IRAN: Iranian media say the Islamic Republic has tested short-range missiles and plans to test a long-range weapon believed to be capable of reaching Israel. State television says the elite Revolutionary Guard also tested a multiple missile launcher Sunday at the start of their regular war games. The long-range missile test is scheduled for Monday. The military exercises are happening as tension is rising between Iran and Western nations over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.
Iran revealed this past week that it is building a second uranium enrichment plant, despite the United Nations' demands that it stop processing material used in nuclear bombs. A senior U.S. official says the Obama administration plans to tell Iran this week that it must open up the facility, turn over documents and provide access to key players in Tehran's nuclear program.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan police say the country's energy minister has survived an explosion that killed four people in the western city of Herat. The Taliban say they carried out the car bombing targeting Minister Ismail Khan Sunday.
Authorities say the explosion wounded at least 17 civilians who were passing on the main road to the Herat airport. Also Sunday, the NATO-led force said three of its troops, including two Americans, died in insurgent attacks in southern Afghanistan in the past two days. Meanwhile, the French president's office says three French soldiers died accidentally when a violent storm hit their unit during a night operation in a valley in northeastern Afghanistan.
PHILIPPINES STORM: Officials in the Philippines say at least 73 people have been killed by a tropical storm that tore through Manila and several northern provinces. Other people are missing. Rescue and relief operations continue in Manila and surrounding areas Sunday after Tropical Storm Ketsana dumped nearly a month's worth of rain on the capital and more than 20 provinces in just 12 hours. The storm swept houses away Saturday. Hundreds of vehicles were stalled in floodwaters around Manila. Officials say hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Some residents were stranded on rooftops overnight, waiting for rescue. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro says flood waters in some areas have subsided, but that the situation remains unsafe.There are reports of widespread blackouts. Hundreds of travelers are stranded in airports and along water routes.
UN-BURMA: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged a ministerial meeting of
southeast Asian nations late Saturday to present a strong and unified
front along with the international community to improve conditions in
Mr. Ban told the gathering at UN headquarters that ASEAN countries have an important role to play, first and foremost to ensure the well-being of the Burmese, but also in the wider interest of peace and security in the region.
He told the ASEAN foreign ministers that the recent release of a number of political prisoners as part of a larger amnesty was a step in the right direction, but fell short of expectations.
ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS: The United States is leading a renewed push for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, calling on Arab countries for more support. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with leaders from six Gulf states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia) Saturday in New York. Officials say she pressed them to normalize relations with Israel and to provide more financial and political support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. One official (Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman) also said the U.S. is working on a series of reciprocal steps to help all sides resume negotiations. But he said the U.S. is "not going to wait for the perfect package" to start. The Palestinian president also urged Israel to act quickly and return to negotiations.