WORLD ECONOMY: U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says the U.S. government is prepared to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in a major intervention aimed at easing the global credit crisis.Lawmakers and Bush administration officials are meeting in Washington to work out the details of the rescue program. On Friday, Democrats and Republicans said they had agreed on the broad outlines of the plan for the government to purchase bad loans from financial institutions that face collapse as a result of a housing market crisis.
CHINA - MILK: China's State Council, or Cabinet, has urged all-out efforts to save babies poisoned by tainted baby milk powder, ordering all dairy products to be checked and problems to be corrected.The official Xinhua news agency said the State Council circulated a statement Friday saying doctors should provide free examinations and treatment for babies who have gotten kidney stones from drinking tainted milk.
PAKISTAN VIOLENCE: Officials in Pakistan say at least four people have been killed in a bomb attack on an army convoy in the country's northwest.Military officials said today's attack in North Waziristan was likely caused by a suicide bomb.No group has yet claimed responsibility for the explosion.Separately, police said Friday an explosion killed five people at an Islamic school in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province.At least 10 others were wounded in the blast. Most of the victims were students.
AFRICA - FOOD CRISIS: The United Nations humanitarian chief says nearly 17 million people in the Horn of Africa are in urgent need of food. The U.N.'s John Holmes said Friday that a crippling drought, soaring food prices and conflict have devastated the region. Holmes said if donors do not provide 715 million dollars for food aid very quickly, the Horn of Africa could suffer a famine.He said the U.N. has raised a little less than half of the one-point-four billion dollars needed to respond to the emergency this year.
NIGERIA UNREST: Nigerian militants say they have attacked another pipeline in their so-called "oil war" in the southern Niger Delta.The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta announced today that its fighters destroyed an oil pipeline run by the local branch of Royal Dutch Shell in Rivers state late Friday.The claim has not been independently verified.In an e-mailed statement, the group said it will continue to "nibble" every day at the oil infrastructure in Nigeria until oil exports reach zero.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: Russia's foreign ministry says Moscow is opposed to the United Nations taking new measures against Iran for its controversial nuclear program.The ministry said today that it is necessary to continue efforts to include Tehran in a constructive dialogue to push the negotiating process forward.On Friday, senior officials from the United States, Russia, France, Britain, China and Germany, failed to reach a consensus on possible new sanctions during a meeting in Washington.US - RELIGIOUS FREEDOM REPORT: A new report from the U.S. State Department says an intergovernmental organization of Islamic countries has worked to weaken religious freedom protections.In its annual religious freedom report issued Friday, the State Department says the Organization of the Islamic Conference declared in 2007 that it does not recognize the right of individuals to freely change religions.It says the OIC, which includes 57 states with significant Muslim populations, has also passed measures through the United Nations that protect against defamation of Islam.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM SDBR: EAST ASIA: The United States says Burma, China and North Korea have continued to engage in or tolerate severe violations of religious freedom over the past year.The U.S. State Department, in an annual religious freedom report released Friday, listed the three East Asian nations as countries of particular concern, as it has for the past several years. The U.S. ambassador for religious freedom, John Hanford, said North Korea continues to be one of the world's worst violators of religious freedom.
ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: The Israeli army says its troops have shot and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy who threw a small firebomb at them near a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.The army says the shooting took place today near the Yitzhar settlement, where clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians have erupted in recent weeks.Residents in the area say the victim's brother was killed by Israeli troops in 2002, after shooting and wounding soldiers near Yitzhar.
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