IRAN ELECTION: Iranians lined up to vote Friday in a presidential election that has
emerged as a tight race between the conservative incumbent Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad and the leading reformist candidate, former Prime Minister
Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Election commission chief Kamran Daneshjou said turnout was
"unprecedented," adding that polls would remain open for two more hours. A record turnout was predicted among Iran's 46 million eligible voters.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cast his ballot early
Friday and urged voters to do the same.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani authorities say suicide bombings took place within minutes of
each other in two different cities Friday, killing at least five
people, including a prominent Islamic cleric who spoke out against the
Police say the cleric, Sarfraz Naeemi, was killed when a suicide bomber
detonated his explosives at an Islamic school in the
eastern city of Lahore, soon after Friday prayers. At least one other
person was killed, and six people wounded.
The second attack occurred around the same time, when a bomber rammed a
vehicle filled with explosives into a mosque in the northwestern town
AFGHANISTAN: The commander of U.S. forces in South Asia and the Middle East says
last week was the most violent in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led
During a speech in
Washington Thursday, General David Petraeus said violence will likely
increase as international forces target militant sanctuaries and safe
A NATO report says insurgent attacks between January and May were up by nearly 60-percent from the same period a year earlier.
General Petraeus said the deployment of additional U.S. forces in
Afghanistan should improve the security situation.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to meet Friday to vote on a
draft resolution to expand sanctions against North Korea in response to
its recent underground nuclear test.
The 15-member body was to meet at 11:00 am to
discuss the draft agreed by its five veto-wielding permanent members --
Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Japan and
The draft condemns North Korea's tests as a violation of previous U.N.
resolutions and imposes additional sanctions, including cargo
inspections, a total arms embargo, and stronger financial sanctions.
BURMA - SUU KYI: The trial of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been adjourned until June 26th.
The court ordered the two-week postponement during a brief hearing
Friday at the notorious Insein prison near the main city of Rangoon.
Aung San Suu Kyi is on trial for violating the terms of her house
arrest after allowing an American man to stay at her lakeside Rangoon
house after he swam there uninvited last month. She faces five years in
prison if convicted.
JAPAN - POL: Japan's Internal Affairs Minister Kunio Hatoyama, a close ally of Prime Minister Taro Aso, resigned on Friday.
Hatoyama stepped down over a long-simmering row related to Japan's controversial privatization of its huge postal service.
The resignation comes as Mr. Aso prepares for a general election in October.
Mr. Aso's Liberal Democratic Party faces a tough battle in the
election, with the main opposition Democratic Party now leading in
An opposition victory would end half a century of almost unbroken rule by the conservative LDP.
SWINE FLU: The Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis says it has produced a first batch of a vaccine to fight the H1N1 swine flu virus, weeks ahead of expectations. Novartis says clinical trials will begin in July. More than 30 governments have asked Novartis to supply them with a swine flu vaccine. The announcement comes a day after the World Health Organization declared the swine flu virus a pandemic as infections climbed to nearly 30,000 cases in 74 countries. This was the first declaration of a global flu pandemic in more than 40 years.
US - ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is set to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House on Friday. According to a White House statement, the two leaders will discuss the "difficult road ahead" for Zimbabwe, including how the U.S. can support the "forces of reform" as they works towards rule of law, better human rights, and fair elections. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Mr. Tsvangirai that the United States would like to help Zimbabwe rebuild its economy without bolstering corruption or oppression.
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