Russian helicopter crahes...17 dead!
At least 17 people were killed when a Russian-made Mi-8 military transport helicopter crashed in the volatile province of Chechnya. The Russian military prosecutor's office said 14 or 15 paratroopers and three crew members were killed when the helicopter went down. The craft, an Mi-8, was part of a three-helicopter team providing reinforcements to help commandos conducting a special operation in the restive region of Chechnya, near the town of Shatoi.
Authorities are investigating whether the craft was shot down or whether there had been a technical malfunction that caused a crash. The incident happened at 11:53pm.
'Kidnapped' Lebanese found dead
Lebanon's security services staged a nationwide manhuntLebanese police have found the bodies of a Sunni man and a boy in hills south-east of Beirut, three days after they went missing, feared kidnapped.
Ziyad Ghandour, 12, was the son of a member of the pro-government Progressive Socialist Party. Ziyad Qabalan, 25, also belonged to the PSP.
Putin steps up missiles warning
Mr Putin has made a series of comments against missile defenceRussian President Vladimir Putin has warned that US plans to build a missile defence system in eastern Europe would raise the risk of "mutual destruction".
Poland and the Czech Republic are keen to allow the US to site missile bases and radars on their territory.
Mr Putin spoke a day after threatening to halt involvement with a treaty limiting conventional arms in Europe.
Iraq criticises US pull-out vote
The Iraqi government has criticised the US Senate's approval of a bill requiring US troops to leave Iraq.
Ali al-Dabbagh, the main government spokesman, said the decision was "negative" and sent the wrong signals to insurgents. The controversial measure makes $100bn (£50bn) in further funding for the war conditional on a withdrawal timetable.
Meanwhile Democrat candidates for the US presidency urged President George W Bush not to veto the war funds bill.
Taliban take over south Afghan district
Taliban militants have seized control of a district in eastern Afghanistan' after an hours-long clash that killed five people, including the local mayor and his police chief, a senior official said Friday.
The Taliban takeover is an embarrassment to the Afghan government and its foreign backers, and shows how vulnerable remote areas remain despite the presence of some 47,000 U.S. and troops. Militants launched the attack Thursday evening on the Giro district of Ghazni province, setting fire to several buildings and cutting communication lines
Crackdown in Iran over dress codes
Thousands of Iranian women have been cautioned over their poor Islamic dress this week and several hundred arrested in the capital Tehran in the most fierce crackdown on what's known as "bad hijab" for more than a decade. It is the talk of the town. The latest police crackdown on Islamic dress has angered many Iranians - male, female, young and old. But Iranian TV has reported that an opinion poll conducted in Tehran found 86% of people were in favour of the crackdown - a statistic that is surprising given the strength of feeling against this move. Police cars are stationed outside major shopping centres in Tehran. They are stopping pedestrians and even cars - warning female drivers not to show any hair - and impounding the vehicles and arresting the women if they argue back.