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UN Inspectors in North Korea to Begin Monitoring Nuclear Shutdown


NOKOR - NUCLEAR: A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency is in North Korea to begin monitoring the shutdown of the country's main nuclear reactor. China's official news agency, Xinhua, says the team arrived in Pyongyang from Beijing today. The IAEA team chief (Adel TolbaIt) says his group will head straight to the Yongbyon reactor. It will be the first time foreign monitors have supervised North Korea's nuclear activities in nearly five years. U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill said in Tokyo today he expects Yongbyon to be closed by Monday.

RUSSIA - ARMS CONTROL: Russian President Vladimir Putin has suspended his country's participation in a European arms control treaty dealing with the deployment of conventional forces. The Kremlin announced today that Mr. Putin signed a decree suspending Russia's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. The original treaty was signed in 1990 and went into effect in 1992. It was revised in 1999 after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. Russia has ratified the revised agreement, but the United States and NATO countries have not.

PAKISTAN ATTACK: Pakistan's military says eight soldiers were killed today when a suicide car bomber struck a military convoy in northwestern Pakistan. A military spokesman says at least four soldiers were wounded in the attack in North Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan. The deadly attack follows protests across Pakistan Friday to denounce the army's raid on a radical mosque in Islamabad earlier in the week. President Pervez Musharraf ordered the attack on the Red Mosque Tuesday after a week-long standoff. Scores of militants and 10 Pakistani soldiers were killed during the two-day assault.

IRAQ: The U.S. military in Iraq says troops killed six terrorists and detained 18 suspects during operations in central and northern Iraq today. The military says troops engaged a group of armed men using women and children as human shields in Diyala province. It says troops called in an airstrike that killed six of the terrorists after the civilians were released. In Mosul, the military says a man believed to be a senior leader of al-Qaida in Iraq surrendered during a raid. Coalition forces also detained the suspected leader of a car bomb network southeast of Baghdad.

BRITAIN - TERRORISM: Australian police say they have charged an Indian doctor held since July second on suspicion of involvement in last month's attempted car bomb attacks in Britain. Police in Brisbane said in a statement today that 27-year-old Mohammad Haneef is charged with providing support to a terrorist organization. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Haneef is due to appear in court in Brisbane later Saturday. He is the second person charged in connection with the failed attacks in London and Glasgow.

US - BIN LADEN: The U.S. Senate is urging President Bush to raise the reward for Osama bin Laden's capture or death to $50 million, in the hope this will persuade one of the terrorist leader's associates to turn him in. Lawmakers voted nearly unanimously (87-1) Friday to double the existing 25-million-dollar reward, and they also asked the White House to provide regular updates on what the U.S. is doing to track down bin Laden. The Senate's action must also be approved by the House of Representatives and then by the president, whose aides have not commented on the issue.

UN - CHAD - SUDAN: The United Nations and the European Union are considering sending troops to Chad to help protect Darfur refugees living there. The head of U.N. peacekeeping operations, Jean-Marie Guehenno, told reporters Friday the United Nations is studying a U.N. Security Council resolution for Chad. He said the mission would have a strong police component and would work with Chadian forces to provide security at refugee camps. Guehenno said he is traveling to Brussels next week to discuss the proposal with EU officials.

CHINA - MINE: Chinese state media say a gas explosion has trapped 20 people in a mine in Shanxi province. The Xinhua news agency says the blast occurred today as 16 miners, two first-aid workers and two safety inspectors were in the mine investigating an accident that happened there last month. Officials say it is not clear if anyone survived today's explosion. On June 24th, nine people died in the same mine in the town of Hejin when it flooded with water. Xinhua says the mine's managers had covered up the deaths, but they were exposed by the victims' families.

PHILIPPINES - REBELS: The Philippine president says her government is committed to peace talks with a Muslim rebel group that is under investigation for the beheading of 10 marines. Gloria Arroyo today said the government is still willing to work with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, or MILF, but that only "principled warriors" are welcome at the negotiating table. Earlier this week, 14 marines were killed in a clash with MILF rebels on the southern island of Basilan. Ten of the marines were later beheaded. The government says the marines were ambushed by hundreds of MILF rebels who joined forces with Abu Sayyaf militants.

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