AFGHANISTAN CONFERENCE: The United States is backing calls by Afghanistan's government to reconcile with some members of the Taliban and al-Qaida. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says those who joined the ranks of the terrorist organizations "not out of conviction, but out of desperation" should be given a chance to abandon extremism. Clinton spoke at the start of a one-day conference at The Hague Tuesday, telling representatives of more than 80 countries and organizations that what happens in Afghanistan "matters to us all." Afghan President Hamid Karzai also addressed the conference and said his country is at a "critical junction."
PAKISTAN TALIBAN: The Taliban are claiming responsibility for a deadly attack on a police training center in Pakistan.
Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud says he was behind Monday's assault in Lahore that left eight recruits dead.
Mehsud said in telephone conversations with several news organizations
Tuesday that the Lahore action was in retaliation for the Pakistani
government's support of the U.S. drone attacks on Taliban militants in
tribal areas bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He also dismissed a $5 million bounty the U.S. put on his head,
promising that more attacks were on the way and that the United States
could be a target.
G-20 SUMMIT: U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for a strong message of unity at this week's London summit of the world's 20 biggest economies. He flies to London Tuesday for his first European trip since becoming president 10 weeks ago. Even as Mr. Obama prepares for the trip, he is being confronted with emerging differences about how to tackle the global financial crisis. French President Nicolas Sarkozy raised the possibility Monday that he might walk out on the summit, saying he will not accept a summit that produces nothing more than what he called "false success." France, as well as some other European nations, are demanding much tougher financial regulation, while the U.S. and Britain want nations to boost spending to help spark an economic recovery.
LIBYA - MIGRANTS: An international migration group says more than 300 people are missing and believed to have drowned off the coast of Libya after their boats capsized. The International Organization for Migration said Tuesday that Libyan officials reported as many as three boats sank in recent days with hundreds of migrants on board, possibly on their way to Italy. A spokesman says strong winds or overcrowding could have caused the vessels to capsize. Officials said the Libyan Coast Guard rescued about 350 people from one boat and towed the vessel back to Tripoli. The exact number of missing passengers is not known.
CAMBODIA - GENOCIDE TRIAL: The man accused of running a notorious Khmer Rouge prison during the
regime's brutal reign has taken responsibility for the atrocities
carried out at the facility.
Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, made the admission Tuesday during
the second day of his trial before the United Nations-backed genocide
tribunal in the capital of Phnom Penh. The 66-year-old Duch is charged
with crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and murder.
He was in charge of the Tuol Sleng prison, also known as S21, during
the Khmer Rouge's brutal four-year reign that began in 1975.
THAILAND POL: Thailand's government canceled its weekly cabinet meeting Tuesday, as protesters loyal to fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra surrounded its Bangkok offices for a sixth day. Deputy Prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the meeting was called off to avoid clashes with the demonstrators. On Saturday, Thaksin told tens of thousands of supporters by a live video link to launch peaceful nationwide protests and, in his words, "restore democracy." In a video link Friday, Thaksin accused royal advisors (General Prem Tinsulanonda and General Surayud Chulanont) of being behind a 2006 coup that toppled his government.
CHINA - TAIWAN: Chinese state media reported Tuesday that military officials from China
and Taiwan will meet for the first time since mainland communists won a
civil war in 1949.
The official "China Daily" newspaper cited an unnamed Chinese official
as saying the first face-to-face meeting will take place at a security
forum in Hawaii in August. The official gave no other details on who
would meet or what would be discussed.
The paper cited another military source in Beijing as saying that some
cross-Straits military exchanges could take place before August, but
declined to reveal more details.
US - ENCEPHALITIS: U.S. federal regulators have approved a new vaccine against Japanese encephalitis, a mosquito-borne virus that kills thousands of Asians each year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Monday the new British-made vaccine, IXIARO, offers protection for those who travel to areas where encephalitis outbreaks are known to have occurred. The virus is rare in the United States, but strikes as many as 50,000 people in Asia every year, killing at least 10,000 of its victims. Encephalitis is spread by mosquitoes. Symptoms in severe cases include high fever and neck stiffness, leading to possible brain damage or death. It is not spread from human to human.
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