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Gates: US Will Not Accept Nuclear-Armed North Korea


NOKOR - NUCLEAR: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the United States will not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea. Meeting with Asian defense ministers in Singapore Saturday, Gates said painful sanctions against North Korea may be the only way to peacefully end its nuclear program. He said Washington will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to destroy targets in Asia or the United States. Gates said the U.S. and its allies are still open to dialogue with North Korea, but will not bend to provocation. A top Chinese military official at the conference called for calm.

OBAMA - MUSLIMS: White House officials say U.S. President Barack Obama will emphasize his "personal commitment" to improving U.S. relations with Muslims around the world in a long-awaited speech in Egypt on Thursday. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs briefed reporters Friday on the president's upcoming trip to the Middle East and Europe. He said Mr. Obama will deliver a speech Thursday, June 4, at Cairo University, which will be co-hosted by Al-Azhar University, one of the world's leading Islamic institutions of higher education.

IRAN - BLAST: Iran says it has executed three men convicted of involvement in Thursday's deadly suicide bombing of a mosque in southeastern Iran. Iranian news agencies said the three were hanged in public early Saturday in Zahedan, near the mosque where the bombing killed 25 people two days earlier. A provincial judicial official told the state news agency IRNA that the three (Haji Nouti Zehi, Gholam Rasoul Shahoo Zehi, and Zabihollah Naroui) were convicted of supplying the explosives used in the blast.

AFGHANISTAN: Officials in Afghanistan say two separate roadside bombings have killed four civilians and wounded a provincial governor. Police said one blast killed four civilians in southern Kandahar province. In northern Afghanistan Saturday, local officials said another roadside bomb lightly wounded the governor of Kunduz province, Mohammed Omar. Officials say the blast hit the governor's vehicle as he traveled between Kunduz and the neighboring province of Takhar. His injuries were not reported to be serious.

OBAMA - SUPREME COURT: U.S. President Barack Obama is urging the Senate to confirm his nominee for the Supreme Court in time for her to participate in choosing this year's cases (when the court session begins in October). In his weekly address Saturday, Mr. Obama said he is "certain" Sonia Sotomayor is the "right choice" for the country's highest court. He cited her extensive experience on the federal bench and her extraordinary journey to success after growing up the underprivileged child of Puerto Rican immigrants.

GUANTANAMO - UIGHURS: The United States Justice Department has filed papers with the Supreme Court asking it not to allow a group of Guantanamo detainees into the country. The papers, filed Friday, say the government is still trying to find a country that will accept the ethnic Uighurs. The 17 Chinese Muslims have been going through the legal system attempting to leave Guantanamo. The Bush administration also opposed allowing them into the U.S. They were cleared for release from Guantanamo prison camp as early as 2003.

TAIWAN - LATAM: Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou arrived in Guatemala Friday from Belize, continuing his 10-day Central American visit in a region where support for Taiwan has waned in recent years. Mr. Ma is scheduled to hold talks with Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom and visit the Mayan pyramids before departing for El Salvador where he will take part in the presidential inauguration of Mauricio Funes on Monday. Prior to embarking on his tour with a delegation of some 100 people, Mr. Ma reassured a group of Latin American officials visiting Taipei that the island's closer ties with mainland China will not diminish Taiwan's long-term friendship with its allies.

AUTOS: A U.S. bankruptcy judge says he expects to have a decision Monday on a plan to sell a large stake in U.S. auto giant Chrysler to Italian carmaker Fiat. Chrysler has said it is the only way to avoid totally liquidating the company, which would lead to massive job losses. But the plan would still close nearly 800 dealerships and lose money for a number of Chrysler's creditors and others. If the plan is approved, they are expected to appeal. Meanwhile, General Motors is also negotiating for its life. It faces a June 1 deadline to restructure or declare bankruptcy.

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