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AFGHANISTAN: Strike on civilians condemned

Afghan officials released harrowing new details Thursday about an attack in a western province in which assailants shot everyone in their path, sending terrified people jumping from windows trying to escape. At least 46 civilians and security forces were killed. The UN condemned Wednesday's attack, saying civilians were deliberately targeted in Farah province. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Farah. Also Thursday, NATO reported that an American F-16 fighter jet had crashed in the east, killing the U.S. pilot. And an airstrike by U.S.-led forces mistakenly killed four policemen and two brothers at a checkpoint in the east, an Afghan official said yesterday.

SYRIA: Friction rises with Jordan

Jordan tightened security along its border with Syria, doubling the number of soldiers as President Bashar Assad's regime warned Thursday the kingdom was "playing with fire" by allowing the United States and other countries to train and arm the rebels on its territory. The Syrian warnings followed statements from U.S. and other Western and Arab officials that Jordan has been facilitating arms shipments and hosting training camps for Syrian rebels since October.

CHINA: Bird flu deaths reach six

The death toll from a new strain of bird flu rose to six Thursday as scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and around the world stepped up efforts to determine its pandemic risk. It's the first time the H7N9 virus has been detected in humans, but there is no evidence that it is transmitted from human to human, officials said. At least 14 people in China have been confirmed to have H7N9, all in the east of the country. The World Health Organization said three of the recent fatal cases involved men: a 38-year-old from Zhejiang province, in eastern China, who became sick March 7; a 64-year-old, also from Zhejiang, who fell ill March 28; and a 48-year-old from Shanghai who also became sick March 28.

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