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Zardari Sworn in As Pakistan President

PAKISTAN - POLITICS: Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, has been sworn in as Pakistan's new president.After his inauguration today, President Zardari told reporters he is accepting the position in the name of his late wife and -in his words- "in the name of all martyrs of democracy."Near the conclusion of the ceremony in the presidential palace, Mr. Zardari's children looked on as some in the audience shouted "Bhutto is alive!"President Zardari replaces Pervez Musharraf who stepped down under pressure a month ago.

BUSH - SECURITY: U.S. President George Bush will announce today that he has decided to withdraw eight-thousand U.S. troops from Iraq by next February.In a transcript of a speech he will deliver in Washington, Mr. Bush says that with the dramatic drop in violence in Iraq, he is able to follow through with his policy of "return on success."He says Iraqi forces have begun taking responsibility in combating insurgents and providing security. The president will also pledge support for Pakistan's struggle against Taliban and al Qaida forces operating along the border with Afghanistan.

CHINA - LANDSLIDE: Chinese state media say hundreds may be missing after a mudslide in northern China buried houses and swept away cars, killing at least 34 people.On Monday, heavy rains triggered the collapse of a reservoir of iron-ore waste at an illegal mine in China's Shanxi province. The torrent of mud and mining waste plowed into buildings injuring at least 35 others. China's official Xinhua news agency says the number of people trapped beneath the mud is unknown, but other state media are reporting that the number of missing could be in the hundreds.

THAILAND POL: Thailand's Constitutional Court ruled today that Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej violated the constitution by hosting a TV cooking show and must resign.The court said the cabinet must also step down but could stay on as a caretaker government for 30 days.However, the ruling does not ban Mr. Samak from politics, and his ruling People Power Party immediately said it would reelect him as prime minister.There has been no reaction yet from Mr. SamakThe ruling came as thousands of protesters surrounded Government House in the capital of Bangkok for the 15th day, vowing not to leave until the prime minister resigns.

TAIWAN POL: A Taiwan court has cleared former president Chen Shui-bian of slandering a retired admiral he accused of taking bribes in an arms deal.The ruling from the Taipei District Court today concerns a scandal that started three years ago, when Mr. Chen accused Admiral Lei Hsueh-ming and several associates of taking 20 million dollars in kickbacks in a ship purchase.The deal to purchase six frigates from France was worth at least two-point-seven billion dollars.The former admiral says he will appeal.Mr. Chen is also being investigated on allegations that he and his family wired more than 30 million dollars to Switzerland and other foreign countries last year.

NOKOR - NUCLEAR: North Korea is marking the 60th anniversary of its founding today amid international doubts about its commitment to denuclearization.The centerpiece of the celebration is to be a massive military parade through Pyongyang. Military experts will watch the parade closely to see if the North unveils any new weapons systems.The Stalinist country has backpedaled on its pledge to dismantle its nuclear programs.The United States says North Korea has taken steps toward restoring a disabled nuclear reactor at the Yongbyon complex.

SOKOR - BUDDHISTS: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has expressed regret over alleged religious discrimination against the nation's Buddhists.Mr. Lee said after a cabinet meeting today that it is deeply regrettable that some officials unintentionally offended Buddhists.The comment comes after tens of thousands of Buddhists rallied last month in South Korea's capital, Seoul, to protest alleged religious discrimination.Protesters expressed discontent over what they perceive as President Lee Myung-bak's favoritism toward Christianity.

SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka's military says its warplanes on Tuesday shot down a Tamil rebel aircraft that bombed a government base in the country's north.It is the first time Sri Lanka's government has reported downing a rebel plane since the rebels launched their first air strike in March 2007.Officials say the Tamil rebels attacked a military base in the northern city of Vavuniya early today using two aircraft and artillery, killing at least 21 people.The military says its fighter jets chased the rebel planes and shot down one of them over the rebel-held town of Mullaitivu.

RUSSIA - IRAN - NUCLEAR: The Russian state-run company building Iran's first nuclear power facility say preparations for the plant's start-up are in their final stage.The start-up date will be set after Russian and Iranian nuclear experts meet on September 29th.The one-thousand-megawatt plant is located in the southern city of Bushehr.Design work for Iran's second nuclear power plant is already underway.Iran says it needs the nuclear program to generate electricity. But critics, including the United States, fear Iran is secretly trying to produce nuclear weapons.

HURRICANE IKE: Hurricane Ike remains a Category One storm today as it continues on a path towards western Cuba.The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the storm has maximum winds of 130 kilometers an hour. The storm is expected to drop as much as 50 centimeters of rain over parts of Cuba, which could trigger life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. Cuba has reported four storm-related deaths. Forecasters say Ike is likely to grow stronger as it enters the waters of the Gulf of Mexico sometime tonight. Storm surge flooding up to 90 centimeters, and dangerous waves are possible in the Florida Keys.

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