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Exit Polls: Japanese PM's Coalition Suffers Huge Loses in Upper House Election


Japan Election: Japanese media say exit polls indicate Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition has suffered huge losses in today's (Sunday's) election for the upper house of parliament.
Voters cast ballots today (Sunday) for half of the 242-seat upper house of parliament.
Exit polls conducted by Japanese television show Mr. Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its partner (the New Komeito) winning between 38 and 55 of the 64 seats needed to maintain a majority in the upper house.
Analysts say a serious loss in this election could pressure the prime minister to resign.
Since taking office last September, Mr. Abe has been sharply criticized for his government's mishandling of pension records, and for a series of corruption scandals involving Cabinet members.

ASEAN: Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are haggling over a draft charter that could create a rules-based community similar to the European Union.
They are holding informal discussions in the Philippine capital, Manila, today (Sunday) ahead of the meeting's official opening Monday.
The foreign ministers are trying to finalize a proposal for a human rights commission, as well as guidelines on how to handle votes and punish nations that break the charter rules. Burma has resisted the rights commission because it says it could violate ASEAN's traditional policy of non-interference in member's internal affairs.
After revisions, the charter is expected to be adopted and ratified at a leader's summit in November and ratified by member states by the end of 2008.

Cambodia – Vietnam Bombs: Cambodian explosives experts have cleared homemade bombs from a monument in the capital dedicated to Vietnamese soldiers.
Officials say police defused two bombs today (Sunday) after a third went off before dawn. The bombs caused no injuries or damage.
Phnom Penh's police chief (Touch Naroth) says because the bombs were planted at the Cambodia-Vietnam friendship monument, the plot was intended to hurt that relationship. He said police have no suspects.
The monument portrays a Cambodian soldier and his Vietnamese comrade standing protectively over a Cambodian woman and her baby. It was erected after Vietnam's 1979 invasion of Cambodia, which toppled the fanatical Khmer Rouge that killed nearly two million people in the mid-1970s.
The monument is controversial in Cambodian society, as many people consider it a symbol of Vietnam's decade-long occupation of their country following the invasion.

NoKor – Nuclear: A Philippine foreign affairs spokesman says North Korea's foreign minister has reaffirmed his country's commitment to ending its nuclear weapons program.
The spokesman (Claro Cristobal) said North Korea's Pak Ui Chun has told his Philippine counterpart (Alberto Romulo) that six-nation talks on Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament have produced good progress and that his country is committed to the process.
The officials discussed the issue today (Sunday) in Manila on the sidelines of an Asian security forum.
The spokesman said Pak reiterated North Korea's view that the six-party disarmament deal should follow the principle that if one party takes action, the others respond in kind.
North Korea shut down its main nuclear reactor at Yongbyon earlier this month after receiving fuel oil from South Korea. Seoul sent its final shipment of a 50-thousand-ton fuel package to the North today (Sunday).

US – Britain Visit: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visits the United States today (Sunday) for the first time since replacing Tony Blair as Britain's leader last month.
Mr. Brown is scheduled to arrive at the Camp David U.S. presidential retreat outside Washington (in rural Maryland) early this evening for talks with President Bush.
Some observers have predicted the close relationship shared by the president and Mr. Blair would be changed by the new prime minister. But Mr. Brown's office issued a statement Saturday affirming the importance to Britain of its bond with the United States.
The two leaders will discuss various issues, including Britain's involvement in the Iraq coalition.

Listen to our World News for details.

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