Sep 15, 2011, 10:15 p.m.

Erdogan to visit Libya as Sirte battle rages

TRIPOLI/BENGHAZI (Reuters) - Turkey's prime minister heads to Libya on Friday, a day after the French and British leaders won a hero's welcome there for helping to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi and in the midst of a fierce battle over Gaddafi's home town. Tayyip Erdogan, on a North African tour to assert Ankara's regional influence, will be hoping to reap political and economic dividends from Libya's new rulers for his country's help in their struggle to end Gaddafi's 42-year grip on power.

No confirmation senior al Qaeda militant dead: Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan had no confirmation on Friday that al Qaeda's chief of operations in the country had been killed in a recent drone strike in the northwestern tribal region, as reported by American officials. Abu Hafs al Shahri, a Saudi national who had been serving as the senior figure in al Qaeda's central command, was the target of the drone strike which occurred within the last few days, two U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Insight: Looming U.S. decision on Taiwan arms risks China rift

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Obama administration's impending decision on new arms sales to Taiwan is likely to strain the diplomatic truce between the United States and China, which faces rising domestic demands to wield its growing power against debt-saddled Washington. Throughout this year, Washington and Beijing have sought to stabilize ties before both enter attention-sapping political seasons in 2012, when President Barack Obama faces re-election and China's Communist Party leadership changes hands.

Analysis: Japan's PM Noda: warm to Washington, wary of China

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is turning his back on his Democratic Party's early effort to recast Tokyo's U.S.-centered diplomacy and embrace Asia more closely, instead putting the U.S. alliance back at the core of security policy. But Noda, who says his paratrooper father's military career influenced his views on security, faces serious challenges to keeping ties with both close ally Washington and rising rival Beijing on an even keel.

Rescue under way to free four trapped in Welsh mine

LONDON (Reuters) - Emergency services were carrying out a major rescue operation on Thursday after four miners became trapped following a flash flood in a coal mine in south Wales. Specialist teams from across Britain including cave divers and a mines rescue team have been brought in to try to locate the men, trapped 90 meters below the surface in the small Gleision Colliery in the Swansea Valley.

In would-be Palestinian state, a dose of reality

THE JORDAN VALLEY, West Bank (Reuters) - In another world, the tented village at al Hadidiya might mark the farthest reaches of a future Palestine. Instead, the herding community living here talk about the limits of that dream. Nestled in the northeast corner of the West Bank, al Hadidiya amounts to a cluster of sprawling sackcloth encampments which shelter families and goats from the fierce desert elements.

Armored Syrian forces storm towns near Turkey border

AMMAN (Reuters) - Dozens of tanks and hundreds of soldiers stormed towns and villages near Syria's northwest border with Turkey on Wednesday, stepping up President Bashar al-Assad's efforts to crush popular unrest and pursue army defectors, local activists said. At least four villagers were killed by security forces and armed men loyal to Assad who fired machineguns randomly as they swept into at least 10 villages and towns in Jabal al-Zawiya from a nearby highway, after blocking access to the region and cutting off communications, the activists said.

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