IRAQ: The United States has barred U.S. diplomats and other civilian officials in Iraq from traveling by land outside Baghdad's heavily fortified "Green Zone." This follows the fatal shooting of Iraqi civilians by private U.S. security contractors who were escorting a diplomatic motorcade on Sunday. A U.S. official in Baghdad said Tuesday the suspension will allow an assessment of security procedures for civilian travel. The ban does not affect travel by air. Iraq's Interior Ministry has withdrawn the license of Blackwater USA, the security firm that the ministry says killed 11 people.
CAMBODIA - KHMER ROUGE: Cambodian police have arrested former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea for his role in the former regime that caused the deaths of nearly two million people. Witnesses say police took Nuon Chea into custody today in his hometown of Pailin, the Khmer Rouge former stronghold in Cambodia's northwest. Nuon Chea was transferred to the capital, Phnom Penh, by helicopter. Witnesses say he has been taken to the U.N.-backed tribunal assigned to prosecute former Khmer Rouge leaders. Nuon Chea, in his early 80s, is the group's senior surviving member.
BURMA - PROTESTS: Hundreds of Buddhist monks are marching through Burma's main city of Rangoon to protest against the government, a day after authorities used force to suppress a similar procession. Authorities closed the famed Shwedagon Pagoda to prevent the monks from entering Burma's holiest shrine. Witnesses say plainclothes policemen followed the monks and videotaped the procession today, but did not intervene. Witnesses say hundreds of monks also are marching in Mandalay. Burma's military rulers acknowledge using tear gas and firing warning shots Tuesday to break up a protest of about one thousand monks in Sittwe - 550 kilometers northwest of Rangoon.
PHILIPPINES - VIOLENCE: Philippine authorities say nine people were killed today when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a two-car convoy of a former Muslim politician in the country's restive south. A local army commander, (Colonel Pedro Soria) says a fierce gunfight erupted after the convoy of Nurudin Matalam, his wife and bodyguards was attacked near the town of Cabacan on southern Mindanao island. Matalam and his wife were both critically wounded. Three men from his convoy were killed, as well as six of his attackers. Matalam was a former official in the southern province of Maguindanao.
EAST ASIA TYPHOONS: Chinese meteorologists have downgraded Typhoon Wipha to a tropical storm after it slammed into China's eastern coast. Authorities had evacuated nearly two million people from Shanghai and nearby coastal provinces before the storm made landfall in Zhejiang province today. China's official Xinhua news agency says the storm destroyed 669 houses and disrupted power supplies to 109 towns and villages. Xinhua says a government disaster relief team is assessing the damage. State media have reported only one death. Meteorologists say Wipha is heading northward, and likely will not directly hit Shanghai as earlier expected.
THAILAND - RIGHTS: Human Rights Watch says the Thai government's respect for human rights has deteriorated since military leaders took over the country in a coup last year. Brad Adams, the group's Asia director, says since the September 19th coup last year, martial law remains in many areas of Thailand and there are greater restrictions on the media. He says the military government is influencing key institutions, including the parliament, the election commission and a committee that rewrote the constitution. Thailand's military leaders peacefully deposed former Prime Minster Thaksin Shinawatra while he was out of the country.
NEPAL - MAOISTS: Nepal's prime minister is meeting with top political leaders today to try to find a way to get the country's former communist rebels to rejoin an interim coalition government. Nepal's Maoists quit the government on Tuesday, but agreed to attend a meeting with other political leaders today. An adviser to Nepal's Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala tells VOA that there is still a chance that all parties, including the Maoists, will find a solution during the meeting. The Maoists quit the coalition to boycott elections scheduled for November. They are demanding that Nepal abolish its monarchy and declare itself a republic before the ballot is held.
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