US POLITICS: U.S. Senator John McCain will formally accept the Republican presidential
nomination tonight as the party's national convention
comes to a close in St. Paul, Minnesota.McCain was officially nominated
Wednesday night, shortly after delegates were energized by a fiery speech from
his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Palin
defended her previous political experience as a small-town mayor, saying it was
sort of like being a community organizer "except you have actual
responsibilities."The statement was a jab at Democratic nominee Barack
Obama, who began his career as a community organizer in Chicago.
GEORGIA: U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has criticized Russia's recent military action
in Georgia, calling it an "illegitimate, unilateral attempt" to change the
country's borders by force.Speaking in Tbilisi, Cheney also stressed
that the U.S. is committed to bringing the former Soviet Republic into the NATO
alliance. His comments came after talks with Georgian President Mikheil
Saakashvili.Russian forces pushed into Georgia last month after
Georgia's military moved in to try to retake control of the breakaway region of
South Ossetia. Russia has since recognized South Ossetia and the breakaway
region of Abkhazia as independent states.
IRAQ: The top U.S. commander in Iraq says American combat troops could be withdrawn
from Baghdad by next July if security gains persist.In an interview with
the "Financial Times" newspaper published today, General David
Petraeus says such a pullout is possible, in his words, "conditions permitting."
The U.S. military now has about 16-thousand combat troops in
Baghdad.Petraeus says Iraq is a "dramatically changed country" from when
he took command in February 2007. He says daily attacks in Baghdad have recently
declined to less than five a day, in a city of seven million people.
THAILAND - POLITICS: Thailand's cabinet says it will hold a referendum to try to bring an end to the
nation's political crisis.The country's culture minister told reporters in Bangkok today the
referendum will ask the public to decide whether the government of embattled
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej should resign.Mr. Samak says that it
will take about one month to hold the vote. He says that during that time
protesters can continue to stay within his government compound if they
want.Mr. Samak says he will not, however, agree to step down or bow to
the protesters demands.
JAPAN - POLITICS: Three more veteran Japanese politicians have emerged in the race to replace
outgoing Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.Economic Minister Kaoru Yosano
announced his intention today to succeed Mr. Fukuda, who
abruptly announced his resignation on Monday. Nobutera Ishihara and
Yuriko Koike, both members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, say they will
also try and secure support from the 20 lawmakers required to mount a
candidacy.Ishihara is a son of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, and has
previously headed the ministries of transportation and reform.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: The South Korean government has confirmed that North Korea has taken steps to
rebuild its disabled Yongbyon nuclear complex.Foreign Minister Yu
Myung-hwan told reporters in Seoul today that officials in the
North informed U.S. personnel stationed at Yongbyon that North Korea would
reassemble the nuclear reactor. Yu says North Korean workers at the site have
begun moving equipment back to the plant.The top South Korean diplomat
calls North Korea's actions "regrettable." Pyongyang agreed to dissemble
the Yongbyon site as part of an agreement reached in six-nation talks aimed at
ending the regime's nuclear weapons program.
BURMA: Burma's detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been honored
with the "Freedom of Dundee" award for her struggle to restore
democracy in the country.
The award by the Dundee City Council in Scotland was accepted Wednesday
evening on Aung San Suu Kyi's behalf by Anna Roberts, who is the
director of the Burma Campaign UK.
Roberts said the award is important for raising awareness not only of
Aung San Suu Kyi's situation, but also the situation of other political
prisoners and all Burmese people in the military-ruled country.
PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Pakistan's foreign minister says international troops who carried out a
cross-border raid into Pakistan this week did not capture any
high-value targets or important terrorists.
Mahmood Qureshi told Pakistan's National Assembly today
that only women and children were targeted in the raid. He strongly
condemned the attack, which Pakistani officials have blamed on U.S.-led
On Wednesday, a senior U.S. official confirmed that U.S.-led forces
flew into Pakistan to carry out a raid in a tribal region near the
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