THAILAND - THAKSIN: Thailand's Supreme Court has sentenced former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in absentia to two years in prison, after finding him guilty of violating a conflict of interest law while in office. Today's ruling was the first against the former leader since he was ousted in a 2006 military coup after being accused of corruption and abuse of power. Mr. Thaksin was not present for today's ruling. He and his wife (Pojaman) fled to Britain two months ago, saying they would not get a fair trial. Mr. Thaksin told Reuters (news agency) he was not surprised by the ruling.
WORLD ECONOMY: Japan's Foreign Ministry says Prime Minister Taro Aso and U.S. President George Bush have agreed to work together to make the upcoming world economic summit a success. A ministry statement today saysthe two spoke by telephone, and agreed the summit should be held as soon as possible after the November fourth U.S. presidential election. The ministry said Mr. Aso welcomes the president's efforts to stabilize the world economy, and that Japan will take a leadership role as current head of the Group of Eight world powers.
INDIA - PAKISTAN - KASHMIR: India and Pakistan have opened a trade route across their disputed border in divided Kashmir for the first time in six decades. Crowds cheered as a convoy of 13 trucks filled with fruit, honey and other goods crossed the Line of Control into the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir today from the Indian side. Fourteen trucks with Pakistani goods will cross into the Indian-controlled side later. But regular trade will be restricted to just four trucks from each side once a week. The crossing was the first since 1947 when the South Asian rivals fought the first of two wars over the Himalayan region.
CHINA - US GUANTANAMO: A U.S. federal appeals court has blocked the immediate release of 17 Chinese Muslims from the Guantanamo Bay military prison. The court ruled two to one Monday that the men must stay behind bars until at least November 24th, when the court hears the Bush administration's appeal of a judge's order to release them. The two judges (A. Raymond Randolph and Karen Henderson) who ruled in favor of the government gave no comment. But dissenting judge Judith Rogers said the court does have the authority to order release of the detainees.
CHINA - SECURITY: China has released a list of eight terror suspects from its Muslim northwest who allegedly plotted to attack the Olympic Games.
A police statement released today identified all
eight as members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which is
fighting to create an independent homeland in the Muslim-majority
Chinese region of Xinjiang.
The United Nations considers the group a terrorist organization with
links to al-Qaida. The statement called for international cooperation
in tracking down the eight suspects.
INDONESIA - COURT: A top Indonesian court has rejected an appeal by three men who have
been sentenced to death for the 2002 Bali bombings, ruling that they
can executed by firing squad.
The constitutional court in Jakarta ruled today that
Indonesia's constitution does not prohibit death by firing squad. The
presiding judge (Mohammad Mahfud) rejected the defense
lawyer's claim that death by firing squad is inhumane, saying there is
no method of executing without pain.
The ruling dismissed the men's request for a traditional Islamic-style
beheading, which their lawyer argued was more humane method of
UN - BURMA: U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon says the human rights situation in Burma remains a source of frustration for the international community.
Mr. Ban made his remarks Monday in a human rights report to the U.N. General Assembly.
A spokeswoman for the secretary-general (Michele Montas) quoted
Mr. Ban as saying Burma's government has not undertaken any meaningful
steps in response to the concerns recently expressed by the world body.
The United Nations has outlined a series of measures Burma should take in preparation for the 2010 elections.
JAPAN - AFGHAN: Japan's lower house of parliament has voted to extend a controversial naval mission backing U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan.
The government-controlled lower house voted today
to continue, for a year, providing fuel and other logistical support to
U.S.-led forces. The mission was due to expire in January.
The bill now goes to the opposition-controlled upper house, which is
expected to reject it. But the more powerful lower house can than
override the upper house.
The opposition forced a temporary halt to the mission late last year by
refusing to vote on it.
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