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Daily Worldwide Security Report

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Risk and Security

Risk and Security


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  • 1. TERRORISM UPDATE<br />Sunday, August 29, 2010<br />PakistanA Frontier Crops trooper and one militant killed in FATAPakistanTerrorists surrender after hostage effort in PeshawarIndiaMastermind of Kashmir protests arrested in Jammu and KashmirPakistanArmy taking TTP threat seriously, says US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen<br />WORLDWIDE SECURITY & RISK REPORTS:<br />PAKISTAN NEWS:<br />ISLAMABAD-At least eight militants were killed and many others injured on Saturday afternoon when two militant groups of Punjabi Taliban opened fire at each other in North Wazirsitan, a tribal area in northwest Pakistan which borders Afghanistan, reported local media. According to the reports, the clashes started between the two groups over some dispute regarding work distribution in the areas. Two militants killed in the clashes belonged to Usman Punjabi Groups while the identities of the six other dead militants are yet to be confirmed.<br />ISLAMABAD-At least two soldiers have been held hostage by militant prisoners inside a building near the U.S. consulate in Pakistan's northwest city of Peshawar while the confrontation between the gunmen and the security forces still lingers on since it broke out early Saturday morning, according to army sources and local media. Earlier reports said that a shootout between unknown gunmen and security forces broke out at about 5:00 a.m. near the U.S. consulate in Peshawar. It later turned out that the gunmen were militant prisoners who have been held under investigation at an army detention center near the U.S. consulate in the city. According to Major General Athar Abbas, the militant prisoners managed to overpower two guards while they were being interrogated and later occupied the building inside the detention center and held the two guards under hostage. Sporadic firings were reported since a large number of security forces have surrounded the building. Helicopters were also called in to monitor the situation. Police and security forces have closed down all the roads leading to the site. Police and security forces claimed that they have brought the situation under control. Currently the security forces seem to be hesitating at storming the building due to the concern over the security of the two guards who have fallen hostage in the hands of the militant prisoners. Both the army and police have kept a tight lip about what is really going on inside the area where the incident took place. So far, it is still not known where there are any people injured or killed in the incident, though nearly nine hours have passed since the incident occurred.<br />BARA- A foreign terrorist was killed in a clash with security forces in Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency on Saturday. Political administration officials told Daily Times that terrorists attacked security forces during a search operation at Shakas area in Jamrud. “Terrorists opened fire at security forces when they entered the house of Kashmalo Zakhakhel during the search operation,” the officials said. The security forces retaliated and an Uzbek fighter was killed. They also arrested four local terrorists, who were present in the house at the time. The officials said that security forces had shifted the body and the arrested people to Peshawar. Meanwhile, the bullet-riddled body of an FC solider, Baitullah, was found in Bara area. He had been kidnapped a few days ago. Local residents said that a note found on the body stated that the Taliban for spying on the Terrorists executed him.<br />PESHAWAR-A US drone strike Saturday killed four militants in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border, security officials said. The strike hit Shahidano village in the violence-wracked Kurram tribal district, 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Peshawar. Four militants have been killed in this drone attack,” a security official in Peshawar told AFP by telephone. Another security official in Peshawar said the US drone fired four missiles, hitting two vehicles near a house. All those killed were militants of Tehreek-e-Taliban,” the official said. US drones have mostly targeted North and South Waziristan tribal districts, known hubs for Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants. Kurram is the neighboring tribal district of Orakzai, the hometown of Hakimullah Mehsud, Pakistan's Taliban chief who escaped a US missile attack on January 14 in North Waziristan. Officials said militants were crossing in two vehicles from Orakzai to Kurram but were hit when they stopped in front of a house. Both the vehicles were destroyed in the attack, officials said. Kurram tribal district has for three years been a flashpoint for violence between Shiite and Sunni communities. US forces have been waging a drone war against Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked commanders in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, where militants have carved out havens in mountains outside direct government control. Washington has branded the rugged tribal area on the Afghan border part of which has now been hit by Pakistan's catastrophic flooding a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the most dangerous place on Earth. The US military does not as a rule confirm drone attacks, but its armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy pilotless drones in the region.<br />QUETTA-Unidentified armed assailants gunned down two persons in Hazar Ganji Raisani area of Quetta late Friday night. Police said that armed motorcyclists opened fire at Murad Ali and Ghulam Haider Raisani while they were present in Hazar Ganji Raisani area, killing both of them on the spot. The deceased were serving as personal guards of chairman Sarawan Youth Force, Nawabzada Mir Siraj Khan. The attackers managed to flee from the scene after committing the dual murder. Police have started search for the attackers however no arrest was made till the last reports arrived.<br />AFGHANISTAN NEWS:<br />HEART- Unknown armed men gunned down a parliamentary candidate in Afghanistan western Herat province Saturday night, a local official said Sunday. Unidentified armed men riding a motorbike opened fire on parliamentary candidate Abdul Manan Norzai on Saturday night outside his home in Shindand district killing him on the spot," district governor Lal Mohammad Omarzai told Xinhua. The assailants made their good escape, he admitted. He did not blame any particular groups or individuals for the attack. This is the third parliamentary candidates have been killed over the past one month. Previously two more candidates have been killed in the southern Ghazni and eastern Khost provinces. Taliban militants who boycotted the last year presidential elections have threatened to disrupt the second Afghan parliamentary elections set for Sept. 18 this year.<br />KABUL- Several students of a girl school in the Afghan capital of Kabul were mysteriously poisoned and went unconscious on Saturday, a private television channel reported. The gruesome incident happened in Kartai Now area and several affected pupils have been taken to hospital," Tolo broadcast in its news bulletin. However, spokesman of the Education Ministry, when approached, said that investigation has initiated to know the fact. This was the second such attack on girl school in Kabul over the past four days. In the first attack, 22 girl students fell unconscious and taken to hospital. Although no groups or individuals have claimed responsibility for it, Taliban militants during their six-year rule, collapsed in late 2001, had banned education for girls and confined women to their houses.<br />KABUL-A total of six U.S. troops have died in the latest attacks in Afghanistan's embattled southern and eastern regions, NATO said Sunday. One serviceman died in a bombing on Sunday in southern Afghanistan, while two others were killed in a bomb attack in the south on Saturday and three in fighting in the east the same day, NATO said. Their identities and other details were being withheld until relatives could be notified. The latest deaths bring to 41 the number of American forces who have died this month in Afghanistan after July's high of 66. A total of 61 international forces have died in the country this month, including seven British troops. Most of those new troops have been assigned to the southern insurgent strongholds of Helmand and Kandahar provinces where major battles are fought almost daily as part of a gathering drive to push out the Taliban. NATO said eight insurgents were killed in joint Afghan-NATO operations Saturday night in the province of Paktiya, including a Taliban commander, Naman, accused of coordinating roadside bomb attacks and the movement of ammunition, supplies and fighters. Automatic weapons, grenades, magazines and bomb-making material were found in buildings in Zormat district along the mountainous border with Pakistan. Afghan leaders frequently complain that Pakistan is doing to little to prevent cross-border incursions and shut down insurgent safe havens in its territory. Just south in Khost province, U.S. and Afghan troops fought back simultaneous attacks Saturday by around 50 insurgents wearing American uniforms and suicide vests on a pair of bases, including one where seven CIA employees died in a suicide attack last year. The morning raids appeared to be part of an insurgent strategy to step up attacks in widely scattered parts of the country as the U.S. focuses its resources on the battle around Kandahar. The assault in the border province of Khost began about 4 a.m. when dozens of insurgents stormed Forward Operating Base Salerno and nearby Camp Chapman with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons, according to NATO and Afghan police. Two attackers managed to breach the wire protecting Salerno but were killed before they could advance far onto the base, NATO said. Twenty-one attackers were killed 15 at Salerno and six at Chapman and five were captured, it said. Chapman was where the CIA employees were killed Dec. 30 in a suicide attack. The Afghan Defense Ministry said two Afghan soldiers were killed and three wounded in the fighting. Four U.S. troops were wounded, NATO officials said. U.S. and Afghan officials blamed the attack on the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based faction of the Taliban with close ties to al-Qaida. Also Saturday, a candidate running for a seat in parliament from Herat province in northwestern Afghanistan was shot and killed on his way to a mosque, said Lal Mohammad Omarzai, deputy governor of Shindand district. He said two men on a motorbike-opened fire on Abdul Manan, a candidate in the Sept. 18 balloting. He later died of his wounds. That followed the kidnapping Wednesday of 10 aides to candidate Fawzya Galani, also in Herat. Villagers said armed men stopped the two-vehicle convoy and drove off in them. It wasn't clear whether the kidnappers were insurgents, criminals, or working for a political rival. NATO has stepped up efforts to provide security to alllow an election whose outcome will be generally accepted as credible.<br />KABUL-Nine Taliban insurgents were killed and 12 others injured as Afghan National Police (ANP) repelled insurgents attack in the peaceful Takhar province, northeast Afghanistan, a statement of Interior Ministry said Saturday. Dozens of armed Taliban militants raided a police checkpoint in Darqad district on Friday and police encountered. As a result, nine insurgents were killed and 12 others were injured," the statement said. However, it stressed that there were no casualties on police. Taliban militants, who have been attempting to infiltrate into the relatively peaceful northern region of the militancy-hit country, have yet to make comment. The outfit's fighters have vowed to speed up their attacks against Afghan and international troops. In neighboring Kunduz province on the same day Friday, the militia raided a police checkpoint, killing eight policemen.<br />KHOST-A group of Taliban insurgents launched an attack on NATO bases in eastern Afghanistan 's Khost province early on Saturday, police said. A group of Taliban terrorists raided two bases of NATO-led troops in Khost province early Saturday but all the attackers were killed," provincial police chief Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai told Xinhua. He also added that the militants attacked NATO-led forces base in Sahra Bagh and old airfield at 05:00 a.m. local time with suicide bombers rockets and small arms. Ishaqzai further said that all the insurgents were killed and the situation is under full control at the moment. However, he could not give the exact numbers of the attackers killed during the counter attack. Earlier he put the number of those insurgents killed in counter attack as high as six. Meanwhile, NATO-led forces in a statement released here said that Afghan and coalition forces killed 13 Haqqani network insurgents, four of them were wearing suicide vests, as they attempted to attack Salerno base Saturday morning. No Afghan or coalition forces were killed in the attack," the statement said. Haqqani network is the military wing of Taliban outfit operating in the east, southeast as well as in Afghan capital Kabul. Previously, press department of NATO-led troops in southeast Afghanistan put the number of insurgents killed in counter attack as high as 11. It also said that five more attackers were detained and two soldiers sustained injuries. Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed of responsibility and in talks with media via telephone from undisclosed location said 20 suicide bombers stormed NATO bases in Khost province. Mujahid also claimed that the militants shot down a helicopter in old airfield. He also said huge casualties was inflicted on the troops but failed to give a figure. Taliban militants have vowed to intensify their attacks mostly in the shape of suicide and roadside bombings against Afghan and NATO-led troops stationed in Afghanistan.<br />KABUL- US and Afghan troops repelled attackers wearing American uniforms and suicide vests in a pair of simultaneous assaults before dawn on Saturday on NATO bases, including one where seven CIA employees died in a suicide attack last year.

