In brief: U.S. drones kill eight militants

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – Several missiles fired from American drones slammed into a compound near the Afghan border in Pakistan early today, killing eight suspected militants, Pakistan officials said.

The two intelligence officials said the compound was located near the town of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan tribal area.

One of the officials said an al-Qaida operative was believed to have been killed in the strike.

Today’s strike was the fourth since the new year began.

Uniformed Afghan kills NATO soldier

KABUL, Afghanistan – An individual wearing an Afghan army uniform turned his weapon against foreign troops, killing one in southern Afghanistan in another apparent attack by Afghans against their foreign allies, the NATO command said today.

A statement said the incident, which occurred Monday, was under investigation and released no further details. U.S. officials in Washington confirmed that the victim was not an American.

Venezuela reports ill Chavez ‘stable’

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in a “stable situation” in a Cuban hospital receiving treatment due to a severe respiratory infection, his government said Monday.

Information Minister Ernesto Villegas provided the update, saying the government is in “permanent contact” with Chavez’s medical team and relatives who are with him in Havana where he underwent surgery for cancer. His report came as other government officials reiterated their stance that the president need not be sworn in for a new term as scheduled this Thursday and could instead have his inauguration at a later date.

Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church on Monday criticized the government for failing to provide more details about Chavez’s condition nearly a month after his operation.

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