US - ARMY BASE SHOOTING: The U.S. Army is dispatching dozens of trauma and grief counselors and
military chaplains to Fort Hood, Texas following Thursday's shooting
rampage that left 13 people dead and 30 others wounded.
Authorities say the alleged shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, fired a
semi-automatic weapon and another gun at soldiers and civilians inside
a building before he was shot four times by a civilian police officer.
The Army refused to discuss possible motives for the shooting, but
President Barack Obama and other officials warned against jumping to
conclusions as the investigation proceeds.
UN - AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry has rejected comments from the top U.N.
official in the country warning President Hamid Karzai to combat
corruption or risk losing international support.
A Foreign Ministry statement issued Saturday says U.N. special
representative Kai Eide "exceeded his authority as a representative of
an impartial international organization."
On Thursday, Eide said the Afghan government risks support by allowing
- in his words - "warlords and power-brokers" to "play their own games."
The Afghan Foreign Ministry defended the Karzai administration, saying
it has made combatting corruption one of the "pre-conditions for a
peaceful and stable Afghanistan."
UN - PAKISTAN - REFUGEES: The United Nations refugee agency said Friday it is increasing
assistance to the thousands of Pakistanis displaced by military
operations against the Taliban in South Waziristan.
A spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says
the agency will distribute nearly 35,000 tents to displaced families
now living in the North West Frontier Province. UNHCR says most of the
175,000 refugees it has helped are staying with family and friends, but
some are staying in camps. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled South Waziristan since the
Pakistani military launched an offensive against Taliban militants last
UN - GAZA: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday he will send
the U.N. Security Council a controversial report accusing Israel and
the Palestinian militant group Hamas of committing war crimes during
their conflict in Gaza nearly a year ago.
The move comes one day after the U.N. General Assembly voted to endorse
the so-called Goldstone Report. It is named after South African jurist
Richard Goldstone, who led a U.N. fact-finding mission in Gaza. While the report criticized both sides, it accused the Jewish state of
using disproportionate force in its response to rocket attacks by
Gaza-based militants. It also calls on Israel and the Palestinians to
conduct domestic investigations into the alleged war crimes.
LEBANON - POLITICS: Lebanon's opposition, which includes Hezbollah, has agreed to a unity
government proposed by Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.
Sources say opposition leaders reached the agreement during meetings
late Friday, and that a new Cabinet could be formed within the next two
Mr. Hariri heads a U.S. and Saudi backed coalition that won June
elections over Hezbollah-allied politicians backed by Syria and Iran.
Since then he has made it his top priority to form a unity government,
but the effort was impeded by disagreements over who would fill key
MADAGASCAR - POLTITICS: Madagascar's top political leaders have reached a power-sharing
agreement to run the volatile island-nation until scheduled elections
The country's disputed leader, Andry Rajoelina, was the first to
announce the deal at talks in Ethiopia late Friday, followed by U.N.
mediator Tiebile Drame.
Mr. Rajoelina says he will remain president, with the country's other
main political factions getting two co-president posts in a newly
created presidential council and the post of prime minister.
US - HEALTH CARE: Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have cleared an
abortion-related impasse blocking sweeping reform of the U.S. health
The deal, agreed to late Friday night, would allow the entire House to vote on an amendment limiting abortion coverage.
Under the amendment, only people buying private insurance and without
any federal subsidies would be able to buy policies that cover
abortion. The only exceptions would be in the case of rape, incest, or
when the mother's life was in danger.
JAPAN - MEKONG SUMMIT: Japan wrapped up a summit with five Mekong River countries Saturday,
after pledging $5.5 billion in aid over the next three years for the
Southeast Asian region.
The announcement was made by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in Tokyo
Friday at the beginning of the two-day meeting with leaders from
Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.
Japan has been one of the biggest donors of foreign aid for the Mekong
River region, which stretches about 4,800 kilometers and has been
scarred by decades of war and internal unrest. (News Updates)
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