Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced his resignation, after nearly a year of falling support for his corruption-tainted government. Mr. Abe said today (Wednesday) he feels Japan needs a new leader in its fight against terrorism - a person the public can support and trust. He threatened last week to resign if parliament did not extend Japan's mission in Afghanistan. The law enabling Japan's navy to refuel coalition warships in the Indian Ocean expires November first. The opposition Democratic Party, which won Upper House elections in July, opposes an extension. Analysts say Mr. Abe likely is resigning to prevent the opposition from voting against the Afghan mission.
US-IRAQ: President Bush is expected to announce plans to withdraw 30-thousand U.S troops from Iraq by the middle of 2008 when he makes a nationally televised speech on Thursday. Mr. Bush's plans likely will mirror a recommendation made by Army General David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, during two days of testimony before congressional lawmakers this week. The president is expected to say the troops will be withdrawn only if conditions on the ground are satisfactory.
RAQ: Iraqi police say gunmen have ambushed a police checkpoint near northern Nineveh province, killing six policemen and wounding several others. Police officials say the attack took place late Tuesday in the Gayara region, about 50-kilometers south of the provincial capital of Mosul. Separately, the U.S. military said one person was killed and 11 coalition soldiers wounded when insurgents fired rockets or mortars at a military base (Camp Victory) near Baghdad's international airport early today (Wednesday). The nationalities of the victims have not been disclosed
Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada has been sentenced to life in prison for receiving bribes and kickbacks while in office. An anti-graft court in Manila convicted Estrada of economic plunder today (Wednesday) after a six-year trial. He was found guilty of receiving millions of dollars in bribes and funds from illegal gambling while in office. The court cleared him of a separate charge that he falsely declared his assets.
The U.S. ambassador to South Korea says U.S. President George Bush could meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il if Pyongyang eliminates all its nuclear weapons. But Ambassador Alexander Vershbow told a South Korean (YTN) news channel today (Wednesday) it will be difficult to achieve that goal. He said it will be easier for North Korea to its abandon its nuclear plants, which Washington expects to happen by year's end.
World news in Lao.