The raids appear part of an insurgent strategy to step up attacks in widely scattered parts of the country as the US focuses its resources on the battle around the Taliban’s southern birthplace of Kandahar.

The militant assault in Khost began about 4am when dozens of insurgents stormed Forward Operating Base Salerno and nearby Camp Chapman with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons, according to NATO and Afghan police.

Twenty-one attackers were killed - 15 at Salerno and six at Chapman - and five were captured.

Three more insurgents, including a commander, were killed in an airstrike as they fled the area.

Two Afghan soldiers were killed and three wounded in the fighting. Four US troops were wounded.

US and Afghan officials blamed the attack on the Haqqani network. 

The dead were wearing US Army uniforms, which can be easily purchased in shops in Kabul and other cities.

Also on Saturday, nearly 50 female pupils and teachers were rushed to the hospital after an apparent toxic gas attack at a Kabul high school, the government said. It was the second case of poisoning at a girls’ school in the capital this week.<br />JALALABAN- Afghan officials said Saturday five Taliban were killed and six more wounded after they attacked a district centre in eastern Ningarhar province. Earlier, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) Taliban captured police headquarters after attacking headquarters of Hisarak Ghalji district. He said Taliban vacated the police headquarters after a clash in which seven police were killed and six more wounded, adding five Taliban were also injured in the firefight. Abdul Khaliq Maroof, chief of Hisarak Ghalji district, confirmed attack on the district centre but denied Taliban’s claim of capturing police centre. He ruled out casualty to police and claimed that five Taliban were killed and six more wounded in the gun battle, adding a Taliban shadow governor for Hisarak Ghalji district, Maulavi Muhammad Anwar, was also among the dead.<br />INDIAN NEWS: <br />CHATRA-Suspected Maoists today killed two ultras of a rival outfit and blew up a house at Sohaban village in Chatra district, police said. Acting on the information that Trititya Prastuti Committee (TPC) chief Brajesh Ganju was at home, about 200 Maoists attacked the house at about 1 am, killing the group's self-styled area commander Mohan Ganju and his associate Ramdeo Ganju, district police chief Prabhat Kumar said here. Brajesh Ganju managed to escape, he said.The Maoists later used dynamite to blow up the vacant house. The TPC is a breakaway group of the CPI (Maoist) and has a strong presence in Palamau, Chatra, Latehar and Garwah districts.<br />BANGALORE- two-seater Chetak helicopter crashed moments after take-off during a training mission at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) airport here. The two pilots suffered minor injuries, police said. The chopper, on a regular training mission, was only a few feet above the ground when it crashed, the police said. 

A senior pilot and a trainee pilot were on board and both suffered minor injuries and were treated at the HAL hospital<br />PURULIA- Maoists have given a call for a 24-hour bandh in Purulia and Jangalmahal area of Bankura and West Midnapore districts on Monday to protest the killing of a top Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) leader. To enforce the bandh call, Maoists stormed into Urmi station, 20 km from in Purulia, on Saturday and threatened that Railway property would be targetted if trains functioned on the section during the bandh, station manager Bimal Kumar Ghosh told newsmen. They also pasted posters on the station walls, he said. PCPA leader Umakanta Mahato, carrying a reward of Rs one lakh on his head and a prime suspect in the Jnaneswari train mishap case, was killed in an encounter with the joint forces at Mohanpur near Lodhasuli jungle in West Midnapore district on August 27.<br />NEW DELHI- The number of Indians on Interpol's wanted list stands over 650 with most of them having allegedly committed serious crimes like terrorism and rape of a minor, reported the Press Trust of India Sunday. The global crime monitoring organization has issued 656 red-alert notices against Indians or people of Indian origin in the past five years, generally for crimes committed in countries other than India, said the report. A red alert or red corner notice obliges immigration and police forces of all member countries to arrest the concerned person and inform the authorities in his home country, or the country where the crime was committed.<br />NEW DELHI-Five Indian security personnel were killed by extreme left-wong Naxal rebels in the central state of Chhattisgarh on Sunday, said police.<br />MUMBAI-The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India Saturday said that the Jet flight incident Friday night where 26 people were injured shows serious procedural lapses in dealing with the emergency and evacuation process. The DGCA has suspended the pilot, first officer and the crewmembers. Inspection has revealed that there was no fire or smoke in the engine area, even though the crew had claimed they could see smoke. The DGCA has also called for a meeting of the Heads of training of all Airlines to review the training procedures of cabin and flight crews, particularly in emergency and evacuation procedures. Twenty-six passengers of a Jet flight were injured at Mumbai airport during an emergency evacuation after a fire alarm went off in the cockpit Friday night. Some were hurt because they tried to jump from the plane while others sustained injuries in the chaos when passengers rushed to slide down the chutes. Eleven passengers were admitted in Nanavati Hospital, six were diagnosed with fracture. Now, only two patients are in the hospital, rest has been discharged. According to reports, 153 passengers were on board the flight. Jet Airways pilot of flight 9W 2302 from Mumbai to Chennai reported fire in one of the engine while it was on the taxiway. Emergency services responded to the call. However, there was no visible fire," the Jet spokesperson said. The pilot alerted the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) and a full emergency was declared. Taking no chances, the commander of the flight decided to evacuate all passengers. Emergency slides were deployed and 153 panic-stricken passengers were deplaned using the chutes. Fire engines were rushed to the spot, but reported no visible fire. While sliding out, some passengers were injured and sustained fractures. Most of them were given first aid. After several hours, the passengers were put on the same flight to Chennai where the flight arrived a little after 02:00 a.m. Saturday. Jet Airways in a statement said the commander of the flight proceeded to declare a precautionary emergency although there were no visible traces of fire.<br />SRINAGAR- Authorities in Indian-held Kashmir on Saturday prevented a march against Indian occupation by deploying police and paramilitary forces.

Key Kashmiri leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were put under house arrest after Geelani called upon residents to march to a football ground in Srinagar for a rally to protest against Indian occupation in IHK and the continued killings of innocent Kashmiris.

Barbed-wire barriers and iron gates were erected on Saturday to seal off the area around the grounds, which lie close to a small UN office monitoring ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.

Geelani had urged the residents to gather at the football ground for a rally against Indian occupation.

Authorities responded by enforcing a strict curfew in most of Srinagar and imposed strict security restrictions in other towns. “The step has been taken to prevent any law and order problems,” police official said.

Police on Saturday detained Aasiya Andrabi. “She has been arrested in Srinagar,” a police officer said, asking not to be named. Andrabi is part of Geelani’s alliance and has spearheaded some of the women’s protests in the region. 

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a speech in New Delhi earlier urged “non-lethal, yet effective and more focused, measures” to be used in IHK to restore order.

