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OAS Issues Ultimatum to Honduran Coup Leaders


HONDURAS: The Organization of American States is threatening to suspend Honduras from the regional grouping if it does not restore ousted President Manuel Zelaya to power. OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza told reporters early Wednesday that the leaders of the military coup had three days to reinstate Mr. Zelaya. Mr. Insulza issued the ultimatum after several hours of talks among OAS members at its Washington headquarters. Mr. Zelaya was forcibly expelled from Honduras Sunday, the day he had planned to hold a referendum on reforming the country's constitution.

COMOROS PLANE CRASH: French officials say one of the black box flight recorders from a Yemeni airliner that crashed off the coast of the Comoros has been located. The French news agency quotes (French) Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet as saying a signal from the black box was located by an aerial patrol 40 kilometers from Grande Comore island. The Yemenia Air plane had 153 people on board when it crashed in the Indian Ocean early Tuesday. Most of the passengers were from the Comoros. Sixty-six French nationals were also onboard.

NOKOR - SHIP: U.S. officials say a North Korean cargo ship the U.S. Navy has been tracking for more than a week has changed its course and may be returning to North Korea. Officials say the Kang Nam 1, which was originally believed to be carrying a suspicious cargo to Burma, turned around on Sunday. Intelligence officials say the Kang Nam 1 was being tailed because it has a history of transporting North Korean weapons for sale. Officials who spoke with reporters on condition of anonymity Tuesday say they do not know what prompted the ship to turn around.

NOKOR - FOOD AID: The United Nations World Food Program says North Koreans, especially children, are facing a critical food situation because international donations to its efforts in North Korea have dried up. Torben Due, the World Food Program's representative in North Korea, also says the government has restricted the agency's operations. Due says that last month, the agency was only allowed to operate in 57 counties in the country, rather than the previous 131 counties. He adds that the WFP has also been forced to cut back its staff from 59 to 16 in its Pyongyang office.

IRAQ: U.S. President Barack Obama says Tuesday's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraqi cities is an "important milestone," but he warns of difficult days ahead. Mr. Obama says the Iraqi people are rightfully treating the pullout as a cause for celebration, as a sovereign and united Iraq continues to take control of its destiny. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called the day a "great victory." The government held military parades and fireworks to mark the occasion which was named a "Day of National Sovereignty".

US - SENATE: Comic and political pundit Al Franken has been declared the winner of a U.S. Senate seat that will give the Democrats a 60-seat majority in the upper house of Congress. A Minnesota Supreme Court judge Tuesday ruled in Franken's favor after an eight-month battle over the seat with Republican challenger Norm Coleman. Coleman swiftly conceded the contest to Franken, congratulated him, and said he will pose no more legal challenges. Franken's presence in the Senate means that, with the help of two independents who usually side with them, the Democrats have enough votes in the Senate to override Republican attempts to block or delay votes.

AU - SUMMIT: Heads of state from across Africa are gathering in Libya for an African Union summit expected to be dominated by domestic crises. Wednesday's meeting in Sirte is officially set to focus on the continent's economy and agriculture, but the agenda will likely be topped by Africa's trouble spots, including violence in Somalia and Sudan and political uncertainly in Zimbabwe. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was expected to address the summit, but Iranian officials say the trip has been canceled.

RUSSIA CASINOS: Russians have placed their bets and rolled the dice for the last time as the Kremlin shuts down all casinos. Under a law first proposed in 2006, gambling will be confined to four yet-to-be built regions including remote Siberia, an area near the Chinese and North Korean borders, Kaliningrad, and near the Azov Sea in southern Russia. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who called for shutting down the casinos when he was president, says the move is part of the government's efforts to clean up the country.

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