NOBEL PRIZE - GORE: Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and a U.N. panel have been awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their work on climate change. The Nobel Prize committee announced the award today in Olso, Norway saying Gore and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received the award for their efforts to disseminate knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for fighting it. In awarding the prize, the Nobel committee said Gore has long been one of the world's leading environmentalist politicians.
IRAQ: The U.S. military in Iraq says 15 civilians and 19 insurgents have been killed in a coalition raid northwest of Baghdad. The Thursday operation targeted senior al-Qaida leaders meeting in the Lake Thar Thar region. After an initial airstrike killed four terrorists, the militants were tracked to a location south of Lake Thar Thar, where ground forces engaged in a firefight with the insurgents before they secured the area with the help of air support. Afterwards, the military said it assessed that 15 more insurgents were killed, along with six women and nine children.
US - RUSSIA: Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the United States to back off plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe today. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are in Moscow to meet Mr. Putin and other officials. Mr. Putin also told them Russia might pull out of a nuclear missile treaty unless it is expanded to cover other countries with nuclear weapons. Mr. Putin made the comment before closed door meetings with the U.S. delegation. He said the treaty is outdated and other countries are developing the same kinds of weapons covered by it.
BURMA: The U.N. Security Council has issued its first ever statement on Burma, strongly deploring the recent military crackdown against pro-democracy protesters and calling for a release of all political prisoners there. The statement was approved Thursday by all 15 council members. Permanent members of the council with veto powers, China and Russia, had been pushing for softer language, while the United States and other Western powers want tougher action against the military government. The non-binding statement was issued as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would dispatch special adviser Ibrahim Gambari back to the region for consultations on the situation in Burma.
US - CHINA - TIBET: President Bush will meet with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, at the White House next week, in a visit the administration says should come as no surprise to China. A White House spokeswoman said Thursday Mr. Bush spoke with Chinese President Hu Jintao about the issue during this year's Asian Pacific summit meeting in Australia. China Thursday criticized the Dalai Lama's visit, which includes a ceremony where the U.S. Congress will give him its highest medal. China's Foreign Ministry spokesman said his ministry strongly opposes the plan to present what the official referred to as the "so-called" Congressional Gold Medal.
GABON - CHINA: Environmental groups in the West African nation of Gabon are demanding the government reveal the terms of an iron ore mining deal with a Chinese company. They say they want proof the three-billion dollar deal with China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation will not harm Gabonese interests. The head of the coalition opposing the deal, Marc Ona Essangui, says the environmental groups have obtained details of the contract. They say it exempts the Chinese consortium running the mine in the Belinga mountains from all taxes for 25 years.
COLOMBIA - ASSASSINATION: A Colombian court has convicted former justice minister Alberto Santofimio of involvement in the 1989 assassination of leading presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan and sentenced him to 24 years in prison. A Bogota court issued its ruling Thursday, saying Santofimio ordered a "murder for terrorist purposes." Santofimio was a political rival of Galan, who was shot dead at a rally near Bogota while campaigning for the 1990 presidential election. Authorities say the gunmen were linked to the Medellin drug cartel led by kingpin Pablo Escobar, who was killed in 1993.
MEXICO - FOX: Mexico's lower house of Congress has approved the establishment of a commission to investigate former President Vicente Fox's wealth. Reports say the former president raised suspicions after a magazine recently published photos of his renovated ranch in central Mexico. The probe is supposed to last through April of next year. Mr. Fox has been quoted as saying the investigation is politically motivated. Mr. Fox's six-year term as president ended last year.
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