BUSH - BIN LADEN: President Bush says a new video message from al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden shows the need for all nations to work together against terrorism. Mr. Bush, who rarely responds to al-Qaida videos, said bin Laden's message, denouncing democracy and development of the global economy, "is a reminder of the dangerous world in which we live." Speaking today in Sydney, before the start of an Asia-Pacific summit, Mr. Bush noted that bin Laden mentioned Iraq. The president called it an indication that the terrorist network is fighting to establish a safe haven for its members there.
APEC: Asia-Pacific leaders ended the first day of a two-day summit in
Sydney today with calls for long-term action to curb global warming. Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the 21 member group agreed to adopt "aspirational" goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He said they also agreed on the need for all nations to contribute according to their own capacities in reducing emissions. A draft statement under consideration at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit appears to be a compromise between rich and developing nations, and sets a target for reducing what is known as "energy intensity" by 25 percent by 2030.
APEC - US - JAPAN - AUS.: Leaders from the United States, Australia and Japan held their first ever three-way meeting today to discuss ways to better engage India. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the trilateral talks with U.S. President George Bush, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Japan's Shinzo Abe focused on India and the importance of the country in the Asia-Pacific region. China has expressed concern the three-way summit could turn into an alliance aimed at containing Beijing's ambition to be a world power.
APEC - RUSSIA - CHINA: Russian President Vladimir Putin has
assured China that the relationship between their countries will remain strong even after he steps down as leader next year. Mr. Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao met on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Sydney today. The Russian leader said that he and Mr. Hu have achieved the highest level of Russian-Chinese relations, and he said there is no doubt that the strong relations will continue in the coming years. Russia will hold presidential elections in March of next year. Mr. Putin is not eligible to run for re-election after serving two terms.
ALGERIA BLAST: Local security forces in Algeria say at least 17 people were killed today in a car bomb attack on a barracks in the east coast town of Dellys. Authorities said about 30 others were wounded. The attack occurred two days after 15 people were killed and more than 70 wounded in a suicide bombing in the eastern town of Batna, shortly before a scheduled visit by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Witnesses said the bomber was among a crowd of people waiting to see the president. Mr. Bouteflika condemned those who carried out the attack as "criminals," and said Algeria was committed to achieving national reconciliation.
US - IRAQ SECURITY: General David Petraeus, the U.S.
commander in Iraq, has told his troops that there has been progress in security in Iraq, but political progress is not as he had hoped. In a letter to U.S. forces, Petraeus said although progress against al-Qaida is being made, it is not even. He said the number of attacks across the country has declined in eight of the past 11 weeks. However, the general was less positive about advances made on the Iraqi political scene. He said all participants, Iraqi and coalition alike, are dissatisfied by the lack of progress on major legislative initiatives, such as de-ba'athifcation reform, revenue sharing and the oil framework law.
APEC - BURMA: Indonesia's foreign minister says the United States and Indonesia believe China and India should exert more pressure on Burma to improve its human rights record. Foreign Minister Hasan Wirajuda spoke to reporters today in Sydney shortly after U.S. President George Bush and his Indonesian counterpart, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono held talks. Wirajuda said the two leaders agreed that constructive engagement by Southeast Asian nations has not produced any results in Burma in recent years. He said that Mr. Bush and Indonesia's leader also agreed that they should talk with China and India, as they are Burma's two largest neighbors.
SIERRA LEONE - ELECTION: Voters in Sierra Leone are choosing
a president today in a run-off election. In the first round of voting last month in the West African nation, opposition leader Ernest Koroma led Vice President Solomon Berewa 44 to 38 percent, but fell short of the 55 percent needed to avoid the run-off. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appealed for a peaceful election. A statement by Mr. Ban said he is deeply concerned about reports of intimidation and violence involving supporters of Sierra Leone's two main political parties.
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