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SOF World Report

Zimbabwe Parties Resume Talks

Talks to resolve issues that threaten the unity of Zimbabwe's shaky inclusive government got under way on Monday. The talks started after the deadline set by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the parties that make up the unity government to fully implement the so-called Global Political Agreement, or GPA, the deal that brought about the national unity government. On November 5 a SADC summit in Maputo gave the feuding parties 15 days to implement the outstanding issues. If this did not happen, SADC would send South Africa's President Jacob Zuma to break the logjam.

Thailand SEA Games Crisis in Laos

Elements of the Royal Thai Third Army and Thai military, at the apparent orders of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit, Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and Army Chief General Anupong, have dramatically increased pressure and coercive measures on Lao Hmong refugees prior to the Southeast Asia Games (SEAG or SEA Games)as more soldiers are being sent to Ban Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai, Thailand. Prior to the SEA Games, in recent weeks, elements of the Thai Third Army and Ministry of Interior have loaded and removed nearly a half dozen Army truck loads of forks, knives and spoons that have been seize

Thousands March in Rival Nicaraguan Rallies

Thousands of pro- and anti-government protesters took to the streets of Nicaragua's capital over the possible re-election of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. At least 40,000 anti-government demonstrators rallied Saturday in one area of Managua, marching against what they called Mr.

Report Blaming Hindu Nationalist Leaders for Role in 1992 Destruction of Mosque Rocks Indian Parliament

In India, a leaked government report which has blamed senior Hindu nationalist leaders for the demolition of an ancient mosque 17 years ago, has rocked parliament, and angered the opposition. Both houses of parliament erupted in furor Monday after a newspaper published excerpts of a government report on the demolition of a 16th century mosque in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya in 1992 by a Hindu mob. The report by the Liberhan commission, which investigated the demolition, has not yet been made public. The Indian Express newspaper says that the commission has concluded that the bu

Pirates Seize Greek-Owned Ship off Yemen

A Kenyan maritime official says pirates have hijacked a Greek-owned bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden, near Yemen. Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance Program says Red Sea Spirit was taken Thursday, but news of the seizure only emerged Saturday. Somali pirates have continued to defy foreign navies patrolling the waters off the Horn of Africa and are holding at least 13 vessels and more than 200 crew.

EU Selects New President

The European Union has chosen its first full-time president - Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy. Leaders of the 27-member bloc also chose a woman for the second top job - British commissioner Catherine Ashton, who will be the EU's new foreign policy chief At a press conference in Brussels, the European Union's President-elect Herman Van Rompuy offered a unifying message in English, Flemish and French -  vowing to listen and take into account all the diverse views of the 27-member block. "Europe must be in every member state's advantage," said  Herman Van Rompuy.

Ethiopia Convicts 27 in Coup Plot

An Ethiopian court has convicted 27 people accused of conspiring to create public havoc in an attempt to bring down Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government.  Some of the defendants could face the death penalty. A three-judge panel handed down guilty verdicts for 27 of the 46 defendants in the so-called Ginbot Seven case.  Thirteen others who are not in custody had earlier been convicted in absentia.  The remaining six were acquitted. Those convicted include several current and retired army officers, including two generals, along with senior opposition political figures.  They were charg

At Least 19 Reported Dead in Pakistan Blast

Pakistani officials say a suicide bomber killed at least 19 people outside a court building in Peshawar Thursday, in the latest attack to strike the northwestern city. The bombing was the sixth in less than two weeks in and around Peshawar.  Officials say the attacker blew himself up when guards were trying to search him at the court's gate. They say three policemen were among the dead.

Media Rights Groups Call for Probe Into Shooting of VOA Reporter in Puntland

International media rights groups are expressing shock and concern over reports a journalist working for VOA's Somali Service in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland may have been deliberately shot by the police.   Tuesday's shooting of reporter Mohamed Yasin Ishaq in the Puntland-administered part of Galkayo in central Somalia has sparked alarm among international media groups already distressed by deteriorating working conditions for journalists in Somalia.

Foiled Pirate Attack Encourages Defense Officials

Defense Department officials are pleased with the Maersk Alabama's successful defense against suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. Four suspected pirates in a skiff used small-arms weapons in an attempt to board the U.S.-flagged ship, but were unsuccessful. The ship's security team responded with evasive maneuvers, acoustic devices and small-arms fire, which deterred the attack without assistance from U.S.

M/V Maersk-Alabama Repels Suspected Pirate Attack

Four suspected pirates in a skiff came within 300 yards of M/V Maersk-Alabama and used small arms weapons in an attempt to board the ship. The security team embarked aboard Maersk-Alabama responded to the attack by using evasive maneuvers, Long-Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) and small arms fire, causing the suspected pirates to break off their attack. "Due to Maersk Alabama following maritime industry's best-practices such as embarking security teams, the ship was able to prevent being successfully attacked by pirates," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S.

Rwanda Praises German Arrest of Hutu Rebel Leader

The Rwandan government is praising the arrest Tuesday of a Hutu rebel leader and his deputy who were living in Germany.

Some Niger Delta Residents Call for Troops Withdrawal

A growing number of residents of Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta are demanding the immediate withdrawal of government troops from the region following a successful amnesty and cessation of hostilities. Troops have maintained a high-profile presence in the Niger Delta despite a halt in militant attacks on oil facilities and personnel in the past four months. Soldiers can still be seen at security checkpoints.

US-China Summit Ends With Vows of Cooperation

A Sino-American summit in Beijing has produced no breakthroughs, but vows of cooperation from the leaders of the two countries.    U.S.

Somali Pirates Free Spanish Boat With 36 Crew

Somali pirates have freed a Spanish fishing boat with 36 crew members after holding them for more than six weeks. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced the ship's release at a news conference Tuesday. He said the MV Alakrana is sailing toward safe waters and that all of its crew members are "safe and sound." Earlier Tuesday, pirates holding the ship told reporters they had received a multimillion dollar ransom for its release.   Asked whether a ransom was paid, Mr.