crime was far more mixed and ambiguous than ministers liked to claim. Full Story

Gulf states rise higher on oil boom

Gulf countries swimming in oil wealth are using the money to build huge industrial cities and gleaming financial centers to sustain them when the wells run dry. They learned valuable lessons from wrongheaded investments in the 1970s oil boom, but economists worry the countries still aren't making the education and labor reforms crucial to long-term stability. Full Story

Senior IRA leader dies of cancer

Brian Keenan, 66, a former leading member of the IRA has died. Mr Keenan, a father of six, from west Belfast, had been suffering from cancer for some time. Full Story

#80m Irish cocaine trial begins

Three men have gone on trial in Cork charged over the biggest drugs seizure in Irish history. About 1.5 tonnes of cocaine, worth more than #80m, was recovered from the sea off the west Cork coast last July. Full Story

PM Brown 'in by-election bunker'

David Cameron has accused Gordon Brown of hiding in "his bunker" - instead of going out to Crewe and Nantwich to explain axing the 10p tax band. Mr Brown told MPs it was a prime ministerial convention not to campaign at by-elections and he had given #2.7bn to help those hit by tax changes. Full Story

Berlusconi vows to fight trash crisis

He raised a stink about it during his recent election campaign, and now Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is taking action -- moving his entire Cabinet to Naples for a day to address the city's ever-growing rubbish crisis. The waste problems in Naples and the surrounding Campania region were a big issue in Berlusconi's campaign earlier this year. The new premier promised to hold his Cabinet's first official meeting in the southern city to show the government is serious about tackling it. Full Story

Neo-Nazis create 55-cent Rudolf Hess stamp

German neo-Nazis used a service offered by Deutsche Post to create a 55-cent stamp carrying a portrait of Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess, the company said Wednesday. The latest newsletter of the far-right National Democratic Party gloated about being able to slip the stamp past Deutsche Post's quality control personnel. Full Story

German business confidence up in May

German business confidence posted an unexpected increase for May, bouncing back after sinking to its lowest level in more than two years in the previopus month, a closely watched survey showed Wednesday. The report suggests companies in Europe's biggest economy have so far weathered record euro and oil prices. Full Story

Olmert proposes naval blockade on Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proposed in talks with a U.S. Congressional leader that a naval blockade be imposed on Iran to try to curb its nuclear program, an Israeli newspaper said on Wednesday. Full Story

India, Pak resume secretary level talks

After a six-month pause, India and Pakistan on Tuesday resumed their composite dialogue with the foreign secretaries meeting here to discuss various bilateral issues including terrorism, Kashmir and confidence building measures. Full Story

Thousands of Indonesians protest plans to hike fuel price

Thousands of students took to the streets across Indonesia on Wednesday to protest the government's plan to sharply raise fuel prices, some briefly clashing with baton-wielding riot police outside the presidential palace. Full Story

Japan- Upper House panel passes bill on space

An Upper House committee approved a bill Tuesday intended to allow the use of space for defensive purposes, an important step on the road for the Defense Ministry to develop and operate spy satellites. Full Story

Lebanon to elect president on Sunday; Opposition dismantling tent city in Beirut

Rival Lebanese leaders signed a deal on Wednesday to end 18 months of political crisis. The deal, reached after six days of Arab-mediated talks in Qatar, paved the way for parliament to elect army chief General Michel Suleiman as president, filling a post vacant since November because of the political deadlock. Full Story

Diplomats say UN probe of Iran nukes a failure

Iran has stymied the latest U.N. attempt to investigate allegations that it tried to make nuclear weapons, diplomats said Tuesday. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, will acknowledge it was unable to follow up on the allegations in a report to be presented as early as Friday to its 35-nation board, two diplomats told The Associated Press. Full Story

Saudi Critic Jailed After Decrying Justice System

An outspoken critic of the Saudi government who was previously jailed for calling for greater democracy has been arrested, his wife said Tuesday. Full Story

Indo-Pak pact likely on consular access to prisoners

Pakistan and India are expected to sign a pact on Wednesday to provide consular access to nationals of their country imprisoned by the other. Full Story

Sri Lanka launches attacks after top rebel's death

Sri Lanka's armed forces launched ground and air attacks in the rebel-held north of the island on Wednesday as the Tigers mourned the death of a top commander, officials said. Full Story

