China – Congress: China's President Hu Jintao has opened the 17th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, promising economic growth and political reform while stressing the need for continued one-party rule.
In his address to the Congress today (Monday), Mr. Hu said political reform must continue, but stressed that the Communist Party will remain in charge.
(The official Xinhua news agency says) Mr. Hu pledged to allow more public participation in politics, and to promote what he called the "people's democracy." He also said the party will promote more non-party members to leading positions in government.
Mr. Hu warned that the party would not tolerate corruption, and he said the work of stamping out corruption was crucial to maintaining its popular support.
The Communist Party has been rocked in recent years by high-level corruption cases, including the arrest of a party boss in Shanghai.
China Congress SDBR: Taiwan: Chinese President Hu Jintao has offered to hold peace talks with Taiwan, but stressed that independence for the island will not be tolerated.
During a speech today (Monday), Mr. Hu offered a "solemn appeal" to the self-ruled island, suggesting that the two sides discuss a formal end to their state of hostility.
Taiwan and China split during a civil war more than five decades ago, but Beijing insists the island remains part of its territory.
Taiwan's ruling party recently passed a resolution that says the island is separate from communist-ruled China. Officials are also pushing for a referendum on the island's sovereignty.
Burma: Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has asked a U.N. special envoy to help broker regional talks on Burma's political crisis.
Mr. Surayud says the talks could include 10 Southeast Asian nations, India and China. He raised the proposal with the U.N.'s Ibrahim Gambari in Bangkok today (Monday).
Gambari travels next to Malaysia, Indonesia, India, China and Japan to gather support for political reconciliation in Burma.
The U.N. envoy is set to return to Burma in mid-November, but Mr. Surayud said he would send a letter to the military government asking that Gambari be allowed to visit sooner.
In Luxembourg today (Monday), European foreign ministers are expected to strengthen European Union sanctions against Burma. The restrictions are to include an import embargo on timber, gems and metals.
Singapore – Airbus: European planemaker Airbus delivered its first A380 super jumbo jet to Singapore Airlines today (Monday), almost two years behind schedule.
At a ceremony in the southern French city of Toulouse marking the handover of the long-awaited double-decker jet, Airbus President Thomas Enders thanked the company's customers for sticking with (not abandoning) the aircraft. He acknowledged that increasing production remains one of the company's biggest challenges.
Singapore Airlines Chief Executive Chew Choon Seng said that despite the 18-month delay, the A380 is well worth the wait. The plane's first commercial flight is scheduled for October 25th, from Singapore to Sydney. Full service begins October 28th.
New Zealand - Arrests: Police in New Zealand have raided several alleged military-style training camps on the country's North Island, seizing firearms and arresting 17 people on arms and possible terrorism charges.
Police Commissioner Howard Broad told reporters today (Monday) that the individuals arrested were training for "military-style" activities.
He said the arrests involved individuals from various ethnic groups and individuals harboring a range of motivations.
Broad did not elaborate, but did say that it was the first time the island nation has used its Terrorism Suppression Act in an operation. The anti-terror act was passed in late 2002.
Media reports in New Zealand said Maori separatist, environmentalist and so-called "peace" groups were the target of the raids.
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