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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.

New Jersey Outrage

"What has happened to Brian Aitken underscores why gun owners all over the country, including here in Washington State, are so bitterly opposed to the kinds of gun control initiatives we repeatedly see offered by the gun control lobby as “reasonable.” Their so-called "common sense" gun control initiatives are invariably carefully crafted legal minefields designed to strip as many citizens as possible of their firearms rights.

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Current Issue Table of Contents

AMERICA AT WAR
HOW A FIREFIGHT TURNED CONTROVERSIAL
The firefight between Marines and insurgents that took place in Haditha, Iraq, on 19 November, 2005, became very controversial. Marines won a firefight on the ground, but soon found themselves caught up in a public relations nightmare due to false accusations from those who did not support the troops or their mission.
By Harold Hutchison

THE CASE OF ILARIO PANTANO

New Yorker Gives Thanks to Knife Rights Foundation

On this Thanksgiving, one New York citizen is giving thanks to Knife Rights Foundation for a holiday without the threat of a year in jail hanging over his head.

The New Yorker, whose name is being withheld to prevent possible harassment, said, "words cannot express my thanks to Knife Rights Foundation for coming to my aid and helping me gain a measure of justice when things looked pretty bleak for me."

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.