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McCain, Palin to Formally Receive Republican Nomination


US POLITICS: Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his vice-presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, will be formally nominated tonight by delegates at the party's national convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.Palin is due to accept her nomination in a highly anticipated prime-time speech, intended to introduce the Alaska governor to the American people.McCain and Palin received rousing endorsements from prominent supporters, including President George Bush, during the convention on Tuesday.Speaking via satellite from the White House, Mr. Bush said McCain understands the need to keep the United States safe from potential terrorist attacks.

US POL SIDEBAR: PELIN - VETTING: Republican presidential candidate John McCain says he is "very proud" of his choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, even as disclosures about her and her family lead to questions on how well his campaign checked her background.On Monday, Palin disclosed that her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant and will marry the baby's father. On another front, Governor Palin has hired a lawyer in an ethics probe to determine whether she abused her authority by firing Alaska's public safety commissioner.

PAKISTAN - SHOOTING: Pakistani officials say the country's prime minister has survived an apparent assassination attempt.The prime minister's spokesman said unidentified gunmen fired shots at Yousuf Raza Gilani's motorcade as it drove into the capital, Islamabad. He says two bullets hit Mr. Gilani's car, cracking the windshield but not breaking the glass. He says Mr. Gilani was not hurt.No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.The shooting comes as Pakistan prepares to hold presidential elections on Saturday. Gilani is a member of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's party. Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari, is one of three candidates in the presidential election.

PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: The governor of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province says U.S.-led forces have killed 20 people in a raid that he called a "direct assault" on Pakistan's sovereignty.The governor, Owais Ghani, says coalition soldiers flew across the Afghan border and attacked a village in South Waziristan. He said some women and children were killed in today's strike.Witnesses say helicopter gunships flew the foreign soldiers in and out of the area. U.S. and NATO officials in Afghanistan had no immediate comment on the reports. Pakistan's Defense Minister says the country's foreign office is investigating the incident.

US - GEORGIA: U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney hasbegun a week-long tour of former Soviet republics in a show of support after Russia's invasion of Georgia last month.Cheney arrived in Azerbaijan today and will later travel to Georgia and Ukraine.The trip comes as the United States prepares to announce a one-billion dollar economic aid package to help Georgia rebuild after Russia's military action.Georgian troops went into South Ossetia on August seventh to try to retake control of Georgia's breakaway region. Russia sent tanks and thousands of troops into Georgia, saying it had to protect Russian citizens there.

GUSTAV: The White House says U.S. President George Bush will travel to Louisiana today to look at the damage caused by Hurricane Gustav, as residents of New Orleans prepare to return to the darkened city.Mayor Ray Nagin announced Tuesday that a mandatory evacuation order will be lifted at midnight tonight (Wednesday night/early Thursday morning local time). But Nagin warned that most of the city is still without power, many hospitals are operating with skeleton crews, and the water and sewage systems are running below capacity.Authorities ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city before Gustav came ashore carrying winds of 175 kilometers an hour.

PHILIPPINES - UNREST: The Philippine government is breaking off peace talks with Muslim rebels who have engaged in a four-decade old insurgency for a separate homeland in the nation's south.A spokesman for President Gloria Arroyo (Jesus Dureza) says the president has dissolved a special panel handling negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The peace talks broke down after two renegade MILF commanders launched attacks on several villages on Mindanao island last month, looting and burning homes and farms and killing dozens of people.

THAILAND - POLITICS: A threatened strike by municipal workers in Thailand in support of anti-government protesters largely failed to materialize today.Unions representing 200-thousand public sector employees said they would not show up for work, a move which could cripple Bangkok's power and transportation sectors.But all bus and rail services have been operating at normal levels, and no power outages were reported.A political standoff between Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and protesters who seized control of his official compound is now in its ninth day.

CAMBODIA - POLITICS: Cambodian election officials have confirmed the ruling party's landslide victory, after courts rejected opposition complaints.The National Election Committee on Tuesday officially declared the results of the July ballot valid. The results give another term to Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has held the job for the past 23 years.The prime minister's Cambodian People's Party won 90 of the 123 parliamentary seats. The main opposition Sam Rainsy Party won 26 seats, while the Human Rights Party won three.Both parties have said they may boycott the new parliament's first meeting on September 24th.

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