NORTH KOREA: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing have discussed the importance of implementing U.N. sanctions on North Korea put in place after its nuclear test. Following talks with Li in Beijing, Rice said the international community needs to make sure there is not "transit and trade" in dangerous illegal materials from North Korea. She also said they spoke about the importance of leaving a path open to resuming six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program. The Chinese foreign minister appealed to all sides involved in the North Korean dispute to remain calm.
IRAN-NUCLEAR: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reiterated that Iran will not abandon its right to nuclear technology, and calls U.N. Security Council decisions about its nuclear program "illegitimate." Speaking in Tehran today (Friday), Mr. Ahmadinejad said Iran will not tolerate "pressure" but remains ready for negotiations. Hours earlier, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said China will play a "constructive role" in efforts to resolve Iran's nuclear standoff with the West.
UN-LEBANON: A contingent of Turkish troops has arrived in Lebanon, becoming the first Muslim country to contribute troops to the expanded U.N. peacekeeping mission along the Israel-Lebanon border. Two Turkish ships carrying about 95 military and civilian engineers, armored personnel carriers, bulldozers and other construction equipment docked at Beirut's port today (Friday). Turkey -- a key regional ally of Israel -- will eventually contribute about 700 troops to the U.N mission.
SOLOMONS-AUSTRALIA: Authorities in the Solomon Islands say Australian police have raided the offices of the island's Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavere, following his refusal to hand over a top official to Canberra on child-sex charges. Officials say Australian police entered the officers of Mr. Sogavere today (Friday) with a search warrant. Witnesses say a fax machine was taken that police believe could provide evidence that he helped the Solomon Islands' new Attorney-General, Julian Moti, flee from Papua New Guinea to Honiara. Moti, an Australian citizen was detained in Papua New Guinea in September at Australia's request. Earlier this month, Moti escaped custody and was flown to the Solomon islands aboard a P.N.G. military plane.
US-BURMA-REFUGEES: The U.S. Secretary of State has waived an anti-terrorism law to allow ethnic-Chin refugees from Burma to be resettled in the United States, even if they provided material support to ethnic rebels. A statement from the U.S. State Department says the resettlement can occur even if the refugees have provided material support to the Chin National Front or Chin National Army, which have been fighting the Burmese military government.
OPEC/OIL: The international oil cartel OPEC has agreed to cut one-point-two million barrels per day from its output in an effort to stop oil prices from falling further. The decision came at a special meeting that began Thursday in Qatar. The reduction is intended to counter an expected slowdown in demand for oil next year and increased oil inventories, especially in the United States.
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