ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Afghan Officials: Claims of Victory Premature


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 crackdown. 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 abolished altogether. 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 grounds.

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 region. 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 ever. 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 Eurofighter Typhoon.

SOMALIA - VIOLENCE: At least 22 people were killed and another 40 wounded in Mogadishu, Somalia as Islamist rebels began another barrage of attacks early Friday. 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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