Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden urged European countries to end military cooperation with US forces in Afghanistan, in an audio tape aired by Al Jazeera television yesterday. He said US power was waning and the Europeans should quickly end their role in Afghanistan, where European countries contribute to the 50,000-strong NATO and US-led forces fighting his Taliban allies. (Reuters)
New rift may open in US relationsBEIJING - China hinted yesterday that Congress's honoring of the Dalai Lama and US arms sales to Taiwan led it to cancel a US Navy visit to Hong Kong, an incident that could open a rift in military relations that had warmed in recent years. The Pentagon summoned a Chinese military attaché to protest the decision, which Admiral Mike Mullen, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, called "perplexing." (AP)
Congress shut down in constitutional tiltMONTECRISTI - Ecuador's constitutional assembly voted yesterday to shut down the opposition-led Congress until voters decide on a new constitution that assembly members will draft to advance President Rafael Correa's left-wing proposals. In a vote broadcast on state television, the assembly agreed to assume Congress's legislative powers until Ecuadorans vote. (Reuters)
Earthquake rocks eastern CaribbeanROSEAU - A powerful earthquake rocked the eastern Caribbean yesterday, sending workers and shoppers on several islands fleeing into the streets. Minor injuries were reported on Martinique. The 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck at 2 p.m. EST and was centered 26 miles southeast of Roseau, capital of Dominica. The temblor was felt hundreds of miles away in Puerto Rico to the west and Venezuela to the south. (AP)
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