AFGHANISTAN: Sources close to Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah say he may pull out of next week's runoff election against President Hamid Karzai, due to concerns about the credibility of the poll. News reports cite officials saying Mr. Abdullah will pull out of the runoff if his demands are not met by Saturday. Mr. Abdullah has complained about the credibility of the runoff, and has demanded the removal of the head of the Afghan election commission, Azizullah Lodin. Mr. Karzai rejected that demand. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said a boycott by Mr. Abdullah would not compromise the legitimacy of the election.
PAKISTAN: Officials in Pakistan say a bomb blast killed seven Pakistani soldiers and wounded 11 others Saturday in the northwest.
The incident took place in the Khyber region, which is the main route
for moving supplies to international forces fighting in Afghanistan.
The violence comes a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ended her confrontational visit to the country.
During her three-day trip, Clinton questioned why Pakistan has not
captured al-Qaida leaders, saying "somebody, somewhere in Pakistan"
must know where they are.
US - MIDEAST: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is holding talks with Israeli
and Palestinian officials on relenting the Mideast peace process.
Clinton, joined by U.S. envoy George Mitchell met Saturday with
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the capital of United Arab
Emirates (Abu Dhabi).
She is also scheduled to hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel.
The Israeli leader said Friday he looked forward to discussions on
resuming peace negotiations with the Palestinians "as soon as
possible." Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke following a meeting with
Mitchell in Jerusalem.
IRAN NUCLEAR: Senior Iranian lawmakers have rejected a U.N.-backed uranium enrichment
deal designed to ease concerns about Iran's nuclear program.
The head of the parliament's national security committee (, Alaeddin
Boroujerdi,) told state media Saturday the committee is opposed to the
plan to have Iran ship its uranium abroad for further enrichment.
He added that there is no guarantee Iran would receive nuclear fuel in
exchange, as the agreement stipulates.
Tehran is reported to have told the International Atomic Energy Agency
that it wants nuclear fuel for its reactor before it will send enriched
DALAI LAMA - CHINA: Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has accused Chinese
leaders of misleading the world about the situation in Tibet.
In an address to foreign journalists in Tokyo Saturday, the Dalai Lama
said Beijing is fooling the world into thinking the situation between
the Tibetan people and the Chinese has improved.
His remarks came in response to a question from China's official Xinhua
news agency. The reporter suggested that Tibetan culture had become
popular among the Chinese and that both sides were learning to co-exist
PHILIPPINES STORM: Officials in the Philippines said Saturday the danger from Typhoon
Mirinae (locally known as "Santi") is over, after the storm swept over
the main island of Luzon overnight.
The number of dead and missing is still being determined, but
casualties are expected to be low. At least two people have been
confirmed dead so far.
The typhoonmade landfall in the eastern province of Quezon just after
midnight (local time) Friday, stranding thousands of people at bus and
ferry terminals and forcing the cancellation of flights from Manila.
SOMALIA PIRATES: Somali pirates have demanded $7 million dollars for the release of a
British couple whose yacht, the Lynn Rival, was recently attacked in
waters off east Africa and then found empty.
Paul and Rachel Chandler were headed to Tanzania on a trip which
started in the Seychelles when they sent a distress signal on October
23 off the coast of Somalia.
Chandler has since spoken several times to reporters. He has said he and his wife are doing well.
Local fishermen have reported seeing the couple first on a
pirate-seized ship and then on land in Somalia, but this could not be
RUSSIA - UN - HUMAN RIGHTS: The United Nations Human Rights Committee has called on Russia to
investigate a wide range of abuses, including torture and murder in
Chechnya and other parts of the North Caucasus region.
In a report issued Friday, the committee's 18-member panel of
independent experts cited allegations of forced disappearance,
arbitrary arrest and extrajudicial killing in those regions.
The report also said Russia was responsible for reported attacks on
civilians by armed groups in South Ossetia during and after its August
2008 war with Georgia.
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