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Pakistan's Supreme Court Dismisses Challenges to Musharraf Re-Election


Pakistan: Officials say Pakistan's Supreme Court has thrown out five of six challenges to President Pervez Musharraf's re-election, leaving one to be considered later this week.
Attorney General Malik Mohammad Qayyum told reporters today (Monday), that the remaining petition would be heard on Thursday.
President Musharraf purged the Supreme Court of hostile judges when he imposed emergency rule on November third.
Opponents have challenged President Musharraf's October re-election while he remained head of the armed forces. The general has pledged to resign his military post if his re-election were upheld.
Earlier today (Monday), officials said President Musharraf endorsed a January eighth date for parliamentary elections, but did not say whether emergency rule would be lifted by then.
Main opposition leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto says she may boycott the poll.

Afghan Violence: Afghan police say a suicide bomber targeting a provincial governor killed one of the official's sons and six of his bodyguards.
Authorities say the governor of the southwestern province of Numruz (Ghulam Dastageer) escaped injury today (Monday), while on his way to work in the town of Zaranj. At least 14 other people were injured in the attack.
On Sunday, Afghan security officials said Taliban militants hanged five policeman in southern Afghanistan as a public warning to others.
The Uruzgan province police chief (Juma Gul Himat), describing the incident, said the five policemen had been abducted two months ago and were mutilated before being killed and their bodies hanged from trees.

Cambodia - Khmer Rouge: Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal has arrested former Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan for his role in the country's mass killings during the 1970's.
The ailing 76-year-old former head of state was escorted from Phnom Penh hospital today (Monday) by Cambodian police. He was being treated there after suffering a stroke last week.
Khieu Samphan is the fifth Khmer Rouge official detained by the long-delayed tribunal. Trials are expected to begin next year. The court has yet to say what charges he will face
in connection with the Khmer Rouge's brutal rule from 1975 to 1979.
The Khmer Rouge is blamed for the deaths of nearly two million people, most of whom were executed or died of starvation, overwork or disease.
Khieu Samphan has denied that the Khmer Rouge's policies were responsible for the mass killings and argues that coercion was used to make people work in the farms to prevent food shortages.

ASEAN Summit: Southeast Asian ministers have given their full backing to a landmark charter that commits the region to promoting democratic ideals and human rights.
Leaders of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, are expected to officially sign the charter at an annual leaders summit on Tuesday, giving the bloc a legal status similar to that of the European Union. It will also create an agency that reviews the region's human rights.
The proposal to create a human rights agency was approved by Burma, which is seen as a likely focus of the agency's work, but only after drafters took out references to punishing violators.
The agreement, which still needs to be approved

US - ASEAN - Burma: The United States' top trade official says the reputation and credibility of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has been called into question because of the group's handling of military-run Burma.
Speaking with reporters today (Monday) in Singapore, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said ASEAN leaders cannot continue to treat the situation in Burma as business as usual as the military-ruled country fails to enact reforms.
Burma has come under intense international pressure following its bloody September crackdown on pro-democracy protests. But, ASEAN has rejected calls by the United States to threaten Burma with expulsion
The body's secretary-general says such a decision should be left up to the regional body's members to decide.
As ASEAN leaders met today, a handful of students defied Singapore's tight anti-protest laws and marched on its city streets. Most carried candles and wore red t-shirts that called for "peace, justice, and democracy in Burma."

Burma: Witnesses in Burma say opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was taken to a state guesthouse from her home where she has long been held under house arrest.
The purpose of her trip today (Monday) was not immediately clear. It is likely she was being taken to meet Aung Kyi, a senior member of the Burma's military-led government who has been appointed as a go-between with the opposition. She has made similar short visits in recent weeks.
Aung Kyi was appointed to serve as a go-between following international outrage about the military government's crackdown of pro-democracy protesters in September. World powers have been urging Burma to release all political prisoners and open a dialogue with opposition leaders.
Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 12 of the last 18 years under house arrest.

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