China, ASEAN working on sea code
MANILA, Philippines | China has started talks with the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to formalize a code of conduct in disputed territories in the South China Sea, Beijing's ambassador to Manila said Thursday.
The move coincides with a major spat between China and Japan over a chain of uninhabited islets that both claim in the East China Sea, in what analysts say is a sign of growing Chinese assertiveness at sea that has worried other Asian nations.
Six parties are involved in a complex set of territorial disputes in the South China Sea — Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. All except Brunei have military forces on territories claimed in the sea.
Judge frees American al Qaeda suspect
MADRID | A Spanish judge has ordered the release of a U.S. citizen of Algerian origin who was detained on suspicion of financing al Qaeda's North Africa affiliate, citing lack of evidence, but the investigation is continuing.
Judge Santiago Pedraz on Thursday took away suspect Mohammed Omar Dehbi's passport and barred him from leaving Spain. He ordered him to check in with police daily.
Mr. Dehbi was arrested Tuesday in a Barcelona suburb. Judge Pedraz said there was insufficient evidence to back up police allegations that Mr. Dehbi financed al Qaeda by sending money to an associate in Algeria who is wanted in Spain on terrorism-related charges.
Government worker held in NYC plot
ISLAMABAD | An employee at Pakistan's state-run Islamic advisory body has been detained for reputedly playing a key role in assisting the failed New York Times Square car bomber, an intelligence officer said Thursday.
The suspect accompanied Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistan-American would-be bomber, to Pakistan's northwest to meet militant leaders, said the officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the intelligence agency does not permit its operatives to be named in the media.
The suspect, identified as Faisal Abbasi, was with Shahzad throughout his time in Pakistan, the officer said, adding that Mr. Abbasi worked for the government's Council of Islamic Ideology, which advises on Islamic affairs.
Interpol head warns of Somali threat
BRUSSELS, Belgium | Islamist militants in Somalia will soon pose more of a terrorist threat than those based in Afghanistan, Interpol's secretary-general said Thursday.
Ronald K. Noble told the Associated Press that Somali militants will eclipse Afghanistan in terms of threats in the next five to 10 years.
Speaking on the sidelines of a conference on West African security in Brussels, Mr. Noble said law enforcement is "seeing more and more terrorist activity originating in Somalia."
"For us, we believe that the Afghanistan in the next five to 10 years will be Somalia," he said.
Ireland to pour billions into collapsing banks
DUBLIN | Europe's debt crisis dumped more woe on Ireland's weary taxpayers Thursday, as the government said it needed to pour billions more of their money into a collapsed banking system.
Coupled with the downgrade of Spain's bonds by a third ratings agency, the news from Dublin provided more confirmation that the government debt troubles that shook Europe this spring and pushed Greece to near bankruptcy are very much still around.
The amount Ireland will pay to fix its banks — about $60 billion — was described as "horrible" by a government official, and will swell the deficit for one year to a staggering 32 percent of economic output, the biggest in post-World War II Europe.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports