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Bush in South Korea to Start Three-Nation Asian Trip


BUSH - ASIA: U.S. President George Bush has arrived in Seoul, South Korea on the first leg of an Asian trip that will also take him to Thailand, and China - for the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics. Mr. Bush and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak are scheduled to meet Wednesday for talks on trade and the efforts to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Activists say they are planning a protest against U.S. beef imports to coincide with Mr. Bush's arrival. In Thailand, aides say Mr. Bush will deliver an address that will be an assessment of U.S. policy in Asia during his time in office.

CHINA - ATTACK: Chinese authorities are assuring athletes and spectators arriving for the Beijing Olympic Games that they will be safe from terrorists. Organizing committee spokesman Sun Weide told reporters today that China could guarantee a safe and peaceful Olympics. A deadly attack in China's far western Xinjiang region on Monday killed 16 police officers and wounded 16 others. Authorities ramped up security across the mostly-Muslim region, but especially in the town of Kashgar, the scene of the assault. Police went on full alert at government office buildings, schools and hospitals.

CHINA - QUAKE: The U.S. Geological Survey says a strong earthquake struck western China today, near where a devastating quake in May killed about 70 thousand people. The U.S. agency said the six-point-zero magnitude quake occurred at a depth of 10 kilometers, 50 kilometers northwest of the town of Guangyuan in Sichuan province. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, but a shallow quake of this type is capable of significant property destruction.

CHINA - OLYMPICS: Some Beijing residents upset by their eviction ahead of the Olympic Games have held a rare protest near China's Tiananmen Square. About two dozen residents of Beijing's historic Qianmen neighborhood accused developers Monday of using the Olympics as an excuse to evict them from their homes. The residents said their houses were demolished to make way for a commercial strip that will include international companies like Nike, Starbucks and Rolex. Police dispersed the group after the protest jammed traffic on Beijing's already congested streets.

US - NOKOR - FOOD: North Korea's state media says a second shipment of US food aid has arrived, days after the UN food agency warned that millions in the communist country need urgent help. The official Korean Central New Agency said today, that a ship carrying the aid arrived in the western port of Nampo on Monday. The agency gave no further details. The World Food Program's country director for North Korea, Jean-Pierre de Margerie, said in Beijing last week that rising grain prices, flooding in 2007 and a poor harvest havecreated a crisis in the North.

BANGLADESH - ELECTIONS: The party of former Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has won the majority of seats in the country's recent local elections. Officials from the election commission say candidates from Hasina's Awami League won all four posts for city mayor as well as councilor positions in eight out of nine municipalities. Among the victors was an Awami League mayoral candidate who contested in the election while in police custody. Monday's polls were the first in Bangladesh since last year when the military-backed interim government imposed emergency rule and canceled elections after activists staged a series of violent street protests to demand electoral reforms.

HIMALAYAS - AVALANCHE: Pakistani military officials say thick clouds are preventing rescue helicopters from attempting to airlift an Italian climber stranded on K-2 mountain after an avalanche and exposure killed 11 fellow climbers. A group of rescuers reached Marco Confortola on foot Monday and helped him descend to a base camp, which is still some six-thousand meters high. Rescuers say he is receiving basic medical treatment while awaiting evacuation by helicopter. Pakistani officials say pilots are ready and waiting for an improvement in the weather.

US - LIBYA: U.S. President George Bush has signed legislation that paves the way for Libya to settle scores of lawsuits related to terrorist attacks blamed on Tripoli. The bill allows Libya to pay claims related to the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, the 1986 bombing of a West Berlin disco, and other attacks. The legislation also gives Libya immunity from a U.S. law allowing victims to seize the assets of countries involved in terrorism. U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg says Libya "will finally be held accountable for these devastating events," despite the immunity provision.

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