This prompted a major police shakeup with the transfer of the police chief for IHK, and his replacement by a senior officer from New Delhi who previously served in the region.<br />ASSAM-Tension continued along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border as miscreants burnt two houses in trouble-torn Charaipung area here last night even as the NSCN-IM denied any involvement in the violence. Two houses of one Ghanakanta Gogoi, a small tea grower, were set ablaze at Charaipung where tension Prevailed since August 14 following attacks, firing and burning down of houses by Arunachali miscreants allegedly aided by NSCN-IM insurgents, officials said. Denying involvement in the border violence, NSCN-IM said it was under ceasefire and involved in peace talks,
although they have camps nearby. When we have rocket launchers, AK-56 and mortars why should we be involved in petty incidents of house burning," a
NSCN cadre said. Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma after visiting the disputed area told PTI that in 1967 then NEFA
(now Arunachal Pradesh) was a part of Assam. The then chief minister Bimala Prasad Chaliha had allowed Wangso Nagas from
NEFA to cultivate 'paan' (betel leaf) in Charaipung area. But with time and after the creation of Arunachal Pradesh, the people there crossed over the inter-state border
at Teok river six km into Assam, Sarma said. Due to infrastructure facilities provided by the neighboring government, the people  claimed that they  were Raunchily, he said adding that Assam's population in the area has to be increased and development brought about there. A joint peace committee meeting between the two states in the area yesterday appealed to the people not to escalate the border conflict and the media to desist from sensationalizing the situation. Assam IGP Law and Order Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta, camping at Charaipung, said cooperation, joint vigil and interaction between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh could control the situation. Asserting there was no necessity for deployment of neutral forces like CRPF in the area, Mahanta said, Assam Police was capable of protecting the area and its people.<br />MIDDLE EAST NEWS:<br />RIYADH-SAUDI ARABIA, Bahrain has issued a gar order, banning local media from further covering a case involving a group of Shiite activists arrested this month over allegedly forming a " terrorist network," local al-Wasat newspaper reported Saturday. Due to secrecy required in this probe to uncover the truth in line with the kingdom's public order, Ali al-Buainain, the public prosecutor, has issued a gag order, banning all print, audio, video, online and other media outlets from publishing any news or details on the case," an unnamed source at the public prosecution' s office was quoted as saying by the paper. The only exception is the statements to be issued by the public prosecution in the future," the source said. Violators of the gag could face imprisonment of up to one year or fine under the Bahraini law, the source warned. Earlier this week, Bahrain arrested eight Shiite activists over the allegedly joining the network, which aimed to incite terrorism and vandalism in the country. Among the detainees is Abduljalil al-Singace, an outspoken critic of the government. He was arrested upon arrival from London, where he addressed a seminar at the House of Lords on the human rights situation in the Gulf state. Bahrain is a Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom with a Shiite majority.<br />SANAA-YEMEN, Yemeni Interior Ministry issued a highest state of alert following intelligence's warnings of possible al-Qaida attacks, the ministry's website said on Saturday. Security arrangements would be extra tightened around the potential targets amid growing activities of al-Qaida wing in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to the ministry. The ministry's move followed the reports that terrorist gunmen ambushed a patrol security vehicle late on Friday in Yafee city in the southern province of Lahj, killing two soldiers and severely injured another one. A local police official said clashes occurred between the soldiers and the gunmen after the ambush and the police authorities believed that al-Qaida militants were behind such attacks. On Friday, the Defense Ministry said a senior Yemeni security officer died after being seriously wounded on Thursday in an al- Qaida ambush in the northeast province of Marib, home of Yemen's major location of oil facilities. The impoverished Arab country has witnessed a growing active role of the AQAP regional wing since the beginning of this year, in which the terrorist group had claimed responsibility for a string of deadly attacks against army and security personnel in the south and east. The U.S.-backed Yemeni government has intensified security operations and air raids against terrorist groups after the Yemen- based al-Qaida wing claimed credit for a botched attempt to blow up a U.S. passenger plane bound for Detroit in December last year.<br />SANAA-YEMEN, At least seven security soldiers were killed and several others were wounded on Saturday in an al- Qaida attack in Yemeni southern troubled province of Abyan. A number of al-Qaida militants raided a security checkpoint at the al-Maisery tribe in Modia district in Abyan and shot dead seven soldiers and wounded around five others while the soldiers were gathering for their evening meal to break their fast during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, said the official. The attackers managed to flee after their attack, the official told Xinhua by phone on condition of anonymity. Another local official told that the al-Qaida militants belonged to the al-Maisery tribe and their attack came in revenge for the soldiers who were killed last week. Earlier Saturday, Yemeni Interior Ministry issued a highest state of alert following intelligence's warnings of possible al- Qaida attacks, the ministry's website said. Abyan province is believed to be a stronghold of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) that has witnessed a string of deadly attacks allegedly carried out by the group since earlier this year. The Yemeni government has intensified security operations and air raids against terrorist groups after the Yemen-based al-Qaida claimed responsibility for an attempted attack on a U.S. passenger plane bound for Detroit last year.<br />GAZA-PALESTINE, The Israeli forces Saturday shot and wounded two Palestinian workers in northern Gaza Strip, medical sources and witnesses said. The two were moderately wounded after the Israeli forces opened fire at workers near the security fence separating Gaza and Israel, said Adham Abu Selmia, spokesman for government's medical services. Witnesses said the two workers were with a group of people collecting gravel from former Jewish settlements that Israel evacuated in 2005. As Israel withholds shipments of gravel and other construction materials to Gaza, people go to dig for gravel beneath roads that used to link the Jewish settlements in northern Gaza, near the border. The Israeli army frequently fires at the workers who are mostly children.<br />BAGHDAD-IRAQ, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki Saturday warned of a new wave of attacks across the country to be carried out by militant groups led by al-Qaida days ahead of the U.S. forces end combat mission in the country. The government has information that al-Qaida in Iraq and members of the outlawed Baath party are planning to wage attacks," Maliki said in a statement without elaborating. He said that the attacks are planned to hit " selected provinces from the south to the north" of the country. Maliki called on the " Iraqi security forces and local governments to take necessary measures to prevent any security breach. Maliki's comments came days before the Aug. 31 deadline for the U.S. military to formally announce the end of its combat operations in the country as planned by U.S. President Barack Obama.<br />MOGADISHU-SOMALIA, At least four people were killed and 10 others were wounded Saturday as the latest flare-up of violence rages for the sixth day between Somalia's Islamist fighters and government forces backed by African Union (AU) peacekeeping troops, witnesses said. The Islamist fighters and AU troops fought over the main street in the government-controlled part of Mogadishu causing it to close to traffic and people, witnesses said. Stray shells and bullets landed in the main Bakara market killing four people and wounding 10 others mostly traders and shoppers at the market, the only main one in the restive city. The market was largely closed for business. Islamist group of Al Shabaab claimed advances in the latest clashes with government troops and allied militia saying they have taken over the main base of the pro-government Islamist faction of Ahlu Sunnah Waljama (ASWJ). The spokesman for the Al Shabaab, Ali Mohamoud Rageh, told reporters in a press conference held in the base of ASWJ in Mogadishu that they would continue fighting until they topple the government and drive out the AU peacekeepers from the country. Somali government officials have played down Al Shabaab's claims of victory and accused the group of deliberately targeting civilians. Meanwhile, an independent local FM radio station, IQK, which have been taken over by Al Shabaab this week after capturing an area where the station was located in the north of Mogadishu, is broadcasting massages in support of the group and calling for people to join the holy war against the invaders. The station belonged to a former Somali government information minister but has been independent before its seizure by Islamist fighters who now air continuous vocal-only Arabic songs and daily updates on the group's fight against Somali government forces and AU troops. The Islamist fighters announced an all-out war against Somali government troops and AU forces early in the week and have since been waging attacks on Somali government targets and positions of AU peacekeepers in Mogadishu.<br />ALGIERS-Algerian security forces killed three terrorists in the northeastern province of Tizi Ouzou, local French paper El Watan's website reported on Friday. The report cited well-informed sources as saying that the three terrorists were killed at about 1:30 p.m. (1230 GMT) near the town of Tadmait, 17 km west of the capital of Wilaya of Tizi Ouzou. Upon a tip-off, counter-terrorism forces had followed the terrorists from Algiers, and intercepted and killed them at a checkpoint set up by the military on the RN12 road linking Algiers and Tizi Ouzou. The report did not give more details.<br />BEIRUT-LEBANON, Lebanese authorities have arrested four suspects in this week’s deadly Beirut street battle between the Shia Muslim Hezbollah group and a small Sunni group.

The suspects are accused of attacking and setting fire to a Sunni mosque during Tuesday’s hours-long clash, which killed three people, including two Hezbollah members. It was the worst fighting in Beirut since 2008. A senior security official says the arrests were made in army raids on Friday night in the Bourj Abu Haidar residential neighborhood, where the fighting took place. The official spoke on Saturday on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.<br />AL ERISH-EGYPT, Egyptian police in the Sinai Peninsula have seized 190 rockets from which the explosives were to have been removed for smuggling into the Gaza Strip, a security official said on Saturday. The rockets, as well as landmines and 1,500 rounds of ammunition, were found in several caches and date back to Egypt's wars with Israel, namely the 1967 Six-Day war and the 1973 Arab-Israeli conflict, the official said. There were no immediate reports of any arrests linked to the find. According to the security official, smugglers planned to extract explosives from the weapons and sell it to Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
A network of underground tunnels links Egypt with Gaza. Cairo has stepped up its efforts to close the tunnels, which are mainly used to transport food and other goods into the impoverished Palestinian enclave, under blockade since the Hamas movement took it over in 2007.<br />REGIONAL CONFLICTS: <br />MANAMA-BAHRAIN, Israel is planning to attack alleged Hezbollah missile stores in Syria, a Kuwaiti daily has said. Israel has had for some time the intention to attack the strategic depots belonging to Hezbollah in Syria and which contain a high number of strategic long-range missiles," Al Rai newspaper reported on Saturday, quoting Western sources it did not name. The depots are located in remote areas in Syria, the paper said. The daily said that Western military reports asserted that Israel has mobilised an armored division to reinforce the strength of the division already stationed near the Golan Heights and Sheba'a Farms. The current military forces are enough to launch wars on the Syrian and Lebanese fronts if Israel goes ahead with such an adventure," the military experts were quoted as saying. Recent intense Israeli unmanned aerial drone flights over the area signal Israel's intentions to carry out military operations in the area, according to the experts. The strike will not be confined to Hezbollah depots, but will extend to modern weapon factories belonging also to Hezbollah and which are located in Syria," the paper said. Al Rai report said that the situation on the Syria-Israel border was tense amid speculations about Syria's immediate reaction. It could be a silent reaction like the one that followed the Israeli bombing of a site in Syria in 2007 or a surprise response with Syria viewing the attack as antagonistic action, which would result in a dangerous escalation.
 According to the report, Syria's military is on high alert and is strengthening its anti- aircraft defenses. Hezbollah has also intensified its readiness for a possible Israeli military operation and regards any attack on its depots in Syria as a declaration of war, the paper said.<br />YANGON-MYANMAR, A major reshuffle by Myanmar’s ruling junta marks the biggest shift within the military in decades, with changes to more than 70 senior army officers’ positions, an officer said on Saturday.

News emerged from the country on Friday that some senior leaders, including army number three Thura Shwe Mann, had retired from their military posts to stand in the November 7 poll the first held in the country in two decades. “More than 70 senior military officers’ posts were changed. We can say that it’s the biggest change within the military in decades,” an army officer, who declined to be named, told AFP.

