AFGHANISTAN: Intel chief wounded by bomb

The chief of the intelligence agency was wounded Thursday afternoon in a suicide bomb attack at a spy agency guesthouse in Kabul, government officials said. Doctors at a National Directorate of Security hospital said Asadullah Khalid was in stable condition. Earlier reports were that Khalid was wounded in the chest and midsection. The office of Hamid Karzai said the president had visited Khalid. The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying a suicide "martyr" had detonated an explosive vest.


GAZA STRIP: Hamas leader's historic visit

The supreme Hamas leader's first-ever visit to the Gaza Strip this weekend signals growing regional acceptance of the Islamic militant movement in charge of the once-isolated territory and grudging acquiescence by Israel. Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, who enjoys the backing of Egypt, Turkey and Qatar, could also use the trip to lobby for re-election. He arrives Friday for a three-day tour, with Hamas' 25th anniversary rally on Saturday set as the centerpiece. He'll visit the homes of two Hamas icons assassinated by Israel, military chief Ahmed Jabari and spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin. His visit comes two weeks after the bloodiest round of Israel-Gaza fighting in four years, which included the killing of Jabari, hundreds of Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets and an equal number of Gaza rockets fired into Israel.

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BRITAIN: Publicist held in abuse case

Max Clifford, a publicist who has represented O.J. Simpson, David Beckham and Simon Cowell, has been arrested in the probe of decades-old pedophilia claims against entertainment industry figures. Clifford, 69, was detained Wednesday by officers investigating the abuse of hundreds of children over almost 50 years by people including the late BBC-TV star Jimmy Savile. The probe began in October after ITV Plc aired a story about Savile almost a year after his death at the age of 84. Savile and the other suspects were involved in sexual abuse on an "unprecedented scale," police said as the investigation started.