IRAN POL: Iranian state television reports that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei, has told defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein
Mousavi to pursue his complaints over the disputed election through
The report follows two days of sometimes violent street protests in
Tehran after officials announced President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's
landslide victory in Friday's election. President Ahmadinejad has said the election was free and fair.
Mr. Mousavi's supporters have called for a large demonstration in
Tehran Monday to protest against what they say is Mr. Ahmadinejad's
fraudulent election victory.
ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS: The European Union and the United States say the Israeli prime
minister's conditional endorsement of a Palestinian state is an
important step toward peace in the Middle East.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time
entertained the goal of creating a Palestinian state, with strict
conditions, in a policy speech delivered Sunday. Mr. Netanyahu says he would accept a Palestinian state as long as it
has no military force and recognizes Israel as the nation state of the
Jewish people. A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Nabil Abu Rdainah) denounced Mr. Netanyahu's speech as "sabotaging" peace efforts.
AFGHANISTAN: International troops in Afghanistan have a new commander to lead the fight against an increasingly violent Taliban insurgency. U.S. General Stanley McChrystal formally assumed command of U.S. and
NATO soldiers in Afghanistan after a small ceremony Monday in Kabul. He
reiterated his pledge to battle militants with a focus on minimizing
deaths of civilians, calling the people of Afghanistan the "center" of
the mission. But McChrystal warned militants Monday that while international
soldiers will "operate with care," they "will not be timid" toward
their enemies. The new commander had his first meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on Sunday.
NOKOR NUCLEAR: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is traveling to the United States,
where he will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday to discuss
the North Korean nuclear threat, as well as bilateral matters.
Before leaving Seoul Monday, Mr. Lee vowed (in a radio address) to work with President Obama on issues of mutual security and economic growth.
On Sunday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Washington is committed
to enforcing enhanced U.N. sanctions against North Korea, despite
defiant statements from Pyongyang.
SOKOR-BURMA: Two human rights groups released a report Monday accusing South Korea
of failing to hold its corporations to account for abuses linked to
natural gas development in Burma. The report, by EarthRights International and the Shwe Gas Movement,
details how Seoul rejected a complaint the two groups and nine
co-complainants, including South Korea's two largest labor
organizations, filed in October of last year.
The complaint listed abuses connected to the Shwe Gas Project, a
large-scale natural gas development project in Burma led by South
Korea's Daewoo International. It detailed violations of six guidelines
from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development,
including human rights abuses.