ZIMBABWE: The United States plans to introduce a U.N. resolution to send a strong
message to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, accusing him of leading
a campaign of intimidation ahead of Friday's presidential run-off
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today said a resolution could be introduced as early as Monday.
The U.N. Security Council said conditions for a free and fair vote did
not exist, but stopped short of calling the poll illegitimate as some
Mr. Mugabe is assured victory since he was the lone candidate following
the withdrawal of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai earlier this
US - RICE - SOKOR: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she expects North Korea
to live up to its obligations to abandon its nuclear weapons programs
under the six-nation disarmament agreement.
Rice made her views known today in Seoul, after talks with her South Korean counterpart, Yu Myung-hwan.
The bilateral meeting was held one day after North Korea destroyed the
cooling tower at its main Yongbyong nuclear plant in a symbolic
Pyongyang submitted a long-delayed declaration of its plutonium
enrichment program to China Thursday after months of negotiations.
The controversy over U.S. beef imports to South Korea overshadowed
PAKISTAN: The Pakistani military has launched a new offensive against Taliban militants near the northern city of Peshawar, prompting a leading Taliban commander to temporarily call off peace talks with the government. Today's action near the northern city of Peshawar came after officials said Friday there is credible evidence the Taliban was preparing for an assault on the North West Frontier Province capital. Shortly after the offensive began, Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud announced a suspension of negotiations. He said talks would not resume until the offensive ended. A number of reports from the region say Taliban militants have been massing around Peshawar for days, and that some militants have even entered the city and harassed residents.
IRAQ: Coalition forces in Iraq say troops have killed three terrorists and detained 12 suspects during recent operations targeting al-Qaida in the northern part of the country. A military statement says two militants were killed today during an operation in Sharqat, south of Mosul. One of the men was identified as a member of a bombing network. Iraqi and coalition forces shot and killed an armed man on the roof of a building in Kirkuk during an operation targeting a kidnapping network. U.S. military officials in Iraq say they are delaying a transfer of security control in western Anbar province to Iraqi forces, originally due today, because of concerns about an impending sandstorm.
ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: Israeli army troops have killed a Palestinian teenager in the West Bank. The Israeli military said troops fired on three people throwing firebombs in a village near Hebron, killing one. Palestinian officials say the victim was 17 years old. The West Bank is not included in a truce between Israel and the Hamas militant leaders of the Gaza Strip. The nine-day-old cease-fire in Gaza has been strained by a series of Palestinian rocket attacks and a retaliatory Israeli blockade on Gaza. Israel's border crossings with the Palestinian territory have been closed since Wednesday, but the Jewish state says it is allowing some fuel into Gaza.
LEBANON - BLAST: Officials in northern Lebanon say a bomb blast at a residential building has killed at least one person and wounded at least 20 others. The explosion ripped through the first floor of an apartment building today in the Bab Tebbaneh neighborhood of Tripoli. The area has been the scene of deadly sectarian violence. Earlier this week, nine people were killed and 45 wounded in clashes involving Sunni Muslims, who support the Lebanese government, and Alawites, a Shi'ite sect close to the Hezbollah-led opposition. Tensions between Lebanon's rival factions have been growing in recent weeks as their political leaders struggle to form a new Cabinet under the terms of an Arab-brokered deal signed in May.
INDONESIA - PLANE: Search teams have recovered at least 14 bodies from the wreckage of an Indonesian military plane that crashed into a heavily forested mountain Thursday. An Indonesian military spokesman says the teams reached the wreckage early today, hours after it was spotted on the steep slopes of Mount Salak, located about 40 kilometers south of the capital, Jakarta. The Casa-212 transport plane was carrying 18 people, including 12 military personnel and six civilians. Among the civilians are three foreigners -- one each from India, Britain and Singapore. The plane was on a mission to test new camera equipment made by a Singaporean-based company (Credent Technology).
US - VIETNAM: A senior U.S. Navy admiral says Vietnam is considering an offer to participate in joint naval exercises with the United States.
At a news conference today, Vice Admiral Douglas
Crowder said he discussed plans to expand naval activity between the
U.S. and Vietnam during talks with the head of the Vietnamese Navy on
Thursday. The admiral was speaking aboard a U.S. Navy hospital ship off
the Vietnamese coast.
Crowder said he would like to begin working next year with Vietnamese
officers on annual exercises that his forces conduct with other
Southeast Asian countries. Crowder commands U.S. naval forces in the
western Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
THAILAND - THAKSIN: A Thai anti-corruption body has filed two new lawsuits against ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, just a few days before its mandate expires on Monday. The Assets Examination Committee filed the charges with the Thai Supreme Court Friday. Members of the committee were appointed by the generals who ousted Mr. Thaksin in a bloodless coup in September 2006. One lawsuit relates to a 127-million dollar loan from Thailand's Export-Import Bank to the government of Burma. The soft loan, which was halted after the 2006 coup, would have financed a contract with (Shin Satellite --) a company owned by Mr. Thaksin's family.
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