NoKor Missile: Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi says his country will not insist that the U.N. Security Council vote today (Monday) on a resolution to impose sanctions on North Korea for test-firing missiles.
Mr. Koizumi said while China's vice premier is in North Korea trying to persuade Pyongyang to return to six-party talks on its nuclear programs, there is no need for the vote today (Monday).
A high-level delegation of Chinese diplomats, led by Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, arrived in Pyongyang today (Monday).
Japan has been pressuring Council members to quickly pass its draft resolution on sanctions.
China, which has veto power on the Council, is among countries opposed to sanctions.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill is in the region, struggling to get a unified response for a strong message to North Korea against its launching of seven missiles last Wednesday.
Iraq: Iraqi police say two car bombs exploded today (Monday) in a Shi'ite area of Baghdad, killing at least eight people and wounding scores of others.
The blasts went off within minutes of each other on the outskirts of the capital's Sadr City.
About 60 people were killed Sunday in sectarian violence in Baghdad.
Masked Shi'ite gunmen went on a rampage in a Sunni Muslim area of the capital, killing at least 42 people at a fake checkpoint.
Two car bombs went off later outside a Shi'ite mosque in central Baghdad, killing 17 people.
East Timor Politics: Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta has been sworn in as East Timor's prime minister, in a move aimed to return peace and stability to a country rocked by weeks of violence and political infighting. In his inauguration speech today (Monday), Mr. Ramos-Horta said his main priority is restoring security to East Timor.
President Xanana Gusmao picked the former foreign and defense minister to replace Mari Alkatiri, who resigned as prime minister last month. Mr. Alkatiri failed to stop deadly infighting between security forces that spiraled into general violence and forced 150-thousand Timorese from their homes. Mr. Alkatiri has also been accused of ordering a hit squad to silence political opponents.
SoKor – US Trade: Demonstrators have scuffled with riot police in Seoul as senior U.S. and South Korean trade negotiators opened a second round of talks aimed at producing a free trade agreement.
Seoul has deployed some two thousand police today (Monday) to stop protesters opposed to the deal from reaching the hotel where negotiations are being held.
The top U.S. negotiator, Assistant Trade Representative Wendy Cutler, and her counterpart, Kim Jong-hoon, are trying to create an accord that would slash trade barriers by the end of the year.
The talks face several obstacles, including South Korean farmers who strongly oppose opening agricultural markets to cheaper imports.
Taiwan Pol: Prosecutors in Taiwan have indicted the son-in-law of President Chen Shui-bian on charges of insider trading.
Prosecutors said today (Monday) they are seeking an eight-year prison term for Chao Chien-ming, who was detained in May on suspicion of insider stock trading.
Mr. Chen's family has been embroiled in several corruption scandals. His wife (Wu Shu-chen) has also been accused of accepting free vouchers from an upscale department store.
Mr. Chen has not been implicated in any wrongdoing. But opposition members have demanded that he step down, saying the corruption scandals have tarnished his credibility.
World Cup: Italy has captured the World Cup football (soccer) title by winning a penalty shootout against France. Fabio Grosso hit the winning shot Sunday to seal the 5-3 shootout victory in Berlin, Germany. The teams had been deadlocked in a 1-1 tie at the end of the first half, and did not score in the second half or in two periods of overtime. It was the first penalty shootout in a final since the 1994 World Cup when Brazil beat Italy (3-2).
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