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Obama Visits Iraq for First-Hand Look at War


OBAMA-IRAQ: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has arrived in Baghdad for a closely-watched visit to Iraq -- a key issue in the U.S. election.Senator Obama is expected to meet with senior Iraqi officials and U.S. military commanders during his visit today (Monday). Obama is a long-time critic of the war in Iraq -- unlike his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain. Obama has suggested a 16-month timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq if elected president. McCain has called for a longterm U.S. security commitment to Iraq.

US-IRAN NUCLEAR: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Iran was not being serious at nuclear talks in Geneva.Rice, who spoke to reporters while on her way to the United Arab Emirates, said Iran used stalling tactics and made "small talk" during Saturday's nuclear talks with world powers. She said Iran must give a "serious answer" within two weeks to an incentive package offered in exchange for the suspension of sensitive nuclear activities. Rice said Iran faces more sanctions if it does not cooperate.

INDIA-NUCLEAR: India's parliament has begun to debate a vote of confidence in the government that will decide the fate of a proposed nuclear deal with the United States.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in New Delhi today (Monday) that India's ruling coalition will prove its majority in the process.The government opted to hold the vote after communist allies withdrew their support for the coalition government. If the government loses the vote, which is due on Tuesday, it will have to call early elections and will not be able to move forward with the nuclear deal. Under the agreement, India would open its civilian reactors to international inspections in exchange for nuclear fuel and technology.

ASEAN-BURMA: Burma's military government has ratified a proposed Association of Southeast Asian Nations charter that includes a human rights body.Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win presented the ratification today (Monday) at an annual meeting of top diplomats from the 10 ASEAN member nations. He said the ratification presents a strong commitment to embrace common values of ASEAN.Earlier today, Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo said Nyan Win indicated that Burma's detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi could be freed in less than a year.

CAMBODIA-THAILAND: Defense ministers from Thailand and Cambodia have begun talks to resolve an escalating border dispute that has put about four thousand armed troops on alert.
As troops faced off in disputed land near an 11th century Hindu temple, Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh and Thai Supreme Commander General Boonsrang Niumpradit sat down today (Monday) in an eastern Thai border town.
The two sides have agreed to discuss a dispute over four-point-six kilometers of land surrounding the 900-year-old temple, which sits on the two countries' border.

Audio in Lao.

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