Lebanon – Israel: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has again urged Israel to lift its air, land and sea blockade of Lebanon.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem today (Wednesday), Mr. Annan said lifting the blockade is necessary to help Lebanon recover from the month-long war.
The U.N chief also called for an unconditional release of two Israeli soldiers, whose capture by Hezbollah guerrillas last month triggered Israel's offensive into Lebanon.
Mr. Olmert said he expects full implementation of the U.N. resolution that ended 34 days of Israel-Hezbollah fighting. But he did not directly mention the blockade issue.
Pakistan – Afghanistan: Pakistani authorities say they have found the beheaded bodies of two Afghan refugees accused of spying for the U.S. - backed government in Afghanistan.
They say the two were found near Miranshah, the main town of Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal district along the Afghan border. Authorities say they found notes written in Pashtu on the bodies that accused them of spying for Afghanistan.
Earlier this week, the body of another Afghan refugee was found in the area with a similar note.
China – Kim Jong Il: South Korean media say North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, may be visiting his neighbor and ally, China.
The reports (from the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper) cite South Korean intelligence sources today (Wednesday) as saying the United States or Russia confirmed through satellite imagery that a special North Korean train has traveled to China. The sources could not confirm whether Kim Jong Il was on the train.
Chinese officials have publicly expressed frustration with North Korea for test-firing seven missiles last month. Pyongyang's relations with China and other nations have been further strained following reports this month that the North may be preparing to test a nuclear weapon.
Koreas – Aid: South Korea's government is due to send its first shipment of humanitarian aid to North Korean flood victims today (Wednesday).
Red Cross officials say a South Korean supply ship will leave the port of Incheon at around 10 p.m. local time (1300 UTC) for North Korea's western port of Nampo. The journey is expected to take several days.
The cargo ship is carrying 300 tons of rice, 10-thousand first aid kits, and 20-thousand blankets.
The supplies are part of a 230-million dollar aid package announced by Seoul to help North Korea recover from extensive flooding in July.
Japan – Russia Fishermen: Russia has released two Japanese fishermen who were detained two weeks ago for allegedly fishing in Russian waters, but the boat's captain remains in custody.
Russian border officials today (Wednesday) handed the two men to a Japanese patrol boat that was sent to retrieve them.
The Russian coast guard seized the fishermen August 16th near the Kuril islands, which are controlled by Russia but claimed by Japan.
One Japanese crewman was killed when the Russians fired warning shots at the crab fishing boat. His body was returned to Japan last week.
BBG Probe: U. S. State Department investigators
say the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors -- Kenneth Tomlinson -- misused government money as head of the organization which oversees the Voice of America and several other international broadcasting entities.
In a summary released Tuesday, investigators said Tomlinson -- a political appointee -- used his government office for personal business and improperly awarded a 250 thousand dollar contract to a friend.
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