Iraq: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has opened the second meeting of Iraq's neighbors to discuss bringing security and stability to his country.
In his opening remarks today (Sunday), Mr. Maliki told delegates his government has achieved what he called "significant triumphs" in different areas, despite challenges.
The Baghdad conference comes after a first round of talks in (Sharm El-Sheik,) Egypt in May.
Along with Iraq's neighbors and the United States, representatives from the U.N. Security Council, the European Union and the Group of Eight industrialized nations are taking part.
Mr. Maliki's comments come a day before U.S. General David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are scheduled to testify to U.S. lawmakers about progress in Iraq.
President Bush has said he will make a speech to the U.S. people about Iraq later in the week.
Pakistan Pol: The Pakistani government has tightened airport security and banned rallies as it prepares for the expected return of exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday.
The government has also begun detaining Mr. Sharif's supporters. His party (Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz) says more than two thousand people have been arrested. Officials said 700 had been detained.
Mr. Sharif has announced his intention to challenge Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in upcoming elections.
The Saudi royal family and the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, brokered the deal that sent Mr. Sharif into exile in 2000, after he was ousted in a bloodless coup led by General Musharraf.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia and Lebanese lawmaker Saad Hariri called on Mr. Sharif to honor the agreement and abandon his plans to return.
Afghanistan Violence: U.S. military officials in Afghanistan say a coalition soldier was killed in a bombing today (Sunday) in the southern province of Helmand.
A military statement says four other soldiers from the international force were wounded by the blast. The statement did not identify the soldiers' nationalities.
Early Saturday, two British soldiers serving with NATO's mission in Afghanistan were killed and several others wounded in a Taleban attack south of Garmsir in the same province.
The U.S. military also reports that U.S.-led coalition forces backed by war planes killed more than 30 suspected militants in the Garmsir area Saturday.
Today in Kabul's main stadium, Afghan President Hamid Karzai abruptly ended a speech to a crowd of thousands after what sounded like gunshots rang out in the area. Officials then urged the crowd to remain calm, and said the loud noises were from stones thrown at a metal gate by people not able to get into the stadium.
Afghan – UN Report: A United Nations report says the vast majority of suicide attacks in Afghanistan are carried out by young Afghan men trained in neighboring Pakistan.
The study released today (Sunday) by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) found that most of the suicide attackers are poor, uneducated, easily influenced by recruiters and drawn from religious schools in Pakistan.
The UNAMA study notes a sharp increase in suicide attacks in Afghanistan. In 2006, there were 123 compared with just 17 the year before. In 2007, there have already been 103 such attacks.
The report, based on interviews with failed and alleged suicide attackers, urges U.S. and NATO forces to try to prevent civilian casualties and to uphold the dignity of Afghans as ways to blunt support for jihad (holy war).
Japan – Afghanistan: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will resign if he cannot extend a Japanese naval mission in support of U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan.
When asked today (Sunday) if he was ready to resign if his government was not able to extend the mandate, Mr. Abe told a news conference in Sydney, Australia (where he attended the APEC summit) that he had no intention of clinging to his job.
Japan's navy has been refueling coalition warships in the Indian Ocean since November of 2001 under a special anti-terrorism law set to expire November first. The opposition DemocraticParty, which won Upper House elections in July, opposes the extension.
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