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West African Leaders Meet Over Guinea Bissau, Mali Challenges

West African heads of state and government are scheduled to hold an extraordinary summit Thursday, aimed at finding solutions to the crises in Guinea Bissau and Mali.

Sonny Ugoh, the communications director for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said the leaders will review strategies to best respond to what he called the recent unfortunate situations in both Mali and Guinea Bissau.

The leaders will meet in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan.

Pakistan Successfully Test Fires Upgraded Missile

Pakistan's military said it successfully test-fired an upgraded Shaheen-1 missile Wednesday. The Shaheen-1 is capable of hitting targets in India with a nuclear weapon, and this upgraded version is thought to have an even longer reach.

The missile test comes less than a week after India claimed it successfully test-fired a new missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead as far as Beijing. Indian officials said that test launch showed it had joined the ranks of the world's missile powers.

North Korea Boasts of Ability to Destroy US Military in 'Single Blow'

North Korea's army marked its 80th anniversary Wednesday with a vow to retaliate against what its chief of staff terms the traitors in the South. The remarks are the latest in a series of harsh threats directed at Seoul in recent weeks.

North Korea's provocations

North Korea is boasting of “powerful, modern weapons” that can defeat in a single blow the United States, which it accuses of plotting a war against it.

Chief of general staff, Ri Yong Ho, gave no further details about the weaponry in his speech to mark the North Korean army's 80th anniversary.

AU Gives Sudan, South Sudan 90 Days to Reach Peace Deal

The African Union on Tuesday gave Sudan and South Sudan 90 days to settle their disputes over oil, citizenship and boundary issues or face binding international arbitration. But, the ultimatum came amid more talk of war and an increase in border hostilities.

A ministerial-level session of the AU Peace and Security Council threatened to abandon its high-level Sudan mediation process unless the talks begin to show results.

South Sudan Says Sudan’s Actions Equal Declaration of War

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir says the actions of neighboring Sudan amount to a declaration of war.

His remarks Tuesday came during talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing. Mr. Kiir is in China on a five-day trip that will include opening a new embassy for South Sudan.

The U.S., China and other world powers have called on Sudan and South Sudan to stop fighting and resume peace talks.

Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, said Monday there will be no further talks and that the south only understands the language of “guns and ammunition.”

South Korea 'On Alert' for Possible North Attack

South Korea appears to be taking seriously the latest attack threat from North Korea.

Police say they have increased patrols around headquarters of nine conservative media outlets in Seoul after North Korea vowed to soon carry out a "special military action" on them by "unprecedented means and methods."

South Korea's government says it is concerned about Pyongyang's threat to reduce to ashes, in several minutes, the support base for the country's president, including several broadcasters and a leading daily newspaper, the Dong-a Ilbo.

Sudan’s Bashir: No More Talks with South

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir says there will be no further talks with South Sudan, defying international calls to settle their differences through dialogue and avert a full-scale war.

Mr. Bashir made the comments to soldiers Monday during a visit to the oil-producing area of Heglig, which the Sudanese army regained from southern forces on Friday.

Mr. Bashir said the south only understands the language of “guns and ammunition.”

N. Korea Threatens South with Special Military Action

North Korea is escalating its war of words against the South Korean government over what the North perceives as insults by the South. Pyongyang is now threatening to turn the heated rhetoric into action, threatening to take “quick action” against South Korea.

Senior newscaster Ri Chun Hee, interrupting regular programming on North Korea's central television station early Monday afternoon, forcefully read an unusual announcement from a unit of the army's supreme command.

Naval Exchange Stirs Troubled Waters in South China Sea

Vietnam and the United States on Monday began their annual naval exchange near a former U.S. army base in Danang city amid mounting tensions over competing sovereignty claims in the South China Sea.

With salvage and disaster training as well as a performance from the military band, the schedule of events seems harmless enough. However, some observers say the activities are an intrinsic part of a delicate diplomatic balancing act over contested territory in the South China Sea.

Plane Carrying 127 Passengers Crashes Near Pakistani Capital

Authorities said a passenger plane has crashed near the Pakistani capital, and all 127 people on board are feared dead.

Aviation authorities said the crash occurred just a few kilometers away from Islamabad’s International airport.

The Boeing 737 aircraft was coming from the southern port city of Karachi and went down as it was preparing to land in bad weather. Civilian and military rescue teams are at the scene to try to retrieve the victims but so far there have been no reports of any survivors.

South Sudan Announces Heglig Withdrawal

South Sudan has said it will withdraw troops from an oil-rich area it seized last week that is also claimed by Sudan, easing tensions with its former civil war foe and fears of a return to all-out war.

Reading a statement from South Sudan President Salva Kiir, government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin announced the pullout of South Sudan‘s army -- the SPLA -- from the Heglig area on Friday.

Panetta: China Assisted North Korea Missile Program

China has recently joined with other countries in condemning North Korea for a failed missile launch earlier this month. It was a rare public rebuke of its internationally isolated ally, leading many to closely scrutinize whether Beijing’s policies toward Pyongyang are shifting.

This week U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said China has provided some assistance to North Korea’s missile program, possibly violating U.N. sanctions on the country.

Beijing has denied the allegations, but Panetta says that China must do more to bring North Korea to the negotiating table.

Government Shelling, Deadly Blasts in Syria Despite Cease-fire

A cease-fire in Syria showed more signs of unraveling on Friday, as security forces fired shots at protesters and pounded opposition strongholds while the government blamed rebels for a deadly explosion. The Syrian opposition also held anti-government protests in several towns and cities.

Syrian government troops pounded at least three districts in the flashpoint city of Homs Friday, despite an eight-day-old ceasefire. Government tanks and armored personnel carriers also reportedly stormed one neighborhood of Daraa and surrounded a town south of Homs.

India Declares Itself Major Missile Power

India Thursday said it successfully test-fired a new missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead as far as Beijing - announcing itself as a major "missile power."

Indian media showed video of the long-range Agni-V missile in-flight after its launch from a test range in the eastern state of Orissa.

China Sends Second Boat to Standoff with Philippines

The nine-day-old naval standoff between China and the Philippines showed few signs of cooling on Thursday, with Beijing sending a powerful military vessel toward the disputed islands in the South China Sea.

According to Chinese media reports Thursday, officials say the country's most advanced fishing patrol vessel, the Yuzheng 310, has been sent to protect Chinese fishermen in the region.