IRAQ: Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair met with his Iraqi counterpart Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone today. Mr. Blair told a news conference after the meeting that the leaders discussed how to bring about political reconciliation. He told reporters he has no regrets about Britain's role in the U.S.-led invasion that removed Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Shortly after Mr. Blair's arrival, at least two mortar rounds landed in the Green Zone.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan officials say a suicide bomber has killed at least eight people, including three German soldiers, in a crowded market in the northern city of Kunduz. Authorities say two other German soldiers are among 14 people wounded early today when the bomber blew himself up in the city center's tea market. Kunduz officials say the Germans, who had been on patrol, were shopping when the attack occurred. The Taleban has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
EAST TIMOR - ELECTION: East Timor has swore in Estanislau da Silva as interim prime minister to replace Jose Ramos-Horta, who will leave his post to become the country's new president. Mr. da Silva became the tiny country's third prime minister today. He will serve for a few months until legislative elections are held to pick new lawmakers and a new prime minister. Mr. da Silva previously served as deputy prime minister and agriculture minister.
BURMA PM: State media reports in Burma say the government has named the military's fifth-ranked general, Thein Sein, as acting prime minister. The reference was made in an article by the state-run "New Light of Myanmar" newspaper. Foreign news reports say the incumbent prime minister, Soe Win, is in Singapore for cancer treatment. However, Burma's military government has denied that Soe Win is ill.
CHINA - CURRENCY: The United States has welcomed China's move to trade its currency, the yuan, more freely, but says it will continue to push China to allow for more flexibility of the currency. The U.S. Treasury's special envoy for China, Alan Holmer, called China's move a useful step, but said Beijing must do more to allow for greater appreciation of the yuan. Japan's finance minister echoed the comments, saying China still needs to take further action.
CHINA - VIETNAM: Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet has wrapped up a visit to China with pledges to further cooperation in various areas, including energy development and trade. China's official Xinhua news agency published a joint statement by Mr. Triet and Chinese President Hu Jintao, in which they pledged to reach 15 billion dollars in bilateral trade by 2010. The statement says both sides will cooperate more on manufacturing, energy and other key fields of interest.
SAMOA FUNERAL: Samoa's King Malietoa Tanumafili the Second, the world's oldest reigning monarch, was buried today following a state funeral attended by thousands of people and dignitaries from across the region. Samoa's prime minister and the king's son delivered eulogies, and a 300-strong choir sang during today's service outside of the country's parliament. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark was among several regional leaders attending the state funeral.
INTERNET CENSORSHIP: A study conducted by top Western universities says Internet censorship is growing worldwide, with 26 countries investigated blocking or filtering political or social content. The study, (called OpenNet Initiative,) was carried out by experts at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Toronto. The group says that of the 40 countries it studied, China, Iran, Burma, Syria, Tunisia and Vietnam had the most extensive filters for political Web sites.
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