'Dirty bomb' warning to Olympics

The International Atomic Energy Agency says a group might try to release radioactivity at an Olympic venue, possibly using a "dirty bomb". Full Story

Georgian poll 'result' disputed

An exit poll suggests President Mikhail Saakashvili's governing party has won parliamentary elections in Georgia. Mr Saakashvili's United National Movement took 63% of the vote, said the exit poll - with the opposition trailing with 14%. Full Story

Turkeys ruling party fears it will be closed: Reuters report

Senior officials of Turkeys ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) believe the party will be closed by the countrys Constitutional Court on charges of trying to undermine the nations secular regime, the Reuters news agency reported on Monday. Full Story

Turkey cool to special US X-ray machine at ─░zmirs port

Turkey has been rather cool toward an American proposal to install a special X-ray machine at Izmir's Alsancak Port to check containers destined for the United States, with one Turkish official arguing that there already is an X-ray machine to do the job. While the Izmir Customs Department noted its support for the American X-ray facility to cut down the time it takes for Turkish goods to reach U.S. markets, officials in Ankara are against it. Full Story

Kazakhstan: President's Former Son-In-Law Offers To Testify In 'Kazakhgate' Probe

Rakhat Aliev, the exiled former son-in-law of Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev, says he's ready to give evidence in a U.S. investigation into whether Nazarbaev and other Kazakh officials took bribes from U.S. businesses to receive lucrative oil contracts more than a decade ago. Aliev's offer comes the same week that "The Wall Street Journal" reported that Aliev's former wife -- and President Nazarbaev's eldest daughter -- Darigha Nazarbaeva, hired U.S. firms to monitor the investigation into those bribery allegations, known as "Kazakhgate." Full Story

Italy pledges to bolster security

Italy's interior minister has said he will take immediate action to tackle the country's "security emergency". Roberto Maroni, who belongs to the anti-immigrant Northern League, pledged to bolster the resources available for Italy's police and security services. Full Story

Algeria issues rare kidnapping tally

Algeria recorded 115 kidnappings last year relating to terrorism or involving demands for ransom, the interior minister said Thursday in a rare public tally of abductions. Speaking during a question session in Parliament, Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni also said there were 260 kidnappings involving family disputes. Full Story

Kashmir group to target Indians, Israelis

A Kashmiri terror group has said it welcomes tourists but threatened to target Indian and Israeli
"agents" posing as visitors to the area. Full Story

India: We will fight terror at all costs

A top Indian official said the country will thwart the designs of terrorists who are out to disturb communal harmony in the country. Interior Minister Shivraj Patil Thursday said India will fight terror at all costs and foil the designs of terrorists who want to destroy peace and communal harmony in the country, which is a patchwork of ethnicities and religions. Full Story

Berlin sees spy threat to business

Germany accused Russian and Chinese spies on Thursday of increasing their efforts to steal technical secrets from companies. German business faces a growing threat from foreign spies using illegal means to get information on high-technology products, Heinz Fromm, head of the BfV intelligence agency, said. Full Story

Texas Man Accused of Trying to Sell Cyanide

A Texas man claimed he had a 25-gallon drum of cyanide and tried to sell it to an FBI informant, touting the poison's usefulness in mass killings, according to a court affidavit. Full Story

Russia accuses Georgia of aiding rebels

Russia's domestic spy service on Friday accused Georgia of supporting armed rebels in southern Russia, an accusation that could further damage the strained relations between the two countries. A source in the Federal Security Service (FSB) told Interfax news agency that a Chechen man working for Georgian intelligence had been giving cash to fighters across the turbulent North Caucasus. Full Story

Yemeni Qaeda warns non-Muslims in Arabian Peninsula

An al Qaeda Yemeni wing threatened attacks on Thursday across the Arabian Peninsula against non-Muslim foreigners including tourists and journalists. Full Story

Three killed as violence mars Dominican election

Three people, including a former congressman, were shot and killed as violence marred the close of campaigning before Friday's presidential election in the Dominican Republic, authorities said. Full Story

Bin Laden vows to fight Israel on 60th anniversary

Osama bin Laden vowed in an audio tape marking Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations to continue the fight against the Jewish state and its allies and not give up an inch of Palestinian land. Full Story

Indian police suspect Bangladeshi hand in blasts

Police probing bombings in western India that killed 63 people said on Friday that new evidence pointed increasingly towards Indian Islamists backed by a Bangladeshi militant group as being behind the blasts. Full Story

