US-MIDEAST: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on her way to the Middle
East for talks with leaders on rebuilding the war-ravaged Gaza Strip.
Clinton left Washington late Saturday, and is scheduled to arrive in Egypt late Sunday.
She will attend a donors' conference Monday in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt,
where she and other members of the international community will discuss
relieving the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Clinton is expected to
announce a significant pledge to reconstruct Gaza.
She said the aid money will only be spent if it is clear U.S. goals
will not be undermined or subverted. She says it will not benefit the
radical Islamic movement Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007.
On Tuesday, Clinton will travel to Israel and the West Bank to meet
with leaders and discuss a two-state solution and Israeli security.
IRAQ: Iraqi leaders are welcoming U.S. plans to pull American combat troops out of Iraq by the end of August 2010.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says his country's security forces have proven they are ready to take over.
He also said Saturday that the U.S. has agreed on the need to provide Iraq with more weapons and other military equipment.
U.S. President Barack Obama briefed Mr. Maliki on the withdrawal plans
Friday, before making an announcement at Camp Lejeune, a U.S. marine (military) base in (the southeastern state of) North Carolina.Hundreds of Bangladeshi border guards have started returning to their
headquarters following a revolt last week that left at least 76 people
BANGLADESH UNREST: More than 70 others remain missing. Firefighters continue to search for bodies after mass graves were found in recent days.
Also Sunday, a government minister (Syed Ashraful Islam) announced
plans to form a special tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the
killings. Bangladeshi security forces have arrested hundreds of border
guards who allegedly took part in the mutiny.
Most of the victims of (last) Wednesday's attack were army officers who were shot and bayoneted. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations ended its two-day annual
summit Sunday with calls for increased cooperation and urgent reform to
deal with the global financial crisis.
ASEAN: The 10-member grouping, meeting in the Thai beach resort of Hua Hin,
issued a joint statement calling for "bold and urgent reform" of the
international financial system.
The delegates also signed a declaration on setting up a European
Union-type community of 570 million people with a combined gross
domestic product of $2 trillion by 2015.
KOREAS-TENSIONS: South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak called on North Korea Sunday to drop its nuclear program and return to talks with Seoul.
In a speech marking the 90th anniversary of Korea's civil uprising
against Japanese colonial rule, Mr. Lee said what protects North Korea
are not nuclear weapons and missiles, but cooperation with the South
and the international community.
U.S. and South Korean officials say Pyongyang is preparing to
test-launch its longest-range missile, which is designed to carry a
nuclear warhead as far as Alaska, but has never successfully flown.