INDIA - ELECTION: Preliminary results from India's month-long election show the ruling Congress party is headed for a resounding victory. The main opposition bloc, led by Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, conceded defeat early Saturday afternoon. A senior BJP official (Arun Jaitley) told reporters his party would "accept this verdict of the people." Local media project the Congress-led alliance will take around 250 of 543 parliamentary seats, compared to around 160 seats for BJP. It is a bigger take than predicted for Congress and its allies, and enough to ensure they would again lead the new government.
SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka's military says its troops now control the entire coastline,
for the first time in more than 25 years of conflict with Tamil Tiger
Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara says soldiers closed in
on rebels from both the north and south. They linked up Saturday
morning, cutting off the rebels' last remaining access to the sea,
leaving them with only a small pocket of land further inland.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared on Friday his army would defeat
the rebels before Sunday, despite the expected arrival on Saturday of
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff to address the
humanitarian situation and try to negotiate a peaceful end to the
PAKISTAN: A bomb exploded Saturday in Peshawar, the main city of Pakistan's turbulent northwest region, killing at least 10 people and wounding many others. Officials said the bomb exploded in the city's busy Kashkal area. A passing school bus was also hit in the blast. Meanwhile, Pakistan is continuing its offensive against the Taliban in the nearby Swat valley. Nearly one million people have been forced to flee the fighting, as the military claimed major advances. The military reported Saturday 47 militants had been killed in the past 24 hours of fighting.
PAKISTAN - MISSILE: Pakistani officials say suspected U.S. drone-fired missiles have struck
a vehicle and a religious school building in an al-Qaida and Taliban
stronghold, killing at least ten militants, including two foreigners.
The officials say the missiles hit in the Khaisor area of North
Waziristan region, near the border with Afghanistan.
The victims have not yet been identified.
This is the latest of more than 40 suspected U.S. missile strikes on
militant targets in northwest Pakistan over the past year.
JAPAN POL: Japan's opposition Democratic Party picked its secretary-general, Yukio
Hatoyama, Saturday as its new leader to replace Ichiro Ozawa, who
stepped down amid a fundraising scandal.
Opinion polls have shown the Democrats ahead of Prime Minister Taro
Aso's long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party, but the scandal has
narrowed the lead.
Former opposition leader Ozawa told a news conference Monday that he
did not want a scandal involving one of his aides to hurt the party in
elections that must be held by October.
BURMA - SUU KYI: A prominent activist lawyer says Burma's military government disbarred
him after he applied to defend opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in
her upcoming trial.
Aung Thein said Saturday the order revoking his license was issued
Friday, a day after a prison court charged Aung San Suu Kyi with
breaking the conditions of her house arrest, which is due to expire on
The governments of Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore
expressed concern Friday about the new charges against Aung San Suu Kyi.
SWINE FLU: India has confirmed its first case of the H1N1 swine flu virus, in a man who flew from New York to Hyderabad.
The health ministry says the man was quarantined after an airport
screening showed he had a fever. The man tested positive for the virus,
and officials say the other passengers on his connecting flight from
Dubai to India are being contacted.
Turkey also confirmed its first case of the flu, in a man who likewise arrived from the United States.
Meanwhile, officials in New York City say three more schools will be
closed on Monday because of the virus, and may not reopen all week.
US - GUANTANAMO: Rights groups are criticizing President Barack Obama's decision to
reinstate military trials for some terror suspects held at Guantanamo
Amnesty International said Mr. Obama is breaking a major campaign
promise by reviving what it calls "deeply flawed" military commissions
that he previously described as a failure.
Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union,
called the tribunals a failed experiment and wants the suspects handed
over to civilian courts.
US SHUTTLE: Two U.S. astronauts venture into open space for a third spacewalk Saturday to continue repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope.
Astronauts will equip the observatory with a new key instrument, (the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph) and repair a camera.
On Friday, two other U.S. astronauts -- Mike Good and Mike Massimino --
completed a second spacewalk, replacing two massive battery modules.
They also worked on installing new gyroscopes. One of the new upgraded
units would not fit properly, and the spacewalkers installed a
refurbished spare unit instead. (News Updates)
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