This Morning’s Headlines 30 Jan

Shiite cult leader among scores of fighters killed

BAGHDAD — An apocalyptic Shiite cult leader claiming to be the messenger of a revered 9th Century figure was among more than 200 people killed in the fierce battles that erupted Sunday near the southern Shiite city of Najaf, Iraqi officials said Monday.

Hamas commander killed in Gaza despite truce

Gunmen shot dead a Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and the Islamist group blamed a Fatah-dominated security service for the first killing in the territory since a ceasefire went into effect overnight.

Hospital officials in the southern town of Khan Younis said Hussein Shabasi was shot in the head.

A spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing said he was killed by the Preventive Security Service, most of whose members belong to President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction. The security service denied any connection with his death.

North Korea Nuclear Talks to Resume Feb. 8 in Beijing

Six-nation talks on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program will resume Feb. 8 in Beijing, after negotiations broke down last month over U.S. allegations of money laundering by North Korean companies.

“We believe that the six-party talks is a gradual and complicated process, but it’s the best mechanism for arriving at the goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said today at a briefing in the capital after announcing the date. “We hope each party will continue to head toward that goal.”

Another outbreak of bird flu hits Japan

Another outbreak of bird flu was suspected in southern Japan on Tuesday after 23 chickens were found dead at a farm, fueling concern about a string of cases in the country’s poultry industry.The latest outbreak occurred in the town of Shitomi in southwestern prefecture of Miyazaki, which saw two separate bird flu cases earlier this month, Agriculture Ministry official Yasushi Yamaguchi said.

The case would mark Japan’s fourth bird flu incident in the past month. Authorities found 23 chickens dead at the farm in Shitomi, and seven of 13 birds that were tested showed initial signs of bird flu, Yamaguchi said.

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