PAKISTAN - MOSQUE: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf plans to address the nation today about this week's raid on Islamabad's Red Mosque that left more than 80 people dead. Authorities have been burying the bodies of the 73 Islamic militants killed during the assault on the mosque that began on Tuesday. Among the militants killed was Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the cleric who led resistance at the mosque. He was buried today in Basti Abdullah, his ancestral village in Punjab province.
US - IRAQ: President Bush is expected to issue a report as early as
today asserting that the Iraqi government has made "satisfactory" progress on nearly half of the political and military goals set by Congress. In May, Congress authorized continued funding for the Iraq war with the provision that the administration certify by July 15th and again on September 15th that the Iraqis are making progress toward certain benchmarks. Administration officials said that the assessment will say there has been progress on eight of the 18 benchmarks, mostly related to military issues.
Afghan officials say six police officers are dead after a roadside bomb struck their convoy today in eastern Afghanistan. The attack occurred in a district of Khost province, near the Pakistani border. The victims were part of a joint patrol of Afghan policemen and U.S. troops. Officials say no U.S. soldiers were wounded in the attack. In other news, a NATO soldier was killed and two others wounded in a military operation in southern Afghanistan. The alliance has not released the nationalities of the soldiers involved or the exact location where the military operation took place.
THAILAND - POLITICS: Thai officials have tacked a court summons
outside the homes of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife, who are wanted on corruption charges. Officials say the notices were left at the residences in Bangkok today after no one answered the door. Mr. Thaksin and his wife are outside the country. They have not returned to Thailand since Mr. Thaksin was pushed from power in a military coup last September. Thailand's Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear corruption charges against the pair on August 14th.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: A South Korean ship is headed to North Korea with fuel that is part of a deal aimed at closing the North's main nuclear facility. The ship departed from the port of Ulsan today carrying 62-hundred tons of heavy fuel oil. The oil is the first batch of 50-thousand tons that South Korea promised to the North during six-nation talks in February. The government in Pyonyang has indicated it will begin shutting down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor once this initial shipment of fuel arrives. Meanwhile, China's Foreign Ministry confirmed today that the six-nation talks on dismantling North Korea's nuclear program will resume July 18th and 19th in Beijing.
VIETNAM - NOKOR REFUGEES: Danish officials say four North
Koreans seeking refuge in the Danish embassy in Vietnam want to go to South Korea. The officials said today they will discuss the defectors' cases with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The three women and one man entered the embassy grounds in Hanoi on Wednesday. North Korean defectors have gone to European and Asian embassies in Vietnam in recent years hoping to win asylum in South Korea.
PHILIPPINES - SHIPS:
The Philippine coast guard says at least 12 people are dead after a ferry sank in the central Philippines. A military spokesman says 256 people were aboard when the boat went down before dawn today off Quezon province. At least 106 people are reported to have been rescued. Naval vessels have been sent to help with the search and rescue. The military spokesman says two helicopters had flown to the area but turned back after hitting bad weather.
PHILIPPINES - VIOLENCE: An Islamist rebel group in the
Philippines is denying it beheaded 10 soldiers after a deadly clash in the country's south. A spokesman for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) today called for a swift investigation into the beheadings. He suggested another group had decapitated the soldiers after the rebels left the battleground. The government says MILF rebels along with Abu Sayyaf militants ambushed about 50 marines who were searching for a kidnapped Italian priest Tuesday in Tipo Tipo, on the southern island of Basilan. Fourteen marines were killed in the clash.
US - TERROR THREAT:
Bush administration officials are set to meet today to discuss a new report that says the al-Qaida terrorist network has rebuilt its capabilities to a level not seen since 2001, despite the global war on terrorism. Officials say the report by the National Counterterrorism Center says al-Qaida has established safe haven in Pakistan since a peace deal was reached between the Pakistani government and tribal leaders in Pakistan's northwest.
LADY BIRD - OBIT: A former first lady
of the United States -- Lady Bird Johnson -- has died. She was 94. A family spokeswoman says the widow of President Lyndon Johnson died Wednesday at her home in Austin, Texas of natural causes. Mrs. Johnson was admitted to the hospital in June with a fever. She had been in failing health for several years following a stroke in 2002. Her husband, known as LBJ, succeeded the assassinated President John F. Kennedy and held office from 1963 to 1969. He died in 1973. While first lady, Mrs. Johnson was a strong advocate for school programs to help underprivileged children and championed conservation efforts.
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