Many Americans Missing

U.S. officials are investigating about 4,000 reports of missing Americans in the wake of the December 26 tsunami disaster, a State Department spokesman said Tuesday. The Indian Ocean tsunamis killed more than 150,000 people in at least 11 countries. Sixteen Americans have been confirmed dead -- eight in Sri Lanka and eight in Thailand. Full story
  • The chief Australian scientist involved in researching a tsunami detection system for the Indian Ocean says the project could be finished in a year at a cost of about $20 million US. Full story
  • Despite monsoon rain and flooding, some progress is being made in south Asia to aid the survivors of last week's tsunami, the UN's top humanitarian worker said Tuesday. But Jan Egeland said more equipment, supplies and different types of aircraft are still needed. Full story
  • Gunmen killed Baghdad's governor in Iraq's highest-profile assassination in eight months and a suicide bomber killed 11 people at a police checkpoint on Tuesday in an escalating campaign to wreck the Jan. 30 election. The shooting of Governor Ali al-Haidri in a roadside ambush showed insurgents' power to strike at the heart of the governing class, raising fresh doubts as to whether security forces can protect politicians and voters as the ballot draws near. Full story
  • At least seven Palestinians were killed Tuesday when an Israeli tank fired two shells into a field in Gaza, in the deadliest incident in the region in three months. Palestinian witnesses said the shells fell into a field in the northern town of Beit Lahiya as farmers were picking potatoes and strawberries. Six other Palestinians were wounded. There are conflicting reports on the ages and identities of the victims. A Palestinian doctor in the area said the dead included six members of one family, and that all ranged from ages 11 to 17. Full story
  • The leader of an armed nationalist group that seized a remote Peruvian police station, took 10 officers hostage and allegedly killed four others was detained while most of his 125 followers were rounded up early Tuesday, officials said. Former army Maj. Antauro Humala was in custody after turning himself in to National Police chief Felix Murazzo at this town's municipal building, a government spokeswoman told The Associated Press. She said about 90 of his followers also laid down their arms and were turning themselves in. Full story
  • Chile's top court has upheld murder and kidnapping charges against Gen. Augusto Pinochet, bringing the former dictator a step closer to standing trial for human rights abuses. The Chilean Supreme Court on Tuesday backed a lower court's decision to throw out a defence contention that Pinochet, 89, isn't mentally alert enough to defend himself. Full story
  • The population in China will officially hit 1.3 billion later this week. Chinese state media says the population is expected to increase by about 10 million people annually in the foreseeable future. It credits the government's population-control policies over the past 30 years for delaying the 1.3 billion figure by four years.

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