Spain officials mourn bomb victim

mSpanish ministers and royalty have attended the funeral of a civil guard killed in a car bombing blamed on the banned Basque separatist group Eta. The coffin of Juan Pinuel Villalon was carried into the cathedral in the Basque city of Vitoria by eight civil guards, followed by his widow. Full Story

Eurozone sees March trade deficit

The eurozone recorded a surprise trade deficit in March as the strong euro hit exports and high oil prices drove up the price of imports. The European Union's statistics office said the 15-nation euro bloc had a trade deficit of 2.3bn euros in March ($3.6bn; #1.8bn). Full Story

Nine dead, scores wounded in Sri Lanka suicide blast

At least nine people were killed and 95 others wounded in a Tamil Tiger suicide bombing near the official residence of Sri Lanka's president in the capital Colombo, officials said Friday. Full Story

Maoist rebels kill 2 men before India state election

Maoist rebels have shot and killed two men in southern India, hours before the second phase of polling began in a state election, police said on Friday. The Maoists, who say they are fighting India's government on behalf of the landless poor, have called for a boycott of the election in Karnataka state, home to the outsourcing capital of Bangalore. Full Story

Western experts monitor China's nuclear sites for signs of damage

China's main centers for designing, making and storing nuclear arms lie in the shattered earthquake zone, leading Western experts to look for signs of any damage that might allow radioactivity to escape. A senior federal official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the issue, said the United States was using spy satellites and other means to try to monitor the sprawling nuclear plants. Full Story

Eight dead in Philippine robbery

At least eight people have been shot dead during a bank robbery in the Philippines. Seven of the victims were employees of the bank in the town of Cabuyao, south of Manila, and one was a security guard, police said. Full Story

Foreign rescuers provide unprecedented help in China quake area

Foreign rescue teams arrived in China's quake-devastated southwest on Friday, laden with specialist equipment to aid the desperate search among the rubble of shattered buildings. A Japanese team began work in Sichuan province, the first time the Chinese government has accepted foreign professionals for a domestic disaster rescue and relief operation. Full Story

French arrest 10 in connection with terror probe

Authorities in France, Germany and the Netherlands on Friday detained at least 10 people suspected of helping to fund al-Qaida-linked militants with roots in Uzbekistan, officials said. One suspect was detained in Germany, another in the Netherlands, with the rest detained in France, said a senior French police official who was only authorized to discuss the arrests on condition of anonymity. Full Story

Tibetans protest again in Nepal capital

Hundreds of Tibetan exiles calling for freedom in their homeland demonstrated in the Nepalese capital Friday until police stopped them. About 500 Tibetans, many of them women, marched on the outskirts of Katmandu for about two miles, holding banners that said, "Free Tibet, Tibet for Tibetans." Full Story

Activist resigns from Hong Kong exchange

Hong Kongs most outspoken corporate governance activist has accused the citys government of interfering in the running of Asias biggest stock exchange operator by market capitalisation. Full Story

Outrage over Sarkozy plan to counter school strikes

French teachers, trade unions and opposition leaders expressed outrage on Friday after President Nicolas Sarkozy said he wanted a new law to ensure schools stay open when teachers go on strike so parents can get to work. Sarkozy made the surprise announcement in a televised speech late on Thursday, a day when hundreds of thousands of teachers went on strike to protest against plans to cut 11,200 jobs in the education system next year. Full Story

French workers strike in protest of job cuts

Teachers, postal workers and other public servants staged a one-day strike and tens of thousands marched through French cities Thursday, a widespread protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's planned job cuts. Schools were shut around the country as nearly half the teachers stayed away from work, while about 15 percent of all public workers adhered to the 24-hour walkout, according to the Public Service Ministry. Full Story

Gordon Brown: I'm the right man for the times

Gordon Brown has for the first time defended his leadership by insisting he was the right person to lead the country through difficult times. The Prime Minister added that he would not consider his position before the next General Election. Full Story

Austria to temporarily reintroduce border checks over soccer Euro

Austria will temporarily reintroduce border checks during the Euro soccer championship although Austrian police chief Erik Buxbaum seemed to state the opposite earlier this week, Rudolf Gollia, spokesman for the Austrian Interior Ministry, confirmed for CTK today. Full Story

