AFGHANISTAN(in News Updates): Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission has declared President
Hamid Karzai the winner of the country's disputed election, after
canceling the presidential runoff vote scheduled for this Saturday. Officials on the commission said Monday they decided to cancel the new
vote after Mr. Karzai's former challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew
from the race because of concerns about fraud.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani police say a suicide bomber has killed at least 34 people near the country's army headquarters in Rawalpindi. More than 30 other people were wounded. Police say Monday's blast occurred outside of a bank near the Shalimar hotel, just a few kilometers from the capital, Islamabad. Television stations showed ambulances and police vehicles racing to the scene. Meanwhile, the government has offered a reward for the capture - dead or alive - of the country's Taliban leaders. A government announcement in newspaper advertisements offered up to $5 million for the capture, or information leading to the capture, of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud and more than a dozen other Taliban leaders. The Pakistani army is fighting militants in a major offensive in the South Waziristan tribal region of the northwest. Militants carried out several retaliatory attacks last month that killed hundreds of people. The violence prompted the United Nations to announce the withdrawal of its international staff from northwestern Pakistan due to security concerns.
AFGHANISTAN: The U.N. secretary-general has arrived in Kabul for meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his former challenger. Ban Ki-moon's arrival (Monday) comes at a politically sensitive time, following Abdullah Abdullah's announcement that he is withdrawing from the presidential runoff vote because of concerns about fraud. His withdrawal effectively hands Mr. Karzai a re-election victory, although Afghan officials have said the November 7 vote will still go forward.
IRAN NUCLEAR: Iranian officials say they want technical experts to review the
U.N.-backed plan for sending Iran's uranium abroad for enrichment. Iran's foreign minister says Iran asked the International Atomic Energy
Agency two days ago to establish a technical commission that would
evaluate the plan for sending most of its low-enriched uranium to
Russia. After processing, it would be returned to Iran for use as fuel in a Tehran research reactor. Manouchehr Mottaki's statement to reporters in Malaysia (Monday) followed comments Saturday from senior Iranian lawmakers who oppose sending uranium abroad. Britain and Russia are demanding that Iranian officials respond quickly
to a proposed plan to have low-grade Iranian uranium enriched in
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov both want to see a "prompt response" from Iran on the U.N.-backed enrichment plan.(In our News Updates)
AUSTRALIA - BOAT: Australian maritime authorities say a boat carrying about 40 people has sunk some 650 kilometers northwest of the Cocos Islands (an Australian territory). A spokesman for Australia's Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said
Monday that at least 15 people had been rescued by ships in the area.
It is unclear whether the vessel was carrying asylum seekers.
Australia has seen an increase in the number of asylum seekers headed for its shores in the past year, which has triggered political battles over how the government should treat them.
THAILAND - KING - ARRESTS: Thai police have arrested two people suspected of triggering a stock market plunge by spreading rumors about the health of Thailand's elderly king. One of the suspects is a former Thai stock trader who police detained Sunday at Bangkok's airport after she arrived on a flight from Europe. Police also arrested an employee of Thai brokerage KT Zmico Securities in a Bangkok business district. Authorities charged the two suspects with violating a 2007 law prohibiting the use of computers to post false information that undermines Thai national security.
BANGLADESH - TIBET - PHOTOS: A news outlet in Bangladesh reports that police blocked the gates of a gallery in an attempt to prevent the opening of a photo exhibition organized by Tibetan exiles. BDNews24.com reported Monday that photos of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama went on display outside the gallery in an attempt to circumvent the police blockade. The Drik gallery in the capital, Dhaka, had planned to open an exhibit depicting the plight Tibetans faced after Chinese military forces seized control of the region more than 50 years ago.
US - MEXICO - EXTRADITION: The U.S. Department of Justice says Mexico has extradited a record number of fugitives to the United States this year.
The Justice Department says a total of 100 suspects have been extradited so far in 2009, breaking last year's record of 95. In a news release Sunday, the department said 11 more were transferred to U.S. custody over the past few days. The suspects are accused of crimes, including murder, sex offenses, drug trafficking and money laundering in six states.
UN - PNEUMONIA: The United Nations and health organizations around the globe are marking the first-ever World Pneumonia Day Monday with a plan that they say can save the lives of more than five million children by 2015. The World Health Organization and the U.N. Children's Fund say pneumonia kills one child every five seconds - more than measles, malaria and AIDS combined. Almost all children killed by pneumonia (98%) live in south Asia or sub-Saharan Africa. The U.N. agencies and nearly 100 global health organizations say pneumonia is a very preventable and treatable disease, but it gets relatively little attention. The health groups are promoting a global action plan against pneumonia that calls for exclusive breast-feeding of infants, proper nutrition and hygiene, vaccinations and appropriate treatment with antibiotics.
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