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May 22, 2011 at 8:35 AM
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Taliban hit Khost police station

KHOST, Afghanistan, May 22 (UPI) -- Taliban militants seized control of a traffic police building in Khost, Afghanistan, Sunday, killing three officers, a police official said.

"Apparently three to four suicide bombers armed with rifles entered the traffic police department in provincial capital Khost city, so far I can confirm three traffic police officers have been killed," provincial police Chief Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai told the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

At least four other people were injured in the 4:30 a.m. attack, which included the detonation of a bomb in front of the building before the militants wearing border police uniforms rushed inside, Xinhua said.

Deputy Provincial Police Chief Mohammed Yaqoob Noorzia told the New York Times the insurgents were wearing bomb-laden vests and were armed with rocket propelled grenades and AK-47 weapons.

It took nearly four hours for Afghan and NATO troops to secure the building, The Times said, although what happened to the attackers wasn't immediately clear.

"We don't know how many of the suicide bombers blew themselves up and how many were killed in the firefight with police," Noorzia said.

No White House bid for Indiana's Daniels

INDIANAPOLIS, May 22 (UPI) -- Indiana's Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels says his family has made the decision that he will not run for president in 2012.

In a statement issued to the Indianapolis Star late Saturday night, Daniels ended almost a year and a half of speculation he would make a run for the Oval Office and said the decision was based on input from his wife and four daughters.

"On matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women's caucus, and there is no override provision," Daniels said. "Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties -- I love my country; I love my family more."

The 62-year-old fiscal conservative told Indiana voters in his 2008 campaign he was making his final run for governor, the only political office he'd ever hold.

However, the Star said Daniels' statement didn't rule out his potential acceptance as a vice presidential candidate.

In a prepared statement, Daniels said he was "deeply concerned" for the first time in his life about the United States' future, but didn't rule out future leadership aspirations.

"I am confident that the answers will reaffirm the liberty and vitality of our nation, and hope to play some small part in proving that view true," Daniels said.

Iceland volcano disrupting some flights

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, May 22 (UPI) -- The eruption of Iceland's most active volcano has forced the closure of Reykjavik-Keflavik International Airport, officials said Sunday.

Iceland's civil protection agency imposed a no-fly zone of 120 nautical miles around the Grimsvotn volcano in southeast Iceland as it sent billowing ash up to 11 miles into the air, the New York Times reported Sunday.

"The ash is covering up all of Iceland," said Hjordis Gudmundsdottir, a spokeswoman for Isavia, Iceland's air navigation services provider. "We are trying to identify some holes in it and to use them to allow some flights, but it's not looking very good right now."

Meteorologists said prevailing winds should dissipate the cloud of ash in the next few days, preventing a repeat of the massive air traffic disruption from the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in April and May 2010. More than 100,000 flights were grounded as a result of ash clouds from that eruption.

Iceland's three other international airports were open, Gudmundsdottir said.

Grimsvotn has erupted at least 60 times in the past 800 years, most recently in 1983, 1998 and 2004. The volcano, about 5,000-feet tall, is located underneath an uninhabited icecap in southeast Iceland.

Syria death toll continues to rise

DAMASCUS, Syria, May 22 (UPI) -- The death toll in Syria has exceeded 900 amid a violent weekend that left scores of people dead and injured, officials said.

The Syrian Observatory Human Rights said late Saturday that 12 anti-government protesters were killed by security forces earlier in the day.

The National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, NOHR-S, said most of those killed Saturday were in the northern province of Idlib and the central region of Homs.

Violence erupted Saturday when thousands who participated in funeral processions left the graveyard after burying some of the 44 victims killed by government security forces on Friday, CNN reported.

"We were chanting and praying for the martyrs and they just sprayed us with their bullets. I saw seven to eight people on the ground bleeding and moaning. I ran as fast as I could as bullets flew past us toward the fields and hid among the olive trees until another mourner saw me and helped me walk to the main road," one activist told CNN.

The NOHR-S said Friday's casualties occurred in Homs, Idlib, Deir ez Zor Damascus and Hama.

More than 10,000 people have been arrested since anti-government protests began some nine weeks ago, the organization said.

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