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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn / October 24, 2008



Hours after yet another Pakistani warning about incursions on its soil, an airstrike killed nine people and wounded two others at a school owned by a pro-Taliban Islamic cleric. Quoting local sources in the South Waziristan tribal area, Pakistani intelligence sources said the strike had come from a suspected US spy drone. The Washington Post reported that Pakistan plans to arm thousands of anti-Taliban tribesmen in the region in hopes of replicating the successful "Awakening" movement against Al Qaeda in Iraq.

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US forces transferred control over security in Iraq's Shiite-dominated Babil Province to government troops Thursday, leaving only six areas still in American hands. Only if asked for help will the Americans be involved in future security operations there, officials said. Meanwhile, however, a terrorist in Baghdad rammed his explosives-laden car into a motorcade carrying Labor Minister Mahmoud Mohammad al-Radhi, a Shiite. He escaped injury, but 13 other people were killed.

Defying China's government, the European Union awarded its prestigious annual human rights prize to dissident activist Hu Jia. Hu, who is serving a 3-1/2-year prison term for subversion of state power, was named the winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. In Beijing, the Internal Affairs Ministry called the announcement "criminal interference in China's judicial sovereignty." China had sought to deny Hu both the Sakharov award and the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, for which he also was a nominee. The Nobel Prize went instead to Finnish diplomat Martti Ahtissari earlier this month.

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