AFGHANISTAN: U.S. sergeant flown out

The American soldier accused of killing 16 villagers was flown out of Afghanistan on Wednesday, even as many Afghans called for him to face justice in their country. The U.S. military said the transfer did not preclude the possibility of trying the case in Afghanistan, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the soldier could receive capital punishment, if convicted. The staff sergeant, who has not been named or charged, was held by the U.S. military in Kandahar until Wednesday evening, when he was flown out to Kuwait "based on a legal recommendation," said Navy Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman.


SYRIA: New attack on Daraa

Syrian forces fired mortars and heavy machine guns Wednesday on the southern city of Daraa where the anti-government uprising against President Bashar Assad began, propelled by recent victories over rebels as the opposition fell into disarray. Two prominent dissidents said they have quit the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, calling it an "autocratic" organization. The opposition was already reeling from significant losses when rebels were largely driven out of two key strongholds, Idlib near the northern border with Turkey and the Baba Amr district in the central city of Homs. In Wednesday's attacks on Daraa, there were reports of dead and wounded, but numbers could not be confirmed.


JAPAN: Tremors jolt wide area

A series of earthquakes rattled Tokyo and the northeast Wednesday evening but caused no apparent damage or injury in the same region hit by last year's devastating tsunami. The strongest was a magnitude-6.8 that struck off Hokkaido and generated a small tsunami. Some communities along the coast advised residents to evacuate. An 8-inch swell was observed at the port of Hachinohe in Aomori prefecture about an hour after the tremor. About 9 p.m. local time, a magnitude-6.1 quake shook buildings in Tokyo. It was centered just off Chiba, east of Tokyo, at a rather shallow 9 miles deep. No abnormalities were reported at nuclear power plants, operators said.


CHINA: Wen calls for reforms

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao renewed his call for political reform Wednesday, saying at probably his last major news conference as premier that, without it, China risks returning to the chaos of the Cultural Revolution. In a three-hour session at the end of the annual meeting of the National People's Congress, Wen focused on the need for more political openness. "Without successful political reform, it is impossible for us to fully implement economic reform," he said.

From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

Elisa DiStefano kick-starts summer with the Fun Book show From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book.

From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

Elisa DiStefano kick-starts summer with the Fun Book show From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book.

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