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
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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