“Our leaders have been planning for a long time to keep the military active with the new generation,” he added.

Initial news reports on Friday said the junta chief Than Shwe who has ruled the country with an iron-fist since 1992 and his number two Maung Aye had stepped down from the army, but this was denied by a government official. An unnamed government officer close to the regime said on Saturday that the 77-year-old and his deputy were “likely to retire soon. 
The order hasn’t come out yet in paper though they have planned it,” he said. “It’s likely to be after the election. The Myanmar media did not officially announce 
The reshuffle and state television was silent on the subject. It comes as the country gears up for its first elections since democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) was denied office by the junta after winning a landslide victory in 1990. Critics and the West have said the upcoming vote, which will guarantee a quarter of the legislature for the army, is a sham aimed at putting a civilian mask on the junta.

Prime Minister Thein Sein and other ministers stepped down from the military in April to contest the vote as the Union Solidarity and Development Party, which is unconstrained by the financial and campaigning barriers faced by other parties. Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi has been in detention for much of the last twenty years and is barred from standing in the election because she is a serving prisoner.

Her NLD party which would have been the greatest threat to the junta is boycotting the upcoming poll, saying the rules are unfair. As a result, the ruling generals forcibly disbanded it<br />BEIJING-CHINA, North Korea would answer any attack on it with a nuclear “holy war”, the country’s ambassador to Cuba said, according to official Chinese media, while the North’s leader Kim Jong-il appeared to be visiting China.

The ambassador Kwon Sung-chol made the remarks on Friday at a ceremony marking 50 years of diplomatic ties between North Korea and Cuba, the same day that Pyongyang said it was open to returning to nuclear disarmament negotiations.

“If Washington and Seoul try to create a conflict on the Korean peninsula, we will respond with a holy war on the basis of our nuclear deterrent forces,” Kwon said, according to China’s Xinhua news agency on Saturday. “Our government will strive for the denuclearization of the peninsula and the establishment of a lasting peace as the beginning of the reunification process of the two Koreas,” said Kwon. Washington and Seoul have said Pyongyang must abandon its nuclear weapons development, but have not threatened to attack the poor and isolated North. 

North Korea’s number two leader, Kim Yong-nam, told visiting former US President Jimmy Carter that the reclusive state wanted to resume six-way nuclear disarmament talks, the North’s state news agency said<br />BEIJING–CHINA, China said Sunday its navy will stage live-ammunition drills in the Yellow Sea this week, after Beijing condemned recent and planned U.S.-South Korean joint naval exercises there and vowed to respond in kind. Beijing has said last month's U.S.-South Korea joint naval drills in the Yellow Sea risked heightening tensions on the Korean peninsula and ignored China's objections to any foreign military exercises off its coast. The Beihai Fleet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy will conduct exercises from Wednesday to Saturday in the sea off the southeast coast of Qingdao city, where the fleet is headquartered, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the defense ministry.<br />The drills are routine, annual training mostly involving the shooting of shipboard artillery, Xinhua said. Calls to the ministry's offices rang unanswered Sunday. The United States and South Korea have planned additional joint maneuvers in the sea early next month, although no dates have been announced. The drills have been a source of friction in what has been a difficult year for relations between the Chinese and U.S. militaries. Although the Yellow Sea consists mostly of international waters, China regards it as lying within its vaguely defined security perimeter. The military's newspaper, People's Liberation Army Daily, said in an editorial condemning the upcoming exercises signed by Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan, a frequent outspoken commentator on military matters If no one harms me, I harm no one, but if someone harms me, I must harm them. China has recently given an unusual degree of publicity to a series of military drills and live-firing exercises along its eastern coastline seen by some as a direct response to the U.S.-South Korean exercises. Earlier this month, China lashed out at a Pentagon report accusing its military of excessive secrecy and warned the report could further damage ties between their armed forces. China was also upset by statements last month by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton seen as unwelcome interference in the territorial dispute between China and Southeast Asian nations over the South China Sea, which China claims in its entirety, along with the myriad tiny islands lying within it. In January, Beijing suspended contacts with the U.S. military as retaliation for a $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the self-governing island China claims as its own territory.<br />NATURAL DISASTER: <br />SUJAWAL-PAKISTAN, Floodwater has entered Sujawal tehsil of Thatta District, according to media reports on Sunday. Earlier, flood entered the Sujawal Grid Station, causing suspension of electricity supply in Sujawal, Chohar Jamali, Jati, Mirpur Bhuttoro and other areas. Power supply to the most parts of Thatta was suspended after a main cable fell. However, electricity supply to these areas would be restored soon. Meanwhile, the district administration is trying to create a protective embankment to save Thatta city. According to reports, the Pakistan Army has filled up a breach in Faqir Goth. However, another breach, which developed near Thatta Sugar Mill, is yet to be filled. It has inundated many villages.<br />NEW DELHI-INDIA, At least 211 people, mostly children, have died in an outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in an impoverished region of northern Indian and the death toll is likely to soar, officials said on Saturday. Eastern parts of India’s most populous state are ravaged by encephalitis each year as malnourished children succumb to the virus which is transmitted by mosquitoes from pigs to humans but this is one of the worst outbreaks, officials said. “Most of the deaths have occurred in the Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh state since the monsoon struck the region in July,” regional health officer U.K. Srivastava told AFP by telephone from Gorakhpur. The deaths of five more children on Friday pushed the toll to 211, with hundreds sick, some two to a bed, in hospitals in Gorakhpur, a deeply neglected area of 14 million people, he said. “A total of 1,299 patients had been admitted in hospitals until Friday in Gorakhpur,” which is the epicentre of the outbreak, and “more encephalitis patients are coming into our hospitals,” Srivastava told AFP. “We fear the total number of encephalitis cases will go up to at least 3,500 and the death rate will be at a ratio of around 20 percent,” Srivastava said. Japanese encephalitis causes brain inflammation and can result in brain damage. Symptoms include headaches, seizures and fever. Health experts say 70 million children nationwide are at risk of encephalitis. Unusually heavy monsoon rains coupled with overflowing rivers coursing through Gorakhpur are making it tougher for health workers battling encephalitis. “We have begun spraying insecticides to wipe out populations of the culex mosquitoes which transmits the disease and we are handing out chlorine to villagers to disinfect their drinking water supplies,” Srivastava said. V.S. Nigam, in charge of Uttar Pradesh’s encephalitis prevention programmed, said a mammoth project to contain the disease ended with 35 million children vaccinated in the state’s 34 districts.<br />AFRICA- A cholera outbreak has erupted this summer in Africa, killing more than 600 people in the neighboring countries of Nigeria and Cameroon. Nigeria's Health Ministry said more than 350 people have died since June and the infection threatens to spread to the entire country, the most populous in Africa. In neighboring Cameroon, nearly 300 people have been killed. There's a lot of people crossing over the border all the time," said Dr. Eric Mintz, the leader of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's global water sanitation and hygiene epidemiology team. " So it's not surprising that the cholera is also crossing over the border. Nigeria's outbreak had sickened more than 6,400 people and killed 352 people by Wednesday, the federal Ministry of Health reported. Although most of the outbreaks occurred in the northwest and northeast zones, epidemiological evidence indicates that the entire country is at risk," the ministry reported. Cholera occurs in much of the country under normal conditions, but the lack of clean drinking water and recent flooding following heavy rains are fueling the spread of disease, the ministry reported. Two-thirds of rural Nigerians lack access to safe drinking water, and fewer than 40 percent of the people in the affected states have access " to toilet facilities of any description," the health ministry said. The intestinal infection causes diarrhea and vomiting that can cause severe dehydration without prompt attention, according to the World Health Organization.<br />ISLAMABAD-PAKISTAN, With the sudden change in weather conditions and recent rains, patients affecting from gastro (Gastroenteritis) and conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) have increased as 80 to 90 patients are visiting outdoor patient department (OPD) and emergency ward of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and Polyclinic Hospital daily.

Numbers of reported cases of seasonal waterborne diseases especially of gastroenteritis has soared manifolds in twin cities with the arrival of monsoon rain spell.

Likewise, every monsoon season the number of patients suffering from viral disease conjunctivitis have swelled and the situation is evident from the significant influx of patients going to the OPD of gastro and Ophthalmology departments in PIMS and Polyclinic. 

Talking to Daily Times, PIMS spokesman Dr Waseem Khawaja said that Monsoon was most suitable season for the virus of water-borne diseases to grow especially the rotavirus and poliovirus becomes active in this season. “PIMS is receiving 70-80 daily visitors suffering from Conjunctivitis and 90-100 patients of gastro” Khawaja said adding hospital is fully equipped to facilitate all these patients coming from the twin cities or other adjacent localities.

PIMS spokesman said the areas affected with rainy water particularly those in Rawalpindi are dangerous, as there is no proper system to drain out the contaminated water in the residential areas, he added. As after the heavy rain the water pooled in low-laying areas, results in outbreak of waterborne diseases, Dr Khawaja said.

Khawaja opined that diseases like gastro, Malaria, skin infection, dysentery, typhoid, paratyphoid, polio virus intestinal worms, diarrhea, cholera and Conjunctivitis are on the rise and a large number of people living near the affected areas could be exposed to such disease.

