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UN Security Council Condemns Violence in Zimbabwe


ZIMBABWE: The U.N. Security Council has condemned the violence and intimidation against the opposition in Zimbabwe, saying it is not possible to hold a free and fair presidential runoff vote scheduled for Friday. The 15-member body unanimously adopted the non-binding statement Monday, in the Council's first action on the Zimbabwe crisis. Earlier Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Zimbabwe to postpone Friday's election, saying a vote held in the current conditions would lack all legitimacy. China today voiced concern about violence in Zimbabwe and said it hopes the election can be completed smoothly. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai took refuge at the Dutch Embassy in Harare Sunday after pulling out of the runoff against incumbent Robert Mugabe.

PHILIPPINES - FERRY: Philippine officials say divers have entered the hull of a passenger ferry that capsized with more than 800 people on board, but saw only bodies floating inside. Navy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo would not speculate on whether anyone might still be alive in the overturned ferry and did not say how many bodies were seen. The Philippine coast guard says that so far 36 people from the ferry have turned up alive. On Monday, the United States promised to help the Philippines cope with the ferry accident, as the Southeast Asian country's president began a visit to Washington. Washington said it is providing 100-thousand dollars and a U.S. Naval vessel to help with search and rescue efforts.

US - VIETNAM: Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung meets with U.S. President George Bush today in Washington. Mr. Dung arrived in the United States on Monday for his first visit to the country since taking office in 2006. Talks today at the White House are expected to cover food security, regional economic cooperation, the U.N. Security Council and other issues. While in the U.S., the Vietnamese leader and his delegation are expected to seek advice from U.S. economic experts and officials, including former Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Alan Greenspan. Vietnam's economy is growing rapidly. But inflation hit 25 percent in May over the same period last year in the communist country.

MALAYSIA - MEDIA: More than 100 Malaysian journalists have launched a boycott of news conferences held in the lobby of Malaysia's parliament after they were barred access to lawmakers. Reporters began the boycott today after security guards at parliament sealed off the main lobby -- a place where reporters frequently interview lawmakers and attend news conferences. Last week, officials said they would limit media passes to five for each news organization in Malaysia. News coverage at Malaysia's parliament has increased sharply since the ruling coalition suffered a major election defeat in March, losing its two-thirds majority for the first time in 40 years.

CHINA - JAPAN WARSHIP: A Japanese destroyer steamed into a southern Chinese port today, the first such visit since World War Two. The warship Sazanami pulled into Zhanjiang in the southern province of Guangdong for a five-day port call, following the visit of a Chinese naval missile destroyer to Japan in November. The countries have recently been making efforts to improve relations. Chinese President Hu Jintao paid a state visit to Japan in May. But, Japan's offer to transport relief supplies on a military flight to victims of China's May 12th earthquake was rejected after Chinese Internet users reacted angrily to the proposal. Japan invaded and occupied China from 1931 through 1945, and relations are still marred by memories of Japanese wartime atrocities.

HONG KONG - US SAILORS: About 100 American sailors were left behind in Hong Kong Sunday when the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier left the city a day earlier than planned to avoid a typhoon. The carrier and its support ships, which arrived in the southern Chinese city as part of a routine port call last week, were due to depart Monday. But, the strike group left Sunday at news that Typhoon Fengshen -- which has left hundreds dead or missing across the Philippines -- would pass through Hong Kong. U.S. Navy officials say they are working to find flights to return the sailors to the carrier.

SOKOR - US BEEF: South Korea's President Lee Myung-Bak says his government will not tolerate any further violent protests against the resumption of imports of U.S. beef. Mr. Lee told his cabinet today that while the government must listen to voices critical of its policies, illegal or violent demonstrations should be dealt with sternly. South Korean officials announced Saturday that beef imports from the United States will come only from cattle less than 30 months old, to alleviate concerns of mad cow disease. Officials also said an age-verification system will be set up to ensure only U.S. beef from younger cattle is exported.

GERMANY - PALESTINIANS: An international conference opened in Berlin today aimed at strengthening the Palestinian Authority's police force and court system. The one-day conference in the German capital will be followed in the evening by a meeting of the Middle East Quartet, a week after Hamas and Israel declared a truce. Attending the conference are delegations from more than 40 countries, including U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. The Middle East Quartet groups the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

AFGHAN - VIOLENCE: Afghan officials say a U.S.-led coalition airstrike killed 15 militants who attacked a government building in eastern Afghanistan. The officials say the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force bombed the militants today as they were withdrawing from an attack at government headquarters in Paktika province. Four insurgents were wounded in the attack. The incident comes a day after a suicide car bomber targeting a NATO-led convoy in western Herat province killed five civilians. Nineteen others were wounded in the attack. Also on Monday, the U.S. military said U.S.-led forces killed 55 militants, including three Taliban leaders, during recent clashes in Paktika.

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