GEORGIA: A top United States general says Russia's withdrawal from Georgia is "far too little and far too slow." U.S. General John Craddock, NATO's supreme allied commander, told reporters in Tiblisi today (Friday) that the Russian troops are leaving Georgia at "a snail's pace." Media reports today (Friday) say there has been little movement from Russian positions in various Georgian cities and towns.
The top commander of Russia's land forces, General Vladimir Boldyrev, said Thursday his forces will need about 10 days to complete their withdrawal from Georgia.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has promised to withdraw troops into South Ossetia today.
PAKISTAN POL: Pakistan will hold a presidential election onSeptember 6th to replace Pervez Musharraf, who resigned earlier this week before facing impeachment proceedings. The country's Election Commission made the announcement today (Friday). Mr. Musharraf's successor will be elected by the national parliament and provincial assemblies. Lawmakers from the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) want their leader Asif Ali Zardari to be the next president. Zardari is the widower of the slain former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
SPAIN-PLANE CRASH: Grieving relatives are trying to help identify the remains of the 153
people killed when a Spanish plane veered off a runway and burst into
flames, while investigators try to determine the cause. The Spanair plane was carrying 172 people when it burst into flames
shortly after takeoff Wednesday at Madrid airport. Officials say most
of the passengers were Spanish. The dead included citizens from 10
other countries. Nineteen people, including some children, survived the crash.
THAILAND-THAKSIN: Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej says deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife can keep their diplomatic passports despite having fled to Britain to avoid corruption charges. Mr. Samak, whose ruling party is filled with Thaksin allies, also told reporters today that he has no plans to ask Britain to extradite the former prime minister and his wife Pojaman. About a thousand people Thursday protested outside the Foreign Ministry in Bangkok demanding the passports be revoked and the pair returned to Thailand to face legal action.
THAILAND-VIOLENCE: Thai police say a car bomb explosion in a southern town has killed a journalist and wounded at least 20 other people. Thai officials say the explosion Thursday tore through a crowd including police and journalists that were drawn to the scene by a smaller explosion. No one was injured in the first bomb, which was hidden in a motorcycle. The attack occurred in the town of Sungai Golok, near the Malaysian border.
BURMA: The World Food Program says it has flown its final aid flight to Burma's cyclone-ravaged Irrawaddy Delta. A statement from the group says the flight took off today (Friday) from
Bangkok's Don Mueang airport. The airport has served as a staging point
for sending supplies to Burma since the country's military-rulers first
allowed foreign aid flights in late May, weeks after the storm hit. Cyclone Nargis hit Burma on May second and third, leaving at least
134-thousand people dead or missing as it tore across the country's
The WFP says that since its flights began on May 24th, it has flown nearly four thousand tons of cargo to Burma, including shelter material, mosquito nets and water purification equipments.
OLYMPICS WRAP: American beach volleyballers Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers have made history by winning the men's gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. Dalhausser and Rogers beat the Brazilian team of Fabio and Marcio 23-21, 17-21, 15-4. Combined with Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh's win in the women's competition, the victory made the Beijing games the first time a country has won both crowns at a single Olympics.
Medal counts at VOA broadcast time: USA - 100(30 Gold); China - 83(46 Gold); Russia - 54; Great Britain - 41; Australia - 41; Germany - 35
RICHEST ROYALS: Forbes magazine says Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej is not only the
world's longest-reigning head of state, but also the richest royal in
the world. The magazine published a report Thursday saying 80-year-old King
Bhumibol tops the list of richest royals with an estimated net worth of
35-billion dollars. He took the top spot from the Sultan of Brunei after the Thai monarch
increased transparency of some of his holdings. Number two on this
year's list is Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan with an
estimated worth of 23-billion dollars. The wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes, is U.S.
financier Warren Buffett with a net worth of 62-billion-dollars.
IRAQ: U.S. and Iraqi negotiators are reported to have agreed on the complete withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by 2011 -- if conditions are right. The officials are quoted today (Friday) as saying the draft agreement also calls for U.S. forces to pull back from Iraqi cities by June 2009. Iraq's chief negotiator, Mohammed al-Haj Hamoud, says although negotiators on both sides agreed to the timetable, the pace of the U.S. troop pullout can be changed depending on conditions in Iraq.
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