BRAZIL - PLANE CRASH: Brazilian rescue crews have pulled dozens of bodies from the burned wreckage of a jetliner that skidded off a rain-slicked runway after landing at Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport Tuesday. Officials say they believe at least 200 people were killed when the Airbus A320 jet, owned by Brazil's TAM airline, slid into a building and gas station belonging to the carrier and exploded. The governor of Sao Paulo state (Jose Serra) says none of the plane's 176 passengers and crew could have survived the searing heat of the fire. Many people on the ground were also killed, in what could be the worst aviation disaster in Brazilian history.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: The South Korean envoy to six-party talks on
North Korea's nuclear program says Pyongyang is willing to fully declare and disable its nuclear facilities by the end of this year. South Korea's Chun Yung-woo says the North Korean delegate (Kim Kye Gwan) to the Beijing talks suggested today his country could take action within five to six months. Envoys from the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have spent the day talking about the next steps in a deal to disarm Pyongyang's nuclear program.
JAPAN - QUAKE: A Japanese power company says more radioactive material leaked from an earthquake-hit nuclear power plant than it previously reported. The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the nuclear plant in Kashiwazaki, says the level of radiation in water that leaked into the Sea of Japan was one-and-a-half times higher than initially estimated. The company says the leak still is not a health threat. Tokyo Electric has also acknowledged that around 100 barrels containing low-level nuclear waste tipped over and some lost their lids during Monday's six-point-eight magnitude earthquake.
BURMA - CONSTITUTION: Burma's military government has begun
what it says is a final round of talks on a new draft constitution. The National Convention opened today at a tightly guarded center about 40 kilometers north of Rangoon. Information Minister Kyaw Hsan says the talks could last at least a month and a half. They have been ongoing for the past 14 years. The military says it will put the final draft charter up for a referendum, a key step in its so-called "roadmap to democracy" and free elections. No timetable has been set for that process. Critics of the process say the military is using the new charter to solidify its grip on power.
THAILAND - POLITICS: Thailand has lifted an order that banned the formation of new political parties. The National Legislative Assembly today voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, which reverses an order imposed by the military government that seized power in a bloodless coup last September. The coup leaders had banned all political activities and the formation of new parties after deposing Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. They lifted the ban on political activities last month. In May, a constitutional tribunal dissolved Mr. Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai Party because of fraudulent practices in last year's election.
INDIA- BURMA: India is denying allegations by a human rights group
that it plans to sell military helicopters to Burma in violation of a European Union arms embargo. An Indian foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday the allegations by Amnesty International are "completely baseless." The London-based human rights group said in a report Monday that India's government plans to transfer Advanced Light Helicopters to Burma that are built with European components and technology. The group also said that if India sells the helicopters to Burma, the European states that supplied the parts would be violating an E.U. arms embargo on Burma's military rulers.
CHINA - TIBET: A Hong Kong-based human rights group says six people have been killed in a fight between two Tibetan groups in China over access to a natural medicine. The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy says at least 110 people were wounded in the fight in western Sichuan province's Dabba county last Friday. The center says ethnic Tibetans from two neighboring towns had gathered in Dabba to complain about their rights to harvest caterpillar fungus, a lucrative wild fungus believed to boost the immune system.
US - IRAQ: Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate are continuing a round-the-clock session to pressure Republicans into voting for legislation on withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq by next April. Democratic Senator Jack Reed is a key sponsor of the plan that calls for a U.S. troop pullout to begin within 120 days, leaving some troops in Iraq to train Iraqi forces and fight terrorism. Senator Hillary Clinton backs the plan, saying during overnight debate that the U.S. should bring its troops home from what she called a "multi-sided, sectarian civil war."
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