Update as of 0800 Eastern Time:
Bottom Line Up Front:
From Fox News (Afghanistan):
Taliban militants stormed a government building in the center of the Afghan capital on Thursday and one of them blew himself up inside, killing five people, officials and witnesses said.
The assailants first opened fire on police guards outside the Ministry of Information and Culture before entering its cavernous hall where the explosion occurred, said Amir Mohammad, a police guard who was wounded in the blast.
"There were three people. They were running. They opened fire on our guard first and then they entered (the building)," Mohammad told The Associated Press from his hospital bed in Kabul.
Five people were killed in the attack, according to a statement from President Hamid Karzai's office. Another 21 were wounded in the explosion, said Abdul Fahim, the spokesman for the Health Ministry, which supervises the hospitals where the injured were taken.
The ministry is in the center of the city, at a busy intersection lined with shops.
One of the walls of the building collapsed, while glass littered the roads nearby and office equipment was scattered over the area.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and gave a similar account of what happened.
From CNN (India):
A series of nine near-simultaneous explosions ripped through crowded areas in four districts of a northeastern Indian state Thursday.
At least 54 people were killed, while another 224 were wounded in the blasts, in the remote state of Assam, police told CNN.
Officials said the death toll may rise. They sealed off exit points from the state, and rushed in paramilitary forces to secure refineries in the oil-rich region.
Police officers fanned out to heavily populated areas, combing them for unexploded bombs.
"There may be more blasts, you never know. But we are taking all precautions," Deputy Inspector General of Police N.I. Hussain told CNN's sister network, CNN-IBN. iReport.com: Are you there? Share your photos, videos
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. But suspicion fell on the separatist group, the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA).
The group has waged a 20-year rebellion demanding more autonomy from the central government. Intelligence sources told CNN-IBN that very few other groups have the ability to launch such a coordinated attack.
From CNN (Syria):
The U.S. Embassy in Damascus announced that it will be closed Thursday because of "increased security concerns" arising three days after a U.S. strike in Syria.
Officials said the action was taken because of concerns over anti-U.S. demonstrations scheduled for Thursday over Sunday's airstrike, which Syria claims left eight people dead near the Iraq-Syria border.
Demonstrations were reportedly staged Wednesday throughout Syria to protest the incident, which has raised tensions among Iraq, Syria and the United States.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Abu Kamal, Syria, near the Iraqi border, burning American flags and shouting angrily, the country's official news agency SANA reported.
The Syrian government summoned the top U.S. official in the country, Maura Connelly, on Wednesday to request that an American cultural center be shut immediately. The government also requested a closure date of November 6 for the American-run Damascus Community School, deputy U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.
The Syrians did not specify how long the closures would last, Wood said.
Connelly told Syrian officials that the United States "expects them to provide adequate security to the buildings" during the closures, Wood said.
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