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Taleban Sets New Deadline After Killing Second South Korean Hostage


AFGHANISTAN HOSTAGES: Afghanistan's Taleban has set a new deadline of 0730 UTC Wednesday for their demands to be met in exchange for the release of 21 remaining South Korean hostages The new deadline was set a day after the insurgents shot a second captive. The South Korean embassy identified the dead man as 29-year-old Shim Sung-min. Authorities said the victim's body was found today (Tuesday) in the province of Ghazni, near where 23 South Koreans were kidnapped on July 19th. Purported Taleban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi had said Monday that a South Korean man named Sung Sin was shot dead and his body left in the Qarabagh district of southern Ghazni province.

US-MIDEAST: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on a rare joint mission, have begun security talks with America's Arab allies in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Rice and Gates, who traveled separately to the region, joined up in the Red Sea resort today (Tuesday) for meetings with top officials from Egypt, Jordan, and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council. The talks are aimed at reassuring Arab states worried about the future of the U.S. commitment to the region amid growing opposition in the United States to the war in Iraq.

IRAQ: The U.S. military in Iraq says coalition forces have detained nine suspected al-Qaida in Iraq terrorists during operations in central and northern regions of the country. A military statement said the suspects were detained today (Tuesday) and Monday in raids in Baghdad, areas west of the capital, the northern city of Mosul and in an area southwest of Taji. Monday, International aid organization Oxfam said a major humanitarian crisis is looming in Iraq, with some eight million people in need of emergency aid.

US-BRITAIN VISIT: U.S. President George Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown presented a unified stand on Iraq and Middle East peace after their first summit meeting Monday. The two leaders spoke to reporters after two days of talks at the U.S. presidential retreat outside Washington (in rural Maryland). Mr. Bush said he believes the new British prime minister understands that failure in Iraq would be disastrous for national security in the United States and Britain.

ASEAN: Australia's foreign minister is urging China and India to pressure Burma's military government to end alleged human rights abuses and release opposition political activists. Alexander Downer said the region's economic giants should use their influence on Burma, because the isolated country relies heavily on their investment and aid. Speaking on the sidelines of an Asian security forum in the Philippine capital today (Tuesday), Downer said Western sanctions and threats have failed to push military-ruled Burma to make democratic reforms.

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