Afghan hijacker 'working at Heathrow

An Afghan hijacker who forced an airliner to fly to Britain is now working at Heathrow, it has been disclosed. Nazamuddin Mohammidy, 34, was one of a gang of nine that threatened to blow up an internal flight in Afghanistan, along with 173 passengers and crew, unless they were granted political asylum. Full Story

Bin Laden vows to fight Israel

Osama bin Laden vowed in an audio tape timed to coincide with Israel's 60th anniversary to continue to fight the Jewish state and its allies in the West. Full Story

Iranian Embassy convoy ambushed

Gunmen ambushed an Iranian Embassy convoy in Baghdad, wounding three Iranians, including two diplomats, and an Iraqi, a spokesman said Friday. Full Story

Over 800 people detained by army in offensive against al-Qaeda

A total of 833 people have been detained following the Iraqi military offensive in the southern city of Mosul targeting al-Qaeda militants. Full Story

In Qatar, Muslim, Jewish clerics meet

More than a dozen rabbis, including two from Israel, were in attendance this week as this conservative Muslim sheikdom opened one of the Gulf's first scholarly centers dedicated to interfaith dialogue. Full Story

Burma death toll jumps to 78,000

The official death toll for Burma's cyclone disaster has jumped to almost 78,000 people, with nearly 56,000 missing, according to state TV. Previously, Burma was giving a toll of 43,000 dead and 28,000 missing while the Red Cross and United Nations had estimated a death toll above 100,000. Full Story

Belarus says U.S. sanctions further damage ties

Belarus accused the United States on Friday of harming the interests of ordinary citizens by imposing new sanctions on the ex-Soviet state's industry in a row over human rights. The U.S. Treasury Department imposed punitive measures on Thursday on three Belarussian companies linked to state-run oil refiner Belneftekhim as part of efforts to intensify pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko over alleged rights abuses. Full Story

Dutch cartoonist arrested on suspicion of violating hate speech laws

A Dutch political cartoonist was arrested this week on suspicion of insulting people because of their race or religion through his work, authorities said Friday. The cartoonist, who works under the pseudonym Gregorius Nekschot, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of violating hate speech laws and held overnight before being released, a spokeswoman for his publisher Uitgeverij Xtra said. Full Story

Nordic central banks act to support Icelandic currency

The Icelandic central bank struck a deal with the central banks of Sweden, Norway and Denmark on Friday that allows it to buy euros with Icelandic kronur, giving strong support to the island's beleaguered currency. Each swap arrangement is for as much as 500 million, or $774 million, but analysts said it was not the amount that mattered but the deal itself, which underlined how the Icelandic central bank, the Sedlabanki, was actively working on ways to support the currency. Full Story

Rebel MPs try to block 42-day detention plans

Rebel Labour MPs today tabled an amendment to the counter-terrorism bill that could block Gordon Brown's attempts to extend the detention without charge limit to 42 days. The amendment seeks to scrap the 42-day limit and replace it with a "comprehensive package of alternatives", including holding suspects on police bail while they are under investigation. Full Story

Synagogue walls daubed with anti-Jewish graffiti

London's Jewish community has been targeted by a wave of anti-Semitic graffiti. Residents were today warned to look out for suspicious activity following the racist attack in north-east London. Vandals sprayed shops, pavements and walls outside four synagogues in Clapton Common and Stamford Hill on Tuesday night. Worshippers were yesterday confronted with slogans such as "Jihad to Israel" and "Jihad to Tel Aviv". Full Story

Police search for ETA car bomb factory in France - reports

Spanish and French police are searching for a "car bomb factory" belonging to the militant Basque separatist group ETA in southern France, Spanish press reports said Friday, two days after a car bombing killed a police officer in Spain's northern Basque region. Juan Manuel Pinuel was killed in an attack against a barracks of the paramilitary Civil Guard in Legutiano. Four other officers were injured. Full Story

Kidnapped Pakistan envoy released by Taliban

Suspected Taliban militants have released Pakistan's envoy to Afghanistan more than three months after he was kidnapped in Pakistan's Khyber tribal region, a senior government official said on Saturday. Full Story

Belfast assassination probe loses sensitive data

A judicial probe into the assassination of a Roman Catholic lawyer in Northern Ireland reported Friday that it has lost sensitive computer data about the investigation. The mishap raises fears that witnesses or confidential intelligence sources  mainly Northern Ireland police officers and British intelligence agents  could have their personal details compromised. Full Story

