LEBANON POL: Thousands of Hezbollah supporters are camped out in Beirut for a second day, demanding Lebanon's U.S.-backed government resign. Protesters broke the early morning silence today (Saturday) with anti-government chants and nationalist songs. The mainly peaceful opposition demonstration continued into the day. On Friday, hundreds of thousands of people rallied in the capital. Many protesters then pitched tents on streets leading to the heavily barricaded offices of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, who has been holed up inside. The demonstrators say they will not move until Mr. Siniora resigns.
IRAQ: A senior Iraqi Shi'ite leader who is meeting with President Bush in
Washington next week has rejected a U.N. suggestion to hold an international conference on Iraq. (Speaking in Amman, Jordan) Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who heads the powerful Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said today (Saturday) that discussing Iraqi issues at an international conference is unreasonable and incorrect. He said a solution to the conflict in Iraq must come from within.
PHILIPPINES STORM: Rescue workers in the eastern Philippines are digging through mud and rubble of villages where hundreds of people are believed to have been killed from mudslides triggered by a powerful typhoon. Red Cross officials say the death toll from Typhoon Durian could reach 450 people. They say it is difficult to obtain a precise count of the dead, partly because several hundred people are still missing.
ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS: Palestinian security officials say an Israeli navy boat has fired on a Palestinian fishing boat off the Gaza Strip. Security officials say no one was hurt in the incident early today (Sunday) off the coast of Rafah in southern Gaza. The Associated Press reports that the Israeli military says it is not aware of the incident. Palestinians say it is the first Israeli violation of a week-old ceasefire in Gaza. The truce calls for Palestinian militants to halt rocket attacks against Israel in exchange for a withdrawal of Israeli troops and an end of military activity in Gaza.
THAILAND-CLINTON: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is in Thailand today (Saturday) to assess reconstruction work nearly two years after the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated the coastal region. The former president visited a village near the resort isle of Phuket. Later today, he will travel to Aceh province, the region in Indonesia hardest hit by the tsunami. Mr. Clinton is a special envoy of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for tsunami relief.
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