GAZA-ISRAEL: Residents of Gaza enjoyed a second night of relative calm Monday,after a three-week offensive by Israel against Hamas militants was halted by cease-fires declared separately by each side.
Israel is gradually withdrawing from the Palestinian territory. Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel's offensive in Gaza has achieved all
its goals, and he wants his country's troops out of Gaza as soon as
possible. Hamas said it was giving Israeli forces one week to leave.
Israeli officials did not say how many troops they were pulling out.
But they warned that if Hamas continues to launch attacks into southern
Israel, the military will respond.
Hours after the Israeli cease-fire declaration early Sunday, militants
in Gaza fired at least 15 rockets into Israel, and Israeli warplanes
fired at Hamas rocket launchers.
US INAUGURATION EVENTS: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama pays tribute today (Monday) to the late African-American civil rights leader Martin Luther King by focussing on community service.
Martin Luther King Day is an annual federal holiday, traditionally
marked by taking part in volunteer activities for the public good.
On the day before he is inaugurated as the country's first
African-American president, Mr. Obama will be joined by civic leaders
nationwide running service projects, ranging from cleaning up parks to
assembling care packages for troops.
CAMBODIA-KHMER ROUGE: Cambodia's UN-backed genocide tribunal has set a start date for the
long-delayed trial of the first of five former Khmer Rogue leaders
accused of atrocities in the 1970s.
The court said today (Monday) that former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, will appear at an initial hearing on February 17th.
Duch was the commander of the Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 torture center.
THAILAND-AUSTRALIA: A Thai court has sentenced an Australian writer to three years in
prison after convicting him of insulting the royal family in a novel.
Bangkok's Criminal Court initially sentenced Harry Nicolaides to six years today (Monday), but reduced the term because he pleaded guilty.
Nicolaides had been teaching English in northern Thailand. He was
arrested at the end of August as he tried to board a plane at Bangkok
airport. He said he was not aware that an arrest warrant had been
issued in March.Former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian has told a pre-trial hearing that he is innocent of graft charges.
TAIWAN -CORRUPTION: The jailed ex-president arrived at court in handcuffs today (Monday), under tight security.
Mr. Chen was indicted last November on charges of graft and money
laundering. He and his wife are accused of embezzling more than three
million dollars in public funds and accepting bribes worth nine million
dollars in a land purchase deal.
Mr. Chen was elected in 2000 on a pledge to fight corruption. He says
the charges against him are politically motivated, and has accused his
successor, Ma Ying-jeou, of initiating the probe.