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Iran Braces for Another Day of Massive Protests


IRAN: Iran's opposition prepared to defy authorities and take to the streets Thursday for another day of massive protests against the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In a posting on his Web site, defeated opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi called on his supporters to wear black and gather for street marches to mourn those killed in post-election violence.
Iran has confirmed that at least seven protesters have been killed in clashes with a pro-government militia since Monday.

PAKISTAN: Pakistani intelligence officials say a suspected U.S. missile strike has killed nine people in northwest Pakistan.
Authorities say at least four missiles hit near two villages west of Wana, a major town near the Afghan border in Pakistan's South Waziristan region.
Suspected U.S. drones (unmanned aircraft) are reported to have launched at least 30 missile attacks in Pakistan since the middle of last year, despite public objections by the Pakistani government.

CHINA-WORLD BANK: The World Bank has raised its forecast for economic growth in China this year to 7.2 percent. The World Banks says the increase is due largely to China's stimulus-driven investment boom. It cautioned Thursday that it is too soon to say a sustained recovery is on the way. China's economy began to feel the impact of the global financial crisis late last year, and in response Beijing launched a $586 billion stimulus program to pump money into the economy through public works projects. The World Bank says Beijing's stimulus plan will account for the bulk of growth this year. The previous economic growth forecast for 2009 was 6.5 percent.

NOKOR NUCLEAR: A Japanese newspaper says North Korea is preparing to launch a long-range ballistic missile towards (the Pacific U.S. state of) Hawaiiin early July. The Daily Yomiuri says Japan's Defense Ministry believes a Taepodong-2 missile or an upgraded version was delivered to the northwest Tongchang-ri launch site from a plant near Pyongyang on May 30. But the ministry does not believe the missile would be able to reach the Hawaiian Islands.

CAMBODIA-LAOS-DOLPHIN: An international conservation group says pollution in southeast Asia's Mekong River has pushed freshwater dolphins in Cambodia and Laos to the brink of extinction. In newly released report, the World Wildlife Fund says only 64 to 76 dolphins remain in the Mekong River. The report says toxic levels of pesticides, mercury and other pollutants were found in more than 50 calves who have died since 2003. WWF veterinary surgeon Verne Dove says pollutants found widely in the environment along the river and several countries through which the Mekong flows could be contributing to the problem.
The WWF says the dolphins, which inhabit a 190 kilometer stretch of the river in Cambodia and Laos, urgently need a program to help counter the effects of pollution on their immune systems.

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