AFGHANISTAN: Afghan opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah says he will not take
part in the presidential runoff election, creating new political
turmoil just six days ahead of the vote. Mr. Abdullah announced his decision to pull out of the November 7 vote
at a televised gathering of tribal leaders and supporters Sunday
morning in Kabul. He said a transparent election will not be possible
without the changes he had demanded in the Afghan election commission. Later, at a news conference, Mr. Abdullah urged his followers "not to
go to the streets" to demonstrate their frustration with his withdrawal
from the election process. He did not call for a boycott of the runoff.
Mr. Karzai's campaign spokesman said the runoff vote should still take place, despite Mr. Abdullah's decision. Afghanistan's election officials have yet to say how they will handle the former foreign minister's decision to withdraw from the runoff election, which now has just one candidate - President Karzai.
AFGHANISTAN - UN: Afghan authorities say they have arrested at least six people believed
to have been involved in Wednesday's deadly attack on a United Nations
guesthouse in Kabul. Afghan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh announced the arrests Saturday
and said the attack was planned by an al-Qaida militant. He also said
those detained claimed the three assailants who were killed in the
attack were from Pakistan's northwestern Swat Valley region.
The Taliban assault killed five foreign U.N. employees and at least two Afghan guards. Militants stormed the U.N. residence around dawn Wednesday wearing suicide vests. U.N. security officers battled them for at least an hour before NATO troops and Afghan police showed up.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani officials say militants have blown up a girls' school in the Khyber tribal region. Officials say several people were wounded in the blast. Al-Qaida and Taliban-linked militants who oppose the education of women have destroyed hundreds of girls' schools across the country. Elsewhere in the northwest, the military said Saturday troops killed 33 militants in the latest operations in the tribal region along the Afghan border.
IRAQ: Iraqi police say three bombs Sunday have killed at least seven people and wounded more than 40 others. Police say a bomb attached to a bicycle exploded in a popular market in
the town of Mussayab, about 60 kilometers south of Baghdad. The blast
killed at least five people and wounded 37 others.
Meanwhile, police in Ramadi, 100 kilometers west of the capital, say two bombs exploded minutes apart, killing two and wounding four others. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Two powerful car bombings one week ago in Baghdad targeted Iraq's Ministry of Justice and a provincial government building, killing 155 people and wounding more than 500 others. An al-Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility for these attacks.
US - MIDEAST: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is calling on Israel andthe
Palestinians to resume peace negotiations immediately and without
preconditions. Clinton made the comments Saturday during a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
The secretary of state said Israel has offered "unprecedented" limits on Jewish settlement expansion in response to Palestinian concerns about relaunching peace talks. And both Clinton and Mr. Netanyahu said that Palestinians had never demanded a settlement freeze in the past as a condition for talks.
Earlier in the day, Clinton met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Abu Dhabi, where the Palestinian leader called for a total freeze on Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank before peace negotiations with Israel can resume.
IRAN - POLITICS: Defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi is urging
his supporters to continue their fight for political change.
In a statement on his Web site Saturday, Mousavi said his movement will remain steadfast in its demands. Opposition supporters say the June 12 presidential election was rigged in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mousavi also appeared to suggest that his supporters take part in rallies Wednesday to mark the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by students. Iranian security officials have ordered the opposition not to demonstrate on November 4.
BURMA - DRUGS: Burmese state media reported Sunday that the military government burned nearly $20 million worth of drugs seized during a recent campaign against ethnic rebel forces in the northeast, bordering China. The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said that Prime Minister Thein Sein attended the torching ceremony Saturday in Kokang, a mainly ethnic Chinese region of Shan state, where recent fighting with Kokang rebels caused more than 30,000 people to flee into China. The report said about 12 million stimulant tablets and other drugs were seized during fighting that lasted from August 11 to October 24. The article said that the prime minister spoke of the need to fight against the production and smuggling of narcotic drugs and to try to improve the regional economy based on agricultural productivity.
SERBIA - DRUG ARRESTS: Serbian police have arrested more than 500 people across the country in a major crackdown against drug traffickers that involved 2,000 police officers. Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said Saturday's sweep was the first of its kind. He said police raided more than 600 businesses and private homes and seized a large cache of weapons and ammunition, several stolen cars, counterfeit money and large quantities of different drugs. Minister Dacic said the operation disrupted a trafficking network that peddled drugs into schools, bars and other places attracting young people.