Asia

AfghanistanWeeks after Iraq's August 20 presidential election, with disputed returns giving incumbent President Hamid Karzai more than 50 percent of the vote — enough to avoid a runoff against challenger Abdullah Abdullah — charges of vote fraud are still being investigated by the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission. As the process of determining Afghanistan's new government goes on, officials from the United States and the United Kingdom, who together form the bulk of the NATO forces that helped provide enough security to hold the election, have taken a strong interest in what comes next.

coat and tieSheikh Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh, has ordered male government employees to stop wearing suits, jackets, and ties to save electricity. By abandoning the traditional business attire, Hasina reckons that men in government office jobs will be cooler and therefore air conditioners can be turned up a bit.

Hamid KarzaiOn September 7, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Lieutenant General Karl W. Eikenberry briefed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the status of that nation's presidential election. However, despite vote tallies indicating that incumbent President Hamid Karzai had passed the 50-percent mark needed to avoid a runoff, a report in the New York Times for September 9 noted that Eikenberry had given an unequivocal message to Kazai on the day he spoke with Clinton: "Don't declare victory."

West BankIsraeli officials announced on September 4 that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will approve the construction of hundreds of new Israeli housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank in upcoming days.

Yukio HatoyamaJapan's newly elected Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama met with the new U.S. ambassador to Japan John Roos on September 3, just four days after leading the Democrat Party of Japan to victory over the Liberal Democratic Party, which has governed Japan for more than 50 years.

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