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Briefly

- - Thursday, March 24, 2011

CHINA

Nobel jury concerned about Chinese winner

OSLO, Norway | The spokesman for the Norwegian Nobel Committee says the panel is very concerned by the lack of information about Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned Chinese dissident awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

Permanent Secretary Geir Lundestad says the committee hasn't received any updates about Mr. Liu's whereabouts or well-being since October, when the prize was announced and Mr. Liu's wife went to visit him in prison.

While several previous Nobel laureates have been prevented by their governments from collecting the prize, Mr. Lundestad called the total silence surrounding Mr. Liu "unprecedented."

Mr. Liu won the prize for his nonviolent struggle for human rights in his homeland. The award infuriated Beijing, which accused the Nobel committee of honoring a criminal.

AFGHANISTAN

NATO airstrike kills two civilians

KABUL | A NATO helicopter gunship inadvertently killed two civilians while attacking suspected insurgents in the eastern province of Khost, NATO announced Thursday.

The attack killed a suspected Haqqani Network leader and two other insurgents in Tere Zayi district on Wednesday, NATO said.

"At the time of the strike, two civilians were walking near the moving targeted vehicle," NATO said. "They were previously unseen by coalition forces prior to the initiation of the airstrike. Unfortunately both were killed as an unintended result of the strike."

MYANMAR

6.8-magnitude quake strikes border region

YANGON | A strong earthquake struck northeastern Myanmar on Thursday night, shaking buildings as far away as Bangkok. No tsunami was generated.

The quake struck along Myanmar's borders with Thailand and Laos, about 70 miles from Chiang Rai.

The northern Thai city sustained a little damage, according reports from Thai television.

The 6.8-magnitude quake was just 6 miles deep, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

At that strength and depth, the monitor said that 600,000 people got shaking anywhere from strong to violent and that the buildings are considered vulnerable, so moderate to heavy damage is expected in homes.

PAKISTAN

Suicide bomber kills five at police station

PARACHINAR | A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a car loaded with explosives into a police station in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday, killing five and wounding more than two dozen people, police said.

It was the second attack in as many days against police in Hangu, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that has been hit by militants many times over the past several years.

The dead included one officer and four passers-by, said Rashid Khan, the top police official in Hangu. Most of the 30 wounded in the attack in Doaba were also passers-by.

THAILAND

Probe finds no proof troops killed journalist

BANGKOK | Thai police said Thursday that they had no evidence to indicate troops killed Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto last year, backing a recent reversal of preliminary findings that a soldier may have fired the fatal bullet.

After reviewing a report by Thailand's Department of Special Investigation (DSI), police said they could not determine whether Mr. Muramoto, a 43-year-old Japanese national, was killed by troops while filming anti-government demonstrations last April.

CHINA

Jury mulls verdict in milkshake murder

HONG KONG | A Hong Kong jury is deliberating in the retrial of an American woman accused of murdering her wealthy husband after drugging his milkshake.

The jury reached no verdict Thursday. It will reconvene Friday, when a decision is possible.

The original trial found Nancy Kissel, a native of Adrian, Mich., guilty of killing her husband seven years ago. A judge later ordered a retrial.

The first trial grabbed worldwide attention as it described the breakdown of a wealthy expatriate marriage.

From wire dispatches and staff reports