US POLITICS: Senator Hillary Clinton has revived her presidential campaign with crucial Democratic primary wins in Texas and Ohio Tuesday, while Republican Senator John McCain has secured his party's nomination. In addition to delegate-rich Texas and Ohio, Clinton won (the northeastern state of) Rhode Island to finally end rival Barack Obama's string of 12 consecutive wins in state primaries or caucuses. Senator Obama won Vermont Tuesday, the first declared state of the night. Clinton told supporters in Columbus, Ohio that her fight for the nomination is "going on, going strong, and going all the way."
ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will not resume peace talks with Israel until there is a truce in place that will end the violence in the Gaza Strip. His remarks today were made on U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's final day in the Middle East. She is pressing Palestinian officials to restart talks and has called on Israeli officials to stop harming civilians in Gaza. Rice has already met with Palestinian negotiators today. Before she departs for Brussels later in the day, she is scheduled to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
CHINA - CONGRESS: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has promised to tackle the country's high inflation rate that has been driving up the cost of food and basic essentials. Mr. Wen used his annual "state of the nation" address today to stress that economic development continues to be China's top priority. China's double-digit economic growth has transformed the country into the world's fourth largest economy, despite inflation hitting an 11-year high in 2007. Mr. Wen's comments to the opening session of China's legislature also were made amid tensions over the military build-up on each side of the Taiwan Strait.
HRW - MALAYSIA ELECTION: Human Rights Watch says Malaysians will be denied a fair vote in Saturday's general elections because the ruling party has manipulated the political process. The New York-based group says the National Front coalition has placed severe restraints on opposition groups. It says the Front refused them permission to hold large public rallies and blocked their access to state-controlled radio and television. HRW also accuses the ruling coalition of rigging voter registration lists in their favor.
KOREAS - PROPOSED TALKS: A South Korean newspaper says North Korea proposed to hold talks with President Lee Myung-bak a month before his inauguration. A report in today's Dong-a Ilbo newspaper says Pyongyang made the overture in January through South Korea's National Intelligence Service, a month after Mr. Lee won the presidential elections. The report says the incoming president sent a message to the isolated Stalinist regime, asking it to specify the purpose of the meeting.
UN - DRUGS - AFGHANISTAN: The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board says illicit poppy cultivation in Afghanistan reached an all-time high in 2007 despite global efforts to eradicate it. In its annual report issued today, the U.N. agency says poppy cultivation was up 17 percent and the production of opium reached 82-hundred tons last year. The report says Afghanistan accounts for 93 percent of the world's illicit market in opiates. The center of the country's booming opium trade is southern Helmand province. The U.N. Office for Drugs and Crime says the illegal drug trade is believed to be the main source of revenue for Taliban insurgents.
US - ZIMBABWE: President Bush has extended by one year a series of sanctions against Zimbabwe officials who the United States accuses of undermining democracy. The decision renews financial sanctions that Mr. Bush initially imposed in 2003 and 2005 against more than 75 people, including Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Mr. Bush said in a statement Tuesday that the officials have contributed to a breakdown in the rule of law in Zimbabwe, politically motivated violence, and political and economic instability in the region.
LATAM - UNREST: Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, is expected to meet today with his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to discuss Ecuador's situation with Colombia. In Brazil Tuesday, Mr. Correa criticized Colombia, saying it was an aggressor. His remarks referred to an incident last week in which Colombian forces entered Ecuador looking for FARC rebels. Meanwhile, in Washington Tuesday for an emergency meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ecuador's foreign minister, Maria Isabel Salvador, accused Colombia of perpetrating what she calls a "planned and premeditated violation" of Ecuador's sovereignty.
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