TIBET - PROTESTS: The Dalai Lama says he is willing to meet with Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, to discuss the situation in Tibet once anti-government protests there have ended. The exiled spiritual leader told reporters today it was not "practical" for him to travel to Beijing at this point, but is ready to go at the first sign of a "concrete" development. China has blamed the Dalai Lama for orchestrating the protests, which broke out several days ago in the capital of Lhasa and turned violent. China ackowleged today that the anti-government riots have spread to other provinces.
TIBET SDBR - NEPAL: A human rights group is urging the government of Nepal to stop using excessive force, arbitrary arrests and harassment to silence Tibetan protesters, activists and journalists. Human Rights Watch Asian director Brad Adams said today police are violently dispersing peaceful Tibetan protesters in Nepal's capital and arbitrarily detaining increasing numbers. Adams also warned that Nepal's security forces can be held criminally accountable for physical violence against Tibetans. Nepalese forces arrested at least 20 people today as Tibetan exiles and monks tried to organize a march toward the United Nations office in the capital.
TIBET SDBR - N. KOREA: North Korea is backing China in its crackdown on anti-government protesters in Tibet. A spokesman for North Korea's foreign ministry tells the state-run news agency the demonstrations have been led by "unsavory elements" seeking Tibetan independence from China and to scuttle the upcoming Beijing Olympic games. The spokesman says Tibet is part of an "inalienable territory" of China. Beijing is North Korea's only reliable ally. It provides the isolated Communist government in Pyongyang with critical food and energy aid.
US - AFGHANISTAN: U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during an unannounced visit to Kabul today. Cheney told reporters that the U.S. and other coalition members need to have a sufficient force in Afghanistan to ensure security in the country. A spokeswoman for Cheney (Lea Anne McBride) said President Bush had asked the vice president to meet with Mr. Karzai in advance of a NATO summit next month. Cheney is also expected to meet with U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan.
BUSH - IRAN INTERVIEW: President Bush has urged the Iranian government to suspend its nuclear enrichment, saying Iran can pursue nuclear power with fuel enriched outside the country. In an interview Wednesday with VOA's Persian News Network, Mr. Bush said he supports a plan in which Russia would provide Iran with enriched fuel for civilian nuclear power. He blamed Iran's leadership for pursuing policies that isolate the country. He said Tehran has failed to meet the needs of the Iranian people, while blaming the United States for the country's problems.
BUSH - IRAQ: President Bush says he is pleased with the political situation in Iraq five years after the U.S.-led invasion of the country, but says he is not yet satisfied because there is more work to be done. In an interview Wednesday with VOA's Persian News Network, Mr. Bush said he was pleased to see a democracy movement in Iraq. But, he says one of the problems facing the country comes from what he called "negative Iranian influence," citing the exportation of Iranian weapons used by extremists inside Iraq. The president says he believes a peaceful Iraq would be in the long-term interests of the Iranian people.
IRAQ WAR PROTESTS: Thousands of protesters have rallied in cities across the United States to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In Washington, several thousand people joined demonstrations near the White House, the Capitol and the American Petroleum Institute to voice their opposition to the continuing war. Police arrested 32 people who tried to block entrances to the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington Wednesday. Protesters gathered around the building, which houses the U.S. tax collection agency, in efforts to focus attention on taxes that help fund the war.
BIN LADEN - MESSAGE: Al Qaida Terrorist Leader Osama bin Laden -- in a new message -- has warned the European Union that it will be severely punished for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in European newspapers. In an audio recording posted to an al-Qaida-affiliated Web site (al-Ekhlaas) late Wednesday, a voice said to be that of bin Laden's says publishing the cartoons was a greater offense than Western forces bombing the homes of women and children. The audio track with English subtitles is heard over a video image of bin Laden holding a rifle.
BUSH - THAILAND: President Bush has commemorated the 175th anniversary of relations between the United States and the Kingdom of Thailand. In a statement issued Wednesday, Mr. Bush said the two countries have been linked by bonds of trust, appreciation, and friendship. The statement says the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, signed on March 20, 1833, marked the first such agreement between the United States and an Asian nation. Mr. Bush said that, over the past 175 years, Washington and Bangkok have worked together on many issues, including economic development, healthcare and security.
CAMBODIA - KHMER ROUGE: The United Nations-sponsored genocide tribunal in Cambodia has rejected a request for bail for a senior member of the notorious Khmer Rouge regime. The tribunal ruled today that 81-year-old Nuon Chea must remain in custody while he awaits trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Nuon Chea was the deputy closest to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, who ruled Cambodia in a reign of terror between 1975 to 1979. He appealed to the tribunal that he was not a threat to the public, and would not attempt to leave the country.
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