US - BURMA: A military aircraft carrying a freed American prisoner and the U.S.
senator who won his release from the military government in Burma has
arrived in Bangkok. John Yettaw accompanied U.S. Senator Jim Webb on the flight to Thailand
Sunday. Webb won Yettaw's release Saturday in a meeting with Burma's
leader, General Than Shwe. Webb is the first U.S. official to have met with Than Shwe. At a brief news conference just before leaving Burma, Webb thanked the government for the release of Yettaw. After arriving in Bangkok, Senator Webb told reporters China has an
obligation to use its influence to reform Burma's repressive and
isolationist government. The senator said he plans to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton to discuss options for ending the political stalemate in Burma
and bringing prosperity to its people. Webb is traveling through Asia as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
IRAN: Iranian media say 25 more detainees have gone on trial to face charges
related to the unrest after Iran's disputed presidential election. The official IRNA news agency says the indictment read in court Sunday
accuses the 25 of plotting the post-election violence for years. News reports say video footage of the street rioting was shown in court.
Iran has arrested hundreds of people for their alleged involvement in
the protests against the June 12 vote, which saw President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad re-elected. Opposition leaders say the results were rigged.
PAKISTAN: U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke is in Pakistan, where he meets Sunday with top officials. Holbrooke had also been scheduled to visit the northwestern Swat
Valley, but a U.S. Embassy spokesman said heavy rain forced him to
postpone the trip. Pakistan's military launched an offensive in Swat and surrounding areas
in late April after Taliban militants violated a peace deal and began
advancing toward the capital, Islamabad.
The military says it has driven most of the Taliban from the valley. But some fighting has continued. On Sunday, the bodies of 18 suspected Taliban militants were discovered
in different areas of Swat. Military officials said they believe local
residents killed the militants as an act of revenge.
KUWAIT - FIRE: Kuwaiti officials say 41 people are dead after a fire tore through a wedding tent filled with women and children. Authorities say forensics experts are working to identify the 35 women
and six children killed in the fire, since many of the bodies were
burned beyond recognition. At least 57 others were injured in the disaster, which occurred late
Saturday in Jahra, west of Kuwait City. Officials say many of the
victims were trampled in the panicked rush to flee the tent. Reports
say the blaze took only minutes to destroy the tent. The exact cause of the fire has not yet been determined, though news
reports indicated it could have been triggered by faulty electrical
wiring. Wedding parties in Kuwait, a conservative Muslim country, are held
separately for men and women. Children attend the women's event.
KOREAS - TENSIONS: North Korea threatened Sunday to "wipe out" the U.S. and South Korea
with nuclear weapons if they threatened the communist state.
Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency quoted a North Korean
military statement as saying, "Should the U.S. imperialists and the Lee
Myung-bak group threaten the DPRK with nukes, it will retaliate against
them with nukes." Washington and Seoul will begin an annual computer-simulated war game
Monday that North Korea says it sees as preparations for an invasion. Pyongyang often makes strong statements when the exercise is about to get under way.
PHILIPPINES - UNREST: Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has ordered the military to
annihilate Abu Sayyaf Muslim extremists in the southern Philippines
after a battle that left 23 soldiers dead. She made the comment in the southern city of Zamboanga, where she
visited wounded soldiers Saturday and attended the wake of the troops
killed fighting Abu Sayyaf on Basilan island Wednesday.
Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said Mrs. Arroyo also warned that
members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which joined in the
slaughter of the soldiers, would be hunted down despite a ceasefire
with the rebel group.
JAPAN - ANNIVERSARY: Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso has expressed deep regret over
suffering the country had inflicted on Asia during World War Two. Mr. Aso addressed a solemn ceremony in Tokyo Saturday marking the 64th
anniversary of Tokyo's surrender. In a nationally televised speech, he
expressed remorse for the more than three million Japanese who died
during the war and for the victims of Japan's aggression. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko also attended the ceremony, leading
a minute of silence at noon. The emperor expressed his condolences for
the dead and his wish that such tragedy would never be repeated. Emperor Akihito's father, Emperor Hirohito, issued the surrender on August15, 1945.
TAIWAN - TYPHOON: Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou has apologized for thegovernment's slow response to the typhoon that likely killed hundreds. President Ma said in televised remarks Saturday he was sorry that his administration did not act better and faster. Taiwan's government has faced mounting criticism for failing to
recognize the magnitude of the crisis caused by Typhoon Morakot, which
struck the island earlier this month.
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