IRAQ: Iraqi authorities say two suicide bombers have killed at least 28 people and wounded 57 others in the north of the country.Police say the attack took place today at an Iraqi security forces' recruitment facility in the city of Baquba in the province of Diyala.An American military spokeswoman in Baghdad says the attack targeted Iraqi police recruits. Iraqi officials say the victims were mainly army recruits.The incident comes ahead of an expected new crackdown in the restive Diyala province.
WORLD MARKETS: World financial markets are sharply lower today, due to a lack of investor confidence in U.S. government plans to shore up two huge mortgage lenders. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped nearly four percent, and Japan's Nikkei index fell two percent, led by losses at two of Japan's major banks. The banks hold billions of dollars in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt.Major European markets are also down sharply in morning trading, while the euro briefly rose to an all-time record high against the U.S. dollar (- just over one dollar, 60 cents).
SUDAN WAR CRIMES: The United Nations has relocated some non-essential personnel out of Sudan's Darfur region due to fears of a backlash over charges of atrocities brought against President Omar al-Bashir.The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday asked the court to issue an arrest warrant against Mr. Bashir on 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.Luis Moreno-Ocampo is accusing the Sudanese leader of orchestrating a campaign of murder, rape and forced deportation against the people of Darfur. Khartoum immediately rejected the charges, saying it does not recognize the ICC's jurisdiction.
SUDAN - REACT: China says it is concerned by the decision by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to seek an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of genocide .A spokesman for China's foreign ministry told reporters today that Beijing hopes the actions will benefit the eventual stability of Darfur.China is a major diplomatic and economic ally of Khartoum, with huge interests in Sudan's oil reserves. The spokesman says China will consult with other members of the U.N. Security Council about the possibility of blocking the ICC's ability to take legal action against Mr. Bashir.
KENYA - POLICE BRUTALITY: Human rights groups in Kenya have called for an investigation into the conduct of the country's police force.Human rights activists said Monday they plan to present evidence of police brutality, arbitrary arrests, torture and disappearances to international organizations, including the United Nations.The groups cited police response to a series of protests against the government's sale of a luxury hotel, when police prevented a march in Nairobi and arrested several activists. They also criticized last year's police crackdown on the criminal Mungiki gang, which they said involved widespread extra-judicial killings, and the operation against militia in Mount Elgon.
RICE - ASIA TRIP: The U.S. State Department says Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will attend next week's meeting of Southeast Asian leaders in Singapore.A State Department spokesperson today said Rice will attend Association of Southeast Asian Nations talks on July 23rd and 24thASEAN groups Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.Spokesman Sean McCormack said Rice will also visit Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Hawaii, before returning to Washington on July 28th.
CHINA - PRIEST: Two priests in China's "underground" Catholic church are reported missing a month after their detainment.The U.S.-based Cardinal Kung Foundation says Chinese authorities took the pair into custody on May 24th. The group says the arrests were made to prevent the priests from joining a pilgrimage near Shanghai encouraged by Pope Benedict.The foundation released a statement Monday saying their has been no official news about the priests location or status.Zhang Jianlin and Zhang Li are priests in the underground Catholic church near Zhangjiakou city in Hebei province.
CAMBODIA - THAILAND: A Cambodian official says 40 troops from Thailand entered Cambodia today in the latest flare-up of a territorial dispute over an 11th century Hindu temple.Hang Soth, the Cambodian official who manages the Preah Vihear temple, said the troops crossed the border hours after three Thais were arrested for illegally entering the country to reach the ruins.The temple sits along the Thai-Cambodian border, and each side has long claimed the site as its own. The International Court of Justice granted sovereignty of the temple to Cambodia in 1962.
BURMA - BLAST: Burmese officials say one man has been killed and one injured, by a bomb that exploded on a passenger bus headed to the main city of Rangoon.The official New Light of Myanmar newspaper said today that the explosion took place Monday morning near the town of Daik Oo, 135 kilometers northeast of Rangoon.Authorities blamed the blast on insurgents.The bus began its trip in Kyaukkyi, near the border of Karen state, where ethnic rebels have battled for decades against the military regime. The ruling military tightened security earlier this month after a bomb exploded outside the office of a pro-government group, the Union Solidarity and Development Association in north Rangoon.
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