Venezuelan opposition leader demands that Chavez clarify rebel ties

A Venezuelan opposition leader is demanding that President Hugo Chavez explain accusations of close ties between his government and Colombian rebels. Opposition leader Manuel Rosales says the Venezuelan leader has not adequately responded after the international police agency Interpol endorsed the authenticity of computer files that Colombia says it seized from a rebel camp. Full Story

Kuwait votes for a new parliament

Kuwaitis vote Saturday for a new parliament that must work with the royal family-controlled Cabinet, whose recent resignation triggered a period of political stagnation in this oil-rich U.S. ally. Full Story

Mexicans arrested at filthy 'drop house' charged

Three Mexican men held dozens of illegal immigrants in a squalid "drop house" in South Los Angeles, where one woman was raped and others say they were threatened with sexual assault, authorities said Friday. Jose Teul, 23, Daniel Pena, 18, and Saul Mendez, 35, were charged with harboring illegal immigrants at the two-story home that immigration agents raided Wednesday, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice. Full Story

South Korea, Japan end sea confrontation

A standoff between the Japanese and South Korean coast guards ended peacefully after a joint investigation found that a Korean fishing boat did not violate Japanese waters, an official said Saturday. The incident began when the 134-ton fishing boat sent an emergency radio message to South Korea's coast guard saying it was being chased by Japanese patrol vessels. Full Story

Islamist fighters seize town in Somalia

A human rights leader says Islamist fighters have seized a southern town in Somalia that is a major agricultural center and impelled hundreds of refugees to flee. Ali Bashi, of Fanole rights groups, says Islamic Courts Union fighters ousted militiamen loyal to Somalia's fragile government in fighting overnight in Jilib that killed three militia fighters and wounded three others. Full Story

Police find 3 decomposing bodies inside NJ home

Police found three decomposing bodies with multiple stab wounds inside a northern New Jersey home Friday night, a prosecutor said. The bodies of an elderly man, an elderly woman  who were not related  and a younger man with defensive wounds had been dead for several days in the Tenafly home, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said. Full Story

Bush heads for Egypt talks with Palestinians

U.S. President George W. Bush flew to Egypt on Saturday for talks with Palestinian leaders who will be looking for signs they will not be neglected after he lavished praise on Israel during a visit to the Jewish state. Heading for the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for the final stop of his Middle East tour, Bush faces growing skepticism over his chances of securing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before he leaves office in January. Full Story

Qatar hosts Lebanon dialogue

Talks aimed at ending Lebanon's protracted political crisis are to resume in the Qatari capital on Saturday morning. Full Story
Indonesia limits fuel purchases ahead of price rise: reportPosted on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 4:27pmIndonesia's oil and gas company Pertamina has set limits on subsidised fuel purchases ahead of the government's plans to hike fuel prices, reports said Saturday. Full Story

Bush Says Saudi Oil Boost `Not Enough' to Ease Prices

President George W. Bush said Saudi Arabia's decision to raise oil output 300,000 barrels a day is ``not enough'' to ease U.S. energy prices and that more domestic oil exploration and refining capacity are needed. Full Story

New leaders unlikely to ease U.S.-Russia strains

Russias new president has promised the kind of democratic change that Washington advocated during predecessor Vladimir Putins tenure. At the same time, all the candidates to succeed President Bush have promised a break from a foreign policy that Moscow has bitterly criticized. Full Story

Quake effort resumes after panic

Rescue efforts are resuming in Beichuan in China, after the entire city was evacuated amid fears that it could be engulfed by a river bursting its banks. Full Story

Venezuela protests alleged Colombian cross-border incident

Venezuela issued an official protest to neighbouring Colombia on Saturday denouncing an alleged cross-border incident involving Colombian soldiers. Full Story

Georgia condemns Russian actions

Georgia has shown the BBC a footage which it says proves Russian troops are deploying heavy military hardware in the breakaway region of Abkhazia. Full Story

India to resume Pakistan peace talks

India's foreign minister travels to Pakistan this week for his first meeting with leaders of a new civilian government and to review a peace process that has been in the doldrums for more than a year. Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will meet his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, on Wednesday, a day after their top civil servants hold talks. Full Story

