NOKOR NUCLEAR: Six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program ended today, with the North agreeing to let outside experts verify that
its nuclear facilities are being dismantled.A joint communique issued
after the three days of talks also said North Korea agreed to disable its main
Yongbyon nuclear facility by October and its dialogue partners would complete
promised deliveries of energy aid.The parties also agreed to adopt a
verification system that would include experts from the six nations visiting
facilities, reviewing documents and interviewing technical personnel.The
disarmament talks resumed Thursday after a nine month pause.
ZIMBABWE: Western officials are criticizing China and Russia for vetoes of a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (Zalmay Khalilzad) said by votingagainst the measure, China and Russia have stood with President Robert Mugabe "against the people of Zimbabwe." British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the decision will appear "incomprehensible" to them.The U.S.-sponsored draft resolution called for financial and travel restrictions against Mr. Mugabe and 13 others for violence leading up to last month's runoff presidential vote.
ICC - SUDAN: Egyptian state media say Sudan has asked the Arab League to hold an emergency
meeting, after reports that the International Criminal Court may seek the arrest
of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.The MENA news agency report today did not say what support or action Sudan wants from the
group.On Friday, U.N. officials said the ICC may decide to arrest Mr.
Bashir in connection with war crimes in the Darfur region.The court said
chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will submit evidence Monday alleging crimes
committed in the region during the last five years.President Bashir is
among several top Sudanese officials that could be named in the case.
THAILAND - LAOS REFUGEES: The United Nations refugee agency says close to 400 Hmong people were repatriated to Laos Friday from a camp in northern Thailand.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says it has no information to suggest the refugees were forced to repatriate.The agency says there are currently about six thousand Lao Hmong still living in Ban Huay Nam Khao camp, with an additional 200 to 300 believed to be living outside the camp, some in hiding.The UNHCR says it does not have access to the camp, where Lao Hmong started arriving in mid-2005. The agency has repeatedly urged Thai authorities to allow access to the camp so appropriate solutions can be facilitated.
CAMBODIA - SHOOTING: Cambodian police say a journalist for an opposition newspaper and his son have been killed in a drive-by shooting.Phnom Penh's police chief said today that 47-year-old Khim Sambo and his son died in a hospital Friday evening soon after they were shot by unknown gunmen.Police said they have no motive for the shooting and are investigating.Colleagues said Khim Sambo had written stories criticizing senior government officials, and accusing Prime Minister Hun Sen's government of corruption. Mr. Hun Sen is up for re-election on July 27th.
THAILAND - CORRUPTION: Prosecutors in Thailand have filed new corruption charges against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.The charges filed Friday accuse Mr. Thaksin of changing a payment system of state-owned enterprises in 2003. Prosecutors allege Mr. Thaksin's family-owed mobile phone company benefited from the changes, while other state-owned enterprises suffered financial losses. The billionaire businessman was deposed in a bloodless military coup in 2006. After nearly 18 months of self-imposed exile, he returned to Thailand last February to face several charges of corruption.
LEBANON - POLITICS: Lebanon has formed a national unity government tasked with solving a political
crisis that threatened to spiral into civil war. The new government
established by a presidential decree Friday gives the Hezbollah-led opposition
veto power and 11 seats in the 30-member Cabinet.The majority coalition
supported by the West holds 16 seats. President Michel Suleiman assigned the
remaining three seats.Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said the government
has two main tasks -- restoring confidence in the Lebanese political system, and
holding a transparent parliamentary election.U.N. Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon welcomed the formation of the new government.
ISRAEL - SHOOTING: Israeli police say two Israeli security officers are seriously wounded after
being shot by a gunman in Jerusalem, an incident they are calling a "terrorist"
attack.Officials say the gunman opened fire on a group of Israelis
before midnight today near the Lion's Gate in Jerusalem's Old
City, wounding a policeman and a border guard. The officers on the scene
returned fire as the suspect fled toward a nearby Muslim cemetery. Both
victims have been hospitalized.Security forces have launched a massive
search for the attacker.
IRAN NUCLEAR: Iran has dismissed speculation that it risks being attacked over its disputed nuclear program.Iran's officials IRNA news agency (Islamic Republic News Agency) today quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying both "the Zionist regime" in Israel and the United States do not have the capability to enter what he called "another crisis."A government spokesman said any aggression against Iran would be madness and stupidity.The comments come just a few days after Iranian missile tests heightened tensions and concerns about Iran's nuclear activities.
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