JAPAN POL: Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso says he will dissolve parliament next week and call snap general elections for August 30. After the decision was announced Monday, Japan's opposition coalition
said it submitted a no-confidence motion to parliament against the
prime minister and his Cabinet.
The motion by the Democratic Party of Japan and its three coalition parties came after Mr. Aso's ruling coalition failed to keep a majority in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly in an election Sunday. The prime minister announced his decision for new elections after talks Monday with officials from his ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The LDP won just 38 seats in the 127-member Tokyo assembly, while the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, led by Yukio Hatoyama, became the assembly's largest party, winning 54 seats.
NOKOR KIM HEALTH: A major South Korean broadcaster (Yonhap Television News) reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has pancreatic cancer, and that his illness is life-threatening. YTN says its report is based on information obtained by South Korean
and Chinese intelligence officials. However, Seoul's Unification
Ministry says it has "no information" about Monday's report.
Hah Tae-kyoung, the president of the privately-run Open Radio for North Korea, which relies on secret sources in North Korea to report on conditions there, says he is skeptical about the report. Doctors say pancreatic cancer is virtually always fatal, and is often diagnosed in its latest stages.
INDONESIA-PAPUA: Indonesian authorities say the body of a policeman was found Monday,
bringing to three, the death toll from two attacks near the mining
operations of American mining company Freeport.
Police say the policeman was killed in an attack Sunday on a caravan of security personnel, in which a Freeport security guard was killed. The discovery follows the shooting death of 29-year-old Australian mining expert Drew Grant in a sniper attack Saturday. The two attacks took place near the Grasberg gold and copper mine, one of the world's largest open-pit mines. The mine is a source of friction with local Papuans, who remain poor, while profits flow to foreign investors.
WAR CRIMES-TAYLOR: The war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor resumed Monday at The Hague in the Netherlands.
Attorneys for Mr. Taylor say he will argue before the United Nations-backed war crimes court (the Special Court for Sierra Leone) that he was trying to broker peace rather than cause violence during the 1991-2002 civil war in Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor's lawyer (Courtenay Griffiths) told the court Monday that the prosecution "is lacking in proof."
The former Liberian leader is expected to take the stand Tuesday. He is facing 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
NIGERIA-OIL ATTACK: Nigeria's most prominent militant group says it has carried out an attack on an oil tanker loading facility in Lagos state. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta issued a statement
Monday saying it had sabotaged the Atlas Cove Jetty in Lagos.
MEND said the facility and oil tankers moored there were on fire following the attack. There has been no independent confirmation of the attack from officials in Lagos. The attack would be the first carried out by the militants in the nation's commercial capital. Militants have carried out scores of attacks and kidnappings in the Niger Delta region since 2005, causing a sharp fall in Nigeria's oil production.