US – NorKor: North Korea says the United States has agreed to remove it from Washington's list of nations that sponsor terrorism.
The official Korean Central News Agency reports today (Monday) that the U.S. made the decision after the two countries' top nuclear negotiators held talks in Geneva Saturday and Sunday.
The agency quotes a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying the U.S. also agreed to fully lift its punitive sanctions against North Korea.
The U.S. has yet to confirm the report, although the terrorism issue was discussed during the meeting in Geneva.
U.S. envoy Christopher Hill announced Sunday that North Korea has agreed to identify all its nuclear programs and disable them by the end of this year.
His North Korean counterpart, Kim Kye Kwan, confirmed Pyongyang is ready to "declare" all of its nuclear programs, but he did not say when.
Bangladesh Pol: Authorities in Bangladesh have detained former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia on corruption charges.
Ms. Zia, who left office last October, was taken into custody early today (Monday) along with her younger son (Arafat Rahman Coco).
She was taken to a Dhaka court where the former prime minister insisted that she and her son are innocent. Ms. Zia told the judge that the charges are part of a political conspiracy.
The judge refused bail and sent her to directly jail. Her son will also be held in custody for questioning about the case.
The charges filed Sunday allege that Ms. Zia misused her powers in awarding government contracts, including one for development of port facilities in Chittagong, to a private company.
Ms. Zia's older son, Tarique Rahman, has been in jail since March, and he is currently awaiting trial for extortion.
Thailand Pol: A Thai court has issued a second set of arrest warrants for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife.
The Bangkok Criminal Court issued the warrants today (Monday) on charges the couple violated stock-trading laws.
In August, another court issued arrest warrants for Mr. Thaksin and his wife, Pojaman, over corruption charges related to a controversial real estate deal.
Mr. Thaksin has been living abroad since he was pushed from power in a bloodless military coup almost a year ago. The military leaders say they removed Mr. Thaksin because of alleged corruption and abuse of power.
The military-backed government says they will hold general elections in December. Mr. Thaksin says he will not return to Thailand to face the charges until after the country has a democratically-elected government.
Japan Pol: Japan's agriculture minister has resigned in a scandal involving farm subsidies, only a week after he took office.
Takehiko Endo announced his resignation in Tokyo today (Monday), after admitting that he knew his farmers' aid group had illegally received about 10 thousand dollars from the state.
Former environment minister Masatoshi Wakabayashi will replace Endo.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed Endo and several other new ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle last Monday. Mr. Abe made the changes in an effort to clean up the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's corruption-tainted image, following its defeat in an election for the upper house of parliament.
Endo is the fifth minister in a year to leave Mr. Abe's Cabinet.
Mr. Abe says he feels responsible for choosing Endo, but that he wants to keep his job to prevent any delay in implementing policies.
Iraq: President Bush has made an unannounced visit to Iraq.
He arrived in the country today (Monday), landing at an air base in Anbar province.
Next week, the top U.S. military and diplomatic officials in Iraq give Congress their assessment of progress being made there.
Mr. Bush previously visited Iraq in 2003 and 2006.
Iraq: Iraqi soldiers raised the nation's flag over the Basra Palace today (Monday), and posted guards in central Basra after British troops withdrew from the southern city overnight.
About 550 British troops left the city to join five thousand other personnel at an airport on the outskirts of the city.
Britain's Defense Ministry said London expects to hand over all security responsibilities in Basra province sometime in the coming months.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown denied the withdrawal was a defeat, telling British (BBC) radio it was a pre-planned, organized move. He said British troops stood ready to intervene if the security situation demanded it.
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