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Exit Polls: Japan's Opposition Wins Election in Landslide


JAPAN ELECTION: Media exit polls released just after voting ended in Japan Sunday indicate the opposition Democratic Party of Japan - the DPJ - has won a landslide victory in nationwide parliamentary elections. If official results end up reflecting the exit polls, more than half a century of almost unbroken rule by the Liberal Democratic Party - the LDP - will come to an end. Television networks predict the DPJ will take anywhere from 300 to 321 seats in the 480-seat lower house. The DPJ currently holds 112 seats. Opinion polls before the elections indicated concerns about the battered economy and rapidly aging population had turned many voters away from the ruling LDP, headed by Prime Minister Taro Aso. The DPJ already controls the upper house with the support of smaller parties. A win in the lower house puts DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama on track to be the country's next prime minister.


IRAN – POLITICS: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has introduced his new Cabinet to parliament for debate. Iran's parliament began a three-day session Sunday to consider the 21 Cabinet nominees, leading to a vote of confidence. Lawmakers within Mr. Ahmadinejad's own conservative camp have expressed strong opposition to a number of the nominees, which include three women. Some parliament members say some of the Cabinet picks are too inexperienced. Mr. Ahmadinejad won re-election in June in a vote that government opponents say was rigged. Thousands of Iranians were arrested for protesting the election results. Mr. Ahmadinejad has called for the prosecution of those who led the weeks of unrest following the election.


PAKISTAN:Pakistan officials say at least 14 police recruits havebeen killed in a suicide bomb attack in the Swat Valley, the deadliest attack since the military said it had taken control of the area from Taliban militants. Authorities say the attacker struck Sunday in Mingora in the northwestern region of the valley while the cadets were training near a police station. Television footage showed officers picking up mutilated bodies. The attack on the police comes a day after Pakistan's military announced it destroyed a training camp for suicide bombers in the Swat Valley. The army said in a statement that reports from intelligence sources and local residents led them to the location in northwest Pakistan. Six militants were reported killed in the operation and several others were said to be wounded.


US - PAKISTAN – MISSILES:A report in a major U.S. newspaper says Washington has accused Pakistan of illegally modifying U.S.-made missiles to make them capable of striking land targets, a potential threat to India. The New York Times says the charge was made in an unpublicized diplomatic protest in late June to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and other top Pakistani officials. The newspaper reports that U.S. officials suspect Pakistan has modified the missiles in a manner that violates the Arms Control Export Act.The French news agency reports a senior Pakistani security official says the accusations reported by The Times are part of a campaign to malign Pakistan and its armed forces.


AFGHANISTAN: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has increased his lead over his nearest opponent, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, in the latest election results released Saturday. Election officials say that after counting ballots from more than one-third of the polling stations used in the August 20 election, Mr. Karzai has 46 percent of the vote, while Mr. Abdullah has 31 percent. Mr. Karzai has been criticized for recruiting former warlords to help win votes. Abdul Rashid Dostum, widely reported to be partly responsible for the alleged massacre of some 2,000 Taliban prisoners, campaigned in Afghanistan for the president last week. Votes could be thrown out by the Elections Complaints Commission, which has received more than 2,000 complaints, including some 450 the commission says are serious enough to alter the outcome.


AUSTRALIA - NOKOR WEAPONS: Australia is checking whether its laws were broken after an Australian-owned ship was found carrying North Korean weapons bound for Iran. Australian Shipping Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed Sunday that the vessel ANL Australia contained a shipment of weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades. The ship was seized earlier this month by the United Arab Emirates. The seizure took place under U.N. sanctions against North Korea. The U.N. Security Council imposed those sanctions because of North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The sanctions, adopted in June, call for international inspections of North Korean sea and air cargo.


BURMA – UNREST: Fighting appears to have stopped in northeastern Burma along the Chinese border after days of clashes between Burmese government troops and ethnic rebels. At least 700 soldiers from the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, an ethnic-Kokan militia, crossed the border into China Sunday and surrendered their weapons to local officials. The Chinese army issued blue coveralls to the men when they surrendered their uniforms. Thousands of people have fled to the border town of Nansan in China's Yunnan province this month to escape the clashes in the Kokang region, following the deployment of Burmese government troops in the area. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says up to 30,000 people have fled into China.


US – KENNEDY:U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, described by President Barack Obama as the "greatest legislator of our time," has been laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington. Kennedy was buried Saturday evening near the graves of his assassinated brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy.

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