IRAQ: Iraqi authorities say they have found more than 35 bodies in and around Baghdad since Friday. They say the bodies appear to be those of victims of sectarian violence that has been gripping the capital and rest of the country. The latest discovery brings the total number of bodies found since Wednesday to more than 135. In other developments today (Saturday), at least three bomb attacks in Baghdad killed at least three people. Hours earlier, Iraq's Interior Ministry announced it plans to dig trenches around the city to restrict the movement of insurgents. A spokesman says access to Baghdad will be limited to 28 roads with checkpoints.
POPE - ISLAM: Pope Benedict says he is upset that a speech he gave this week
offended Muslims. The pope said today (Saturday) he is very sorry that his comments were interpreted as offensive to Islam. Benedict has received widespread criticism from Muslim leaders for his remarks Tuesday linking Islam with violence. In a speech to academics in Germany, Benedict quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor as saying the Prophet Muhammad brought "only evil and inhuman things," such as holy war.
UN - BURMA: The U.N. Security Council has voted to put Burma on its agenda, despite strong objections from China. The United States requested the Security Council action, saying the long-standing human rights problems in Burma have resulted in regional consequences. Former Czech President Vaclav Havel and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu of South Africa presented a report to the U.N. late last year that said the flow of refugees from Burma causes regional instability. The report also said drug trafficking, human trafficking and the spread of communicable diseases were serious problems in the country.
G-7 - SINGAPORE: Finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized
economies are calling on China to let its currency rise more quickly to ease trade imbalances. In a statement released today (Saturday) in Singapore, the G-7 ministers said greater exchange rate flexibility is needed in some emerging economies, (- those with large current account surpluses -) especially China. Earlier today, G-7 ministers met with top Chinese officials for talks on global trade imbalances.
TAIWAN - PROTESTS: Tens of thousands of people in Taiwan are marching through the streets of Taipei to rally in support of Taiwan's embattled president. Reports from the capital city say anywhere from 60-thousand to as many as 200-thousand people are participating in today's (Saturday's) rally. Many in the crowd are chanting slogans and carrying green flags - the color of President Chen Shui-bian's party. The rally comes one day after an estimated 300-thousand protesters demanded Mr. Chen resign over allegations of corruption. Anti-Chen protesters have staged a week of demonstrations against the Taiwan president.
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