UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security Council, in a solemn, high-level meeting marking the Sept. 11 anniversary, called on all 190 U.N. nations Wednesday to fulfill their "mandatory obligation" to combat international terrorism.
"The council affirms that these attacks were an assault on global civilization and our common efforts to make the world a better and safer place," it said. "The attacks challenged each member to rise to the task of defeating terrorism, which has claimed victims in all corners of the world."
The council's strong statement echoed Secretary-General Kofi Annan's challenge hours earlier at a U.N. commemoration. He urged the world that united after the Sept 11 attacks to defeat terrorism by "acting as one."
"More than 90 nations lost sons and daughters of their own -- murdered that day, for no other reason than they had chosen to live in this country," he said. "Today, we come together as a world community because we were attacked as a world community."
Signaling its importance, the Security Council meeting was attended by foreign ministers from most of the 15 council nations including the five veto-wielding permanent members.
State minister, 17 others slain in Kashmir shooting
SRINAGAR, India -- Days before crucial state elections, suspected Islamic militants assassinated a heavily guarded politician and killed 15 other people Wednesday in Kashmir, in a clear attempt to frighten candidates and voters away from the polls.
Dozens of people have been killed in recent weeks in India-controlled Kashmir, as separatist militants opposed to the elections have stepped up their attacks.
State Law Minister Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, 44, who was a candidate in the legislative elections that begin Monday, was killed as he addressed a campaign rally in a high school courtyard in the village of Lalpora, some 70 miles north of Srinagar, the summer capital of the Himalayan state.
As Lone was speaking, an explosion went off and two gunmen burst out of a rice paddy firing machine guns, witnesses said. Lone's security forces returned fire, but by the time the battle ended, Lone, five policemen and one civilian were dead, police said.
Three dozen N. Korean asylum-seekers exit
BEIJING -- In the biggest one-day exodus of asylum-seekers from China, 36 people holed up in a German school and the South Korean Embassy left Beijing on Wednesday.
A South Korean official said at least two dozen more North Koreans were awaiting permission to leave. It was the first time the embassy had disclosed that it was housing such a large number of asylum-seekers.
Officials said the latest groups to leave were headed for South Korea by way of the Philippines and another unidentified country.
A group of 21 reached Manila late Wednesday, said Miguel Hinlo, assistant general manager for security at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. They later boarded a flight to Seoul, airport officials said.
The North Koreans, including at least three children and 11 women, looked rested and wore casual clothes. They bowed their heads or covered their faces as they filed past photographers and cameramen in Manila's airport.
Nigerian president fights against impeachment
ABUJA, Nigeria -- President Olusegun Obasanjo acknowledged Wednesday that he ordered military operations in 1999 and 2001 in which hundreds of civilians were killed -- but insisted he had acted to "save lives and property."
Obasanjo said he had not needed parliament's approval to deploy the army to quell civil unrest. His statements came in a written response to 17 charges of "gross misconduct" leveled against him by lawmakers from his ruling party who are seeking to impeach him.
It was the first time the Nigerian president has publicly said he ordered the missions.
--From wire reports