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SUDAN: President charged with Darfur genocide

The International Criminal Court charged President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan on Monday with three counts of genocide in Darfur. It was the first time the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal, based in The Hague, Netherlands, has issued genocide charges. An arrest warrant for al-Bashir said there were "reasonable grounds to believe" that since April 2003 Sudanese forces attempted genocide against the Darfur tribal groups Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa.

FRANCE: Ban on veils winning approval

The lower house of parliament is likely to approve a ban on face-covering veils Tuesday, and the Senate will probably follow suit in September. Yet a big question mark still hangs over the bill: Does it violate the constitution? Law scholars say it could be shot down by France's constitutional watchdog or, down the road, by the European Court of Human Rights. It would be a humiliation for President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative government, which has devoted much attention to a bill that would affect only an estimated 1,900 women. The main body representing French Muslims worries that the law will stigmatize Muslims.

CHINA: Deluge kills 3, many missing

Three people have been killed and 56 are missing after a torrent of water washed through a mountain town in the southwest, China News Agency said. The deluge took place about 4 a.m. Tuesday in Xiaohe town of Yunnan province, following weeks of heavy rains.

AFGHANISTAN: Civilian deaths up in first half

At least 1,074 civilians died in the first half of this year, triple the number of international forces killed over the same period, the Afghanistan Rights Monitor said in a report that called 2010 the worst year for security since shortly after the demise of the Taliban regime. The number of civilian deaths are up, though only slightly, over the previous year, but the number of insurgent attacks has spiked.

JAPAN: Vote weakens ruling coalition

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan faced the prospect of political gridlock Monday after an election setback that could undermine its attempts to reduce a ballooning budget deficit. The party won only 44 seats in the upper house, leaving them and their coalition partner with 110, well below their majority of 122 before the vote. Prime Minister Naoto Kan's party, with control over the lower house, will retain power.

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