ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Reports: Abdullah May Pull Out of Afghan Presidential Runoff


AFGHANISTAN: Sources close to Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah say he may pull out of next week's runoff election against President Hamid Karzai, due to concerns about the credibility of the poll. News reports cite officials saying Mr. Abdullah will pull out of the runoff if his demands are not met by Saturday. Mr. Abdullah has complained about the credibility of the runoff, and has demanded the removal of the head of the Afghan election commission, Azizullah Lodin. Mr. Karzai rejected that demand. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said a boycott by Mr. Abdullah would not compromise the legitimacy of the election.

PAKISTAN: Officials in Pakistan say a bomb blast killed seven Pakistani soldiers and wounded 11 others Saturday in the northwest. The incident took place in the Khyber region, which is the main route for moving supplies to international forces fighting in Afghanistan. The violence comes a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ended her confrontational visit to the country. During her three-day trip, Clinton questioned why Pakistan has not captured al-Qaida leaders, saying "somebody, somewhere in Pakistan" must know where they are.

US - MIDEAST: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is holding talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials on relenting the Mideast peace process. Clinton, joined by U.S. envoy George Mitchell met Saturday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the capital of United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi). She is also scheduled to hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel. The Israeli leader said Friday he looked forward to discussions on resuming peace negotiations with the Palestinians "as soon as possible." Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke following a meeting with Mitchell in Jerusalem.

IRAN NUCLEAR: Senior Iranian lawmakers have rejected a U.N.-backed uranium enrichment deal designed to ease concerns about Iran's nuclear program. The head of the parliament's national security committee (, Alaeddin Boroujerdi,) told state media Saturday the committee is opposed to the plan to have Iran ship its uranium abroad for further enrichment. He added that there is no guarantee Iran would receive nuclear fuel in exchange, as the agreement stipulates. Tehran is reported to have told the International Atomic Energy Agency that it wants nuclear fuel for its reactor before it will send enriched uranium overseas.

DALAI LAMA - CHINA: Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has accused Chinese leaders of misleading the world about the situation in Tibet. In an address to foreign journalists in Tokyo Saturday, the Dalai Lama said Beijing is fooling the world into thinking the situation between the Tibetan people and the Chinese has improved. His remarks came in response to a question from China's official Xinhua news agency. The reporter suggested that Tibetan culture had become popular among the Chinese and that both sides were learning to co-exist peacefully.

PHILIPPINES STORM: Officials in the Philippines said Saturday the danger from Typhoon Mirinae (locally known as "Santi") is over, after the storm swept over the main island of Luzon overnight. The number of dead and missing is still being determined, but casualties are expected to be low. At least two people have been confirmed dead so far. The typhoonmade landfall in the eastern province of Quezon just after midnight (local time) Friday, stranding thousands of people at bus and ferry terminals and forcing the cancellation of flights from Manila.

SOMALIA PIRATES: Somali pirates have demanded $7 million dollars for the release of a British couple whose yacht, the Lynn Rival, was recently attacked in waters off east Africa and then found empty. Paul and Rachel Chandler were headed to Tanzania on a trip which started in the Seychelles when they sent a distress signal on October 23 off the coast of Somalia. Chandler has since spoken several times to reporters. He has said he and his wife are doing well. Local fishermen have reported seeing the couple first on a pirate-seized ship and then on land in Somalia, but this could not be confirmed.

RUSSIA - UN - HUMAN RIGHTS: The United Nations Human Rights Committee has called on Russia to investigate a wide range of abuses, including torture and murder in Chechnya and other parts of the North Caucasus region. In a report issued Friday, the committee's 18-member panel of independent experts cited allegations of forced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and extrajudicial killing in those regions. The report also said Russia was responsible for reported attacks on civilians by armed groups in South Ossetia during and after its August 2008 war with Georgia.

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