ASEAN SUMMIT: Southeast Asian leaders have adopted a landmark charter that seeks to integrate the region as a legal organization bound by one set of rules. Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the charter at a ceremony today in Singapore as contentious debate over the human rights situation in military-ruled Burma poisoned the atmosphere of the meeting. The charter will give ASEAN legal identity for international negotiations, and sets out common rules for negotiations in trade, investment, environment and other fields. It also calls for the establishment of a human rights agency, but lacks a mechanism for enforcing human rights standards.
BANGLADESH STORM: Bangladesh is seeking more foreign aid to help survivors of last week's Cyclone Sidr, which killed more than three-thousand-100 people. Relief workers say food, fresh water and temporary shelter still have not reached thousands of hungry and exhausted survivors. The World Food Program said Monday it had joined forces with Bangladesh's Air Force to drop emergency supplies to hundreds of thousands of people devastated by the Thursday storm. The UN agency said it had delivered high-energy biscuits to more than 650-thousand Bangladeshis so far.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani officials say they have released more than three-thousand people detained under President Pervez Musharraf's emergency rule. Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Cheema announced the releases today as General Musharraf was traveling to Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah and to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca. The visit is fueling speculation that General Musharraf might attempt to meet with Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who lives in exile in the Kingdom. But Sharif, a leading opposition leader, has said he will not meet with General Musharraf, the man who ousted him in a bloodless coup in 1999.
CAMBODIA - KHMER ROUGE: A jailed former prison chief accused of being the Khmer Rouge's torture master appeared in court today to appeal his detention by Cambodia's United Nations-backed genocide tribunal. The pre-trial hearing for Kaing Guek Eav -- also known as "Duch" --is the tribunal's first public session since its creation last year. Hundreds of journalists, international observers and Cambodians crowded the court's compound on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. The proceedings were broadcast on live television in Cambodia. In July, the tribunal took Duch into its custody from a military prison where he had been held since 1999.
NOKOR - US: U.S. officials have opened two days of talks with North Korea in what Washington describes as an effort to familiarize Pyongyang with accepted international banking practices. The head of the U.S. delegation, deputy assistant to the Treasury Department Dan Glaser, spoke to reporters Monday in New York after the first day of talks. Glaser said the purpose of the talks is to examine how North Korean conduct has led to the country becoming isolated from the international financial system.
IRAQ: U.S. military officials say Iraqi troops have detained 43 people, mostly foreigners, after an Iraqi woman was wounded in a shooting incident in Baghdad. The officials say the detained include 10 Iraqis, 21 Sri Lankans, nine Nepalese, two Fijians and one Indian who were traveling in a convoy through the Karrada district Monday when the shooting occurred. The circumstances of the shooting are under investigation and the condition of the woman is not known. A U.S. military spokesman says the convoy belonged to Almco Group, a company based in Dubai which has contracts with the U.S. military to provide food and water.
PERU FUJIMORI: The Peruvian Supreme Court has postponed until December 10th the trial of former President Alberto Fujimori, who is facing charges of human rights violations. The court's action, announced Monday, will give Mr. Fujimori's attorneys additional time to prepare for the trial. The case had been scheduled to begin on November 26th. Mr. Fujimori is accused of corruption and sanctioning the killing of 25 people by paramilitary squads during dis decade-long presidency. He denies the charges. Mr. Fujimori left Peru after he resigned the presidency in 2000.
UKRAIN MINE: Ukrainian officials say the death toll from a coal mine explosion in eastern Ukraine has risen to 88, making it the worst mining catastrophe in the country's post-Soviet history. Twelve miners are still missing. Rescue workers have pulled more than 350 people to safety from the Zasyadko mine in the Donetsk region. Ukraine is observing a national day of mourning for the victims today. Sunday's methane gas explosion occurred one-thousand meters underground. A subsequent fire hampered rescue efforts.
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