- - Monday, August 22, 2011


Biden praises Mongolian democracy

ULAN BATOR — Vice President Joseph R. Biden tried his hand at archery and watched a wrestling match during a brief visit Monday in Mongolia, which he called a shining example of democratic development.

Mr. Biden praised Mongolia for carrying out presidential and parliamentary elections after making a peaceful transition to democracy in the early 1990s. The landlocked country had been a Soviet satellite.

Later in the day, Mr. Biden sat under a traditional tent with Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold and other officials as they watched performances in traditional dance and throat-singing.

Mr. Biden also praised Mongolia’s military contributions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mongolia is eager to develop its mineral wealth but needs outside help, with companies from neighbors China and Russia, as well as from the United States, Australia, Japan and Canada looking to develop projects.


Arab nations pressure Syria at United Nations

GENEVA — Arab nations demanded Monday that Syria allow an international probe on whether crimes against humanity have been committed during the country’s bloody crackdown, illustrating the growing world isolation of President Bashar Assad.

Kuwait said it was making the demand on behalf of some of the other Gulf nations participating in Monday’s U.N. Human Rights Council’s special session on the Syrian crackdown. Saudi Arabia’s ambassador was similarly outspoken.

A U.N. adviser to the 47-nation council, Jean Ziegler, told the Associated Press that the demand for an in-country investigation in Syria likely would be approved at the meeting because of political momentum from Arab nations backing it.

It was not immediately clear exactly how many were supporting the demand.


Hurricane Irene heads for Hispaniola and U.S.

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