BUSH_IRAQ: President Bush says that under certain conditions he may consider talks with Iran and Syria on resolving the war in Iraq. The Iraq Study Group recommends such talks in its report. Mr. Bush said before talks can take place, Tehran and Damascus must stop funding terrorists and pledge support for the Iraqi government and economy. He said otherwise, Iran and Syria -- quote -- "shouldn't bother to show up." The president previously has rejected talks with Iran and Syria. President Bush spoke Thursday at a news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair after the two leaders met at the White House.
LEBANON: The leader of the Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah says mass protests in Beirut will continue until Lebanon's U.S.-backed government changes to give the opposition a greater voice. Hassan Nasrallah spoke to a rally in the capital through a video link Thursday evening. He urged his followers to return to the streets to increase pressure on Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora. Nasrallah ruled out the use of force.
FIJI COUP: Fiji's ousted prime minister is calling for peaceful demonstrations against the military regime that toppled the elected government earlier this week. During an interview broadcast on Fiji Radio today (Friday), deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase also urged bureaucrats not to cooperate with coup leaders. He was speaking from his home village in Fiji's remote east.
PHILIPPINES-ASEAN: An official with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations says the organization's annual summit, to be held in the Philippines, has been postponed due to a powerful storm in the area. The two-day ASEAN summit was to begin Monday in Cebu province, followed by a second East Asia summit on Wednesday. But ASEAN's Assistant-Secretary General of Administration, Domingo Lucenario, said today (Friday) that officials are worried that a new tropical cyclone heading for Cebu will hit the area when leaders of the 10-member association would be flying in for the summit.
CHINA-ECONOMY: China's state-run media say the country's leaders have pledged to cut its soaring trade surplus in an apparent bid to reduce trade friction with other countries and lessen pressure on its appreciating currency. Xinhua News Agency reported today (Friday) that the plan emerged from a three-day Central Economic Work Conference led by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.
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