“Every third patient out of 10 that comes to PIMS is suffering from either gastro or Conjunctivitis”, he further informed.<br />TEHRAN-IRAN, A magnitude-5.9 earthquake that hit the city of Damghan in Iran's northern Semnan province at 1923 GMT Friday night has killed 2 people and injured 40 others, state TV IRINN reported. The earthquake, at a depth of only 7 km, was 35.5 degrees North Latitude and 54.5 degrees East Longitude, according to the Iranian Seismological Center's website. The epicenter of the quake, 278 km to the east of Iran's capital Tehran, is in a desert area of the Semnan Province, which is called Barandazeh Mianeh. A few villages to the south of Damghan have been affected, and the quake was felt in Tehran's eastern part. Iran, including its capital Tehran, sits astride several major fault-lines in the earth's crust, and is prone to frequent earthquakes. Moderate quakes sometimes cause huge damage in some regions of the country because of the poor construction.<br />JAKARTA-INDONESSIA, A volcano in western Indonesia spewed hot lava and sand high into the sky early Sunday in its first eruption in 400 years.<br />Government volcanologist Surono, who uses only one name, said Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province started rumbling a few days ago and the minor morning eruption has mostly stopped. It sent sand and ash up to 1.5 kilometers high but lava only moved near the crater. It caused no major damage " but only dust covered plants and trees he said. He said Mount Sinabung last erupted in 1600, so observers don't know the volcano's eruption pattern and are monitoring it closely for more activity. Evacuations on the volcano's slopes started Friday at the first signs of activity. Up to 10,000 people who fled are staying in government buildings, houses of worship and other evacuation centers in two nearby towns. Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is on the so-called " Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.<br />BOGOTA–COLOMBIA, Colombia’s Galeras volcano erupted early Friday, but authorities say the situation is under control, though they are continuing to ask local villagers to evacuate the area as soon as possible. Falling ash in several villages on the northwestern slope of the volcano” has been reported, Diego Gomez, the head of the Pasto Volcano logy Institute, in the southwestern province of Nariño, where Galeras is located, told the media. We’re facing a phenomenon that up to now is not at the explosive level,” Gomez noted, adding that the situation is under control, although authorities are remaining on maximum alert because it involves a “very unstable volcanic system. The eruption of Galeras occurred about 4 a.m. and currently both smoke and some falling ash continue to emerge from the volcano. Galeras, one of Colombia’s largest active volcanoes, is located about 700 kilometers (434 miles) southwest of Bogota, rises 4,276 meters (13,897 feet) high and in recent years has experienced dozens of eruptions. Its return to active status began last Friday morning. The Colombian air force is undertaking reconnaissance flights over the mountain to try and detect any change in the volcano’s activity level. According to Nariño authorities, traffic on the roadways linking the towns near Galeras has been suspended, although the airport at Pasto, the provincial capital, continues to operate normally. The government is maintaining continuous watch on the situation and Interior and Justice Minister German Vargas Lleras reiterated the call for the more than 8,000 residents of the volcano’s zone of influence to go to the shelters prepared to deal with the emergency. The head of the National Police, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, announced that 400 officers would be sent into the threatened areas to try and convince the public of the need to evacuate, given that so far only 1 percent of the local residents have gone to the shelters.<br />CHENGDU-CHINA, At least 12 people had been injured and more than 300 houses damaged in an earthquake that jolted Ningnan county, southwestern Sichuan Province, and neighboring Qiaojia county of Yunnan Province, local authorities said Sunday. The earthquake measuring 4.8 on the Richter occurred at 8:53 a.m. Sunday Beijing time. The earthquake left at least 11 people injured and damaged 300 to 400 houses in Qiaojia County, said Fang Zonghui, head of the county. Another person was slightly injured in Ningnan County, local officials said, adding that nobody was reported dead or missing. The epicenter, with a depth of about 10 kilometers, was located at 27.1 degrees north latitude and 102.9 degrees longitude according to Sichuan's earthquake network center. The damage of the earthquake is being evaluated. Floods have displaced<br /> KATHMANDU-NEPAL, With heavy rainfall in recent days; over 300 families while around 600 houses have been waterlogged in Morang district. Similarly, a culvert collapse has obstructed vehicular movement in Jhapa district in eastern Nepal. According to Saturday's Republica.com report, the river that entered into human settlements following Thursday night’s incessant rain has inundated around 600 houses in Itahara and Baradanga villages. Currents of water have trapped some 60 people. Security personnel equipped with boats and life jackets have been mobilized in the flooded area. They have been working tirelessly to rescue the villagers. Security personnel have attempted to move the trapped people to safe locations, according to Chief District Officer of Morang, Suresh Adhikari. The river, which had already breached one of its embankments five days ago, devastated two more embankments Thursday night. Similarly, the Lohandra River in Morang, some 240 km east of Kathmandu, has displaced 10 families in Belbari village.<br />MANAGUA- NICARAGUA, Thirty-four people have died in constant heavy rains since May in Nicaragua as of Saturday, in a developing disaster, which has already affected some 85,000 people. Twenty-three of the deaths took place in August, according to Nestor Solis Gonzalez from the Civil Defense. There were six confirmed deaths during last 24 hours. Among those affected by the killer rains, one a few was staying at the shelters established by the aid organizations. Solis said roads in many northerner provinces were badly damaged and the rains have left many municipalities isolated. Nicaragua's Producers Union said the rains also affected the harvesting of beans, sorghum, soya and peanut as the crops died of too much water. The government is expected to launch a relief plan in the coming days.<br />BRASILIA-BRAZIL, Brazilian firefighters are scrambling to extinguish rampant forest fires across the country as at least 1,391 fire outbreaks were reported from Thursday midnight to Friday noon. A total of 22,730 fires out breaks have been reported so far this month, according to latest statistics provided by National Institute of Space Research (INPE) on Friday. INPE recorded 41,636 fire outbreaks year to date, a 135-percent increase year on year. About 10,000 people are involved in the work of fire fighting, especially in the areas of environmental protection. The Federal Police, the Army and the National Security Force are also supporting the work to combat fire. Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the government has invested about 17 million U.S. dollars to prevent forest fires, but the structure to combat fire may be insufficient due to weather and the large number of illegal fires started mainly by farmers. This week, Brazilian Environmental Institute gave fines amounting to more than two million dollars for illegal burning in Brazil's North Region where the Amazon rainforest is located. In the region's Rondonia State, one person was arrested in flagrante and fined 1.9 million dollars on Thursday for setting fire on a pasture, without permission. In Para, another state in the region, seven farmers were also fined for causing fires in 724.91 hectares of pasture and forest regeneration.<br />ANKARA-TURKEY, Death toll on Friday increased to 11 in the landslide, which happened in northern Turkey, the semi- official Anatolia news agency reported. Turkish search and rescue teams pulled three more bodies from the debris of two collapsed houses in Gundogdu town of Rize province said the report. On Friday evening, landslide and flood occurred in Gundogdu due to torrential rains, inundating many houses and a school building. Turkish State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek was on his way to Rize to examine the region, said the report, adding that earlier in the day, State Minister Faruk Nafiz Ozak also visited the region.<br />MAN MADE DISASTER:<br />LIMA–PERU, At least 12 people died Saturday after two buses on a highway in the northern region of Cajamarca crashed head-on, local media said. The accident occurred on the road leading to the town of Ciudad de Dios and involved two vehicles of the Susanita and El Cumbe companies, RPP radio said. Three men have been identified among the fatalities up to now, and police from the town of Guadalupe have launched an investigation into the case. Traffic accidents in Peru take some 3,000 lives each year, chiefly because of the unlicensed, unregulated transport companies that exist, an aging fleet of buses, and roads in a bad state of repair. According to data from Peru’s Transport Ministry, in 2008 alone some 3,489 people were killed and another 52,929 were injured in more than 85,000 accidents, caused in 30 percent of the cases by speeding and 26 percent of the time by reckless driving.<br />MANILA-PHILIPPINE, At least four people were killed and dozens of other passengers were injured when a bus fell into a ravine in southern Luzon early Sunday, police said. Initial report reaching Camp Crame headquarters in Quezon City, Metro Manila, showed that the bus, which came from Tacloban, Leyte province and was bound for Metro Manila, lost break along the highway in Silangang Malicboy village, Pagbilao town in Quezon province at around 2:30 a.m. local time, and fell into the ravine beside the highway. Police said that four unidentified passengers were declared dead on the spot, while the 36 other passengers who were injured were immediately sent to a nearby hospital. Severe road accidents involving multiple casualties are common in the Philippines due to poor road conditions, lack of maintenance of vehicles, overspending, drunk driving, etc. Earlier this month, a bus fell into a ravine in Benguet province, killing 41 people on board. In another road tragedy, which occurred in mid-June this year, a bus fell off a ravine in the central Philippine province of Cebu, killing at least 20 people and injuring 30 others.<br />POLITICAL & PROTEST RISK:<br />JOHANNESBURG-SOUTH AFRICA, Another powerful union in South Africa is threatening to join the massive strike that has already crippled the country. The National Union of Mineworkers said Friday it would join the public sector strike next week if the government does not meet the demands of strikers who want more money. We are angry that whilst those who are privileged have children go to school overseas; our children have turned into street kids," the union said in a statement.<br />HONG KONG-Thousands of people have joined a rally in Hong Kong to express their anger at the Philippines' handling of last week's tourist coach hijacking. They are demanding an explanation of how eight Hong Kong tourists were killed in the hostage taking in Manila. A disgruntled ex-policeman, Rolando Mendoza, who was killed as police attempted to rescue the hostages, hijacked their coach. Earlier, about 1,000 people in the Philippines attended his funeral. Mendoza, 55, seized the bus with an assault rifle in an attempt to get back the job he lost in 2009 for extortion and threat making. The rally was organized by both pro-Beijing and pro-democracy political parties - a rare occasion for them to unite, says the BBC's Annemarie Evans in Hong Kong. My feelings were, of course, like those of all Hong Kong people," said the president of Hong Kong's Legislative Council, Tsang Yok-sing.<br />HYDERABAD-INDIA, The regional divide in Andhra Pradesh flared again on Saturday with the pro-Telangana students of Osmania University in Hyderabad assaulting teachers from the Andhra and Rayala Seema regions, forcing them to flee the campus. The teachers, including women, had come to the Osmania campus to evaluate Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) examinations answer sheets, but they were prevented from carrying out the work and forced out of the hall. Some of them were stopped from entering the venue and a couple of them were chased and assaulted by students. The incident has sparked a strong reaction in the Rayala Seema and Andhra regions, and protests against the teacher assaults by students from Andhra University in Visakhapatanam. Rallying students also burnt the effigies of Telangana Rashtra Samiti president K Chandrasekhara Rao and Telangana political JAC convenor Prof Kodanda Ram, demanding stringent action against the students who carried out the assaults. State governor, ESL Narasimhan, sought a report on the assaults from the OU Vice Chancellor as tension prevailed on several university campuses across the state. The Osmania University Students Joint Action Committee demanded that all the teachers from other regions should be sent back and taken off evaluation duties, They then shouted slogans against non-local teachers and demanded that their answer sheets be evaluated only by Telangana teachers. Osmania University Students Joint Action Committee leader Ramesh alleged that the teachers from Andhra and Rayala Seema were not being fair in the evaluation of their papers. Last year 60 per cent of our students were deliberately failed in B.Ed examination to deprive them of job opportunities so the same could go to the candidates of Andhra and Rayala Seema," Ramesh said. Denying that the students had attacked the teachers yesterday, Ramesh said that students only protested after the teachers made provocative remarks about the Telangana students.<br />BRADFORD-UK, Members of a 700-strong crowd of far-right protesters threw bottles, stones and smoke bombs at anti-fascist demonstrators on Saturday in the ethnically mixed English city of Bradford. A heavy police presence swiftly contained the standoff. However, the protest has raised fears of a repeat of race riots that rocked Bradford in 2001. Members of the English Defense League (EDL) staged a static demonstration in northern city, home to one of Britain’s largest community of people from Pakistan, against what they claim is the expansion of radical Islam in Britain. Police said that about 700 EDL members turned up, contained in a small area in the center of Bradford after the government banned them from marching through the city amid fears of unrest<br />KARACHI-PAKISTAN, A partial strike was observed in some areas of the city on the call of Jeay Sindh Tehreek (JST) on Saturday.

