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Congo Votes in Presidential Run-Off Election


CONGO-ELECTIONS: Voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo are casting ballots today (Sunday) in a decisive second-round presidential election aimed at ending years of strife. Election officials say voting in the capital, Kinshasa, has gone smoothly, despite a pre-dawn thunderstorm that made some streets almost impassable. Elsewhere in the country, witnesses say voters waited in lines at polling stations to cast their ballots. The run-off pits incumbent President Joseph Kabila against former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba.

AFGHANISTAN: NATO officials say Afghan and alliance troops have killed a large group of insurgents who attacked them in southern Afghanistan. A NATO statement today (Sunday) says that up to 150 militants attacked International Security Assistance Force troops Saturday in the province of Uruzgan. ISAF troops responded with small arms fire, attack helicopters and close-air support, killing up to 55 insurgents.

IRAQ: The U.S. military in Iraq says coalition air strikes have killed 17 militants near the town of Balad, north of Baghdad. A military statement says the air raids foiled a plan by insurgents to ambush a convoy of coalition troops. The military says the convoy called in air strikes after spotting militants in the area. In another development, U.S. President George Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have reaffirmed their partnership after a week of public tension between them.

SRI LANKA TALKS: Sri Lankan officials and Tamil Tiger rebels are set to meet again today (Sunday) in Geneva to try to salvage a fragile 2002 ceasefire, but no breakthrough is expected. The two sides spent the first day of their face-to-face talks trading accusations over who was to blame for an upsurge in violence.

NORTH KOREA: Washington's top envoy on North Korean affairs says the United States is looking to Australia to help hold Pyongyang accountable for its nuclear test. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said (at a forum organized by The Sydney Institute) in Sydney today (Sunday) that U.S.-Australian cooperation on regional security issues should continue.

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