US POLITICS: Barack Obama has been nominated as the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential
candidate, making the Illinois senator the first African-American to be
nominated for president by a major U.S. political party.His former
rival, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, called for his nomination by
acclamation during the roll call vote of states Wednesday at the Democratic
National Convention in Denver, Colorado. Delegates in the hall cheered and
clapped and chanted the Obama campaign slogan "Yes We Can."The
convention Wednesday also formally nominated Obama's vice-presidential running
mate, Delaware Senator Joseph Biden.
US POL - MCCAIN: Sources close to likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain have told
U.S. news agencies the Arizona senator has settled on a vice-presidential
running mate.McCain will formally introduce his pick during a rally in Dayton, Ohio Friday morning -- the day
after Democratic rival Barack Obama formally accepts his party's presidential
nomination.Among those believed to be under consideration by McCain
include former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Minnesota Governor Tim
Pawlenty and Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. The possible choice
of Lieberman is drawing considerable fire from hardline conservatives over his
support for abortion rights.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani officials say a bomb targeting a police vehicle has killed at least 11
people in the volatile North West Frontier province.The officials say
militants set off the remote-controlled car bomb as the van reached a bridge
today near the town of Bannu.At least nine police
officers and two prisoners died in the attack.Meanwhile, hundreds of
lawyers dressed in black suits rallied in cities across Pakistan Thursday,
bringing traffic to a halt.Some shouted slogans against the government
and Pakistan People's Party leader Asif Ali Zardari.The lawyers blame
Zardari for preventing the reinstatement of 60 judges deposed by former
President Pervez Musharraf last November under emergency rule.
GEORGIA: Russian President Dmitri Medvedev is asking his Asian allies today for their support of Russia's role in the Georgia crisis. The Russian president is attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Tajikistan. It is not clear how successful Russia's bid for support has been so far. The SCO was established in 2001 to counter NATO influence in Central Asia. Member states are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Wednesday, the Group of Seven industrialized powers strongly condemned Russia's recognition of Georgia's rebel regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.
THAILAND - PROTESTS: Thousands of protesters in Thailand are still occupying the government's main
compound in Bangkok today, despite a court order to leave.
A civil court issued a ruling Wednesday at the government's request for
the protesters to leave the compound and the surrounding area
immediately.But it appears police have taken no action to enforce the
order. Thousands of activists have occupied the compound since Tuesday,
saying they will not end their protest until Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej
resigns.On Wednesday, a criminal court in Bangkok issued arrest warrants
for nine protest leaders. No arrests have been reported yet.
MALAYSIA - POLITICS: Malaysia's leading opposition figure, Anwar Ibrahim, has been sworn in as a member of parliament following his landslide victory in a by-election on Tuesday.Anwar took his oath of office in Kuala Lumpur today and officially took his seat as leader of Malaysia's opposition coalition.Anwar says his winning of the seat shows that Malaysians want change, and called his return to parliament after a decade-long absence a defining moment in Malaysia's history.In 1998, Anwar was fired as deputy prime minister, convicted of sodomy and corruption and jailed for six years. He denied the charges and said they were politically motivated.
CHINA - AUDIT: A Chinese government audit has discovered more than 100 cases of embezzlement, mismanagement or misuse of billions of dollars in government funds in 2007.A report by the National Audit Office found that 53 ministerial-level departments and their subsidiary agencies stole or squandered at least 660 million dollars through false budget accounts, under-reporting revenues and over-reporting expenditures.The audit agency says another six billion dollars were lost due to "managerial irregularities."The report says nearly four million dollars in disaster relief funds were embezzled and used to build government buildings or cover administrative expenses.
INDIA - FLOODS: The Indian government is making millions of dollars available for emergency relief efforts after the prime minister called flooding in the eastern part of the country a "national calamity."Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress party president Sonia Ghandi took an aerial tour today of flooded Bihar state.India has promised 225-million dollars and 120-thousand tons of food to help about two million people affected by the rising floodwaters.Officials say hundreds of people drowned when the rain-swollen Kosi river to breach its banks and shifted course, swallowing entire villages.
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