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Sunday
Dec122010

Six Americans Killed in Attack in Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Six NATO soldiers were killed in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan, Sunday, when, according to a local Afghan official, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives near a checkpoint in the Zherai district of Kandahar. All six troops were American, a U.S. Military official confirmed to ABC News.

The number of injuries was not immediately known.

More than 670 international troops have been killed this year in Afghanistan -- far more than the aggregate casualties of 2009.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec122010

Cruise Ship Tilts in Storm, Dozens Injured

File photo. Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(ALEXANDRIA, Egypt) -- The Royal Caribbean cruise ship Brilliance of the Seas tilted several times in its approach to Alexandria, Egypt, Sunday. The ship entered a storm and listed several times around 2:15 a.m. local time, inflicting minor injuries to about 30 passengers and damaging some of the public areas.

Alexandria closed off its port due to the intensity of the swells, and the ship diverted to Valletta, Malta. The Brilliance of the Seas departed from Barcelona, Spain, for a 12-night journey stopping in Italy, Greece, Egypt, and Malta.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec122010

Kosovo Holds First Parliamentary Elections Since 2008 Break From Serbia

Kosovo PM Thaci, NATO Sec Gen Rasmussen, June 2010. Photo Courtesy - NATO(PRISTINA, Kosovo) -- 1.6 million people were eligible to vote Sunday in Kosovo's first parliamentary elections since it broke away from Serbia in 2008, although many of the country's ethnic Serbs were expected to boycott the balloting.  Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo as an independent country.

Kosovo's population is almost all ethnic Albanian and Kosovo has strong links to that predominantly Muslim country.  Ethnic Serbs make up only about 5 percent of its population. 

Unemployment in Kosovo is high, at 48 percent, and opposition parties have campaigned hard on that point, as well as on allegations of corruption against the ruling party of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.  A November no-confidence vote on Thaci and his Democratic Party of Kosovo set up Sunday's balloting, pitting Thaci's party against the Democratic League of Kosovo, led by Isa Mustafa, and other less-powerful challengers.

Thaci, who is leaving his post, is expected to see his party prevail, but it is expected to lose strength to Mustafa's group. 

There have been some violent incidents in the run-up to the vote and 6600 police officers, as well as NATO and EU personnel were patrolling on Sunday to try to stave off more.  Results aren't expected to be complete and official for at least a week.

When Yugoslavia broke up in the 1990s, tension flared between Albanian and Serbian ethnic groups and a brutal civil war broke out in Kosovo.  U.S. troops were a large part of a NATO force sent in to restore peace. 

Kosovo has hopes of joining the European Union and both the E.U. and the U.S. are closely watching this election. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec122010

Swedish Officials: Blasts in Shopping District 'Terrorism'

Photo Courtesy - Fredrik Personn/AFP/Getty Images(STOCKHOLM, Sweden) -- Swedish officials said the Saturday explosions in a busy shopping area in the central part of the capital, Stockholm, were "acts of terrorism."  One man died and two people were hurt in the explosions that began when a car bomb blew up in the Drottninggatan area, packed with holiday shoppers.  A few minutes later, just up the street, a second explosion followed and one man was killed.  There are unsubstantiated reports that he had explosives strapped to his body and wounds consistent with suicide bombers.

Swedish news agencies received an e-mail warning minutes before the Saturday evening explosions that seem to link the blasts with a Swedish artist's unflattering image of the Prophet Mohammed as a dog, and with the country's 500 troops serving in Afghanistan.

One official is quoted as saying that while the bombing "failed ... it could have been catastrophic."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec122010

William and Kate Release Official Engagement Photographs

Photo Copyright Mario Testino 2010(LONDON) -- Prince William and Kate Middleton have released two official engagement photographs. The shots were taken by renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino on Nov. 25 in St. James's Palace. 

"I am very happy to have been asked to cover this historic moment that the whole world was waiting for," Testino said. "They are in their prime and brimming with happiness. I have never felt so much joy as when I see them together."

Prince William proposed to Middleton in October, and the couple announced their engagement on Nov. 16. Middleton's engagement ring, which is featured conspicuously in the photographs, was handed down to William from his mother, Princess Diana. The couple will be wed in Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec122010

Suicide Bombing Claims 6 in Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Six NATO soldiers were killed in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan, Sunday, when, according to a local Afghan official, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives near a checkpoint in the Zherai district of Kandahar.

