** Car Bomb Rocks Beirut, Former Minister Assassinated**
Lebanese officials say a car bombing in central Beirut has killed former Finance Minister Mohamad Chatah and at least three others.
Chatah, a Sunni Muslim, was a respected economist and senior advisor to ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
The explosion, which occurred near government headquarters, left a thick cloud of black smoke rising above the city skyline. Video and social media showed terrified people running from the scene, with cars on fire and windows blown out.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing. Lebanon has seen a recent increase in violence related to the bloody Syrian civil war that has spilled over the border.
Chatah was an outspoken critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. His last message on Twitter, posted about hours before the car bombing, was critical of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which has supported President Assad in the country's civil war.
**Okinawa Governor Approves Plan to Relocate US Marine Base**
The governor of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa has approved the relocation of a U.S. Marine Corps air station to reclaimed land along the coast, breaking a campaign promise to have it removed from the island.
An Okinawan official confirmed Friday that Governor Hirokazu Nakaima approved the Japanese Defense Ministry's application to reclaim land for a new military base on Okinawa's coast. It would replace the U.S. Marine Corps base in Futenma, a more congested part of Okinawa's main island.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe persuaded Nakaima to approve the move in a meeting Wednesday, after offering increased financial assistance to the island.
Futenma is located in a heavily populated area of Ginowan where residents complain of the noise made by jets and the safety of people living around the facility. Tokyo has insisted on the move as called for in an agreement reached with the United States in 2006.
Okinawa residents have steadfastly opposed the agreement.