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South Korea to Retaliate If Bombed Again

A top South Korean presidential security advisor - who could be the country's next defense minister - says Seoul is prepared to bomb North Korea if Pyongyang again hits the South with artillery.

Kim Kwan-jin, the presidential security advisor hoping to be the next defense minister, is talking tough.

Speaking at his confirmation hearing in the national assembly Friday, he firmly stated that if attacked again, South Korea will not hesitate to protect itself.

Hunt for Assange Heats Up, World Leaders' Fury Mounts

An international manhunt is on forWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is reported to be in Britain, as fury mounts among world leaders from Russia to Australia about secret information leaked on the website.

British media are reporting Thursday that authorities know Assange is hiding in southeast Britain. The 39-year-old Australian is said to have provided a telephone number and address when he arrived in the country in October.

Referendum Source of Tension in Sudan's Abeyi Region

South Sudan is preparing to hold a referendum on January 9 that could see the region split from Sudan's Arab-dominated government in Khartoum. On the same day, a similar referendum is supposed to take place in the Sudanese region of Abyei, but who gets to vote in that referendum is in dispute.

Dozens of trucks and buses have begun arriving in Abyei town, arranged by local authorities to bring back tens of thousands of people who were driven out by Sudan's two decade-long war.

UN Cannot Confirm Iran's Nuclear Activities are Peaceful

The head of the United Nations' nuclear agency says he cannot confirm that Iran's atomic activities are peaceful.

Yukiya Amano says Tehran has not been providing the cooperation needed for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to clear up questions about its nuclear activities. He commented at the start of an IAEA board meeting Thursday in Austria.

S Korean Spy Chief: N Korea Likely to Attack Again

South Korea's spy chief says North Korea is highly likely to attack the South again, following its deadly shelling of a South Korean island last week.

The Yonhap news agency says South Korean National Intelligence Service director Won Sei-hoon made the prediction of another North Korean attack during a parliamentary committee meeting Wednesday.

Yonhap quotes ruling party lawmaker Rhee Beum-kwan as saying Won told the committee that North Korea attacked Yeonpyeong Island on November 23 to distract attention from its internal problems.

Pakistan Dismisses Fears over Safety of its Nuclear Weapons

Pakistan's foreign office on Wednesday dismissed fears over the safety of the nation's nuclear weapons revealed in leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.

The French News Agency quoted Pakistani foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit saying those "fears are misplaced."
U.S. diplomatic cables released by the website WikiLeaks show concerns about the security of Pakistani nuclear material and Islamabad's commitment to fighting insurgents along the country's border with Afghanistan.

The New York Times and The Guardian reported details of the cables Wednesday.

North Korea Claims Major Advance in Nuclear Program

North Korea has declared a major advance in its nuclear program a week after launching a deadly artillery strike on a South Korean island.

North Korean state media said Tuesday the country has a new uranium enrichment plant with thousands of working centrifuges and a light-water reactor that is currently under construction. They said both facilities are designed for peaceful energy use.

South Korea Announces, Then Cancels New Military Drill

South Korea's military has postponed a live fire exercise planned for Tuesday on an island shelled by North Korea last week.
South Korean forces on Yeonpyeong island initially alerted residents Monday by loudspeaker to shelter in bunkers for a live fire exercise to be held the next day.

But hours later, another broadcast on the island said the drill had been delayed. The South Korean military said the initial announcement by troops on the island was a mistake.

Chaos Erupts in Haiti After Election

Haitians voted Sunday in the most important elections in years in the earthquake and cholera-ravaged country.

Within hours of the election's start, chaos and confusion erupted at the polling places and protesters took to the streets around the Caribbean nation. Officials say two deaths have been reported.

Twelve of the 19 presidential candidates collectively denounced outgoing President Rene Preval, accusing him of devising a conspiracy to hand the presidency to his party's candidate, Jude Celestin. The candidates say they want the election canceled.