ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Iran's Opposition Leader Says Pressure to Withdraw Challenge


IRAN: Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi says he is being pressured to withdraw his election challenge. In a statement posted on his official Web site Thursday, the defeated presidential candidate also said his access to supporters has been highly restricted. Mr. Mousavi, who lost to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has alleged massive fraud in the June 12 vote. But Iran's supreme leader and the Guardian Council say the election will not be reversed.

US - IRAN: The Obama administration has withdrawn invitations to Iranian diplomats to celebrate U.S. Independence Day at American embassies. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the invitations to the July 4 celebrations were rescinded due to Iran's violent response to post-election protests. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton directed U.S. diplomats and State Department employees overseas to withdraw her earlier invitations to Iranian diplomats.

NOKOR: North Korean state media have condemned the U.S. pledge to provide nuclear defense to South Korea, saying the move bolsters Pyongyang's reasons for having atomic bombs. A report in Thursday's Rodong Sinmun newspaper warns that the United States and South Korea are risking what it called a potential "fire shower" of nuclear retaliation. The report says that a new war could break out at any time. It also says Pyongyang would never give up its nuclear deterrent as long as the U.S. continued what it called its hostile policy.

CHINA - DISSIDENT: The United States is criticizing the arrest of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo for alleged activities aimed at subverting the country's socialist system. Richard Buangan, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, says Washington is "deeply disturbed" over reports of Liu's arrest. He called on Beijing to release Liu, and respect the rights of Chinese "who peacefully express their desire for internationally recognized freedoms." The Chinese government immediately rejected calls for Liu's release on Thursday.

IRAQ: Iraqi officials say an explosion tore through a bus station in Baghdad Thursday, killing two people and wounding at least 26 others. It is the latest violence to hit Iraq just days before U.S. forces withdraw from urban areas. The blast in the south of the capital follows Wednesday's bombing that killed 72 people at a market in Baghdad's mostly Shi'ite district of Sadr City. Officials say the attacker hid the bomb under a cart of vegetables loaded on a motorcycle. More than 160 people were wounded in the blast.

NIGERIA - RUSSIA: Nigerian militants say they have attacked a Shell oil pipeline in the Niger Delta one day after Russia and Nigeria signed a major oil and gas deal. Nigeria's most prominent rebel group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), told reporters it attacked the Bille-Krakama pipeline, operated by Royal Dutch Shell. MEND says it is fighting for a better distribution of oil wealth in the Niger Delta, but the government and oil companies have called the group criminals.

US - KYRGYZSTAN: Kyrgyzstan's parliament has approved a deal to let the United States keep open a key air base, four months after it voted to evict U.S. troops from the base. Seventy-five members of the 90-seat parliament voted in favor of the agreement Thursday, with none voting against it. The deal allows U.S. forces to continue using the (central Asian nation's) Manas air base for operations in Afghanistan. The U.S. and Kyrgyzstan reached an agreement this week, and a Kyrgyz parliamentary committee approved the deal on Tuesday.

THAILAND - CHINA: Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is on a four-day visit to China aimed at boosting trade, investment and tourism between the two countries. Mr. Abhisit met Wednesday with his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, at Beijing's Great Hall of the People in the Chinese capital, Beijing. The Thai News Agency said the two leaders witnessed the signing of a bilateral agreement on trade and economic cooperation, as well as a customs protocol for Thai fruit exports to China.

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