OBAMA - EUROPE: U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama defended his current international
travels today, saying answers to America's problems could lie
in working with its allies overseas.Obama made the comments after a
two-hour meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in which they
discussed strengthening the relationship between the two countries, particularly
in areas of common interest, such as global warming and international
terrorism.Obama is in Britain on the final stop of an international tour
of Europe and the Middle East aimed at boosting his his foreign policy
credentials ahead of the November election.
AFGHANISTAN VIOLENCE: The NATO alliance in Afghanistan says its troops killed four civilians and
wounded three others today when the soldiers opened fire on a
car that failed to stop at a checkpoint in the southern province of Helmand.
Officials say warning shots were fired away from the car when it refused
to stop, but the troops were then forced to fire at the vehicle, fearing an
insurgent attack. NATO said in a statement today it deeply regrets what
it called "this unnecessary incident caused by the reckless actions of the
vehicle driver."Civilian casualties have been a sore point between
Afghanistan's government and international forces that operate there.
PAKISTAN - US: Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilanivowed to fight extremism and
terrorism as he embarked today on an official visit to
Washington to meet with U. S. President George Bush. Mr. Gilani's visit
comes amid rising fears in Pakistan that U.S. forces might take action against
militant bases on Pakistani soil that are used to launch attacks in Afghanistan.
Militant sanctuaries along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan are
expected to figure prominently in the meeting between the two leaders.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Pakistan Friday to
step up its efforts to combat Taliban militants. This is Mr. Gilani's
first official trip to Washington since taking office in March.
KARADZIC: Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has made a last-minute appeal
against his extradition to The Hague tribunal to face war crimes
charges.His lawyer says he filed the
motion by mail late Friday.Serbian authorities arrested Karadzic Monday
in Belgrade, where he had lived openly, practicing alternative medicine under
the name Dragan Dabic.Officials say they tracked him down by following
people thought to be helping him avoid capture.The U.N. war crimes
tribunal has charged Karadzic with genocide and crimes against humanity for his
efforts to ethnically-cleanse Bosnia-Herzegovina of Muslims and Croats during
the Balkan conflict of the 1990s.
GAZA VIOLENCE: Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip have arrested more than 100 men
following an explosion that killed five people near a beach outside Gaza
City Friday.Officials say the casualties included at least three Hamas
militants and a young girl. At least 19 other people were wounded.The
armed wing of Hamas accused members of
the rival Palestinian faction, Fatah, of carrying out the attack, which occurred
near a car being used by Hamas members. Witnesses say most of those
arrested today were Fatah members.Fatah issued a
statement denying any involvement with the explosion, blaming the incident on
RICE - NZ - CHINA: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned China not to use legitimate
security concerns as an excuse to crack down on dissidents.At a joint
news conference with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark in Auckland today, Rice said China should showcase not just the Olympics, but an
attitude of openness and tolerance.Neither Rice nor the prime minister
expressed any concerns about the safety of U.S. or New Zealand
athletes.Global intelligence analysts said Friday that a Uighur separatist group - the Turkestan Islamic Party - has
claimed credit for several attacks, including the May fifth Shanghai bus bombing
that killed two people.
THAILAND POL: A retired diplomat has been appointed Thailand's new foreign minister after his
predecessor was forced to resign over a land dispute with Cambodia.A
royal decree issued today said King Bhumibol Adulyadej had
endorsed Tej Bunnag as the country's top diplomat.His predecessor,
Noppadon Pattama, was forced to resign on July 10th after backing Cambodia's bid
to have an 11th century temple listed as a World Heritage site.Teg's
first task will be to seek a solution to the dispute over the 900-hear-old Hindu
temple during his Monday talks with his Cambodian counterpart, Hor Namhong.
CAMBODIA - THAILAND: A border dispute with Thailand has heightened nationalist sentiments in
Cambodia, bolstering Prime Minister Hun Sen's popularity ahead of Sunday's
elections. Cambodians have begun boycotting Thai goods as tensions rise
over a military standoff in a disputed border area. Analysts expect Hun
Sen's Cambodian People's Party to win an easy victory, extending his 23-year
period in office by another five years. Eleven parties are competing for 123
seats in parliament.Domestic and international observers will be
monitoring Sunday's elections.
PHILIPPINES PLANE: More than 300 passengers who were on a Qantas flight when it experienced an
explosive decompression over the Pacific have arrived safely in Melbourne,
Australia.The Australian jetliner was forced to make an emergency
landing in the Philippine capital of Manila Friday,after its fuselage
mysteriously ruptured.Investigators in Manila have so far discounted an
explosion. The U.S.-made plane had a large hole on its underside near the right
wing measuring three meters in diameter.Experts say it is too soon to
determine what caused the rupture, but a faulty panel could have ripped away
from the fuselage.
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