Iraq has tightened security ahead of Sunday's expected verdict in the trial of ousted president Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity. Iraqi officials have placed the military on high alert and imposed a curfew in Baghdad and two other provinces to prevent an outbreak of violence before or after the ruling. Saddam could be sentenced to death when the verdict is presented Sunday.
CHINA-AFRICA: Chinese President Hu
Jintao says his country will double its aid to Africa over the next three years and offered five billion dollars in loans and credits to African nations. Mr. Hu also offered wider acces for African products to Chinese markets as he opened a summit in Beijing today (Saturday) attended by leaders and officials from 48 African nations. The summit, which runs through Sunday, is focusing on strengthening economic and political ties.
NOKOR-NUCLEAR: North Korea says Japan should not attend six-party talks on the communist country's nuclear program. A foreign ministry spokesman said today (Saturday) that Japan is just a territory of the United States and therefore has no need to attend the talks. He was quoted by the official news agency (KCNA) as saying Japanese officials are "political imbeciles." Japan has been active in getting United Nations sanctions passed against North Korea after Pyongyang said it conducted a nuclear test in October.
IRAN-NUCLEAR: Russia is demanding major changes to a European draft resolution that imposes U.N. sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, called the proposed Russian changes "extensive," and said Washington will circulate its own version of the sanctions plan. Russia's ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin, said any U.N. resolution should be designed to bring Iran back to the negotiating table, and not to be punitive.
INDIA STAMPEDE: Indian officials say at least four people were killed today (Saturday) in eastern India when a huge crowd stampeded at a hindu temple. Around 25 other people were injured when the doors were opened at the Jagannath temple in the easter coastal city of Puri in the state of Orissa. Thousands of people had gathered at the entrance of the 12th century temple for morning prayers as part of a Hindu festival season (Kartik Purnima).
US-VIETNAM: The United States is urging Vietnam to quickly resolve
a case involving three U.S. citizens of Vietnamese origin who are accused of plotting against the communist government. A State Department spokesman (Sean McCormack) says Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has raised the issue with Vietnam's foreign minister and will do so again if it is not resolved when she visits Vietnam later this month. Among those being held in Vietnam is a prominent Florida Republican (Thuong Nguyen Cuc Foshee). Her arrest prompted a U.S. Senator to hold up legislation that would normalize trade ties between the United States and Vietnam. The White House has sought to win approval of the trade agreement before President Bush travels with Rice to Vietnam in December for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
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