Chief PA Negotiator: Jerusalem on the Table

Contrary to denials by top Israeli officials, the future of Jerusalem is being discussed in top-level negotiations between Israel and Palestinian Authority officials. So says Abu Ala, who heads the PA's negotiating team with Israel. Ahmed Qurei, also known as Abu Ala, told the Al-Quds newspaper in eastern Jerusalem over the weekend that the talks are "difficult," and include all the issues in dispute. Full Story

Myanmar health system strained by cyclone

Myanmar's ragged health system has been stretched to the limit after the cyclone two weeks ago left up to 2.5 million people homeless, exposed to pounding rains and potential disease. Until Saturday, the military regime had insisted it was capable of handling the crisis alone, but Thai and Indian doctors have now been given permission to help. Full Story

Iraq detains 1,000 in anti-Al-Qaida crackdown

Nearly 1,000 people have been detained in a sweep to break Al-Qaida in Iraq's sway in Iraq's third largest city, Mosul, but many of the fighters have fled to nearby areas, where troops are hunting for them, Iraqi officials said on Saturday. Full Story

Georgia lures Arab investors

The port city of Poti has long symbolised Georgia's collapse, but President Mikheil Saakashvili sees potential for a Black Sea Dubai in its crumbling buildings and pot-holed streets -- and Arab investors are listening. Full Story

PM pitches for anti-terror federal agency

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday made a strong pitch for a federal agency to deal with terrorist crimes against India, on the same day that Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan called for special anti-terror laws. Full Story

Tropical storm lashes Philippines

Tropical storm Halong has battered the northern Philippines with 95 kilometre per hour winds, triggering floods and landslides and displacing about 6,000 people, relief officials said. There were no immediate reports of casualties but the civil defence office in Manila said huge waves known as storm surges have destroyed 10 houses and displaced 780 people in and around the coastal town of Botolan, about 145 kilometres north-west of the capital. Full Story

Freed hostage fights for those still in chains

As rebel-held hostages, the Colombian politician and the American pilot lived in the jungle like Siamese twins. They had to. For eight months, Luis Eladio Perez and Thomas Howes were shackled together by the neck with a 9-foot chain. Full Story

Kidnapped Indian, Nepalese freed in Afghanistan

Afghan security forces freed an Indian and a Nepalese national kidnapped a month ago in the western province of Herat, a provincial intelligence chief said on Sunday.The men were safe in a police compound in the western Adraskan district. Full Story

Float plane crash in Wash. state kills 2

Two people were killed Saturday when a float plane carrying five people crashed into Lake Chelan in the North Cascades. Three people survived the crash of the single-engine DeHavilland Beaver, which went down about 15 minutes after takeoff from the town of Chelan. Full Story

New drug 'can kill MRSA superbug'

British scientists are working on a drug which they say can destroy the most virulent strains of superbug MRSA. Researchers at Brighton-based Destiny Pharma are testing the drug in the hope it can be used in hospitals by 2011. Full Story

Another Canadian tourist killed in Mexico

Police say a Canadian tourist was shot and killed late Thursday inside his hotel room in the Mexican resort city of Cabo an Lucas. State police commander Enrique Wuilar says a lone gunman shot 29-year-old Bouabal Bounthavorn three times in his hotel room. Full Story

Wildfires rage in Alberta, Saskatchewan

Hot, dry conditions have turned parts of the Prairies into a tinderbox, as wildfires torch rural homes and force people to flee communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan. A big drop in the wind on Saturday morning initially helped crews make gains on wildfires that forced the evacuation of 150 people from the hamlet of Newbrook north of Edmonton. Full Story

Nigerian oil giant NNPC will become real company

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company will be transformed from an impenetrable bureaucratic giant into a real privately run company when restructuring is completed next year, says Nigeria's President Umaru Yar'Adua. After taking office a year ago, Yar'Adua decided to break up the 30 year-old NNPC into five separate new companies, but he has since been heading a committee whose proposals for a new structure are expected in a couple of weeks. Full Story

7 Mexican Tourists Kidnapped On Main Highway to Acapulco

Police say gunmen kidnapped seven Mexican tourists in a rare attack on a heavily-patrolled, four-lane highway leading into the Pacific coast resort town of Acapulco. Police in Mexicos southern Guerrero state say the seven men were kidnapped Saturday about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Acapulco. Full Story

Bush and Pakistan's Gilani pledge to fight terror

President George W. Bush and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Sunday pledged to fight terrorism with strong relations between the two nations in the aftermath of elections that seated new leaders in Islamabad. Full Story

