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Pakistani Opposition Hails Return of Deposed Judges



PAKISTAN: Pakistan's opposition is celebrating victory after the government agreed to restore deposed Supreme Court judges in an effort to defuse a growing political crisis.
Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif welcomed what he called a "historic" achievement Monday, and promptly called off a mass protest march on the capital, Islamabad.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced the decision in a televised address at dawn.
He said the judges, including the popular deposed chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, would be reinstated Saturday.
Mr. Gilani also ordered the release of all lawyers and activists arrested in a recent crackdown on anti-government protests.

SUDAN: Sudan's President says he has ordered all international aid groups to stop distributing aid inside Sudan within a year.
President Omar al-Bashir told a rally of soldiers Monday the Sudanese government will distribute relief to its citizens.
Mr. Bashir said if organizations want to continue to bring aid, they will have to leave it at the airport.
Sudan recently expelled humanitarian organizations after the International Criminal Court said it would seek the arrest of Mr. Bashir for alleged war crimes.
Sudanese officials accuse the aid groups of collaborating with the ICC -- a charge the groups have denied.

VENEZUELA-PORTS: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has deployed the navy to seize the country's seaports.
He also threatened state governors with a prison sentence if they challenge a new law bringing transportation hubs under federal control.
On his weekly Sunday television show, the president announced the takeover of the ports of Maracaibo, in Zulia State, and Puerto Cabello in Carabobo State.
President Chavez said the takeover of the seaports was necessary after allegations emerged about drug smuggling in ships docked in Venezuelan ports.

US-ECONOMY: U.S. Federal Reserve (central bank) Chairman Ben Bernanke says the nation's recession will end this year if the government has the political will to get banks to lend more money.
Bernanke gave a rare interview to CBS television's "60 Minutes," broadcast Sunday. Federal reserve chiefs traditionally have avoided speaking to the media.
Bernanke said he can see the recession ending by the end of the year and a recovery starting in 2010.


KOREA TENSIONS: South Korea says the North has partially reopened its border crossing, allowing hundreds of South Korean workers stranded at a joint industrial complex in North Korea to return home.
Unification Ministry officials in Seoul say Pyongyang has agreed to let around 450 workers to head home Monday. That will leave about 270 South Koreans in Kaesong, a North Korean city where southern businessmen operate factories.
South Korean officials say more than 650 workers seeking to go to Kaesong Monday were denied permission to cross the border.


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