Amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, the communist North appears to be preparing to test-fire a missile capable of reaching the US mainland, reports said Tuesday. North Korea's Taepodong-2 missile has a range of more than 4,100 miles, and scientists have been working to increase that to put the US West Coast within reach. Skeptics, however, said a launch now would make little sense unless relations with the new US administration deteriorate. Secretary of State Clinton is expected to visit rival South Korea at mid-month.
Another rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in a residential section of Ashkelon, Israel, Tuesday, causing no casualties but bringing threats of even harsher retaliation from the Jewish state's leaders. The attack came as Israelis prepare to elect a new government this weekend, and on a visit to Ashkelon, Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu promised that "a government led by me will overthrow Hamas rule in Gaza."
Hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and loans will be made available to Kyrgyzstan's ruler by the Kremlin if he agrees to close a strategic US air base there, reports said. President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who's under heavy pressure to repair his ailing economy, was expected to discuss the matter with Russian leaders in Moscow Tuesday. The US base is an irritant to the Kremlin, which also has one there.
Only days after withdrawing from Somalia, Ethiopian troops have returned, witnesses claimed Tuesday. They said the Ethiopians appeared to be preparing for an offensive against resurgent Islamist militias that once again control most of Somalia. Ethiopia's government denied that any troops were back in Somalia but has acknowledged a heavy buildup along their border in case of any threats to security.
Eighty-five men "who have been led astray" were put on a wanted list by Saudi Arabia's government, which said they should return from the countries where they now operate and resume a normal life. Among them, two are former detainees at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba, who have resurfaced with the Al Qaeda wing in Yemen. Others on the list completed Saudi rehabilitation programs only to return to what the government called "deviant" ideologies, a term usually understood to mean Al Qaeda.
Suspected leftist extremists attacked a police station in Athens before dawn Tuesday, raking the building with automatic weapons fire but causing no injuries. A grenade thrown in the attack failed to explode. Reports said an Athens newspaper received a phone call from the group Revolutionary Struggle claiming responsibility. The incident appeared to be a resumption of antigovernment violence that raged last month following the shooting death of an Athens teenager by police but then stopped.
Leaders of the antigovernment movement on Madagascar have been arrested in the main port city, news agencies said Tuesday. Rioting and demonstrations against President Marc Ravalomanana wracked the island last week, leaving dozens of people dead. Opposition leader Andry Rajoelina has said he'll set up an interim government if Ravalomanana doesn't resign by this weekend.
Naval units rescued 198 "boat people" off Indonesia, many of them in critical condition after being turned away by authorities in Thailand. Reports identified them as ethnic Rohingya who'd fled Myanmar (Burma) in December because they feared religious persecution. Another group of Rohingya who were rescued off Indonesia last month face deportation, however, because they're considered economic migrants, not asylum-seekers.