THAILAND POLITICS: Four Thai protest leaders have surrendered themselves to authorities as
anti-government demonstrators ended a near three-week siege of
government offices in the capital, Bangkok.
Protest leaders called for a peaceful end of demonstrations Tuesday
just as military troops were closing in on as many as 2,000 die-hard
protesters who were still gathered outside Government House in Bangkok.
Supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra had been
encamped in an area outside the prime minister's office for weeks in a
bid to get him to step down and call snap elections.
NOKOR NUCLEAR: North Korea says it will drop out of six-nation disarmament talks and
strengthen its nuclear deterrent in protest of a U.N. statement
condemning its rocket launch earlier this month.
A Foreign Ministry statement carried Tuesday by the North's official
Korean Central News Agency says Pyongyang will restart its nuclear
The statement was in reaction to the United Nations Security Council
condemning North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket that flew over
Japan earlier this month.
CHINA PROTEST: At least 300 textile factory workers in southern China have taken to the streets to protest unpaid wages. China's official Xinhua news agency reports that workers from Jindi Industrial Group Company blocked a main road in Chongqing municipality Tuesday to protest not being paid for three months. Xinhua says the protesters blocked a main road and disrupted traffic in front of company offices in hopes of attracting government attention. Quoting a government official, Xinhua says the company cannot afford to pay its employees because demand for China's textiles had fallen sharply.
BURMA - JEWELRY: A national U.S. trade association has sent its members updated guidance
concerning a U.S. measure designed to cut off revenue to Burma's
military junta. The new guidance from Jewelers of America refers to
legislation that went into effect last September banning the
U.S. import of rubies and a special kind of jade found
primarily in Burma. The new guidance, released in late March, advises
retailers who are not
direct importers to get assurances that their suppliers are getting
rubies and jadeite from outside of Burma.
SOMALIA PIRATES: Naval and maritime officials in east Africa say yet another cargo ship
has been seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia.
Andrew Mwangura, from the Kenya-based East African Seafarers Assistance
Program, told reporters the Greek freighter MV Irene EM was taken in
the Gulf of Aden early Tuesday. He says the ship's crew of 22 Filipinos
is reported to be safe.
Officials from international naval fleets operating in the region said
the ship sent out a distress signal when it was attacked.
The hijacking came under the cover of darkness, a rare tactic for the
IRAN - US JOURNALIST: An Iranian judiciary official says American-Iranian journalist Roxana
Saberi went on trial in Iran this week for allegedly spying for the
Judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi said Tuesday that her trial began
Monday, and that a verdict could be expected in about two weeks.
The United States has rejected as "baseless" the espionage charges by
Iran against Saberi. A U.S. State Department spokesman
flatly denied the charges and called for the journalist's early
US - IRAN - NUCLEAR: A published report says the Obama administration is considering
dropping demands that Iran stop enriching uranium as a condition for
entering into negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program.The New York Times says Washington and its
European allies are working on proposals that would mark a major shift
in strategy from that of former President George W. Bush. The previous
administration had demanded Tehran end all of its enrichment activities
before entering into formal talks.
US - CUBA: Fidel Castro is downplaying U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to lift restrictions on travel and money transfers by Cuban-Americans to family members in Cuba. The former Cuban leader reacted to Mr. Obama's decision in a statement published Monday night on an official Cuban Web site, hours after the White House announced the changes. Mr. Castro says Mr. Obama failed to address the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo against his island nation, which he described as "the most cruel of measures.
AFGHANISTAN EXECUTION: Afghan officials say Taliban gunmen executed a young couple in southern Afghanistan for trying to elope.
Officials say Taliban militants shot a young man and a young woman with
rifles Monday in the southwestern province of Nimroz. A local governor
said the public executions followed a decision by provincial religious
leaders that they should be put to death.
The two fled their homes but were discovered by Taliban militants, who deemed their plan to marry an immoral act.
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