ASEAN SUMMIT: More than 30,000 police and soldiers were deployed in the Thai resort
town of Hua Hin Friday for the start of the annual Association of
Southeast Asian Nations summit.
Leaders of the 10-member regional bloc began the three-day summit by
formally establishing the new Intergovernmental Commission on Human
Activists say the new panel will have little impact against such
notorious human rights abusers as Burma, because it focuses on
promotion, rather than protection of human rights.
But Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the human rights
commission marks "a significant milestone" in ASEAN's 42-year history.
UN - ASIA - HUMAN RIGHTS: Two human rights investigators for the United Nations have blasted the repressive regimes of North Korea and Burma.
Vitit Muntarbhor, the U.N.'s special rapporteur on the status of human
rights in North Korea, told a U.N. General Assembly committee Thursday
the situation in North Korea is "abysmal." Muntarbhor said nine million
of the communist nation's 24 million people are starving. He blames
this on a shortfall of international aid that is due to Pyongyang's
missile and nuclear tests.
Muntarbhor says North Korea has a greater abundance of natural
resources than rival South Korea, but none of the proceeds are spent on
THAILAND - MONARCH: Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej has appeared in public for
the first time since being hospitalized more than one month ago.
The ailing 81-year-old monarch was wheeled into a sealed-off area of
Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital Friday by a team of medical personnel, as
hundreds of emotional well-wishers bowed as he passed by.
Wearing a blue short-sleeved shirt, King Bhumibol laid flowers at a portrait of his late mother during his brief appearance.
The king checked into a Bangkok hospital on September 19 with fever,
fatigue and a lack of appetite.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani officials say two bombings and another explosion have killed at least 23 people.
In the first incident Friday, police say a suicide bomber struck near a
military facility, killing eight people and wounding 13. The attack
took place at a checkpoint outside the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in
Kamra -- west of the capital, Islamabad.
Later, a car bomb exploded outside a restaurant in the northwestern city of Peshawar, wounding at least eight people.
And in the Mohmand tribal region, a blast struck a bus carrying guests
to a wedding, killing at least 15 people.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: Iran faces a deadline Friday to decide whether to accept a proposed
uranium enrichment deal, intended to ease concerns about Iran's nuclear
Iran has not indicated whether it will accept the arrangement, which
would require it to ship low-enriched uranium abroad for conversion to
fuel for an Iranian research reactor.
The plan would give Iran access to uranium enriched to a level that
suffices for civilian use, but is lower than what is needed for a
On Thursday, Iranian media quoted the head of Iran's Atomic Energy
Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, as saying Tehran will not abandon or
limit its uranium enrichment activities.
HONDURAS: Negotiators for ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said Friday the talks to resolve the country's deep political crisis have collapsed. Mr. Zelaya had set a Thursday midnight deadline for his return to power. He vowed to stop negotiations if the de facto government led by Roberto Micheletti failed to agree. The interim government says it will present a counter offer Friday morning. Mr. Micheletti's government has steadfastly opposed Mr. Zelaya's return to office. Mr. Zelaya was deposed and sent into exile in a June 28 coup, after opponents accused him of trying to illegally change the constitution to extend his term in office.
PHILIPPINES - OUTBREAK: The Philippines is seeking help from the World Health Organization to
fight an infectious outbreak as the country braces for another powerful
Health officials say the bacterial infection leptospirosis spread
through contaminated water, and has killed 148 people and infected
almost 2,000. The outbreak occurred mainly in areas of the capital,
Manila, that were flooded by back to back storms Ketsana and Parma.
The Philippines health department warns that up to 1.7 million people
are at high-risk of exposure to the disease. About 1.3 million
residents are still living in flooded areas around the capital, where
waters are not expected to recede until December.
Listen to our World News for details.