IRAN NUCLEAR: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says an international incentives package offered in exchange for the suspension of Tehran's nuclear program is "a step forward" in efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff.
Mr. Ahmadinejad told reporters in the Chinese city of Shanghai today (Friday) that he has asked the Iranian government to carefully consider the offer. He said he will give a response in due time in line with his country's international interests.
Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung is calling for North Korea to end its nuclear program, and for the United States to provide security assurances to the reclusive state. He also says the best way to resolve the nuclear dispute is through six-party talks. Mr. Kim says that despite the stalled talks, relations on the Korean peninsula are making more progress than ever.
EAST TIMOR: Rebel soldiers in East Timor have surrendered their weapons to Australian
peacekeepers, beginning a disarmament process seen as key to easing months of unrest.
The rebels, led by Major Alfredo Reinado, handed over 12 M-16 rifles and several other weapons today (Friday) to Australian troops leading an international peacekeeping mission. The disarmament is in response to a request from President Xanana Gusmao.
THAILAND UNREST: Thai officials say suspected militants have carried out at least three more bomb attacks in the country's south, but no injuries were reported. Authorities say the bombs exploded today (Friday) in railway stations in Narathiwat and Pattani province. On Thursday, at least two people were killed and several others injured when about 40 bombs exploded within minutes of each other in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala provinces. In all three provinces, the bombs targeted local government offices and police stations.
VIETNAM POL: Vietnam's Prime Minister Phan Van Khai has officially asked the National Assembly to accept his resignation one year before the end of his term.
Mr. Khai made the announcement today (Friday) during a speech broadcast live on television.
The 72-year-old leader said last month as the National Assembly held its opening session that he would resign. He also nominated Deputy Prime Minister Ngyuen Tan Dung for the position. The Assembly will vote on the new leader later this month.
MICROSOFT - GATES: The man who built the
world's largest software company says he will slowly give up his day-to-day management role to focus more on his international charitable organization. Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft and the world's richest man, announced Thursday he would hand over daily responsibility for the computer giant during a two-year transition period. He said, however, he would remain chairman, as well as the company's largest shareholder. The 50-year old software architect and his wife, Melinda, created the Gates Foundation, which works to tackle some of the world's greatest problems - including poverty and access to healthcare for the poor. The foundation is now the world's largest philanthropy, with assets totaling 29-billion dollars.
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