KOREAS-RELATIONS: South Koreans paid their respects at a state funeral Sunday for late
President Kim Dae-jung, who battled dictators to bring democracy to the
country, and reached out to rival North Korea when he became president.
The funeral was held at the National Assembly, where Mr. Kim, who
endured torture, death threats and imprisonment during his decades as
an opposition leader, took the oath of office as South Korea's
president in 1998.
Thousands of politicians, foreign dignitaries and ordinary people attended the ceremony. Mr. Kim died Tuesday at the age of 85.
In a eulogy, South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo said Mr. Kim had
opened the path for inter-Korean reconciliation, exchange and
cooperation through the first ever South-North summit since the
division of the peninsula.
THAILAND-UNREST: Police in Thailand say two soldiers were killed and three others
wounded Sunday, when suspected separatist insurgents attacked an army
checkpoint in the country's restive south. Authorities say about 10 gunmen in two pickup trucks opened fire on a
checkpoint in Narathiwat province and exchanged gunfire with soldiers
for five minutes before fleeing. Around 3,500 people have been killed since a separatist insurgency
erupted five years ago in the southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani
Islamic rebels have targeted both Buddhists and Muslims, with the
victims ranging from security forces to civilians such as teachers,
village officials and rubber plantation workers.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan's election commission says complaints about the
presidential election are so extensive they could sway the final
result. The Electoral Complaints Commission said Sunday it has received 225
complaints since Thursday's election, including claims of ballot
stuffing and voter intimidation. The commission will investigate the
complaints. Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan, said Sunday,
election disputes - in his words - "wouldn't surprise me."
Mr. Holbrooke, speaking in Herat in western Afghanistan, said the U.S.
would "respect the process" established by Afghanistan to determine the
winner of the balloting. Election monitors in Afghanistan said violence and intimidation prevented the presidential vote from being entirely free.
However, the head of the European Union observer mission (Philippe Morillon) called the process generally fair.
PAKISTAN: Militants say Pakistan's Taliban movement has appointed a new leader. Twenty-eight year-old Kaimullah Mehsud has served as the Taliban's military chief in three tribal regions. Security experts say he is as ruthless as his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud. A militant commander (Maulvi Faqir Mohammad) told the
media Saturday that a 42-member Taliban council appointed a new leader
because Baitullah Mehsud is too sick to carry out his duties. But U.S. and Pakistani officials say they believe the militant chief was killed in a U.S. drone attack in early August.
US-DETAINEES: U.S. military officials say the Department of Defensehas begun
giving the identities of detainees held in secret camps in Iraq and
Afghanistan to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The New York Times and the Associated Press the change of policy took place earlier this month without public announcement. In the past, the military's procedure was to notify the Red Cross as
soon as practicable, but without the reported new requirement that it
be done within two weeks of capture. Brian Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, downplayed the reports and the
secrecy of the camps, saying that the nations where the camps are
situated and the Red Cross are aware of the locations.