South Korea, US lukewarm on North's call for talks

SEOUL, South Korea - The United States and South Korea responded cautiously Thursday to North Korea's call for unconditional talks, saying Pyongyang must be judged on actions rather than words.

US protests Vietnamese police attack on diplomat

WASHINGTON DC - The United States has lodged a "strong protest" with the Vietnamese government over the attack on a U.S. diplomat by police in central Vietnam, a State Department spokesman said Wednesday.

28 kids in China hospital for lead poisoning: state media

BEIJING, China - Twenty-eight children, some as young as nine months old, have been hospitalised in eastern China for lead poisoning blamed on an unlicensed battery factory, state media said Thursday.

Palestinians look for early vote on UN resolution

UNITED NATIONS - A Palestinian resolution condemning Israel's settlement building could be voted on at the UN Security Council as early as next week, the Palestinian representative to the UN said Wednesday.

Fired-up Obama foes take over US House

WASHINGTON – A tense new era of political power-sharing dawned in Washington on Wednesday as a new US Congress convened with President Barack Obama's Republican foes in control of the House of Representatives.

U.S. envoy to Libya ensnared in WikiLeaks uproar

WASHINGTON – The U.S. ambassador to Libya has found his job in limbo after revelations in U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks drew complaints from the government of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

North Korea wants talks, U.S. wants end to provocations

SEOUL/WASHINGTON – North Korea called on Wednesday for unconditional talks with the South but the United States suggested it must first stop provoking its neighbor, recommit to a 2005 nuclear pact and take responsibility for recent attacks.

800 soldiers in dock at Bangladesh mutiny hearing

DHAKA, Bangladesh - Some 800 shackled Bangladeshi soldiers crammed into a specially-built Dhaka court on Wednesday, accused of murder and other serious offenses during a mutiny in which scores of officers were massacred.

Earthquake injures 16 people in southern Iran

TEHRAN, Iran - Sixteen people were injured when a 5.3-magnitude earthquake jolted southern Iran on Wednesday, the semi-official Mehr News Agency reported.

New US Congress to hone in on Afghan aid

WASHINGTON DC - The new U.S. Congress will examine cutting civilian assistance to Afghanistan as budget-minded lawmakers seek to curb costs without undercutting military operations at a key moment in a long, unpopular war.