AFGHANISTAN: A top Afghan election official warns it is too soon to declare a winner
in the country's presidential election, after the leading candidates
both claimed victory.
The campaign team for incumbent President Hamid Karzai said the
president's lead was big enough that a run-off vote in would not be
necessary. A spokesman for former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah --
considered to be Mr. Karzai's closest challenger --claimed Abdullah had
a definitive edge.
KOREAS - RELATIONS: A North Korean delegation has paid respects on behalf of Kim Jong Il to
former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung during a visit to Seoul.
They also delivered a wreath at a memorial for Mr. Kim at South Korea's parliament. Mr. Kim died Tuesday at the age of 85.
It is the first time North Korea has paid official tribute on the death
of a South Korean leader. And this is the first time in nearly two
years that North Korean officials have entered the South. The visit is seen as possible opportunity for dialogue following months of tension.
The delegation includes Pyongyang's intelligence chief and high level party officials.
CHINA - CORRUPTION: Chinese state media report that at least six district police chiefs
have been detained in a major corruption crackdown in the southwest
city of Chongqing.
A police official told the China Daily newspaper that the six are suspected of being "protective umbrellas" for gangs.
The official said at least three of the chiefs were arrested moments
before attending a meeting organized by the police to discuss the
He said 30 to 40 police officers have been detained for involvement in crimes or protecting gangs.
THAILAND - UNREST: Two soldiers and a civilian have been killed in two separate attacks by suspected insurgents in restive southern Thailand.
Police said a roadside bomb hit a military patrol in Narathiwat
province. Two troops were killed and another wounded in the explosion
and ensuing gunfight Friday.
In neighboring Pattani province, gunmen killed a Muslim village chief as he prepared for morning prayers.
In the same province Thursday, a Buddhist man was killed outside his
motorcycle repair shop.
MALAYSIA - MODEL - CANING: Amnesty International appealed to the Malaysian government Friday to revoke a sentence to cane a woman for drinking alcohol.
The international rights organization said in a statement that caning
is "cruel, inhuman, and degrading" and that the practice should be
But Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, the woman sentenced to six lashes and a fine of $1,400, rejected the appeal in her name.
She told reporters she respects the law.
LOCKERBIE: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband says it was "deeply upsetting"
and "deeply distressing" to watch the scenes of the man convicted in
the 1988 Lockerbie bombing being welcomed home in Libya as a hero.
Miliband also called Abdel Baset al-Megrahi a "mass murderer."
Megrahi was jailed for life for the 1988 bombing of PanAm Flight 103
over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed 270 people. He returned to Libya
late Thursday after Scottish authorities released him on compassionate
PAKISTAN: Pakistani officials say at least 12 people are dead in a suspected U.S.
missile attack on a militant hideout in Pakistan's North Waziristan
The officials say the strike, early Friday, destroyed a home in a village near the region's main town, Miranshah.
Officials also say some of those killed were children.
A similar attack by a U.S. drone is believed to have killed Pakistani
Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud on August 5, although Taliban spokesmen
have repeatedly denied his death.
INDIA - MILITARY: India has begun trials to select a fighter aircraft to modernize the country's air force.
India is looking to buy 126 new combat jets in a deal that will be
worth approximately $12 billion -- one of the largest defense contracts
Six of the world's top aircraft manufacturers are competing for the
contract. This week air force pilots in the southern city of Bangalore
began testing the F 18 "Super Hornet" from U.S.-based Boeing.
An Indian air force spokesman (P.R. Singha) says five
other combat jets will also be tested: U.S.-based Lockheed Martin's F
16, Russia's MiG 35, France's Rafale, Sweden's Gripen and the
SOMALIA - VIOLENCE: At least 22 people were killed and another 40 wounded in Mogadishu,
Somalia as Islamist rebels began another barrage of attacks early
The Islamic militant group al-Shabab was attacking government forces
and African Union peacekeepers in the Somali capital, but witnesses
said most of the dead were civilians.
Friday's violence began with an intense firefight that expanded to
mortar shelling on the city. Many residents were forced to take cover
in their homes to seek shelter from bullets and shells.
This is the second day of heavy casualties this week.
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