The official said all six troops were American. The number of injuries was not immediately known.

More than 670 international troops have been killed this year in Afghanistan -- far more than the aggregate casualties of 2009.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec112010

Jailed American Amanda Knox Makes Tearful Plea in Italian Court

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- Amanda Knox made an impassioned and emotional plea for her freedom Saturday in the Italian court where she is appealing her conviction to 26 years in prison for the murder of her college roommate, breaking into tears as she spoke of the victim, Meredith Kercher.

"I am innocent," said Knox in Italian to the new jury that is judging her along with her co-defendant and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

"I never would have expected to find myself here," said Knox to the jury, "condemned for a crime that I did not commit ... I will never get used to this broken life."

Knox stood to speak at the beginning of the second hearing of her appeal which is taking place in the same courtroom in Perugia, Italy, where she was convicted almost exactly one year ago together with Sollecito, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

A third person, Ivorian immigrant Rudy Guede, was also convicted for participating in Kercher's murder in a separate trial. His 30-year conviction was reduced to 16 on appeal, and he is appealing again to Italy's highest Cassation court next week.

Knox's defense team wants the DNA evidence in the case thrown out. They say it was inconclusive and it may have been contaminated during analysis.

Justice is a double-edged sword in Italy. If this appeal fails, the original 26-year-sentence could be lengthened.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Saturday
Dec112010

Deadly Explosions Rock Stockholm

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(STOCKHOLM, Sweden) -- Explosions rocked Stockholm Saturday, leaving at least one man dead in the Swedish capital.  Two people were hurt.

The first sign of trouble came in a series of explosions, which police say was caused by what appeared to be a car bomb in the busy shopping street, Drottninggatan.  There appeared to have been gas cylinders in the car.  Another explosion came about five minutes later, a few blocks up the same street in central Stockholm, and left one man lying dead in the street.  Witnesses say the street was filled with holiday shoppers. 

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the explosions.  Police say they do not want to speculate on what is behind the explosions or whether they were even related.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec112010

Secretary of State Clinton Reaffirms US Efforts at Middle East Peace

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reemphasized American support for peace between Israel and the Palestinians at an event Friday in Washington, D.C.  The secretary delivered her remarks at the Sabon Forum before approximately 150 people.

Clinton said Israel should not have to choose between security and peace but she also emphasized the U.S. support for Palestinian aspirations for an independent state.  Clinton told the gathering the U.S. will continue to encourage talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  Clinton said there are several things that must be in place before peace can be achieved.  Perhaps chief among those things is a clear border firmly agreed on by both sides.

The other three issues she says need to be agreed upon unequivocally are the refugee situation, settlement disputes and the division of Jerusalem. 

Clinton also told the forum that the U.S. is determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. 

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak followed Clinton at the speaker's podium.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec112010

Roadside Bomb in Helmand Kills 15 Civilians, Bombing in Kandahar

Image Courtesy - Defense Department/Getty Images(HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan) -- Fifteen Afghan civilians were reportedly killed in a roadside bombing Friday as they traveled together to a bazaar.  Local officials told the BBC they were all riding in a pickup truck when it rolled over a bomb, possibly intended for U.S. troops fighting against the Taliban in the area.

Four people were hurt in the blast in the remote village of Khan Neshin.  Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial governor in the notoriously violent Helmand Province, told the BBC the Taliban insurgents were to blame for the deadly bombing.

Saturday in Kandahar, a bombing at the police station injured at least six people and blew out the windows of buildings up to a mile away.   There are reports that in the northern province of Kunduz, five Afghan soldiers and nine civilians were hurt in a Taliban attack on an army checkpoint. 

There is a dispute over the deaths of seven Afghans Saturday in eastern Paktika Province, which borders Pakistan.  Local officials say troops from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) killed construction workers while ISAF says the seven killed were insurgents who targeted ISAF troops who were investigating a suspicious compound.

A protest outside the Paktika governor's office over the incident turned violent and police were called in.  Six people were hurt, including two police officers.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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