UN – Dafur: A U.N. human rights team is accusing Sudan's government of direct involvement with war crimes in Darfur.
The U.N. human rights group issued a report today (Monday) in Geneva that says the government has "failed to protect the population of Darfur from large-scale international crimes, and has itself orchestrated and participated in these crimes."
The report also says "war crimes and crimes against humanity continue across the region."
The U.N. team was headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams, who was sent by the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate charges of widespread abuse in Sudan's western Darfur region. Fighting between non-Arab rebels and militias mobilized by the Sudanese government has killed more than 200-thousand people and displaced at least two million since 2003.
Bush – Iraq: President Bush has called on Iran and Syria to follow through on their comments that they want to help stabilize Iraq.
Mr. Bush told reporters Sunday in Colombia that Iran and Syria can help pacify Iraq by cutting off weapons and suicide bombers entering the country.
He said the United States welcomes their comments but now they must act on them.
An international conference in Baghdad Saturday focused on what delegates said were common goals of ending violence in Iraq. The head of Iran's delegation (Abas Arakchi) said security in Iraq is necessary for stability in the region.
The meeting included delegates from the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and many Middle Eastern countries, including Iran and Syria.
Bush – Latam: U.S. President George Bush is in Guatemala for talks on immigration and trade issues as he continues his week-long tour of Latin America.
Mr. Bush will meet his Guatemalan counterpart, Oscar Berger, today (Monday) in Guatemala City. The two leaders are expected to discuss the status of thousands of Guatemalans working illegally in the United States.
President Bush has proposed a "guest worker" program that would allow some illegal immigrants to remain in the country.
A Guatemalan official (Richard Aitkenhead) told the Reuters news agency that Mr. Berger will ask for U.S. help in upgrading military equipment used to fight drug traffickers.
Ahead of the talks, Mr. Bush will visit a vegetable packing facility (in the village of Chirijuyu) that benefits from free trade with the the United States.
NoKor – IAEA: The chief U.N. nuclear inspector is in Beijing (today/Monday), ahead of a trip to North Korea for discussions on how to implement a six-nation agreement to end Pyongyang's nuclear program.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of International Atomic Energy Agency, will spend the night in China, before heading to Pyongyang Tuesday.
North Korea faces a mid-April deadline to shut down its main nuclear complex under the terms of an agreement reached at six-nation negotiations last month. In return, Pyongyang will receive fuel oil and diplomatic concessions.
The IAEA wants to send inspectors back into North Korea to verify it has completed the process.
China – Death Penalty: China's top legal authorities are urging a reduction in the use of the death penalty, but the officials say the practice must continue.
In a joint statement issued late Sunday, China's supreme court, ministry of public security, ministry of justice and top prosecutor also warned police against using torture to extract confessions and condemned the practice of parading prisoners in public before execution.
Each year China executes thousands of prisoners, including those who have committed non-violent crimes, such as corruption and tax fraud.
China began tightening its rules on the use of the death penalty after a series of high-profile cases involving wrongful convictions and torture. Regulations enacted last October require that China's supreme court approve all executions.
France Election: French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has announced he is formally endorsing the presidential bid of his longtime rival, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.
The interior minister is the leader of the conservative ruling party, the Union for a Popular Movement.
Today's (Monday's) endorsement of Sarkozy by the prime minister comes a day after President Jacques Chirac announced his retirement.
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