TIBET PROTESTS: Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said today he will resign if violence in his homeland becomes worse. Speaking in Dharamshala in northern India, the Nobel Peace laureate told reporters that events were out of his control. Earlier in the day, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao blamed the Dalai Lama and his followers for orchestrating the violent protests in Tibet. Mr. Wen said rioters caused heavy loss of life and the government acted with extreme restraint in putting down the protests.
CHINA POL: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has offered to resume talks with self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing calls a rogue province of China. However, in a news conference today after the closing session of the National People's Congress, Mr. Wen urged voters on Taiwan to reject a ballot initiative on applying for U.N. membership. Mr. Wen said approval of the referendum question could aggravate already tense ties between China and Taiwan. On the economy, the premier told reporters that China must strike a balance between economic development and curbing inflation.
NOKOR NUCLEAR: North Korea says it has agreed to hold talks with the United States in an effort to break a stalemate on the North's promise to fully declare its nuclear weapons. The North's official Korean Central News Agency said today that the two sides had "an in-depth discussion" in Geneva last week on their differences about a six-nation disarmament deal. The agency says both countries agreed to meet face-to-face and continue the discussion to seek ways of ending the impasse. Chief U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill said last week he had a good meeting with the North Koreans, but reached no agreement.
WORLD ECONOMY: Asian and European stock markets are mostly higher today after heavy losses Monday. The key markets in Tokyo and Hong Kong closed up one-and-a-half percent, but the Chinese market in Shanghai was down nearly four percent. European markets all opened higher. The dollar is lower against the yen and the euro on speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut its benchmark interest rate at least one percentage point later today. Financial markets are also waiting for earnings reports today from two major investment firms - Goldman Sachs Group and Lehman Brothers.
US - RUSSIA: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with Russian opposition politicians and Kremlin critics in Moscow today. Rice told guests she wanted to know what the United States could do to make Russia a more open political system. Rice and Gates are in Moscow for talks on plans for a European-based U.S. missile defense system. Gates says he was surprised at the positive tone of his meeting Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his designated successor Dmitri Medvedev.
US SUPREME COURT: The U.S. Supreme Court today considers a landmark case concerning the right of Americans to possess guns. The Court is hearing arguments on whether to strike down or uphold Washington, D.C.'s ban on handgun ownership and strict rules regarding the storage of rifles and shotguns. The decision could have wide impact because it may clarify for the first time what the "the right to bear arms" means in the U.S. Constitution's second amendment. Supporters of gun rights say the constitutional amendment is an endorsement of the individual's right to own a gun.
US SPACE SHUTTLE: Astronauts at the International Space Station have finished installing a Canadian robotic device to help with future maintenance and construction at the orbiting facility. Two crew members of the U.S. shuttle Endeavour took a seven-hour space walk to assemble the robotic maintenance man, called Dextre, which is attached to the end of the space station's crane. Astronauts also set up scientific experiments for various nations, though difficulties with one project saw it returned to the loading bay instead of being installed on the outside of the station.
KOSOVO - UN: A Ukrainian serving in the U.N. police force in Kosovo has died from injuries he sustained while trying to put down rioting on Monday. A Kosovo police spokesman announced the death this morning, but did not give details. The violence in the northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica erupted when U.N. police and NATO peacekeepers evicted Serbs who took over a U.N. courthouse last week. Serb protesters threw rocks and gasoline bombs. Witnesses say the Serbs also tossed grenades and shot at police who responded with tear gas and stun guns.
PAKISTAN - POLITICS: The party of slain former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto has nominated a woman to be speaker of the National Assembly. Fahmida Mirza will become the first woman speaker of parliament in the country's 60 year history if elected in a vote expected to be held Wednesday. On Monday, Pakistan's National Assembly held its first session since President Pervez Musharraf's allies lost last month's parliamentary elections. Ms. Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party won the most seats in the parliamentary elections.
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