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October 20, 2008

1. More reports of disagreements and Iraqi opposition on Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Reports will likely continue until the 11th hour (December 31) as sides hedge positions to maximize input. Little actual risk of falling through.

2. NATO forces set to patrol Indian Ocean, particularly off Somalia coast to combat rampant piracy. Somali transitional federal government, lacking maritime forces, welcomes move.

3. Rumors circulate on the demise and replacement of Kim Jong-Il in North Korea, either by death due to failing health or coup. At this point, no one knows anything and all reports are speculative.

4. In Afghanistan, the Taliban attacked a pair of buses in the south and killed 30 or more. 25 bodies found away from the bus hijacked, while another six were found separately, beheaded.

AL QAEDA
Al Qaeda is global, fluid and unpredictable: Sherpao - Daily Times
Al-Qaeda Web Forums Abruptly Taken Offline - Washington Post
Al -Qaeda terror suspects set for Saudi trial - Culture & Society - Arabian Business
Terror suspect Jack Thomas fooled al-Qaeda, trial told - The Australian

AFGHANISTAN
Taliban Kills About 30 Riding on Afghan Bus - Washington Post
Aid Worker Killed in Kabul - NY Times
British aid worker shot dead in Afghanistan for 'preaching Christianity' - Telegraph

IRAQ
New Doubts Cloud Iraqi Security Pact With U.S. - NY Times
Shiite Bloc's Demands Stall U.S.-Iraq Pact - Washington Post
Saudi leader of Al Qaeda killed in Iraq - Al-Sumaria

NORTH KOREA
Press report fuels rumors over North Korea's Dear Leader - UK Guardian
South Korea skeptical about reports of major changes in the North - Canadian Press
North Korea holds rare cabinet meeting on economy - Reuters
US Says North Korea Reverses Steps to Restart Reactor - VOA

PAKISTAN
On Brink Of Collapse: Pakistan, IMF to hold crunch talks this week - Daily Times

RUSSIA
Russia Is Striving to Modernize Its Military - NY Times

SOMALIA
Somalia Welcomes Arrival of NATO War Ships to Tackle Piracy - Bloomberg
Another UN aid worker shot dead in Somalia - AFP

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