The war-crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor has resumed in The Hague after a six-month delay. He is accused of orchestrating atrocities in Sierra Leone. The chief prosecutor at the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (, Stephen Rapp,) says he has evidence against Taylor from 144 people, and that he will call his first witness to the stand today (Monday). The witness is expected to be an expert in the diamond industry, which is blamed for fueling Sierra Leone's conflict from 1991 to 2002. Other witnesses to be heard during the week include an insider once close to Taylor, who can link the former president to atrocities.
KENYA: Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has canceled plans to hold more street protests this week, saying he wants to give mediation a chance. His decision today (Monday) comes as the government announced that violence following the country's December elections has already claimed nearly 500 lives. Odinga met today with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer to discuss a negotiation process to help end his country's political crisis.
military officials say U.S. forces will not be allowed to hunt for al-Qaida fighters in Pakistani territory, despite a news report that American strategists are considering such action. Pakistan's top military spokesman, Major General Waheed Arshad, said U.S. forces do not carry out military strikes inside Pakistan now and will not be allowed to do so in the future.
NOKOR-NUCLEAR: The chief U.S. nuclear negotiator on North Korea, Christopher Hill, has arrived in Tokyo at the start of a tour to get six-nation disarmament talks back on track after Pyongyang missed a key deadline. North Korea had until December 31st to disable its key nuclear facilities and give a full declaration of its other nuclear programs as part of a deal with the United States, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia. Hill is to meet today (Monday) with his Japanese counterpart in the six-nation talks, Kenichiro Sasae.
Snow is still falling in several western U.S. states where a powerful winter storm has been blamed for at least three deaths and has interrupted power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses. Officials are searching in the mountains east of Los Angeles, California, for a hiker last seen as the snow began falling on Friday. In Colorado's Rocky Mountains, searchers are looking for four snowmobilers also missing since Friday.
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