IRAQ: Iraqi security officials say at least 19 people have been killed and around 30 others wounded in two separate bombings in Baghdad and a town northeast of the capital today. Police say the first attack took place in the mostly Sunni town of Muqdadiya, where a female suicide bomber blew herself up outside a police recruitment center, killing 14 people and wounding 20.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: Officials in the United States and the United
Nations have criticized Iran's announcement that it has expanded its nuclear program and can now enrich uranium on an "industrial scale." Russia also expressed skepticism, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying that Moscow has no information to confirm Iran's claim.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: A top U.S. nuclear negotiator says the planned release of North Korean funds frozen in Macau should pave the way for Pyongyang to start dismantling its nuclear program. The U.S. Treasury department said today that Macau is set to release the 25 million dollars in North Korean assets frozen in a Macau bank.
ADB - MEKONG: The Asian Development Bank says six nations along
Asia's Mekong River have agreed on a program to help poor farmers in the region. Agriculture ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, and China's Guangxi and Yunnan provinces approved the program today in Beijing. The program promotes cross-border trade, agricultural investment, food security, environmental protection, and sustainable use of natural resources.
VIETNAM - DISSIDENT MONK: U.S. officials have visited a dissident Buddhist leader under house arrest in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Eric John and other officials met Thich Quang Do of the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam Monday. A Paris-based spokesman for the 78-year-old monk says Do told the delegation Vietnam is carrying out a "ruthless crackdown" on democracy advocates.
CHINA - SOKOR - JAPAN: Chinese
Premier Wen Jiabao held talks today with South Korean leaders on issues including economic ties and the peaceful settlement of the North Korean nuclear conflict. Mr. Wen's two-day visit is the first by a Chinese premier in seven years. He met today with his South Korean counterpart, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and President Roh Moo-hyun.
AUSTRALIA - AFGHANISTAN: Australia's prime minister says his country will almost double its military presence in Afghanistan, and will re-deploy its special forces there. John Howard told a news conference in Canberra today 300 special forces commandos are headed to Afghanistan's Oruzghan province to help counter an expected Taleban offensive.
SUDAN - DARFUR: China has urged
Sudan to be more flexible about a United Nations plan to strengthen peacekeeping forces in Darfur. Chinese envoy Zhai Jun told a news conference in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, Monday, Beijing hopes that Sudan will accept the U.N. plan. Zhai's comments came after a Chinese delegation visited two camps housing more than 60-thousand people displaced by the Darfur conflict.
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