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World News: Syrian Rockets Hit Lebanon; Iraqi Deaths Increase; Respiratory Virus Confirmed in Italy

By: AP
By: AP
This image from amateur video obtained by a group which calls itself Ugarit News, which is consistent with AP reporting, a rocket fired by Syrian rebels in Qusair, Syria, Tuesday, May 28, 2013. Europe's decision to allow member states to arm Syrian rebels and Russia's renewed pledge to send advanced missiles to the Syria regime could spur an arms race in an already brutal civil war and increasingly turn it into a East-West proxy fight. Britain promises not to transfer any arms before diplomacy is given a chance in Syria peace talks expected next month, while a top rebel commander says he needs Western anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles now to prevent more regime gains on the battlefield. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)

This image from amateur video obtained by a group which calls itself Ugarit News, which is consistent with AP reporting, a rocket fired by Syrian rebels in Qusair, Syria, Tuesday, May 28, 2013. Europe's decision to allow member states to arm Syrian rebels and Russia's renewed pledge to send advanced missiles to the Syria regime could spur an arms race in an already brutal civil war and increasingly turn it into a East-West proxy fight. Britain promises not to transfer any arms before diplomacy is given a chance in Syria peace talks expected next month, while a top rebel commander says he needs Western anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles now to prevent more regime gains on the battlefield. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)

BEIRUT (AP) -- Lebanese security officials say 16 rockets fired from Syria have struck the eastern region of Baalbek.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters, say the rockets caused a fire in fields without casualties.
The area that was struck is a stronghold of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group that is fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces against rebels who are trying to remove him from power.
Rebels have fired dozens of rockets on Lebanon's northeastern region of Hermel over the past weeks but Saturday's attack was the first on Baalbek.
Syria's two-year civil war has spilled over to Lebanon where fighters who back and oppose Assad have clashed, leaving scores dead and wounded in recent months.

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Pakistan's incoming prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has expressed "deep disappointment" over a recent U.S. drone strike that the Pakistani Taliban said killed their No. 2 leader.
A statement late Friday by Sharif's soon-to-be ruling party describes Wednesday's strike as a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and international law.
It does not mention the Pakistani Taliban's deputy leader, Waliur Rehman. After the strike, the Pakistani Taliban withdrew their offer of peace talks with Sharif's incoming government.
The statement says a Sharif aide conveyed his sentiments to the U.S. Embassy.
The U.S. regards such missile attacks as legal, but President Barack Obama recently described plans to further restrict drone use in the future. According to the statement, the aide described the strike as especially regrettable since it came within days of Obama's speech.

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The United Nations mission to Iraq says more than 1,000 people were killed in violence in the country last month -- the highest monthly death toll in years.
The figures released Saturday showed 1,045 civilians and security personnel killed in May. That surpassed the 712 killed in April, the deadliest month recorded since June 2008.
More than half of those killed were in the capital district of Baghdad.
Tallies of Iraq casualties have long been the subject of debate, and the UN total is considerably higher than that reported by news agencies in the country. The Associated Press counted at least 578 Iraqis killed in May, based on reports from Iraqi officials.
The UN says its totals are based on direct investigation and accounts from credible outside sources.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- NATO says three of its service members and one civilian working with the international coalition in Afghanistan have been killed in three separate attacks in the country's east and south.
The coalition says in the east, insurgents killed one service member and the civilian, while a roadside bomb killed another service member.
NATO also says an improvised explosive device killed a service member in the south.
All the attacks took place on Saturday.
NATO gave no other details of the attacks, nor the nationalities of the dead.
The deaths bring to 66 the number of international troops killed in Afghanistan this year. Deaths of NATO personnel have gone down in recent months as international forces pull back to allow Afghan soldiers and police to take the lead in ensuring security.

ROME (AP) -- Italy's health ministry has confirmed the country's first case of a new respiratory virus that is alarming global health officials.
The patient is a 45-year-old man recently back from a 40-day visit to Jordan. The ministry says he was in good condition and being treated Saturday for the coronavirus in a hospital in Tuscany.
The virus is related to SARS, which killed about 800 people in a 2003 global epidemic. The U.N. health agency says it has been informed of 51 confirmed cases of the new virus since September. Thirty of those cases were fatal, including that of a Frenchman who died earlier in the week. Cases in Britain and Germany also have been reported.
Most of those infected had traveled to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Pakistan.

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Islamic extremist rebels are fighting a polio vaccination campaign in Somalia, charging that the inoculation contains the virus that causes AIDS or could make children sterile, a campaign of words that is frustrating health workers.
Somali health workers who spoke to The Associated Press said that Al-Shabab, the rebels linked to al-Qaida, have discouraged many parents from getting their children immunized against polio, a disease that is an incipient problem in this Horn of Africa nation long plagued by armed conflict and disease.

SINGAPORE (AP) -- China has deflected criticism over its actions in several maritime disputes with its neighbors and defended its relationship with North Korea.
Lt-Gen. Qi Jianguo, deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army, reiterated at an annual security conference in Singapore on Sunday that the Chinese government and military seek only peaceful development and that other countries should not view it as a threat.
China is embroiled in a series of running disputes with its neighbors, including a high-profile one with Japan that has soured bilateral relations, and with several countries around the South China Sea.
Qi said China was only safeguarding its sovereignty in its dispute with Japan, where both claim ownership over the islands, and with other countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea.

SINGAPORE (AP) -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's first trip to Asia as Pentagon chief has been a bit of a walk down memory lane for the former infantry soldier.
Forty-five years ago, as the Vietnam war raged on, Army Spc. Hagel and Nguyen Tan Dung were on opposite sides of combat serving in the Mekong Delta -- both wounded more than once as they battled for their countries.
This weekend the two men -- now America's defense secretary and Vietnam's prime minister -- met at the start of an international security conference here, working to help build America's growing military partnership with Vietnam.
While Hagel and Dung knew of each other's service in Vietnam, they had never met. So this meeting gave them the chance to exchange war stories.

BEIJING (AP) -- China has accused the United States of "political prejudice" after the State Department called on Beijing to fully account for those killed, detained or missing in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement that China urges the U.S. "to discard political prejudice and correctly treat China's development," according to the Xinhua News Agency's English service late Saturday.
The statement was not available on the Foreign Ministry's website or Xinhua's Chinese service.
Hong's statement was in response to a message by the U.S. State Department Friday on the upcoming 24th anniversary of the crushing of student-led pro-democracy protests. It said it was remembering "this tragic loss of innocent lives" and called on China to end the harassment of those who participated in the protests.

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's Antiquities' Ministry has criticized a U.S. Embassy message to American citizens in the country, urging them to be extra cautious because of recent incidents near the pyramids in Giza.
A ministry statement on Saturday says the warning is "baseless."
An embassy message earlier this week urged Americans to "elevate their situational awareness" when visiting the pyramids because of a "lack of visible security or police" presence there.
It noted incidents of "angry groups of individuals surrounding and pounding" on cars with visitors, sometimes trying to open car doors.
The ministry insists the pyramids' area in Giza, Cairo's twin city, is "totally secure" and that the overall situation for tourists has improved.
Security deteriorated following the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak and tourism took a sharp hit.


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