BUSH - ASIA: U.S. President George Bush has arrived in Thailand, where he will
criticize China's human rights record on the eve of his attending the
opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics.
The White House released excerpts of a speech to reporters today aboard Air Force One during a flight to Bangkok, the second
leg of the president's three-nation Asian tour. Mr. Bush will say the
United States "stands in firm opposition" to
China's detention of political, human rights, and religious activists.
The president will also call on Beijing to trust its people with
greater freedom, saying it is the only way for China to reach its full
potential. CHINA - OLYMPICS:
The flame of the Beijing Olympics has arrived in the capital city for
the final leg of its international relay ahead of Friday's opening
Thousands of enthusiastic residents cheered and waved Chinese flags as today's relay
began with a lighting ceremony at the Forbidden City. China's first man
in space, Yang Liwei, was the first to carry the torch, followed by
other Chinese celebrities, including National Basketball Association
star Yao Ming.
Despite the tight security in Beijing, foreign activists staged two
separate demonstrations to protest China's human rights record.
CAMBODIA - THAILAND: Cambodia and Thailand have withdrawn their military forces from an
armed standoff at a second disputed ancient temple along their border.
Today's redeployment of troops from around the Ta Moan
Thom temple is expected to help lower tensions in the region. The
latest standoff began last week, when Cambodia said its soldiers
were prevented from entering the 13th century temple by Thai soldiers
who had recently been deployed there. Thai military officials deny the
allegations, saying its troops have been deployed at that location for
MALAYSIA - ANWAR: Authorities will formally charge Malaysian opposition leader Anwar
Ibrahim with sodomy during a court appearance Thursday. Anwar received
a letter today ordering him to appear in court. He is
accused of having sexual relations with a former male aide.
Speaking to reporters after receiving the summons, Anwar accused Prime
Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of personally ordering the charges Anwar
faces a 20 year prison sentence if convicted.
The former deputy prime minister was forced out of the government in
1998 after he was accused of corruption and sodomy.
UN - BURMA AID: A United Nations official says that three months after Cyclone Nargis
devastated Burma's Irrawaddy delta, aid workers still face a challenge
in delivering enough relief supplies to survivors.
The U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Burma, Daniel Baker, said Tuesday
that the agriculture sector will need an additional 51 million dollars.
Eighty-five percent of seed stocks were lost in cyclone-affected areas.
Since the cyclone, more than 25-thousand tons of food has been delivered to affected areas, reaching 684-thousand people.
PAKISTAN - POLITICS: Pakistan's president has abruptly canceled plans to attend the opening
of the Olympic Games in China, as Pakistan debates its political
President Pervez Musharraf had planned to attend the opening ceremony
in Beijing and meet with Chinese leaders, but officials now say he will
remain in Pakistan. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry confirmed the cancellation today but did not give an
The announcement comes as Pakistan's ruling coalition met for a second
day (today) to discuss the possible impeachment of Mr. Musharraf.
US - IRAQ - BUDGET: U.S. congressional auditors say the Iraqi government has spent little
of its growing oil revenues on rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure.
The Government Accountability Office said in a report Tuesday that Iraq
could earn oil revenues of up to 79 billion dollars this year. It says
that could give Iraq a 2008 budget surplus of up to 50 billion dollars.
The U.S. report says Baghdad spent only a fraction (three-point-nine
billion dollars) of its earnings on security and upgrading its oil,
electricity and water facilities in the past three years.
It blames the limited Iraqi spending on a shortage of trained budgetary
staff, weak procurement systems and violence.
SOUTH AFRICA - STRIKE: South Africa's labor unions are preparing to hold a nationwide striketo
protest the rising cost of food, fuel and electricity.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions says more than two
million of its members will participate in today's action.
The walkout is expected to halt production in the nation's mines as
well as car manufacturers and other businesses.
The labor organization says the strike is in response to the danger of
layoffs in the mining sector and elsewhere, due to reductions in the
energy supplies by South Africa's national power company, Eskom.
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