BURMA: International aid groups say they are struggling to get humanitarian assistance to areas in Burma that were devastated by last Saturday's deadly cyclone. The U.N. World Food Program says as many as one million people may have been left homeless with some villages almost completely destroyed. The International Red Cross has called Cyclone Nargis a monumental disaster and has made an initial appeal for nearly six-million dollars in aid to help victims in Burma, following what it calls the deadliest storm since 1991.
US POLITICS: U.S. Senator Barack Obama has taken a major step toward securing the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, with a convincing win in the North Carolina primary and a strong showing in Indiana. The Illinois senator trounced New York Senator Hillary Clinton in North Carolina Tuesday by a wide margin (56-percent to 42-percent), a win that gives him a large chunk of the state's 115 pledged delegates. The win represented a major turnaround for Obama's campaign, which had been overshadowed for several days by the controversy over his former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
RUSSIA POLITICS: Dmitry Medvedev has been sworn in as Russia's new president. He took the oath of office at an inaugural ceremony today at the Kremlin. Soon after, Mr. Medvedev nominated his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, to be prime minister. Russia's parliament must confirm the appointment. Approval is virtually certain because parliament is dominated by Mr. Putin's political party. Mr. Medvedev has said he will continue all of Mr. Putin's policies, but has made it clear that as president, he will determine foreign policy. However, Russian political analysts believe Mr. Putin will remain an influential figure who could appear to be more co-president instead of prime minister.
CHINA - JAPAN: The leaders of China and Japan have agreed to hold regular face-to-face meetings in the interest of restoring and improving relations. Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda made the pledge today as they ended a summit in Tokyo. In a joint statement, the two leaders promised to hold regular bilateral meetings between the Asian powerhouses, including leadership summits and talks at international gatherings. During a joint press conference, Mr. Hu and Mr. Fukuda said the two nations were close to reaching an agreement on the long-standing territorial dispute over the East China Sea and its abundant undersea natural gas reserves.
SOUTH KOREA - US - BEEF: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak says his government will immediately suspend imports of beef from the United States if the public's health is in danger. Seoul agreed to fully re-open its markets to American-produced beef last month, ending a five-year ban after a single case of the fatal brain disease known as "mad cow disease" was discovered in the U.S. But there has been mounting public pressure to renegotiate the deal because of fears over mad cow disease. An Internet petition calling for Mr. Lee's impeachment has collected more than one million signatures.
LEBANON - HEZBOLLAH: Protesters from Lebanon's Hezbollah-led opposition clashed with supporters of the country's Western-backed government today, as a strike paralyzed large parts of Beirut. Reports say a grenade thrown into a crowd slightly injured two soldiers and three civilians. Security forces were deployed to prevent clashes during the anti-government labor strike, which was called to demand pay raises. Hezbollah supporters enforced the strike, blocking streets in Beirut with burning tires.
INDIA - MISSILE TEST: India says it has test fired its longest-range nuclear capable missile, which can reach targets up to three-thousand kilometers away. Officials say the surface-to-surface Agni-Three missile was launched today from Wheelers' Island off the coast of Orissa. The 16-meter-long missile is capable of reaching targets deep inside China. Defense officials say a detailed analysis must be performed before they can determine the test's success. The is the third test of the Agni-Three missile in less than two years.
ZIMBABWE - ELECTION: Zimbabwe state media say the country's ruling and opposition parties have each filed court petitions challenging some of the parliamentary results from last month's general elections. The Herald newspaper says that President Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is challenging the results of 53 of the 210 seats, claiming that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) bribed election officials. The report says the MDC is disputing the outcome of 52 seats, alleging that the ruling party bought votes and interfered with the voting process.
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