KYRGYZSTAN: Rebels say U.S. base can stay
Consolidating their victory after a bloody uprising, opposition leaders declared Thursday that they would hold power for six months and assured the United States that it can keep a strategic air base, at least for now. Deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev refused to relinquish power after the revolt, which left at least 75 people dead and hundreds wounded. As he spoke, gunfire broke out after nightfall in Bishkek. Roving bands of armed marauders trawled the streets of the capital, despite warnings from the opposition leadership that looters would be shot. Crowds gathering at the ransacked government headquarters earlier angrily shouted anti-Bakiyev slogans. Still, the mood was subdued as people came to terms with the scale of the violence unleashed against the mostly unarmed protesters by government troops.
ISRAEL: Netanyahu isn't coming, after all
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called off his trip to Washington next week for a conference on the spread of nuclear weapons, officials in his office said, fearing Israel would be singled out over its own nuclear program. Netanyahu had said he would attend the conference to underline the dangers of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons, but suddenly called off the trip Thursday, less than two days later. In Washington, National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer confirmed that Israel had informed the United States that Netanyahu would send his deputy, Dan Meridor, instead.
THAILAND: Opposition TV and Web sites blocked
Thailand blocked an opposition TV station and dozens of Web sites, trying to control escalating anti-government rallies with censorship instead of violence. Outraged protesters vowed to defy a state of emergency with an "unforgettable" demonstration Friday. Defiant "Red Shirt" leaders called for a march to 10 undisclosed locations in Bangkok, pledging to make it the biggest rally yet in a monthlong campaign to drive Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva out of office and force new elections. The raucous demonstrations are part of a long-running battle between the mostly poor and rural supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and the ruling elite they say orchestrated the 2006 coup that removed him from power.
CHINA: 26 still in flooded mine
Rescuers pumped water Thursday in a fading bid to find more survivors in a flooded mine in northern China where 115 workers were dramatically rescued this week after eight days. The death toll rose to 12, Xinhua News Agency reported. Twenty-six miners are believed trapped in two areas.