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Venezuela Protests to US Over Alleged Violation of Airspace

Venezuela has sent a formal letter of protest to the United States, alleging a U.S. military plane violated Venezuelan airspace last week after taking off from the nearby Netherlands Antilles.  The Venezuelan government Monday presented the formal protest to U.S. diplomats in Caracas.  The U.S. denies the accusation. Late last week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he ordered two F-16 jets to intercept what he said was a U.S. P-3 aircraft over his country.  He said the American plane twice entered his country's airspace from the Netherlands Antilles. Washington has said the U.S.

Three Days of Violence in Karachi Kill 35

Three days of violence in Pakistan's commercial hub, Karachi, have killed at least 35 members of various political parties. The French News Agency (AFP) on Sunday quoted an anonymous senior security official as saying the targeted killings by unidentified gunmen began Thursday after police discovered the headless body of a worker from the city's dominant political party, the Mutahida Qaumi Movement. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the killings are the handiwork of those who want to undermine the provincial government and "destabilize the country." British Foreign Secretary David M

Rival Somali Islamic Militias Clash in Power Struggle

After two days of clashes, a military commander for the Sufi militia, Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jamaa, says his forces have seized the town of Beledweyne in the Hiran region from Hizbul Islam rebels. The commander, Aden Mohamoud, says both sides took heavy casualties in what residents describe as among the worst fighting there in recent months.  Mohamoud says Ahlu-Sunna forces are in full control of Beledweyne and the town is now calm. The fighting broke out Sunday after Ahlu-Sunna fighters and local clan militias launched an offensive to capture Beledweyne, a strategic town near the border with

Mexico Making Progress in War on Drug Cartels

On December 16, Mexican marines stormed a luxury apartment in Cuernavaca, near Mexico City, and killed Arturo Beltran Leyva, head of one of the country's largest drug trafficking organizations. A couple of weeks later, authorities arrested his brother, Carlos, further disrupting the command structure of the criminal enterprise. These were portrayed as important victories for Mexican President Felipe Calderon, whose war on drug gangs has been blamed for a wave of violence across the country in the past few years.

Four Killed in Suspected US Drone Strike in Pakistan

Pakistani intelligence officials say at least four people have been killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike in the militant stronghold of North Waziristan. Officials say missiles hit a house and a vehicle near Miranshah, Friday.  The region is near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. The attack comes a day after President Asif Ali Zardari warned that U.S. drone strikes were undermining Pakistan's "national consensus" in his country's war against militants.   However, visiting U.S. lawmakers told Pakistani officials the U.S.

AU to Ask UN to Focus on Somalia's Global Terrorism Role

The African Union is urging the United Nations to boost its support for Somalia's fragile government in view of the rise of terrorist activity in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula. AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping calls the overall security situation in the Horn of Africa nation "unstable, volatile and challenging'. In a report to the AU Peace and Security Council Friday, Ping notes several tragic security breakdowns in the past few months.

Honduras Prosecutor Seeks Charges Against Coup Leaders

The Honduran attorney general's office has issued "abuse of power" charges against military commanders involved in the coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya last June. Prosecutors say the top leaders charged include Army Commander Romeo Vasquez Velasquez. The prosecutors say they presented the charges to the Supreme Court, which has three days to respond. The Supreme Court has sided with coup leaders in several rulings. The Honduran Congress is also reported to be considering amnesty for those involved in the coup, as well as for Mr.

Yemen Links Nigerian Airline Plotter With Radical Cleric

A top Yemeni official confirms that the Nigerian man suspected of trying to blow up an airplane last month met with an extremist Muslim cleric linked to other violence in the U.S.  But the official says that although the suspect lived for a while in Yemen, he was radicalized in Britain.  Yemen's deputy prime minister for defense and security affairs says the suspect met with Anwar al-Awlaki, a cleric popular with extremist groups, late last year.   Rashad al-Alimi told reporters in Sana'a that Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is thought to have met with the American-Yemeni cleric in Sh

Guinea's Acting Military Leader Calls for Opposition Prime Minister

Guinea's acting military leader says political parties should immediately choose a new prime minister to help lead the country to free elections.

Chinese Cyber-Activists Lend Support to Democracy Activists in Iran

Cyber activists in China are throwing their support behind opposition protesters in Iran.

Suicide Bomber in Southern Russia Kills 6 Policemen

A suicide bombing in Russia's southern Dagestan republic Wednesday killed six policemen and wounded at least 16 other people. Authorities say a suicide bomber attempted to drive a car packed with explosives into a police station near Dagestan's capital, Makhachkala. Russian media report the blast left a two-meter wide crater, and that bomb fragments broke windows as far as 300 meters from the site. Dagestan borders Chechnya, where the long-running fight between Russian troops and Islamic separatists has spilled over into neighboring republics in the North Caucasus. Russian Presiden

Suicide Bomber Strikes in Kashmir as Drones Attack in Northwest Pakistan

A suicide bomber has struck a military facility in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, killing at least four soldiers and wounding 11 others.  This is the second incident in the region within a month, fueling fears Taliban militants are expanding their subversive activities.  Meanwhile, tribal sources and local officials say that at least 13 suspected militants were killed and many others wounded in back to back U.S.

US Diplomat Returns to Honduras

A senior U.S. diplomat is in Honduras for more talks on reuniting the parties involved in the long-running stalemate over President Manuel Zelaya's ouster last year. U.S. officials say Craig Kelly, the deputy assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, arrived in the Central American nation Tuesday to meet with the deposed leader and his rival, interim President Roberto Micheletti.  Kelly is also expected to see President-elect Porfirio Lobo, who takes office January 27.  Kelly was also in Honduras in November to discuss the stalemate. State Department spokesman P.J.

Al-Qaida Militants Retreat from Strategic Somali Town

Somalia's al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants say they have made a tactical retreat from Dhusamareb, the central Somali town al-Shabab attacked three days ago in a bid to oust a rival Islamist group.  Al-Shabab views Dhusamareb as an important stepping stone in its quest to put all of Somalia under al-Shabab control. The spokesman of the Islamist militia Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jamaa, Sheik Abdullahi Sheik Abu Yusuf, says al-Shabab was forced to withdraw from Dhusamareb after losing numerous fighters during Saturday's day-long battle.   Abu Yusuf says more than 100 bodies of al-Shabab fighters ha