US - HMONG SHOOTING: A jury in the (northern) U.S. state of Wisconsin has convicted a white man of the shooting and stabbing death of a Hmong immigrant earlier this year. James Nichols was found guilty Friday in connection with the death of Cha Vang in January. Nichols admitted to killing Vang, but said he acted in self-defense after Vang shot him in the hands. The two men got into a dispute while hunting separately in the woods. Prosecutors described Nichols as a racist with a desire to kill Hmong. The jury also convicted Nichols of hiding a corpse and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He faces a 60-year prison sentence on the murder charge.
PAKISTAN POL: Pakistani election officials say President Pervez Musharraf has won the most votes in the country's presidential election. Chief Election Commissioner Qazi Muhammad Farooq announced that General Musharraf won 252 of the 257 votes cast today in parliament. Three ballots were judged invalid and two votes went to his main rival, retired judge Wajihuddin Ahmad. Pakistani television reported that General Musharraf had also swept the voting in three of Pakistan's four provincial assemblies. President Musharraf cannot be officially declared the winner until the Supreme Court rules on legal challenges to his eligibility to seek office again while remaining in his post as army chief
BURMA: Key Western powers on the U.N. Security Council circulated a draft statement late Friday condemning repression by Burma's military government, and demanding the release of political prisoners. Drafted by the United States, Britain and France, the statement condemned what it called the "violent repression" of peaceful demonstration, and it demanded the government begin a dialogue with the opposition. The non-binding statement, which requires consensus by all 15 Security Council members to be adopted, was circulated after the Council heard a briefing by U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari on his recent four-day mission to Burma.
BURMA - WORLD DEMONSTRATIONS: A planned global day of demonstrations against Burma's crackdown on pro-democracy activists got underway today in several Asian cities. In Australia, about 200 demonstrators marched in Sydney, while another 200 gathered to protest in Melbourne. About 100 people took to the streets in Bangkok. The rights group Amnesty International has said protests will be held in at least a dozen countries, including Britain, Belgium, Mongolia, Sweden and the United States. In a statement Friday, the rights group condemned the use of violence against peaceful protesters, and called on the U.N. Security Council to immediately impose a comprehensive and mandatory arms embargo on the country.
VIETNAM - TYPHOON: Vietnamese officials say at least 20 people have died in floods and landslides triggered by Typhoon Lekima. Authorities say at least eight people are missing after being swept away by flood waters. The storm (- named after a local fruit -) killed at least 20 people in northern and central Vietnam. The storm slammed into the country's central coast late Wednesday, knocking down power lines and blowing roofs off homes. Meteorologists say Typhoon Lekima dumped heavy rains on Vietnam's central provinces and blew winds of up to 120 kilometers-per-hour before weakening. Officials in Vietnam said Friday the typhoon had damaged 77-thousand homes and created an estimated 41-million dollars in damage.
TAIWAN TYPHOON: Typhoon Krosa lashed Taiwan with strong winds and heavy rain today, cutting power to thousands of homes and disrupting air and sea traffic. Taiwan's central weather bureau says Krosa (- meaning "crane," in the Khmer language -) has a radius of 300 kilometers and winds gusting up to 184 kilometers-per-hour. Forecasters say the storm will pass over northern Taiwan, including the capital, Taipei. Officials have canceled many outdoor events, including rehearsals for the annual National Day celebrations. The bureau has warned Krosa's impact will be strongest between late Saturday and early Sunday, before it heads for southern China.
CAMBODIA - KHMER ROUGE: The United Nations Development Program says that unless reforms are made, the world body should pull out of the tribunal set up to try members of Cambodia's former Khmer Rouge government. The U.N. agency was commissioned last year to oversee hiring practices at the tribunal following allegations that Cambodian employees bribed court officials to secure their positions with the tribunal. The agency's report issued this week pointed out numerous administrative shortcomings, including hiring unqualified staff at inflated salaries. The tribunal is a joint U.N.-Cambodian court, with three Cambodian judges and two international jurists selected by the U.N.
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