US-TERROR DETAINEES: The U.S. Senate has passed a bill establishing rules for the questioning and prosecution of terror suspects. The measure (passed Thursday) establishes military commissions to try suspects, sets limits on interrogation techniques, and denies terror suspects access to courts to challenge their imprisonment. President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days after the House of Representatives approves the Senate version, possibly today (Friday). The President made a personal visit to Capitol Hill yesterday.
IRAQ: Iraqi authorities say the brother-in-law of the new judge trying former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein for genocide has been shot dead in Baghdad. Kadhim Abdul-Hussein and his son Karrar were in their car when gunmen opened fire. There were conflicting reports on the condition of the son. It was not immediately clear if the two were targeted because they were related to chief judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa. The Iraqi government replaced the original chief judge (Abdullah al-Amiri) earlier this month after he said Saddam was not a dictator.
JAPAN POL: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he wants to move forward on revising the country's pacifist constitution. In his first address to parliament since taking office this week, Mr. Abe said Japan needs a constitution that is more suitable to a new generation. Japan's constitution was drafted by U.S. forces at the end of World War Two. A clause in the 1947 constitution bars the use of military force in settling international disputes, and only allows a military force for self-defense.
THAILAND: News media in Thailand are reporting that the governing junta has chosen former military commander General Surayud Chulanont as the country's interim prime minister. Major newspapers in Thailand said General Surayud was deemed the most suitable choice for the post, but that it was unclear if he would accept the job. The coup leaders who overthrew the civilian government last week have not confirmed the reports, and have not made any official announcement on the matter. They are expected to formally announce an interim prime minister in the coming days. On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department said it will withhold 24 million dollars in assistance to Thailand in response to the military coup. The sanctions are in accordance with U.S. laws restricting aid to countries that undergo military coups. The withheld funds will affect military operations but not humanitarian assistance.
BURMA - UN: The U.N. Security Council holds its first formal discussion of the situation in Burma today (Friday). The Security Council voted September 15th to include Burma on its agenda. The move came over objections from China and was condemned by the Burmese government, which said the country does not pose a threat the regional security.
INDONESIA - BIRD FLU: Indonesia's Health Ministry says a women whose brother died from bird flu earlier this month is also sick with the virus. Officials say the patient is being treated at a hospital in East Java province. Health officials confirmed this week that her brother is infected with the virus. Her other brother, who died Sunday with symptoms of bird flu, is also listed as a suspected case.
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