THAILAND POLITICS: Thailand has revoked the passport of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra in connection with protests that have plunged the country
deeper into a political crisis.
A government spokesman (Panitan Wattanayagorn) says the
foreign ministry has revoked Mr. Thaksin's passport for inciting his
supporters to storm last week's Asian summit in the coastal resort of
Pattaya, forcing its cancellation.
Arrest warrants have been issued for Mr. Thaksin and 14 opposition
leaders on charges of illegal assembly and inciting criminal acts.
NOKOR NUCLEAR: North Korea held festive celebrations Wednesday to mark the birth of
the country's founding leader, just one day after announcing it was
kicking out United Nations nuclear inspectors and restarting its atomic
State media say Day of the Sun celebrations - a holiday marking the birth of Kim Il Sung - were held in the capital.
Tens of thousands lined up to visit the late leader's birthplace in
Pyongyang and state television aired documentaries and special programs
dedicated to his memory.
State media also called for unshakable loyalty toward the his son and
current North Korean leader - Kim Jong Il.
CHINA - ECONOMY: The Chinese government says foreign direct investment in China fell in March, the sixth straight monthly decline. China's Commerce Ministry announced Wednesday that while foreign investment was down 9.5 percent from a year ago, to 8.4 billion dollars in March, the decline was not as sharp as previous months. In January, foreign direct investment declined by 32.7 percent from the same month in 2008, while February was down 15.8 percent compared to the year earlier. China is a top destination for investment, but companies have canceled or postponed spending on factories and other assets due to weakening trade and global financial turmoil.
SOMALIA - PIRATES: A U.S. cargo ship is en route to Mombasa, Kenya, after surviving an attack by Somali pirates off the coast of Somalia. The ship, Liberty Sun,is now under U.S. naval escort following the attempted hijacking late Tuesday. The ship's U.S. owner said the vessel suffered damage from rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire, but no one was injured. Crew members say they barricaded themselves in the engine room during the attack. A U.S. military official says the naval destroyer USS Bainbridge was directed to assist the vessel and is now escorting it.
SRI LANKA: Reports from Sri Lanka say government forces resumed their offensive
against Tamil Tiger rebels Wednesday, as a two-day old cease-fire ends.
A pro-rebel Web site reports both sides exchanged heavy rocket and
gunfire near a no-fire zone where tens of thousands of civilians are
trapped. The government agreed on Monday to halt its offensive for two
days in order to allow civilians to leave the narrow battle zone in the
country's north. Reports say very few people crossed into government
The government rejected the Tamil rebels' call for a permanent
internationally arranged truce.
INDIA - ELECTIONS: Indian officials say seven people were killed Wednesday in eastern
India in violence brought on by Maoist rebels as the country prepares
for general elections.
The rebels detonated landmines targeting Indian police, leaving two
dead. Five rebels were killed in an ensuing gunbattle with police.
In a separate incident in Bihar state, Maoists attacked a security camp set up for the elections, wounding one soldier.
Both attacks took place in parts of the country scheduled to begin
voting Thursday, in the first phase of India's general election.
INDIA - MUMBAI TRIAL: An Indian court has delayed the trial of the only surviving gunman in last year's deadly Mumbai terrorist attack after dismissing the defendant's lawyer. The trial judge ruled Wednesday that the lawyer could not represent Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, because she is also representing a person injured in the attacks in a separate trial. Kasab, a Pakistani-national, is accused of being one of 10 gunmen involved in the attacks on luxury hotels, a train station and a Jewish community center, leaving around 170 people dead. The 21-year old Kasab faces various charges including murder and "waging war" against India.
US - MIDEAST DIPLOMACY: The U.S. special envoy to the Middle East says he is pressing for a
two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his meetings
with officials in the region.
George Mitchell made the comments during a visit to Algeria Tuesday. He
said he regards it in the interest of the United States that there be a
peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict.
Mitchell is scheduled to meet Wednesday with officials in Tunisia,
before flying to Israel for his first visit to the Jewish state since a
nationalist government took office there two weeks ago.
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