US POLITICS: The marathon-like U.S. presidential primary election season comes to an end today as voters head to the polls in the last two statewide primaries. However, the Democratic Party may still not have its nominee for November's presidential election by the end of the day. U.S. Senator Barack Obama leads Senator Hillary Clinton in the number of delegates needed to win. But the combined 31 delegates at stake in (the central U.S. states of) South Dakota and Montana are not enough to push him past the threshold (two-thousand-118 delegates) to clinch the nomination.
BURMA: The United Nations and humanitarian groups say that as many as a million people in Burma are still lacking food and water one month after Cyclone Nargis hit. Officials today say aid workers continue to face challenges in getting relief supplies to cyclone-struck areas of the Irrawaddy Delta, and are concerned that the amount of aid reaching storm victims is not sufficient. On Monday, a top U.N. human rights official lashed out at Burma's military government, accusing it of obstructing aid to victims of the cyclone, which has left at least 134-thousand people dead or missing.
CHNIA - TIANMEN: A human rights group has called on China to release all prisoners still being held for taking part in the 1989 pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing's Tiananmen Square. New York-based Human Rights Watch released a statement Monday, urging Beijing to honor its commitment to improve human rights before the 2008 Beijing Olympics by releasing what HRW estimates to be 130 Tiananmen prisoners. The statement also calls on China to overturn the 1989 pronouncement labeling the protest by students and others a counter-revolutionary rebellion, and to cease the harassment, arrest and imprisonment of survivors, family members and scholars who demand state accountability for the crackdown.
UN FOOD SUMMIT: World leaders meet today in Rome at a U.N.-sponsored food security conference to address the global food crisis pushing millions of people into hunger. The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization is hosting the summit where delegates will discuss food security and soaring food prices, which have led to riots in several countries. Delegates will also discuss a range of other issues in the food crisis, including aid, trade, technology to improve farm yields, and how to deal with the effects of global warming. Campaigners against hunger have singled out biofuels - made by converting food crops into fuel - as prime culprits in the world's food crisis.
AIDS TREATMENT: A new World Health Organization report says about three million people infected with the AIDS virus in developing countries are getting life-saving drugs, but that more than twice that number are not getting proper treatment. The report issued Monday says it is remarkable that a large number of people are getting the drugs they need to to stay alive. It says about 75 percent of those getting treatment live in Africa, where the WHO says the epidemic is disproportionally severe. But WHO officials say nearly seven million AIDS patients are not getting drugs, including many children.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says his country will not abandon its efforts to develop nuclear technology. His comments came during a ceremony today marking the 19th anniversary of the death of Iran's late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and were broadcast live on state television. Ayatollah Khamenei rejected allegations Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, saying such weapons have no use. He also said Iran will achieve its goal of producing nuclear power for peaceful purposes.
AFGHANISTAN - NATO: U.S. General David McKiernan is taking over command of NATO forces in Afghanistan. Speaking during a change of command ceremony today, the general vowed to deal with insurgents, foreign fighters, criminals and others who stand in the way of stability in the country. Afghan President Hamid Karzai welcomed General McKiernan, saying his job will not be easy. General McKiernan is taking charge of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force from U.S. General Dan McNeill. In 2003, McKiernan led the ground attack in Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein.
US - COLOMBIA: A top U.S. diplomat is asking Colombia's neighbors to help stop Colombia's rebel forces from entering their territories. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte - speaking in Medellin at the annual meeting of the Organization of American States - said Colombia has made great strides in dealing with its rebel forces, but needs more support from its neighbors. Officials say the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - known as FARC - frequently set up camps in the jungles of neighboring countries. Venezuela has denied giving refuge to the leftist guerrillas and has been critical of Colombia for not patrolling its border.
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