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Tens of Thousands Turn Out for Dissident Cleric's Funeral in Iran


IRAN DISSIDENT: Iranian opposition Web sites say tens of thousands of mourners have turned out for the funeral of dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri.The reports say the mourners gathered Monday in the northern holy city of Qom, where the cleric died a day earlier at the age of 87. They say a large crowd gathered outside his home in the city to pay their respects and chant his name. Iranian reformist leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi declared Monday a day of mourning for the cleric and urged their supporters to attend the funeral. Iran's government banned foreign media from covering the event. Iranian reformists have used several recent national commemorations as rallying points for mass anti-government protests. Iranian opposition Web sites say at least one reformist was arrested while traveling to the funeral. Ayatollah Montazeri repeatedly accused Iran's current leadership of ruling as dictators in the name of Islam and spent long periods under house arrest.
YEMEN-SAUDI ARABIA: Yemeni Shi'ite rebels
are accusing Saudi forces of killing 54 people in
air strikes on a town in northern Yemen. The rebels of the Shi'ite Zaidi sect say Saudi warplanes carried out the raids Sunday, destroying five houses in the town of Razeh in Saada province. They say women and children were among the dead.
There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia on the allegations, and there has been no independent confirmation of the air strikes. Saudi forces launched an offensive against the rebels, also known as Houthis, last month after the rebels killed two Saudi guards in a cross-border raid. Yemen's government said Sunday rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi was seriously wounded in fighting with Yemeni troops.

TAIWAN-CHINA: China's top Taiwan negotiator arrived on the island Monday to discuss trade ties with his Taiwanese counterpart. Chen Yunlin arrived under heavy security at the airport in the central city of Taichung. During his five-day visit, he is due to speak with Taiwanese negotiator Chiang Pin-kung on a wide-ranging free trade agreement. Chen will also sign four new commercial accords with Taiwanese officials
Chen's visit comes the day after tens of thousands of people marched through Taichung to protest the talks they fear could eventually lead to unification with the mainland. The demonstrators chanted pro-independence slogans and waved anti-China banners to protest the visit. Police estimated the crowd at between 20,000 and 30,000.
US-CAMBODIA-UIGHURS : The United States is condemning Cambodia's decision to deport 20 Muslim Uighurs who fled China's northwest region after ethnic unrest earlier this year. A statement Sunday from the U.S. State Department says the Obama administration is "deeply disturbed" by the Cambodian government's decision to forcibly remove the group. It says the incident will affect Cambodia's relationship with the United States and its international standing. The statement also says the U.S. is deeply concerned about the welfare of the Uighurs, who have sought protection under international law. The group of Muslim Uighurs fled China after ethnic unrest earlier this year in Xinjiang region. As expected, the Uighurs were deported before Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's arrived Sunday for a state visit to Cambodia.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan officials say Taliban militants have seized a building in an eastern provincial capital, triggering a battle with police that left three attackers dead. Officials say militants armed with heavy weapons and wearing suicide vests stormed the building Monday near a police station in Gardez, the capital of Paktia province. They say at least one militant was killed when a suicide vest detonated in the ensuing gun battle.
Authorities said one or two of the attackers were continuing to resist. The Taliban says five militants launched the raid. Shops were closed in the center of Gardez as residents stayed home to wait out the fighting.


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