Unidentified miscreants resorted to aerial firing in some areas including Safora Goth, Shah Latif Town, Marora Goth, Mir Gabol Goth, Mir Chakro Goth and some parts of Gulistan-e-Jauhar and disrupted commercial activities.

A minibus at Khawar Chowk in Gulistan-e-Jauhar and a truck near Bhains Colony Mor in Shah Latif Town were set ablaze by unidentified culprits.

However, the overall situation remained calm and no major incidents were reported. Heavy contingent of law enforcement agencies were deployed to maintain the law and situation.<br />KARACHI-PAKISTAN, The Karachi Bar Association (KBA) and Malir Bar Association (MBA) on Saturday boycotted court proceedings in protest against the murder of Sardar Zulfiqar Kashmiri. They strongly condemned the murder and demanded arrest of the culprits as soon as possible. MBA General Secretary Asadullah Memon said Kashmiri’s murder was part of the ongoing-targeted killings. More than 600 under-trial prisoners were not taken to the courts from the Karachi Central Jail, Malir District Jail, women’s jail and children’s jails. City Courts, District Courts Malir, Banking Courts, National Accountability Courts, Anti-Terrorism Courts and Customs Courts faced a similar situation.<br />MAZAR-I-SHARIF-AFGHANISTAN, Polling stations in several districts of northern Afghanistan would remain closed because of security concerns, officials in three northern provinces said, calling for the government to provide better protection. Governors, police chiefs and election commission officials from Faryab, Jawzjan and Saripul provinces held a meeting in Mazar-i-Sharif, capital of northern Balkh province, to discuss the security situation. Lal Muhammad Ahmadzai, a police spokesman for the northern zone, said the district of Ghormach, Pashtunkot and Qisar in Faryab; Siyyad and Kohistan districts in Saripul and Qoqchi and Darzab districts in Jawajan was a high security risk. Saripul governor, Rahmatullah Rahmati, said six polling stations in the Siyyad district would remain shut on September 18 election day due to security concerns. He said there was a need to establish 40 more polling stations in his province in safe areas to compensate. Saripul provincial head of the Independent Election Commission, Amanullah Farabi, called the meeting a significant development. Of 136 polling stations in the province, six would remain closed due to security problems, he said. According to Ahmazai, more security personnel would be dispatched to the insecure areas. He said a search operation would be conducted in the troubled parts so that ground could be paved for voting there.<br />NEW DELHI-INDIA, Indian police Saturday arrested a woman separatist leader in India-controlled Kashmir who was on wanted list of police for agitating protests, reported the Indo- Asian News Service. Asiya Andrabi was arrested from a house in Zakura area of summer capital Srinagar, said the report quoting police sources. Andrabi's group, the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, is a constituent of the hardline Hurriyat group headed by Syed Ali Geelani. The group has been issuing shutdown and protest schedules in India-controlled Kashmir over the past two months, which have seen violent conflicts between local Muslim youth and Indian paramilitary forces. Paramilitary forces have killed at least 64 civilians over the past two months in India-controlled Kashmir.<br />GAZA-PALESTINE, Dozens of Palestinian demonstrators on Saturday gathered in the Gaza Strip to protest against the Palestinian National Authority (PNA)'s decision to resume peace talks with Israel. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) organized the demonstration. The PNA on August 20 accepted an U. S. invitation to attend a meeting in Washington in early September to resume the direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. The protestors marched through a main street in Gaza City, waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans describing the discussions as " playful" as long as the Israeli commitment to freeze Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is unavailable. We clearly reject the direct negotiations since it doesn't have an international reference," said Saleh Zidan, a DFLP official in Gaza. He urged the Palestinian leadership to withdraw from the talks " because Israel will use them to cover up the resumption of settlement and aggression.<br />LIMA–PERU, Some 2,500 peasants are blocking a 100-kilometer (60-mile) stretch of highway in eastern Peru’s Ucayali region to protest efforts to eradicate coca leaf, the raw material of cocaine, authorities said. The protesters are wielding clubs and may also have guns, the police commander in the Upper Huallaga Valley told Canal television. The rugged geography permits them (the peasants) to reinforce their action if we should try to clear this highway, Gen. Marlon Savitzky said. Hundreds of vehicles have been left stranded by the blockade. Ucayali regional President Lutgardo Gutierrez and the protest leaders agreed Wednesday to seek talks with Peruvian Prime Minister Javier Velasquez Quesquen on resolving the dispute, RPP radio said. Two civilians died earlier this month when police used force to break up another road-blocking protest in the Upper Huallaga, one of Peru’s main coca-producing areas. The growers are demanding an end to forced eradication of coca and the withdrawal of the Upper Huallaga coca-control task force, known as Corah. Peruvian authorities wiped out more than 8,461 hectares of illegal coca leaf in the Huanuco and Ucayali regions between Jan. 23 and Aug. 12. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said in June that Peru has surpassed Colombia as the world’s leading source of coca, producing 119,000 metric tons of the leaf in 2009.<br />BOGOTA–COLOMBIA, Several thousand people demonstrated Saturday against armed gangs fighting turf battles to control criminal activities in the strife-torn Comuna 13 district of Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city. Locals marched through the streets of San Javier, one of the neighborhoods of the residential district on the city’s west side, and gathered in a park to demand that the parties fighting each other exclude them from their disputes, the local press said. The mobilization was called by community action committees of the district, terrorized in recent weeks by armed clashes, especially at night, obliging local residents to stay indoors. Seeing what the district is going through, I think it’s of vital importance that social organizations have decided to take the initiative,” the mayor of this industrial city in northwest Colombia, Alonso Salazar, told reporters.<br />The mayor led the demonstration, which was organized after clashes this week left one person dead and several wounded, and interrupted mass transport services. Some 130,000 people live in the almost 30 neighborhoods of the city’s teeming Comuna 13 district, affected in recent years by a growing presence of armed gangs made up of former paramilitaries fighting turf battles for local control of drug trafficking and the extortion of bus operators and storekeepers.<br />The march took place hours before the opening of the so-called Comprehensive Intervention Center, made up of representatives of the municipal government, the Attorney General’s Office, the army, the National Police, the DAS intelligence agency, and officials of government social agencies. The Comprehensive Intervention Center shares a building with Comuna 13’s House of Justice, which also began operations on Saturday. During the day, the director of the National Police, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, activated an elite corps of investigators, created to dismantle the gangs in conflict, and deployed a mobile anti-riot squad to guarantee transport services in the district.<br />TEGUCIGALPA–HONDURAS, Talks between protesting teachers and the Honduran government aimed at ending a nearly month-long strike have hit another snag, even though the two sides had said the conflict was practically resolved. Negotiators said Wednesday night that several agreements had been reached after 15 days of meetings, including a mechanism for the government to pay some $200 million in past-due contributions to a teachers’ pension and benefits fund, and that a final document would be signed the following day. But after several hours of new meetings teachers’ representatives said Thursday they would not remain at the negotiating table, although the government’s chief negotiator, Arturo Corrales, told reporters that the talks had not broken down.<br />Meanwhile, Oliva and other teachers’ leaders said the strike that began in early August would continue if Lobo does not respond to their demands. The educators held a new protest march Thursday that blocked traffic on a boulevard in Tegucigalpa and later police used tear gas to disperse another teachers’ demonstration in a sector near the presidential palace. The strike is affecting more than 2 million children and adolescents at public schools in Honduras. Honduran educators are to teach 200 days of classes per year under the current teachers’ statute, although due to constant labor disputes in the sector they rarely fulfill that requirement.<br />LAGOS-NIGERIA, Electricity workers in Nigeria have announced the suspension of the nationwide strike embarked upon by its union following a truce reached with the government. The suspension of the strike came just as Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan announced the payment of the 20,000 electricity workers the arrears of their monetization allowances totaling 57 billion naira. The president also unveiled the roadmap for power sector reform in the country and outlined government's plans to effectively tackle the challenges of the power sector in the country. The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) organizing secretary Temple Owirima announced the decision to call off the strike to reporters in Abuja on Thursday. The strike, which started on Wednesday, plunged the entire nation into darkness. Owirima said the conditions under which the strike was called off included the immediate payment of salary arrears to the workers, starting from Aug. 26. He said the disbursement of funds should be concluded within one week, while the outstanding 137 percent pay rise agreed in May would be discussed within the stipulated time. The organizing secretary told reporters that the federal government has promised to review and address the issue of the regularization of appointments of more than 10,000 casual workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). The payment of the monetization arrears marks the beginning of the implementation of the agreement reached at the meeting, which ended at 2 a.m. local time on Thursday, Owirima said. Blackouts are common in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, where demand for electricity is almost double the current supply of 3,000 megawatts. The relocation of many firms from Nigeria to neighboring countries is gradually and steadily ruffling the nations' political, economic and social feathers. As of October, 2009, over 800 firms had fully or partially shifted their production bases from Nigeria to countries such as Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire and South Africa due to shortage of power<br />REST OF THE WORLD: <br />CARACAS –VENEZUELA, Ten Venezuelan soldiers died when their helicopter crashed in the midst of an anti-drug operation in southwestern Venezuela, the general commander of the Bolivarian National Guard, a militarized police force, said Saturday. Luis Motta said in a telephone interview on VTV state television that the accident occurred when the National Guard helicopter “was undertaking a search for a gang of drug traffickers” in Apure state, the military chief, said. After leaving a military patrol on the ground “in a sector between Buena Vista and Canaravo,” the helicopter “had this terrible accident as it was taking off,” Motta said. The helicopter that went down was a Russian-made MI-17 covering the Buena Vista route along the Meta River to the town of Cararabo in Apure state, the local press said this Saturday. Motta said that the “boys died doing their duty, their patriotic duty,” and offered condolences to the families of the victims in the name of the armed forces, of the country’s President Hugo Chavez, and the Venezuelan defense minister, Gen. Carlos Mata. He added that during the operation, the patrol on the ground nabbed one of the suspected drug traffickers, but offered no further details.