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McCain Set to Accept Republican Presidential Nomination


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IRAQ: The top U.S. commander in Iraq says American combat troops could be withdrawn from Baghdad by next July if security gains persist.In an interview with the "Financial Times" newspaper published today, General David Petraeus says such a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 coalition forces. 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 Afghan border.

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