ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Focus On Karzai Following Afghan Election Fraud Report


AFGHANISTAN: Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expected to concede Tuesday that he did not win an outright majority of votes in August's presidential election. U.N. election auditors announced Monday they are throwing out nearly one-third of Mr. Karzai's ballots because of fraud, depriving him a majority of the vote. After accounting for the fraudulent votes, Afghanistan's election commission is expected to announce Tuesday that the final vote tally shows no outright winner, triggering a runoff. International pressure has been building on Mr. Karzai to accept either a power-sharing coalition with his top challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, or to prepare for a runoff election.

PAKISTAN: Pakistani officials say two bomb blasts have killed at least four people and wounded several others at the International Islamic University in the capital city. Police are working to confirm reports that the blasts were carried out by two suicide bombers. Television footage showed security forces sealing off buildings pockmarked by shrapnel. No group has claimed responsibility, but Pakistan's interior minister reacted to the blasts by saying all terrorist attacks in Pakistan lead back to South Waziristan. Many schools in Pakistan closed this week, fearing retaliatory attacks stemming from the army's new offensive against Taliban militants in South Waziristan.

GATES - ASIA: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the Obama administration is not open to renegotiating an agreement to relocate some U.S. forces in Japan. Gates made the comment to reporters before arriving Tuesday in Tokyo, where he held talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada. Under a deal reached in 2006, the United States agreed to move 8,000 Marines from the southern island of Okinawa to the U.S. territory of Guam, and move a U.S. Marine airbase to another part of Okinawa. But Okinawa residents resent the U.S. military presence on the island, because of noise and the crimes committed by U.S. personnel.

INDONESIA POLITICS: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been sworn in for a second term in office. More than 20,000 security personnel were deployed throughout Jakarta Tuesday for the former general's inauguration ceremony in the national assembly. Mr. Yudhoyono pledged to keep Indonesia on a path towards economic prosperity and stability during his second and final five-year term. He also said the country will take an active role in global economic reforms and combatting climate change. The president is credited with leading the predominantly Muslim country to economic and political stability, more than a decade after the 32-year Suharto dictatorship ended.

BURMA - ASEAN: Burma says its prime minister, General Thein Sein, will attend the annual summit of Southeast Asian leaders in Thailand this week. The state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar reports (Monday) the general will join the meeting in Hua Hin at the invitation of his Thai counterpart, Abhisit Vejjajiva. During the summit from October 23 to October 25, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plans to inaugurate an Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. The commission is designed to promote human rights, but does not have the power to monitor or punish alleged abuses in countries like military-ruled Burma.

IRAN - NUCLEAR: The Vienna talks on Iran's nuclear program were delayed for two hours Tuesday after an Iranian official said France was not needed at the talks. The International Atomic Energy Agency did not give a reason for the delay in starting the second day of discussions among Iran, Russia, France, the United States and the IAEA. Reuters news agency quoted a Western diplomat as saying the break was for consultations. The hold-up came after Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Tehran that France is not needed in any deal concerning Iran's nuclear program.

IRAN - SUICIDE BOMB: Iranian state media say at least 15 members of the Revolutionary Guard were among 42 people killed in a suicide bombing Sunday in southeastern Iran. Officials had said earlier the attack in Sistan-Baluchistan province killed six Revolutionary Guard commanders Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran will punish those responsible for the attack he blamed on mercenaries of "global arrogance" - a term he uses to describe the United States. Iranian media quoted Revolutionary Guards chief (General) Mohammad Ali Jafari as vowing to "retaliate" against U.S. and British intelligence agencies that he says helped the bombers.

US - IRAQ: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House Tuesday. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the Iraqi prime minister Monday ahead of a U.S.-Iraq business conference that begins Tuesday in Washington. Speaking after their meeting, Secretary Clinton said the United States hopes to pave the way for greater international investment in Iraq and closer diplomatic ties between the two countries. Clinton said she and Mr. Maliki also discussed the upcoming Iraqi elections, and that she pledged U.S. support to ensure the elections are legitimate.

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