<br />BOGOTA–COLOMBIA, All six people aboard were killed Wednesday when a small plane crashed in northeastern Colombia, the country’s Aerocivil aviation authority said. Although initially five fatalities had been reported in the mishap, later in the day an Aerocivil communique said that there were “six people who regrettably perished in the air accident” of the Piper 34 belonging to Aliar S.A. The text of the announcement said that the accident occurred about 9 a.m. local time (1400 GMT). Pilot Javier Muñoz died in the crash, along with four women and another man, all of whom were passengers. The aircraft was found “destroyed” on the ground, Col. Hector Carrascal told reporters, adding that the plane took off from Bucaramanga, Colombia’s fifth-largest city, for a private airstrip near Yopal, the capital of Casanare province and it crashed near the Palma Triste farm. He initially said that four adults and one child had been killed in the crash. Aerocivil rescue teams along with air force personnel and police – were sent to the site, Carrascal said. The first people to give notice were residents of the farm on which the aircraft crashed, and the last communication (was) with the control tower at the Palonegro airport.<br />CIUDAD JUAREZ-MEXICO, At least 17 people have been killed in recent hours in northern Mexico, including nine whose charred bodies were discovered near Ciudad Juarez and four hit men gunned down during an attempt to spring other suspected cartel enforcers from custody in Monterrey. The Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office said police on Friday found the charred remains of nine men on the road that links Chihuahua – the state capital – with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s deadliest city. Eight were found inside a torched SUV and the other a short distance from the vehicle. Several 9mm bullet casings were found at the scene. Hours later, the dead bodies of two men in their 30s who had been shot at point-blank range were found under a bridge along the road between Chihuahua city and the border town of Ojinaga. Meanwhile, two federal police officers were shot and killed while traveling by car on a road on Ciudad Juarez’s south side, officials said. That double murder brings to 26 the number of federal police officers who have been killed in Ciudad Juarez thus far in 2010. A turf battle between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels – the latter headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted fugitive for control of the Ciudad Juarez area is blamed for more than 1,700 homicides thus far in 2010. Elsewhere, four cartel enforcers who tried to spring five detained gunmen were killed by Mexican army soldiers in a clash in the Monterrey suburb of Juarez. The gun battle occurred early Friday after the soldiers had responded to an anonymous complaint about armed men gathering at a home, a military spokesman said. The soldiers arrested two hit men at the residence and confiscated three rifles and a fragmentation grenade. The detainees also led the troops to another safe house a few miles away where three more gunmen were taken into custody. At that moment, two SUVs carrying armed men arrived at the house and began firing at the soldiers, wounding one of them. In the exchange of gunfire, the troops killed four of the assailants. Minutes after the clash, several main avenues in the Monterrey metropolitan area were blockaded with buses and automobiles, a tactic that drug gangs have frequently employed in recent months to prevent the arrival of military reinforcements. The soldiers seized weapons, drugs and three vehicles from the two residences. In another security-force operation in that area on Friday, marines rescued a businessman who had been held hostage since Aug. 18 and arrested two of his captors.<br />BUENOS AIRES–ARGETINA, A bomb exploded at a branch of BBVA-Banco Frances, a unit of Spanish banking giant BBVA, in the northern section of Buenos Aires, causing damage but no injuries, Argentine police said Wednesday. The bombing, which destroyed an ATM and shattered the bank branch’s windows, is the second this month against Spanish banks in Argentina. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, police said. A bomb exploded in early August outside a branch of Santander Rio, a subsidiary of Grupo Santander, in the capital, causing damage to the structure. An anarchist group calling itself the Andrea Salsedo Revolutionary Brigade Cells, which has claimed responsibility for similar bombings, apparently carried out the attack. The group claimed it carried out the bombing in July of a BBVA-Banco Frances branch that destroyed an ATM and wounded a woman. Other domestic and foreign banks have been bombed in Buenos Aires in the past few months, but no one has been killed in the attacks. The bombings are under investigation by federal judges.<br />BEIJING-CHINA, 45 injured survivors from the Yichun air crash have been transferred to major cities like Beijing and Harbin for better treatment. The other 9 survivors will stay in hospitals in Yichun as their injuries can be treated there. On Saturday afternoon, a plane from China's Southern Airlines arrived at Beijing International Airport with 10 injured survivors. The aircraft was altered to accommodate stretchers so patients could be more comfortable. An injured passenger said, " Thank you, thank you. That's all I can say. The 10 patients were taken to two hospitals in Beijing soon after landing. This is the fourth group of survivors that have been transferred to other provinces for better treatment. They suffer from fractures, burns and psychological trauma. Guo Jinhe, Beijing Municipal Health Bureau, said, " We have appointed two hospitals who specialize in treating burns and fractures. We have prepared a lot. In Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province, 32 injured survivors are receiving treatment in a major hospital. 15 of them are still in critical condition. Medical crews are trying their best to save their lives. Doctors say they have allocated a medical team to each of the survivors to provide them with comprehensive medical treatment and psychological therapy.<br />DAVAO CITY- PHILPPINE, Masked gunmen lobbed grenades inside a Catholic church in southern Philippines early Sunday, wounding three persons, police and military said. Two masked gunmen hurled the grenades as dozens of parishioners attended the early Sunday service in Kalilangan town, in Mindanao's Bukidnon province, said Delilah Panes, a local police investigator. Lieutenant Colonel Dominic Triumph Bagaipo, spokesperson of the army's 4th Infantry Division, told Xinhua by phone, " Fortunately the explosives did not go off properly causing only three injuries. It's a police matter but the army will provide support (in the investigations). No group claimed responsibility for the attack but the military blamed al-Qaeda linked militants in previous attacks. Last year, six people were killed when militants detonated a remote controlled bomb outside a Catholic Church in the southern Philippine city of Cotabato.<br />COLOMBO-SRILANKA, The Sri Lankan government has scrapped its " on arrival" visa policy for foreigners arriving in the island. Chulananda Perera the Director General of the Immigration and Emigration Department said here Friday, " On arrival visa facility to Sri Lanka to countries except Singapore and Maldives will be suspended from Sept. 30. The government however stated no reasons for the decision. Up until now the foreign tourists arriving at the island's only international airport were given 30-day visas. With the escalation of the armed conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels in early 2006 the government considered the implementation of a restricted visa policy in terms of national security needs of the country.<br />OTTAWA-CANADA, The Canadian police confirmed that a fourth arrest was made on Saturday in connection with a year-long terror investigation that has already led to charges against three Canadian men in Ottawa. A spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said the RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team " executed one search warrant and took one person into custody as part of our standard operating procedures in the course of the search. Marc Menard said no charges against this individual have been laid, declining to release the name and gender. Police revealed on Thursday that during operation " Project Samossa" , three Ottawa residents, Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh, 30, and Misbahuddin Ahmed, 26, along with Sher, 28, were arrested on Wednesday. They appeared in an Ottawa courtroom on Thursday as police alleged them were part of a homegrown terror group that " posed a real and serious threat to the citizens of the National Capital Region and Canada's national security. The Mounties said they had seized electronic circuit boards that could have been used to make bomb detonators, as well as apparent terrorist literature. Police suspect an attack was at least months away but they made the arrests because they thought the suspects were about to start sending funds to terrorists in Afghanistan. In court, the three men have been formally accused of plotting with three others to " knowingly facilitate terrorist activities" on Canadian soil and elsewhere. The charges laid against them say their conspiracy was carried out in Ottawa, Iran, Afghanistan, Dubai and Pakistan.<br />MEXICO CITY-MEXICO, Fourteen murdered people were found in multiple locations in southern Mexican state of Guerreroin, authorities there informed Xinhua in an email Friday. All the bodies were found near the Pacific coastal resort of Acapulco, according to the State Prosecutor's Office (PGE). In Sabanillas, a small village on the outskirts of the town, six male bodies were found with hands and feet bound by packing tape, and they all had multiple gunshot wounds. The men were between 22 and 38 years old. Police came to the scene following an anonymous phone call reporting the deaths. Moreover, four other men were found dead with gunshot injuries on the side of Diamente Viaduct, one of the main streets leading to the city, with their hands tied and their eyes blindfolded. Four more bodies were found in two other locations. The PGE said authorities have not yet identified any of the dead.