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Taiwan Report Warns of Growing Chinese Military Advantage

Taiwan says it is falling further behind in its race to keep up with China's rapidly expanding military capability.

In a biennial defense white paper published Tuesday, Taiwan says China is already capable of imposing a naval blockade around Taiwan and seizing Taiwan-controlled offshore islands. It says the balance of power is expected to continue tipping in China's favor in the years ahead.

Missile Warheads Stolen From Romanian Train

Romanian military authorities are investigating the theft of missile warheads from a train carrying military equipment from Romania to Bulgaria.

Railway workers noticed Saturday the seals of a railway car were broken when the train arrived in the town of Giurgui, Romania, near the border with Bulgaria. An investigation showed that four boxes of military equipment, containing a total of 64 warheads, were missing.

Sources say the components are not dangerous on their own, and American cable channel CNBC reported they contained no explosives.

Libyan Rebels: Street Fighting Engulfs Brega

Libyan rebels say they have entered the strategic oil port of Brega and are fighting street battles there with forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi, the biggest offensive that eastern Libya has seen in weeks.

Reports from Brega Sunday described clashes in residential areas. Opposition leaders said at least 10 rebels have been killed in four days of fighting and 125 have been wounded. Casualty reports from the government side have been impossible to obtain.

US Recognizes Libyan Rebel Group

The United States says it is recognizing Libya's rebel Transitional National Council, declaring that the country's leader Moammar Gadhafi no longer has any legitimate authority over the North African nation.

Assurances given

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the announcement Friday in Istanbul, as top officials from major Western and regional powers met to map strategies to strengthen the Libyan opposition in their bid to oust Gadhafi from his 42-year reign.

US Monitoring Group Detects Suspected Mass Graves in Sudan

A U.S. satellite monitoring group has released images of suspected mass graves in Sudan's Southern Kordofan state.

The Satellite Sentinel Project says it has identified three excavated areas consistent with mass graves in Kadugli.

According to the group, witnesses say Sudan's armed forces and Arab militias have systematically killed suspected supporters of the newly independent South Sudan.

The Satellite Sentinel Project is calling for a full-scale investigation into violence in the region.

US Backs Russian Mediation in Libya

The United States says it is prepared to support Russia's mediation efforts in Libya, as France signals its frustration with the lack of progress in reaching a political solution to the crisis.

U.S. President Barack Obama thanked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for his country's negotiation efforts in Libya, and said the United States supports talks that lead to a democratic transition and the departure of leader Moammar Gadhafi.

South Sudan Gets Vice President, Government

The president of newly-independent South Sudan has appointed a vice president and formed a caretaker government.

In a decree Sunday, President Salva Kiir named Riek Machar as vice president. Machar held the same position in the old southern Sudan regional government. He was sworn into office Monday.

In a separate decree, President Kiir appointed dozens of cabinet members whom a government news release described as caretaker national ministers.

Philippines Rachets Up Pressure on China Over Territorial Dispute

The Philippines has complained about at least seven run-ins with China in locations it says are clearly part of its territory on the South China Sea.

On Monday, Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario said China maintained its position that there were no intrusions made.

He said he told Chinese officials that his country is ready to defend itself on the basis of international law.

Georgia: Photographers “Infiltrated” Institutions

Georgia's president has defended the arrest of four photographers suspected of spying.

President Mikheil Saakashvili said Friday the news photographers conducted, in his words, a “serious infiltration of our institutions.”

The four news photographers, including the president's personal photographer, were arrested Thursday.

They are accused of passing confidential information to a foreign country. Tbilisi often accuses Russia of operating spy networks on Georgian territory.

Philippines, China Promise Stability for S. China Sea

China and the Philippines are promising not to let their dispute over the South China Sea ruin relations between the two countries.

The Chinese and Philippine foreign ministers issued a joint statement in Beijing Friday pledging to work together to ensure stability in the waters around the Spratly Islands.

Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario arrived in China Thursday for a series of high-level talks, including Friday's meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

South Sudan Has Big Oil Reserves, Big Problems

The new Republic of South Sudan enters the world with great economic potential but faces huge challenges in its quest for peace and prosperity.

The country possesses large oil reserves that made the former unified Sudan the third-largest producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

Its population - estimated at between 8 and 13 million - is strongly united in favor of independence. In January, 98 percent of voters chose to split from the north, with whom the south fought a 21-year war.

Chavez Visits Troops After Recent Surgery

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has appeared at a military base in an apparent show of strength after his recent surgery in Cuba to remove a cancerous tumor.

The president did not stay long at the base Thursday, saying he did not have much time. But he strolled among cadets and soldiers, and told them he was fighting his disease. He vowed to survive and win.

Pakistani Scientist Says N. Korea Paid for Nuclear Technology

The founder of Pakistan's nuclear program says North Korea paid top Pakistani military officers more than $3 million in exchange for nuclear technology in the 1990s.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Abdul Qadeer Khan released documents detailing the secret transfer, including a North Korean official's 1998 letter to him, which was written in English. The letter says that more than $3.5 million and some jewelry had been paid to two Pakistani military officers in exchange for the delivery of missile components.

South Sudan Puts on Dress Rehearsal for Independence

The countdown is on for South Sudan's independence July 9, and the country's future capital is making its final preparations for the big day.

Joy in Juba

Russia to Spend $730 Billion on New Weapons

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced his government plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons modernization by 2020. In his address to parliament earlier this year, Putin said Russia must be strong enough to fend off any threats from abroad, so missile production will double starting in 2013. Analysts in Moscow say this ambitious plan is intended mainly to preserve the government's domestic and regional influence.


Russia plans to spend $730 billion by 2020 to upgrade and re-arm its military. That's nearly $20 million a day.