AFGHANISTAN : Eight Afghani police and guards have been killed in a series of bomb attacks believed to be linked to militants within the Taliban insurgency.
The first bomb was packed onto a parked motorcycle near a US military outpost. The second bombing came from a suicide attacker driving a car filled with explosives into a police checkpoint in Kandahar. A third bomb was detonated by remote control as a police patrol passed by in Nimroz.
More than 1000 people were killed in insurgency-related violence in 2005. In 2006, the figure had escalated to more than 4000.
The Taliban claimed weeks ago that it would unleash "a storm of attacks" throughout 2007, claiming it had a force of thousands of ready suicide bombers.Tribal elders from the Eastern provinces are now pushing talks with warlords and the Taliban's Mullah Omar to bring peace and stability to their regions. These key talks are expected to follow earlier, quiet deals cut with tribal warlords to allow Taliban members to remain in their territories as long as they did not engage Coalition forces, or attack civilians.
VENEZUELA : President Hug Chavez has announced he will nationalise the key Orinoco oil fields and the entire electricity grid starting May 1. Chavez has offered the five major foreign firms, including Exxon Mobil, British Petroleum and Chevron Corp, currently controlling the Orinoco fields the chance to stay on and become "minority partners."
This move by Chavez may explain US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's claims that democracy in Venezuela was "under threat" from Chavez and that he is "destroying" the country.
Expect the US rhetoric against Chavez to ramp up in the next few months as key oil giants come closer to losing billions of dollars in Venezuela.
Condoleezza Rice was a board member for Exxon for a decade from 1991 to 2001, and had a 129,000 oil tanker named in her honour. The name was changed when she joined the Bush administration in early 2001.
A report on the United States' secret air war over Iraq. In 2006 alone, more than 100,000 pounds worth of bombs have been dropped, hundreds of missiles and rockets fired, killing more than an estimated 200 civilians.
ITALY : A judge has announced that a US soldier will now stand trial for homicide, in relation to the shooting death of Italian intelligence agent, Nicola Calipari, in 2005, in Iraq.
Calipari was killed as he approached a US checkpoint close to the Baghdad airport, while escorting an Italian journalist just freed by Iraqi kidnappers out of the war zone. Calipari was praised in death for protecting the journalist with his body under the storm of gunfire which all but destroyed the vehicle they were travelling in.
The Italian foreign minister has written a protest letter to six allied nations telling them to keep out of Italian internal affairs, over pressure to keep Italy's 1800 strong military force in Afghanistan.
The Prodi government has also come under fire for allowing the US to expand one of its bases in Northern Italy.
DARFUR : The Pentagon has announced it will take no military action to end the genocide in Darfur. It intends to focus on diplomacy instead. The US has previously widely, and loudly, criticised the United Nations for not taking greater action to end the fighting and killing in Darfur.
YEMEN : In less than seven weeks of fighting, some 42 Yememi army and police troops have been killed during clashes with Shiite rebel fighters in Saada, a province in the north. Saada lies on the border with Saudia Arabia. The chief of the National Security Agency said the attacks on Saada military outposts were by followers of Shiite leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi.
NICARAGUA : The United States has demanded that Nicaragua destroy hundreds of Soviet-made SAM-7 missiles surface to air missiles. But newly elected president, and former revolutionary, Daniel Ortega, refused the US demand, saying they were needed to defend the country.
The US claims that the missiles could find their way into the hands of terrorists.
Nicaragua's neighbour Honduras is currently expanding its military fleet with US planes.
Nicaragua is in an eight year long dispute with Honduras over Caribbean bean Sea territory.
SOMALIA : Ethiopian troops, backed by US special forces and CIA operatives, continue their pursuit of former members of the Islamic courts, after they were removed from their seat of power in the capital Mogadishu in mid-December.
A senior cleric, riddled with bullets from American airstrikes has been paraded through the capital by Ethiopian troops.
Former remands and supporters of the Islamic Courts have been blamed for mortar and rocket propelled grenade fire in the capital in recent days.
A Round Up Iraq News Will Follow....