WAR CRIMES - TAYLOR: Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has testified for the first time at his war crimes trial in The Hague in the Netherlands, saying the case against him is based on lies. Mr. Taylor told the court it was "incredible" and "very, very unfortunate" that the prosecution would rely on what he called misinformation and rumors about his role in neighboring Sierra Leone's bloody 10-year civil war, which ended in 2002. He mentioned his 14 children when he said he had fought all his life to do what he thought was right.
CAMBODIA - KHMER ROUGE: A senior interrogator at Cambodia's most notorious Khmer Rouge prison denied Tuesday that he tortured prisoners, despite earlier testimony from his superior that torture was common there. Seventy-six-year-old Mam Nai told the U.N.-backed genocide tribunal in Phnom Penh that he never used torture because he believed torture would lead to false confessions. Mam Nai was testifying as a witness, not a defendant, at the genocide trial of Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, who headed the Tuol Sleng prison in Cambodia from 1975 through 1979.
JAPAN POL: Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso easily survived a no-confidence vote
Tuesday in the lower house of parliament, which is controlled by his
Liberal Democratic Party.
The lower chamber voted down the motion by 333 to 139.
The upper house, dominated by the opposition Democratic Party of Japan,
passed a censure motion later in the day. The motion carried no legal
force and had no purpose other than to embarrass the prime minister.
The two motions came a day after Mr. Aso announced that he will
dissolve parliament next week and call general elections for August 30.
CHINA - AUSTRALIA: Chinese state media say authorities are investigating five domestic
steel firms in a widening probe of alleged leaks of state secrets to
Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto.
The official China Daily newspaper reported
Tuesday that in addition to several steel mill managers, officials from
the China Iron and Steel Association are also being investigated.
Rio Tinto and other major iron ore suppliers are accused of bribing
executives to get access to data such as stock levels, production
volumes and financial information.
IRAN - EXECUTIONS: Iran state media say Iran has hanged 13 members of the Sunni militant group Jundallah. A report Tuesday said the executions took place in a prison in the southeastern city of Zahedan. Reports said authorities changed their minds at the last minute and decided to carry out the executions in prison rather than in public. Iranian authorities say the militants are terrorists who are linked to crimes including murder. Jundallah is based in southeastern Iran near the border with Pakistan.
SOMALIA - KIDNAPPING: Witnesses say two French nationals have been kidnapped at gunpoint from a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. At least 10 gunmen stormed the Sahafi Hotel Tuesday, disarmed the guards, and grabbed the two foreigners from their rooms. The men were initially believed to be journalists, but sources now say the duo were advisors from the French military. Somalia has been mired in anarchy since warlords overthrew a dictator in 1991.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani officials say pro-government tribesman killed 23 militants during clashes in the volatile northwest. Officials say Tuesday's fighting took place in the Mohmand tribal region, which lies along the country's border with Afghanistan. Pakistan's government has encouraged tribesmen in the area to to form local militias to repel Taliban militants blamed for attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In other violence, militants have ambushed a NATO oil tanker in the Khyber tribal agency killing two civilians and wounding three others.
SWINE FLU: A top World Health Organization official says the H1N1 swine flu virus
is "unstoppable" and says every country needs the vaccine.
WHO vaccine research chief Marie-Paule Kieny said Monday that health
care workers should get immunized first because they are needed during
She said authorities must then decide who gets shots next.
Swine flu is mild in healthy people and most victims do not need hospitalization.
But the virus can be severe and even deadly in those with other serious health concerns, including asthma and pregnancy.
US - BUDGET DEFICIT: The U.S. government is spending more money than it is taking in -- at an unprecedented level.
The Treasury Department said Monday the federal budget deficit has exceeded $1 trillion for the first time.
In the midst of a severe recession, Washington is spending billions on
programs to stimulate the economy. At the same time, tax receipts have
slowed because of the downturn.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are also drawing down the government's purse.
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