NOKOR - NUCLEAR: South Korean officials called Pyongyang's nuclear test on Monday a "serious threat to peace and stability" in the region. A spokesman for President Lee Myung-bak
said South Korea will work with the United States, Japan, China and
Russia to seek a response at the United Nations Security Council at a
special meeting later Monday. North Korea says it successfully conducted an underground nuclear test
that was more powerful than the country's first test two-and-a-half
years ago. South Korea's Yonhap news agency also reports that North Korea
test-fired three short-range missiles in the hours just after the
PAKISTAN: Pakistan's military says its troops have recaptured a large swath of territory in and around the northwestern Swat Valley, destroying terrorist bases and killing hundreds of militants. Military officials Sunday said dozens of Pakistani soldiers are dug in on the recently captured strategic ridge (Banai Baba Ziarat), which served as a major training facility for the Taliban. A regional commander (Major-General Sajjad Ghani) said the capture of the ridge is a major setback for the militants. He said his troops' mission is to "kill and eliminate" terrorists and their bases without giving any concessions.
INDIA - AUSTRIA SHOOTING: Officials in northern India have imposed a curfew and called in government troops, in an attempt to quell rioting over the death of a Sikh preacher in Austria. Police say the northern city of Jalandhar is quiet but tense Monday after a Sikh sect comprised mainly of Dalits, or "untouchables", protested against the attack in Vienna that killed one of its leaders. The preacher, identified by police as Sant Rama Nand, was visiting a temple in Austria Sunday when he was shot dead during an attack by rival Sikhs. Fifteen other people, including another visiting preacher, were wounded when rival Sikhs attacked worshipers with knives and at least one gun.
SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels acknowledged for the first time Sunday that their supreme leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, is dead and pledged to pursue independence through political means. The rebels' chief of international relations, Selvarasa Pathmanathan, said in a statement that Prabhakaran "attained martyrdom" and declared a week of mourning to mark his death. In a telephone interview with the BBC, Pathmanathan said the Tigers will now use non-violent methods to fight for the rights of Tamils.
NEPAL: Nepal's Communist Party leader Madhav Kumar Nepal was sworn in asprime minister Monday, three weeks after the resignation of his Maoist predecessor over a dispute with the president. Mr. Nepal was unopposed during the vote Saturday in Kathmandu. He replaces Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, known as Prachanda, who resigned this month after the president blocked his attempt to fire Nepal's army chief.
CHINA - US CONGRESS: The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, met Monday with Chinese officials in Shanghai. She also toured the city, which is China's financial hub. Pelosi is in China with a delegation of U.S. lawmakers to engage in talks on energy and climate change between the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. On Tuesday, the U.S. lawmakers will join Chinese leaders ata clean energy forum in Beijing. Senator John Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will also take part.
SOKOR - ROH: North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong Il has sent his condolences to the family of former South Korean President RohMoo-hyun, who jumped to his death Saturday, an apparent suicide. The official North Korean news agency, KCNA, quoted a one-sentence message from Mr. Kim expressing "profound condolences" to the wife and family of Mr. Roh. The two leaders held a summit in October 2007, only the second time in the history of the two Koreas that their presidents had met face-to-face. On Sunday, thousands of South Koreans traveled to the village of Bongha, 450 kilometers from Seoul, to pay their respects to Mr. Roh. The South Korean government and the family saidthere will be a public funeral on Friday.
US MEMORIAL DAY: Americans on Monday are observing Memorial Day, a national holiday to honor those who have died in military service to the country. President Barack Obama will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Military Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Arlington Cemetery holds the remains of more than 300,000 Americans, members of the military services who fought in conflicts dating back to the U.S. Civil War, nearly 150 years ago. Ceremonies and special events will be held across the United States. On Sunday, thousands of motocycle riders from around the country rallied in Washington for their annual tribute to military veterans.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: The international community responded swiftly with outrage and condemnation on Monday to reports of North Korea's nuclear test and firing of three short-range missiles. U.S. President Barack Obama said the reports are a "matter of grave concern" and that North Korea is "directly and recklessly challenging" the international community.
SOMALIA: A radical Islamic group in Somalia has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the capital Mogadishu that killed at least seven people. A leader of al-Shabab said Monday his group organized the attack, and that the bomber was a Somali. Earlier media reports had suggested the attacker in the Sunday bombing was a foreigner.
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