Arabs Torch Jewish Wheat Fields in Samaria

Arabs burned Jewish-owned wheat fields in the Samaria town of Yitzhar Friday. The regular vandalism has led residents to ponder soliciting assistance from humanitarian groups. Full Story

Medvedev Picks First Governor

President Dmitry Medvedev made his first gubernatorial appointment Friday, replacing the long-serving governor of the Stavropol region. Full Story

Gujarat adds 4 new groups to its terror list

The Jaipur serial bomb blasts added a new name to the list of Islamic terror organizations active in the country  Indian Mujaheedin. Full Story

Mexico police chief quits after drug gang threats

A Mexican police chief has quit his post across the border from El Paso, Texas, after receiving death threats from drug gangs that are striking back at a crackdown on smugglers, an official said on Sunday. Full Story

Bin Laden lashes out at Arab leaders in new msg.

Osama bin Laden released a new message on Sunday accusing Arab leaders of sacrificing the Palestinians and calling on Muslim militants in Egypt to help break the blockade of Gaza. Full Story

Israeli attorney general rules out early charges against Olmert

Israel's attorney general said Sunday it would be unrealistic to expect any swift indictment of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who is to be questioned again by police next week in a corruption probe. Full Story

Hamas ministry to censor Internet sites in Gaza

The Hamas-run Telecommunications Ministry will start blocking websites deemed unfit according to Islamic rules, an official said Sunday. This was made possible after a deal was struck with the Palestinian telecommunications company, said Ihab al-Hussain, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Gaza, adding that the plan went into effect last week. Full Story

SIMI-HuJI partnership at work again

Investigators are working on busting a sleeper module of the Students Islamic Movement of India that its suspects provided logistical support to the Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami unit seen as the actual executors of Tuesdays terror attack. Full Story

One police, three servicemen injured in Chechnya militant clash

A policeman and three federal troops were wounded after a clash with militants in the Republic of Chechnya in Russia's troubled North Caucasus Region, a local police source said on Sunday. Full Story

Radio: ETA bomb strikes Spain's northern Basque

A bomb went off in the early hours of Monday in the northern Basque town of Getxo following a warning call from the separatist group ETA, public radio RNE reported. No injuries were reported, it said. Full Story

Hopes for Myanmar cyclone aid rise as ASEAN meets

Hopes turned to a meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers on Monday for a breakthrough in speeding up aid flows to the millions of desperate cyclone survivors in Myanmar. Full Story

US military deaths in Iraq war at 4,080

As of Sunday, May 18, 2008, at least 4,080 members of the U.S. military have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. Full Story

Philippine soldiers fail anti-terror test in Manila

Philippine soldiers failed to stop a car rigged with bombs as it entered the country's main army base in capital Manila during an anti-terror drill on Monday. "There could have been a big explosion, a big embarrassment," Colonel Ireneo Espino, commander of Camp Aguinaldo, told reporters. "I am sure I would have been reassigned somewhere else after that." Full Story

Forum seeks to ban cluster bombs

Diplomats from around the world are gathering in Dublin for a conference that aims to secure a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs. The proposed ban has the support of more than 100 countries. Full Story

Car bomb explodes in Spanish town

A car bomb has exploded in the northern Basque seaside town of Getxo causing considerable damage to buildings, but no casualties, Spanish officials say. They say it came about an hour after an anonymous call to the police - in the name of the Basque separatist group Eta - had warned about a blast. Full Story

Teachers throng Paris over cuts

At least 20,000 people have marched through central Paris protesting against the French government's plans to cut jobs in the education sector. The protestors are also unhappy about President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to force schools to stay open in the event of strike action. Full Story

Neapolitans torch rubbish piles

Firefighters battled overnight in the southern Italian city of Naples to extinguish dozens of blazes as angry residents set rubbish piles alight. The city has some 3,500 tonnes of uncollected rubbish, piled up around its streets. Full Story

Afghan bombing kills 4 civilians

A suicide bomber blew himself up next to a police convoy in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing four civilians and wounding eight other people, a provincial police chief said. The suicide bomber was trying to kill the district police chief in Musa Qala in Helmand Province, but instead killed four civilians, said Mohammad Hussein Andiwal, the provincial police chief. Full Story

