BUSH - CONGRESS: President Bush will meet with Senate Democratic Party leader Harry Reid at the White House today (Friday), as he continues to search for common ground with the winners of Tuesday's congressional elections. The meeting with Reid and other party leaders takes place one day after Democrat Jim Webb was officially named the winner in the Virginia Senate race over Republican incumbent George Allen. The outcome gives the Democrats control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 12 years. Reid is expected to become Senate Majority Leader when the new Congress convenes in January.
SRI LANKA: A prominent legislator representing Sri Lanka's Tamil minority has been shot dead in the capital, Colombo. Officials say Nadaraja Raviraj, a parliament member representing the Tamil National Alliance, was shot today (Friday) as he was leaving his home. A body guard was also killed in the attack. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse condemned the killing, saying it appeared designed to discredit the government.
VIETNAM - US TRIAL: A Vietnamese court has sentenced seven people, including three American citizens, to 15 months in jail on charges of terrorism. During the one-day trial today (Friday) in Ho Chi Minh City, the court said the prison sentence includes time already served, meaning the defendants are likely to be released by the end of the year because they have been detained since September of last year. Court officials also ruled that the Americans be deported within 10 days of being released.
BUSH - ASIA-PACIFIC: The White House says President Bush will embark on a six-day trip next Tuesday that will take him to Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley says that while in Hanoi, the president will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit (APEC), which begins November 18th. It will be Mr. Bush's first visit to Vietnam. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will accompany Mr. Bush to Vietnam and Indonesia, and will lead the U.S. delegation at the APEC meeting.
UN - BURMA: A senior U.N. envoy is in Burma today (Friday) for a widely watched visit the United Nations says will include a visit with detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. U.N. Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari arrived in Burma Thursday for a four-day stay. He is expected to hold meetings with top Burmese officials to urge them to make progress on human rights and democratic reform.
ASIA - DIABETISES: A new study says life-threatening adult diabetes has reached epidemic levels in Asia and that the rate of increase shows no signs of slowing. The study -- conducted by doctors at Catholic University of Korea in Seoul -- says 194-million Asians suffered from diabetes in 2003, a number that could explode to 330 million by 2025. Doctors link the diabetes epidemic to growing numbers of overweight and obese people. They blame sedentary modern lifestyles and readily available fast foods that are high in fat and sugar.
US - KWAN: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has named American figure skating champion Michelle Kwan as the first U.S. goodwill envoy for public diplomacy. At a ceremony Thursday in Washington, Rice said Kwan will visit China and other Asian nations early next year on the first mission in her voluntary position. The goodwill program is aimed at improving America's image abroad through contact with young people and sports fans. Rice said Kwan will promote an understanding of America's democratic principles and the rich diversity of its people.
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