ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

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US - ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: The United States and Israel have tried to ease one of their sharpest disputes in years by issuing statements emphasizing the closeness of their relationship. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she does not see a crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations, despite her recent condemnation of an Israeli housing plan in disputed east Jerusalem. Palestinians claim the area for a future capital and want the project to be canceled. Clinton also said the United States shares a "close, unshakable" bond with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded with a statement saying Israel "appreciates and values" what he called Clinton's "warm words" and the U.S. commitment to Israel's security.

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THAILAND - PROTESTS: Anti-government protesters in Thailand poured blood in front of the residence of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Wednesday as part of their demand for new elections. A heavy police barricade greeted the protesters when they arrived at Mr. Abhisit's residence in an upscale Bangkok neighborhood in a heavy rain. Thousands of "Red Shirt" protesters later demonstrated in front of the U.S. Embassy, demanding clarification of comments made by Thailand's deputy prime minister that it had received foreign intelligence of possible violence during the rally.

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LAOS - POWER PLANT: A massive hydroelectric power plant in Laos began commercial operations Wednesday. The Nam Theun 2 dam, located in central Laos on a tributary of the Mekong River, is supplying nearly 1,000 megawatts of power to Thailand. The $1.45 billion project was built by the Laotian government, a French utility company and Thailand's state-run electric authority. Laos will earn $2 billion in royalties, dividends and taxes for the next 25 years from the plant's operators, who will then turn ownership over to the government. The dam was also partly financed by the World Bank. Environmentalists criticized the dam for its potential harm to the local eco-system, and the displacement of thousands of villagers.

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CHINA - ECONOMY: The World Bank says China's economy will grow 9.5 percent in 2010, but says the world's third-largest economy needs to contain inflation and stop the economy from overheating. The Washington-based institution made its prediction Wednesday in its quarterly report on China's economic conditions. Beijing enacted a number of measures last year to guide the country through the global economic recession, including a $586 billion stimulus package and increased bank lending. But the government has tightened the reins on lending, fearing the excessive money supply could lead to inflation and a possible flood of bad loans.

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MALAYSIA - COCA-COLA: U.S.-based Coca-Cola has announced it will build a new bottling plant in Malaysia, an investment of more than $300 million dollars that will create hundreds of jobs. The company made the announcement Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new plant in Nilai, south of the capital Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak attended the ceremony. A Coca-Cola official said the Malaysian investment will create between 600 and 800 jobs local suppliers.

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IRAQ: A secular Iraqi coalition led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has pulled ahead of incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in partial results from March 7 parliamentary elections. With about 80 percent of the vote counted by late Tuesday, Mr. Allawi's Iraqiya faction was leading Mr. Maliki's State of Law coalition by around 9,000 votes out of the millions of ballots cast. It is the first time Mr. Allawi, a secular Shi'ite, has led the overall vote tally, but he still trailed Mr. Maliki, a religious Shi'ite, in projected parliamentary seats. The faction to win the most seats faces the challenge of forming a coalition to build a majority in the 325-seat assembly.

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AFRICA - AL QAIDA: Algeria says it has reached an agreement with six other states in the Sahara-Sahel region to coordinate the fight against terrorism in their nations. An Algerian official says the agreement came at a meeting in Algiers Tuesday of senior ministers from Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. It was the first time these nations had participated in such a conference on tackling terrorism. A group calling itself al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb has carried out numerous attacks and kidnappings across northern and western Africa in the past few years.

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US - OBESITY: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama is urging America's largest food companies to work faster to make foods that are healthier for children. Obama, who is leading a campaign against childhood obesity, told the Grocery Manufacturers Association on Tuesday that companies need to put less fat, salt and sugar in their foods. The first lady is calling for healthier food in school cafeterias, better access in communities to healthy food, and more exercise for children. Nearly one-third of American children are overweight or obese. Officials say that rate has tripled in adolescents and doubled in younger children since 1980.

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