China begins 3 days of mourning

China stood still Monday, mourning for tens of thousands of earthquake victims, while the government appealed for more international aid to cope with the country's deadliest natural disaster in a generation. Construction workers, shopkeepers and bureaucrats across the bustling nation of 1.3 billion people paused for three minutes of tribute at 2:28 p.m. (0628 GMT)  exactly one week after the magnitude 7.9 quake hit central China. Full Story

Basque demonstrators call for an end to violence

Basques held a somber ceremony Sunday to commemorate the lives of people killed in attacks by the separatist group ETA and to call for an end to the violence that has plagued Spain for four decades. Hundreds of Basque politicians, survivors and victims' relatives joined together for the ceremony in San Sebastian, a northern resort city. Full Story

Pakistan will not negotiate with militants: PM

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani vowed on Monday that his government would not negotiate with militants unless they laid down their arms, amid US concerns over Islamabad's talks with the Taliban. Full Story

Southeast's Asia top terror suspect may have fled Indonesia

Southeast Asia's most wanted terror suspect, Noordin Top, may have evaded a massive manhunt and fled Indonesia, according to police documents obtained by The Associated Press. Full Story

18 die on bloodiest day of polls

West Bengal witnessed the bloodiest round of violence in the last phase of the panchayat polls on Sunday, leaving 18 dead and hundreds injured in Murshidabad and Birbhum. Full Story

India to protest to Pakistan over border shooting

An Indian soldier was killed in cross-border fire in Kashmir on Monday, prompting India to lodge a protest with Islamabad, an army spokesman said. The soldier died in shooting from the Pakistani side of a military control line that divides Kashmir between the two countries, the spokesman said. Full Story

Germany Plans New Security Authority

Germany may set up a new authority to combine its various eavesdropping operations in a purpose-built headquarters near Cologne, news organizations reported. The combined police and espionage center would be modeled on the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States or the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Britain. Full Story

Backing for Armed Forces Day plan

An Armed Forces Day public holiday has been recommended by a government-backed study looking into improving public recognition of the military. The report by MP Quentin Davies also said more state school pupils should be encouraged to join cadet forces. Full Story

Jobs fears over health cash cuts

Up to 3,000 health service jobs could be lost in Belfast, a trade union has warned. It follows a leaked report which said nurses would be worst hit by cost-cutting proposals over the next three years in the Belfast trust area. Full Story

Extra immigrant detention places

Places in immigration detention centres are to increase by 60% under plans from the government's UK Border Agency. Between 1,300 and 1,500 extra places will be created, border and immigration minister Liam Byrne said. Full Story

Lebanon crisis deal blow

Tension mounted on yesterday's second day of talks between rival Lebanese leaders trying to end a feud that pushed their country towards all-out sectarian war, as politicians traded charges over the divisive issue of Hizbollah arms. Full Story

Religious hardliners gain in Kuwait

Kuwait's parliamentary elections showed strong gains for Muslim hardliners, official results found Sunday, but women candidates failed to win a single seat. The results show that religious conservatives gained two seats in parliament to hold 24, nearly half of the 50-member body of this oil-rich U.S. ally. Full Story

Bin Laden urges Muslims to fight Gaza closure

Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden has called on Muslims to help end the Israeli closure of the Islamist Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, according to an audio tape posted on the Internet on Sunday. Full Story

Bin Laden lashes out at Arab leaders

Osama bin Laden released a new message on Sunday denouncing Arab leaders for sacrificing the Palestinians and saying the head of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah did not really have the strength to take on Israel. Full Story

Protestant flees dissident threat

A Protestant man has fled his home in Londonderry after receiving death threats from dissident republicans. The man said he was told by the police last week that his life was in danger. Full Story

Alleged NPA guerrillas raid Davao Oriental jail, seize guns

Suspected New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas raided the provincial jail of Davao Oriental shortly before noon Monday, carting away a still undetermined number of firearms, police and civilian officials said. Full Story

US giving China satellite images of quake damage

The United States is providing China with satellite imagery of reservoirs, roads and bridges damaged in the earthquake that devastated southwestern Sichuan province, the Pentagon said. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is expected to provide the first of the unclassified imagery on Monday if weather permits, in what officials believed to be an unprecedented step. Full Story

Spain arrests 'prolific' hackers

Spanish police have arrested five hackers they describe as being among the most active on the internet. The hackers, who include two 16-year-olds, are accused of disrupting government websites in the United States, Asia and Latin America. Full Story

Courtesy Terrorism Research Center, Inc.

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