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As Year Closes, Sudan Peace Deal Faces Final Test

In early December, crowds gathered outside the police station in Khartoum to protest the detention of senior Southern party officials. The South's ruling party, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, had organized a political rally with Northern opposition groups.

US Drone Strikes Kill 12 in Western Pakistan

Pakistani intelligence officials say two suspected U.S.

Russia's Lavrov Says US Slowing Progress on Arms Pact

Russia's top diplomat is accusing the United States of holding up progress on a new nuclear arms treaty, saying he does not expect the presidents of Russia and the United States to sign a new accord when they meet Friday in Copenhagen. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Thursday for Washington to accept deeper reductions to its nuclear arsenal and less intrusive verification measures than those in the current treaty. The two governments have been negotiating to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as START.  Earlier this year, President Obama and his coun

Mexico Drug Cartel Chief Killed

One of Mexico's most-wanted drug gang leaders has been shot dead. Mexican navy officials said Wednesday Arturo Beltran Leyva, head of one of the most powerful drug crime syndicates, was killed by security forces in a shootout in a high-end residential complex in the city of Cuernavaca. At least three other gang members were also killed in the clash, while a fourth committed suicide. Beltran Leyva's death is a victory for President Felipe Calderon's drug offensive as gang-related violence is jumping.  Despite deploying nearly 50,000 troops against the cartels since taking office in 200

Iran Test Fires Improved Long-Range Missile

Iran has test-fired what it claims is an improved version of its Sejil 2 medium-range missile, Wednesday, amid ongoing tension with the West over its nuclear program.   State television showed video of the Sejil 2 missile launch Wednesday, calling the test a success. The Sejil 2 has a range of about 2,000 kilometers, making it capable of hitting Israel and U.S.

Pakistan Battles Militants, Political Scandal in 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama has made Pakistan a key part of his new strategy in Afghanistan.  But as the U.S.

West African Summit Postponed Until January

The Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, has postponed a summit that was scheduled for Nigeria next week. The group's current chairman, Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua, has been hospitalized in Saudi Arabia since late November. An ECOWAS spokesman announced Tuesday that the summit of heads of state has been moved to January 18.

Blast Kills 27 in Pakistan

Pakistani officials say the death toll from a suicide car bombing Tuesday in the central town of Dera Ghazi Khan has risen to at least 27.  Investigators say dozens of people have been injured in the blast, with some victims possibly trapped under rubble. The explosion occurred in a busy market near the home of a provincial government adviser Zulfikar Khosa.   Officials say several buildings - including the adviser's home - were heavily damaged.  However, no one was in the home when the attack occurred, and authorities are uncertain if the adviser was the target. The attack is the lat

Congo Minister Warns Ex-Rebels Against Fomenting Trouble

A Democratic Republic of Congo cabinet minister has warned armed groups of stiff punishment if they join forces with the rebel Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDRL) to fight government against troops. Information minister Lambert Mende said former rebels who join the FDLR to destabilize the country undermine the deal that shields them from criminal prosecution. “Those people who enjoyed the amnesty must be careful because the law of amnesty says that whoever will go with those terrorist will destroy all judicial effects of the amnesty.

UN Reports Rise in Opium Cultivation in Burma

United Nations officials say opium cultivation in Burma rose for the third straight year as ethnic rebel groups sell drugs to buy arms. The increase reverses past successes in cutting opium cultivation in Southeast Asia.   The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime - UNODC - said Monday that opium poppy cultivation in Burma rose more than 10 percent in 2009 - the third successive year of growth.   The agency's latest report covering Thailand, Laos and Burma says the area poppies are cultivated on around 31,700 hectares.

ECOWAS Leader Calls for Intervention Force in Guinea

The head of West Africa's regional alliance says foreign troops should be sent to Guinea to establish security, following the shooting of the country's military leader.  Talks to resolve Guinea's political crisis resumed Sunday in Burkina Faso. The secretary general of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, says Guinea needs a regional intervention force to prevent further violence. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the preventative deployment of such a force would ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance and establish a safe environment for the Guinean people.

Man Attacks Italian PM, Breaks Nose and Teeth

Police in Italy say a man with a history of mental problems hit Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the face with a statue Sunday. Mr. Berlusconi was taken to a hospital with a broken nose, two broken teeth, and a cut lip. Italy's ANSA news agency said the prime minister told reporters that he was fine after emergency treatment. But doctors say they want to keep him in the hospital overnight for observation. Mr. Berlusconi was signing autographs and shaking hands after a rally in Milan Sunday. His attacker moved close enough to throw a small statue at the prime minister's face.

Turkey Tense as Court Considers Kurd Party's Fate

The future of Turkey's main Kurdish party hangs in the balance as the country's constitutional court deliberates whether to shut down the Democratic Society Party.  The government has accused the party of supporting terrorism. Turkey's highest court this week began final deliberations on a case seeking to shut down the main Kurdish party on charges of backing the militant Kurdistan Workers Party, a charge the Democratic Society Party has denied. DTP leader Ahmet Turk condemned the case. "Unfortunately this is such a wrong reasoning," he said.  "We are face-to-face with such a wrong lo

US: Top al-Qaida Leader Killed in Pakistan

U.S. officials say a top al-Qaida leader has been killed in a drone attack in restive northwestern Pakistan. The officials did not identify the person killed, but they said it was not al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.   A U.S. television network, NBC, first reported the drone attack earlier this week.  The exact date of the attack is unclear. Earlier this week, Pakistani officials said a suspected U.S. drone attack killed at least three people in northwestern Pakistan.