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S. Korea Rejects N. Korea Nuclear Talks Offer

South Korea on Thursday rejected an offer from North Korea to discuss its new nuclear program and return to six-party disarmament talks, saying its neighbor must first show peaceful intentions.

Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan said Pyongyang should demonstrate its commitment to denuclearization "not through words, but through action".

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U.S. Strike Kills 24 Militants in Pakistan

Four U.S. missiles ploughed into a militant training compound in Pakistan's Taliban and al Qaida-hit northwest on Thursday, killing 24 and wounding several others, security officials said.

It was the seventh drone strike to hit the lawless region in nine days, as the unpopular covert campaign ramps up along the border and fuels widespread anti-American sentiment in the nuclear nation that is a critical U.S. ally.

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15,000 Dead, Missing After Japan’s Disaster

The official number of dead and missing after a devastating earthquake and tsunami that flattened Japan's northeast coast is approaching 15,000, police said Thursday.

The number of confirmed dead from Friday's twin disasters rose to 5,457 while the official number of missing increased to 9,508, the National Police Agency said in its latest update.

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Strong 6.5 Magnitude Quake Strikes Vanuatu

A strong 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck off the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, but no widespread tsunami warning was issued.

However, the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a bulletin saying the shallow quake could have the potential to generate a local tsunami and urged local authorities to be vigilant.

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Japanese Emperor: Praying for the Nation

Japan's Emperor Akihito said Wednesday he was praying for the people's safety following last week's deadly earthquake and tsunami, and expressed his deep concern about the escalating nuclear crisis.

In a rare television address to the nation, the 77-year-old monarch -- who is held in deep respect by many Japanese -- admitted the country still did not know how many people had died in the March 11 twin disasters.

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'We Need World's Help': Japan Evacuee Town Mayor

The mayor of a town near Japan's quake-damaged and stricken Fukushima nuclear plant said Wednesday that it desperately needs help for thousands of evacuees sheltered there.

"We have received many people who were evacuated from the area near the plant," Masao Hara, mayor of Koriyama city, about 50 kilometers west of the nuclear plant, told Agence France Presse by telephone.

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U.S. Drone Kills Five Militants in Pakistan

A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's lawless northwest tribal belt on Wednesday killed at least five militants, security officials said, as the covert campaign steps up in the border region.

The strike took place in Datta Khel town, 25 kilometers west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district, which borders Afghanistan and is a stronghold of al-Qaida-linked Taliban militants.

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Bomb Explodes at Indonesian Islamic Group Headquarters

A bomb exploded at the office of a moderate Islamic group in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Tuesday, injuring four people including a policeman, police and a witness said.

The device was in a package sent to the office of the Liberal Islam Network, a grouping of religious intellectuals, in East Jakarta, national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told reporters.

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36 Killed in Suicide Attack on Afghan Army Center

A suicide attack on an army recruitment center in northern Afghanistan has left 36 people dead and another 42 wounded, a local official said Monday.

"There was a suicide attack at the army recruitment center in Kunduz city," said Mehboubullah Sayedi, a spokesman for the governor of Kunduz province.

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India Captures 61 Somali Pirates After Clash

The Indian navy has captured 61 suspected Somali pirates and rescued 13 fishermen after a firefight with a pirate mother ship in the Arabian Sea, a navy spokesman said Monday.

"A total of 74 men have been apprehended of which 61 are suspected to be Somali pirates," Indian navy spokesman P.V.S Satish said, adding the incident happened on Saturday night within Indian waters.

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