NOKOR - MISSILE: North Korea is demanding that Tokyo immediately lift sanctions imposed on Pyongyang in response to its test launch of missiles. A North Korean envoy to Japan (Song Il Ho) says his country will retaliate with stronger measures if the sanctions are not lifted. After North Korea's test-fired seven missiles on Wednesday, Tokyo barred a North Korean ferry from Japanese ports for six months and banned North Korean officials from entering the country.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: The European Union says talks with Iran about an international proposal to resolve the nuclear standoff with Tehran were constructive, and laid the ground for its response at a second meeting. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana met with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani in Brussels late Thursday. Solana's spokeswoman (Cristina Gallach) described the talks as "a good start" and said it is expected that Tehran will be able to provide "a substantial response" next Tuesday (July 11).
CHINA BLAST: Chinese officials say at least 47 people were killed and more than 20 others injured when explosives stored in a villager's home blew up in the northern province of Shanxi. China's official Xinhua news agency says the accident happened early today (Friday) in the Ningwu county village of Dongzhai. Improperly stored explosives, such as those used for mining and fireworks, blow up fairly often in China. Shanxi province has many coal mines in which explosives are used.
PHILIPPINES ARRESTS: Military and police
officials in the Philippines say they have arrested six fugitive military officers wanted for allegedly plotting a coup against President Gloria Arroyo. The men were captured and a cache of explosives and weapons was seized in a dawn raid today (Friday) on a rented house in the Manila suburb of Quezon City. Three of those arrested had escaped from an army detention center in January. Two civilians were arrested along with the six officers. One was a lawyer for some of the officers. Officials displayed the captured officers during a news conference announcing the arrests. The men are suspected of involvement in an alleged coup plot in July 2003.
VIETNAM - DRUG TRAFFICKERS: Vietnamese officials say an Australian couple has been arrested on charges of heroin trafficking. The officials say the couple was traveling with their three daughters on Wednesday when they were arrested at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City. More than 500 grams of heroin was found in bottles of medicine in their luggage. The quantity, however, was less than the amount punishable by death in Vietnam.
MEXICO ELECTION: Mexico's Felipe Calderon is calling for national unity in the wake of the country's bitterly fought presidential election. After a detailed count, Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) Thursday issued a final report showing the ruling National Action Party standard bearer won 35-point-eight-eight percent of the vote from Sunday's voting. His leftist rival, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, was a close second with 35-point-three-one percent.
BRITAIN - ATTACKS: Britain came to a standstill
today (Friday) to mark the first anniversary of the London transit suicide bombings that killed 52 people and wounded 700 others. Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Tony Blair led a nationwide two-minute period of silence at midday (1100 GMT) to honor the victims of the July seventh, 2005 attacks.
NOTE: We apologize for the lack of our audio files today. We are having difficulty posting them.