US POLITICS: U.S. presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama are appearing
in several key states as they push through the final days to the
Republican McCain is holding rallies in Virginia and Pennsylvania while
his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is
making stops in North Carolina and Florida. McCain also plans to appear
on the late night television comedy program "Saturday Night Live."
Obama is delivering the weekly Democratic radio address today
and appearing in Colorado, Missouri and Nevada.
WORLD ECONOMY: Economic reports Friday showed more evidence of a global slowdown.
The U.S. Commerce Department said U.S. consumer spending suffered its sharpest decline in four years in September.
The global financial crisis also has made shoppers in Germany --
Europe's largest economy -- hesitant to spend. German officials say
retail sales fell more than two percent in September, a huge shift from
August, when sales increased by almost the same amount.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said Friday the world financial
system needs an overhaul.
AFGHANISTAN: The U.S. military in Afghanistan says its troops killed at least 19
militants in raids targeting an al-Qaida commander and Taliban fighters
in the south of the country.
In an official statement today, the military
said one female fighter was among those killed in operations in Khost
and Kunar provinces. One Friday raid was aimed at a Taliban bomb-making
cell and the other hit an al-Qaida leader believed to have helped move
foreign fighters and weapons into Afghanistan.
IRAQ: A count of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq shows the month of October tied
for the fewest fatalities since the war began.
A website that compiles casualty figures released by military
authorities (icasualties.org) says 13 Americans were killed in October.
The site says there were also 13 U.S. fatalities in July.
U.S. officials said the reductions in casualties reflect improved
security in Iraq.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Friday he will
share the details of a proposed U.S.-Iraq security pact with Iraq's
LEBANON - ISRAEL: The Lebanese army says it has captured two members of a spying network suspected of working for Israel.
In a statement issued today, the army did not
identify the two suspects, but did say they possessed high-tech cameras
and communication devices. The army added that the suspects confessed
to gathering information about Lebanese politicians and their parties.
Lebanese authorities detained the two after investigations in the Bekaa
Valley, an area in eastern Lebanon considered to be a stronghold of the
Shi'ite militant group, Hezbollah.
DRC - FIGHTING: Officials from the United Nations and African Union are calling for a
regional summit in an effort to end the crisis in the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
A U.N. statement says that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and AU
Chairman (and Tanzanian President) Jakaya Kikwete suggested the meeting
during telephone talks on Friday.
The statement says Mr. Ban, who is in Asia, has urged diplomats from
the United States, Europe and Africa to do all they can to bring
parties to a neutral venue for negotiations.
ZAMBIA ELECTION: Zambian opposition leader Michael Sata is maintaining a narrow lead
over acting President Rupiah Banda in partial results from the
country's presidential election.
The latest results show Sata about 30-thousand votes ahead of Mr.
Banda, with more than a million votes counted so far. Two other
candidates are trailing far behind.
Those results are based on tallies from more than 100 of Zambia's 150
constituencies. Political analysts say early returns have come from
urban areas considered strongholds of Sata, and that Mr. Banda may
Listen to our World News for details.