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Sri Lanka's Tamil Rebels Say Guns Silenced, Battle Reaches 'Bitter End'


SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels say they have decided to "silence their guns" after government troops surrounded them in a small enclave in the country's north. In a statement published Sunday on pro-rebel Web site TamilNet, the rebels' international relations chief says their battle has reached what he called "its bitter end". Selvarasa Pathamanathan says the rebels decided to stop fighting to remove what he said was the government's "last weak excuse" for killing Tamil people. He says rebel pleas for international intervention had fallen on "deaf ears". Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to the country Sunday from a visit to Jordan, where he said the military has defeated the rebels after a quarter-century of conflict.
MIDEAST-PEACE: Israel's new prime minister is in Washingtonfor talks with U.S. officials on Israeli-Arab peace prospects and Iran's nuclear program. Israli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington early Sunday. He has said future Israeli-Palestinian peace talks should focus on economic and security matters rather than Palestinian statehood, a concept he has not endorsed.
KUWAIT ELECTIONS: Officials results from Kuwait's general election show four women have won seats in parliament for the first time in the Gulf state's history. The results from Saturday's election also were a setback for Kuwaiti Islamists, whose share of the 50-member assembly fell from almost half to just 16. Kuwait has led the Gulf region in granting its citizens political rights. Women earned the right to vote and run for parliament in 2005 but had failed to win any seats in two previous elections. The four winning female candidates include former health minister Massouma al-Mubarak, a minority Shi'ite who was appointed Kuwait's first female minister in 2005. The others include liberal activists Aseel al-Awadhi and Rola Dashti and university teacher Salwa al-Jassar.
CROATIA ELECTIONS: Croatians are voting Sunday in nationwide municipal elections viewed as a referendum of the ruling party's popularity. Eligible voters will for the first time have the opportunity to directly elect their local representatives. The ruling conservative coalition led by Prime Minister Ivo Sanader's Croatian Democratic Union has been challenged by the global economic crisis and growing social discontent. Croatian teachers went on strike for a day this past week to protest a six-percent cut in wages. They returned to work after the government agreed to restore the previous salary when economic growth returns.
BURMA-SUU KYI : Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she is in good health and ready to defend herself against new charges filed by the military government. National League for Democracy spokesman Nyan Win says the Nobel Peace Laureate made the comments when she met Saturday with her lawyer (Kyi Win) at Rangoon's notorious Insein Prison. Aung San Suu Kyi and two female assistants are charged with violating the conditions of her house arrest after an American intruder, John Yettaw, sneaked into her lakeside house. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison.


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