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US Democratic Convention Opens: Obama's Wife Stars


US POLITICS: The wife of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told delegates on the opening day of the party's national convention her husband will be "an extraordinary president."Michelle Obama's speech Monday night in Denver, Colorado was aimed at reassuring skeptical American voters about her and her husband's background and patriotic feelings. She spoke of their shared working-class upbringing and values, and their public service careers. Michelle Obama said they both believe that all Americans can - in her words - "contribute to the life of this nation.

NOKOR NUCLEAR: North Korea says it has stopped disabling its nuclear facilities and will consider restoring the Yongbyon reactor.The North's Foreign Ministry said today it had taken the action because the United States has violated a six-party disarmament deal by not removing Pyongyang from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.Washington says it will not remove North Korea from the list until Pyongyang agrees to a verification plan on its nuclear activities.The North's official Korean Central News Agency quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying work on disabling nuclear plants was stopped August 14th.

THAILAND - PROTESTS: Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej called today for people to end protests aimed at toppling him from power.In an address televised after thousands of protesters invaded the compound surrounding Thailand's Government House, Mr. Samak said people would be subject to police action unless they withdrew from the protests.Mr. Samak said police would use all means to bring the situation under control.Police estimated that the crowd surrounding government offices was around 30 thousand, but protest organizers said they are expecting as many as 300 thousand to attend the rally today.

MALAYSIA - POLITICS: Malaysian voters are casting their votes today in a by-election that is expected to return opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to parliament after a decade-long absence.The former deputy prime minister told reporters Monday he is confident of winning today's special election for a parliamentary seat in the northern state of Penang. Anwar said the only way he would not win was if there were massive vote rigging by the government. Malaysia's Election Commission denies any interference. Thousands of police have been deployed in the district of Permatang Pauh, where the vote is taking place.

BURMA: Dissident groups say Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is refusing food deliveries at her Rangoon home, where she is under house arrest, sparking rumors that she has begun a hunger strike.Dissident groups based in Thailand say the Nobel Peace Prize laureate last accepted a food delivery on August 15th, but turned away supplies on August 22nd.Her political party, the National League for Democracy, says it has no way of determining Aung San Suu Kyi's condition or intentions, because it is not allowed to keep in contact with her.

AFGHANISTAN: The United Nations says it has found "convincing evidence" that 90 Afghan civilians, most of them children, were killed in U.S.-led coalition air strikes last week.The U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said in a statement today that the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan based its finding on the testimony of eyewitnesses and others. Afghan President Hamid Karzai had condemned Friday's air strikes, saying they killed about 90 civilians in the western province of Herat.The U.S. Department of Defense says the attack was a legitimate strike on a Taliban target, killing 25 militants and 5 civilians.

ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged Israel to halt expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, saying it is not helpful to the peace process.Rice spoke today at a news conference in Jerusalem, where she is meeting with Israeli and Palestinian participants in peace talks. She said the peace process needs steps that enhance, rather than undermine, confidence between the two sides.Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said settlement activity has been reduced and should not influence the peace negotiations.

US - RUSSIA - GEORGIA: The U.S. Embassy in Georgia says American warships will deliver humanitarian aid to a Black Sea port city where Russian troops have been mounting patrols.An embassy spokesman says the aid will be delivered Wednesday to Poti.On Monday, the Bush administration said it is reviewing the U.S. relationship with Russia, and accused Moscow it of breaking a cease-fire agreement in Georgia. A White House spokesman said Russian troops are still in undisputed Georgian territory, including Poti.

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