<br />MEXICO CITY-MEXICO, Two car bombs exploded on Friday at the same time in different places of Ciudad Victoria, capital of Tamaulipas state in northeast of Mexico with no injuries. One of the bombs blasted early Friday morning outside the building of Mexican TV channel Televisa in the south of Ciudad Victoria, while the other explosion occurred near the facilities of the Municipal Transit Direction. During the broadcasting of Televisa's news program " Primero Noticias" its conductor Carlos Loret said that the bomb in Televisa building in Ciudad Victoria only caused material damages. There are material damages outside. Inside we do not know, because the militaries and federal policemen cordoned off the zone and do not allow the pass," Loret said. Minutes later, another bomb exploded, some 2 kilometers away from the first, also causing only material damages. On Aug. 15 a grenade was thrown to the roof of Televisa offices in Matamoros, in Tamaulipas state, also causing only material damages. The same day in the offices of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon another grenade exploded in front of Televisa's office. In July 30 another bomb blast took place in Televisa's offices in Nuevo Laerdo, causing only material damages. Tamaulipas is the scene of the fight between the Golfo drug cartel and Los Zetas criminal organization.<br />LOS ANGELES-USA, Fifteen people suffered minor injuries when a Jet Blue airplane made a hard landing at Sacramento International Airport in Northern California on Friday, authorities said. The landing forced the evacuation of 87 passengers and five crewmembers via inflatable slides, Airport spokeswoman Gina Swankie said. The passengers were then loaded on buses and waited on the tarmac to go to a terminal, Swankie said. A Jet Blue spokesman told me that the flight reported an issue with the brakes," Swankie said. The crew elected to evacuate the aircraft in an abundance of caution. The flight blew two tires while making the landing, said Swankie. The tires caught fire, Swankie said, but he could not confirm reports that a fire was also reported on the plane. Flight 262, which was from Long Beach, Southern California, was scheduled to arrive at 12:37 p.m<br />MOSCOW-RUSSIA, Twelve militants were killed early Sunday in a special operation conducted in Russia's North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, said republic leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Two police officers also died in the operation in the Tsentaroi village of Kurchaloyevsky district, said Kadyrov. Among the wounded were two officers, four civilians including two minors, he added. Currently servicemen and police are scouring the nearby forest. The situation is stable and controllable," said Kadyrov as quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency, which was born in the Tsentaroi village. Russia's mainly Muslim North Caucasus republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia saw increase in violence for the last week with media reporting on a new attack almost every day.<br />MOSCOW-RUSSIA, Four militants were killed in Russia's North Caucasus republic of Dagestan late Saturday when clashing with law enforcement officers, local police said Sunday. The shootout started at a motorway in the republic's Khasavyurt district, when two suspicious cars ignored document checks. Armed rebels inside one vehicle were killed on spot, while the other one with three militants inside fled the scene. Some half an hour later, police also killed them. Automatic guns, pistols, grenades and ammunition were found inside these two vehicles. Preliminary investigation has established that among those insurgents was an illegal gang head Nariman Satiyev, who was wanted by federal authorities. On Friday, five militants were also killed in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan during a special operation, the republic's Interior Ministry said on Saturday. Russia' s mainly Muslim North Caucasus republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia saw increase in violence for the last week with media reporting on a new attack almost every day. Recently Moscow claimed to bring stability to the region and tackle terrorism.<br />ATHENS- GRECE, A pilot died and two of his colleagues were injured in a mid-air collision between two Greek F-16 jet fighters off the southwestern coast of Crete on Friday, according to Greek military officials. The tragedy occurred during a training exercise involving six fighter jets, an official statement released by the Greek Defense Ministry said. There were three crewmembers on board the two F-16s, which had taken off from a military base in Crete, off Greece's southern coast. Approximately three hours after the collision, the body of the dead pilot was recovered from the sea in the area of the crash, Greek news agency ANA reported. Earlier, the other two pilots, who had ejected after the collision, were rescued by Greek vessels and transported to a local hospital. One of them is in a serious condition. Greek experts attribute the accident to human fault, based on early information. The Greek Defense Ministry bought the two jets in 2005.<br />YALA-THAILAND, Suspected militants’ shot and killed two women and three men in a spike of violence in Thailand’s restive south during the holy Muslim month of Ramazan, local police said on Saturday. A Thai Buddhist man, aged 60, and his 52-year-old wife were killed in a drive-by shooting early on Friday evening as they returned home from a market in Pattani province. Both died at the scene, police said. Later that night in the same province, a 21-year-old Muslim man was shot and killed as he travelled by motorcycle with a village chief, which was also wounded, on their way to guard a local school. In Yala province, a 26-year-old Muslim woman was also shot dead on Friday night on her return from a market. A 40-year-old army sub-lieutenant died in hospital early on Saturday after he was shot in the head while he met local residents in Narathiwat province on Friday afternoon, police said. The bloodshed comes after authorities warned of the potential for a large-scale attack during Ramazan, which began on August 12 in Thailand. In previous years, violence has intensified during the holy month. Thailand last month extended emergency rule in the three troubled Muslim-majority southern provinces until October, as it struggles to quell unrest that has left more than 4,100 people dead in six years. The shadowy militants, whose exact goals are unclear, have targeted both Buddhists and Muslims, including many civilians. The insurgents frequently target educational institutions and teachers.<br />DHAKA-BANGLADESH, The Detective Branch (DB) of Police has arrested eight citizens of Myanmar (Rohingyas) and their Bangladeshi godfathers from a residential hotel in city's Segunbagicha area Friday.
Md Monirul Islam, deputy commissioner (DC) of DB, told journalists that they arrested Mohammad Yasin, 25, an alleged godfather of a gang of forged passport manufacturers, from Nazma Hotel at Segunbagicha here. They also picked up eight Rohingyas from different rooms of the hotel who entered Bangladesh from Myanmar.
The arrestees are Md Abdul Kader,32, Mohammad Alam, 40, Mohammad Rafique, 20, Md Abdul Malek, 30, Mohammad Shafique, 21, Mohammad Jannat Ullah, 18, Jane Alam and Rehena Akhter,18. Police also seized a Bangladeshi passport from their possession.<br />MEXICO CITY-MEXICO, One of Mexico's biggest airlines, Mexicana de Aviacion, is to suspend all flights, three weeks after filing for bankruptcy protection. Transport Minister Juan Molinar said the airline's operations would " definitively cease" by noon on Saturday local time (1700 GMT). The action will also apply to two budget carriers affiliated with Mexicana - Link and Click. Mexicana had already axed some of its routes and had stopped selling tickets. The airline flew 220 routes to 65 destinations including London, Madrid, Montreal, Chicago and cities in Central and South America. The 89-year-old airline has debts of about $800m (£500m).<br />CALIFORNIA-USA, Seven inmates at Folsom prison in California have been taken to hospital after guards opened fire during a riot, authorities say. None of the prisoners' injuries are believed to be life threatening, prison spokesman Luis Patino said. The riot, involving about 200 inmates, broke out on Friday night. No guards were injured, reports said. Three of the wounded inmates were reportedly taken to local hospitals, while others were treated at the jail. Initial reports said that guards had wounded five inmates when they opened fire. The number of casualties was later increased, but Mr. Patino said it was unclear if all the wounded had been shot by the guards, or injured by other inmates. The medium-security prison, which holds about 4,000 prisoners, has now been brought under control and the cause of the riot is being investigated, Mr. Patino said. Folsom State Prison, about 20 miles (32km) from the state capital Sacramento, was made famous by the US singer-songwriter Johnny Cash in his 1955 song Folsom Prison Blues. Cash also performed a concert for inmates in the prison's refectory in 1968.<br />MEXICO CITY-MEXICO, An explosive device detonated Saturday three blocks away from a Mass honoring 72 migrants found slain near the Mexican border, state media reported. Three people were injured in the explosion in the city of Reynosa, the state-run Notimex news agency reported. Mourners were gathered nearby at a service for the 72 migrants from Central and South America whose bodies were found this week in a ranch in northern Mexico. We condemn these types of acts, that violate social peace and cruelty harm human beings, offend other nations, whose only error is not to have enough resources to retain their citizens, who leave in search of a better way of life," Father Pedro Contreras Hernandez said during the mid-day mass, according to Notimex. Officials are investigating whether they were the victims of human traffickers or drug cartels that prey on migrants. State authorities said Saturday that the lead investigator on the case remained missing, Notimex said. The state investigator and a municipal police officer went missing Wednesday.<br />GEORGIA REPUBLIC- Three coal miners died in a methane explosion late Friday in Georgia, the state-owned Novosta Gruzii news service said, citing municipal officials. Eleven people were inside the mine in Tkibuli when the blast occurred. Along with the three dead, seven were seriously injured. A March 3 explosion at the same location killed four miners.<br />LONDON-UK, About 8,000 people evacuated the British Museum Saturday after authorities received complaints from about 10 people of eye and throat irritation, a spokeswoman for the museum said. Police and fire officials searched the facility and didn't find anything that could have prompted the complaints, declaring the museum safe, the spokeswoman said. The incident happened at about 12:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. ET). The museum will reopen at its normal hours Sunday, the spokeswoman said.<br />

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