US - OBAMA: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is meeting today with his
economic team in Chicago and hold his first news conference since
winning the election.
Mr. Obama is about 10 weeks from taking office and inheriting the
country's worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Speculation
is mounting about his administration choices, including Treasury
secretary, which he is expected to announce soon. Mr. Obama's pick for
chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, accepted the job
Thursday. Emanuel is an Illinois congressman who also served under
former President Bill Clinton.
WORLD ECONOMY: International markets are bracing for the latest U.S. unemployment figures in a report due to be released today in Washington. Experts believe the report from the U.S. Labor Department will show the nation's economy shed 200-thousand jobs in October, sending the unemployment rate to over six-percent. It would be the highest jobless rate since 2003. The expected bad news follows on the heels of a report issued Thursday by the International Monetary Fund that said world economic growth will slow from five percent in 2007 to just over two percent in 2009.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani security officials say a suspected U.S. missile strike today has killed at least 10 people near the Afghan border. They said the strike occurred in the North Waziristan tribal area in Pakistan's volatile northwest. U.S. officials have not commented on the incident. Earlier this week, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the next U.S. president should stop missile attacks on insurgents in Pakistani territory. U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said last month that if U.S. forces have top al-Qaida members in their sights and if Pakistan is "unwilling or unable" to act, he would order unilateral strikes.
MALAYSIA - BLOGGER: A popular Malaysian blogger and stern critic of the ruling government
has been released after being held for two months under the country's
strict internal security law.
Raja Petra Kamaruddin [pron. Rah-jah Peh-trah Kah-mah-roo-din] was
freed today after appearing before the Shah Alam High Court
near Kuala Lumpur.
Raja Petra's lawyer says the high court's justice ruled that Home
Minister Syed Hamid Albar had acted outside his authority in ordering
the blogger's arrest in September. The founder of the "Malaysia Today"
website was accused of posting
comments that allegedly insulted Islam.
TAIWAN - CHINA: A Chinese delegation has concluded an historic five-day visit to Taiwan
where Beijing's representatives signed landmark agreements and faced
Before he flew back to Beijing early today,
China's envoy Chen Yunlin said the road to improving relations between
China and Taiwan will be long. But he said both sides can share the
During his five-minute meeting with Chen on Thursday, Taiwanese
President Ma Ying-jeou stressed that the two sides still have
significant differences over Taiwan's security and international
CHINA - CLIMATE CHANGE: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is calling on the world's wealthiest nations
to alter their "unsustainable" lifestyles to combat climate change.
Mr. Wen made the plea today at the start of a two-day
conference on climate change jointly sponsored by Beijing and the
The Chinese leader also repeated his nation's call for the world's
developed nations to help poorer nations obtain technologies aimed at
reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The gases trap heat from the sun
that would otherwise reflect back into space.
CHINA - AUSTRIA: Austria has posthumously honored Chinese diplomat Ho Feng Shan, who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis.
Diplomats from Israel, the United States and China attended a ceremony
unveiling two plaques at the building that once housed the Chinese
consulate in Vienna.
Between 1938 and 1940, Ho gave thousands of Austrian Jews visas to
Shanghai, saving them from certain death at the hands of the Nazis.
Chinese Charge d'Affaires Wang Shunqing Thursday called Ho a brave and
kindhearted man who is respected by Jews around the world.
US - MIDEAST: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to head to the
West Bank today as part of her tour of the Middle East.
Rice will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a day after
she met with Israeli officials in Israel.
At a press conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
Thursday, Rice pledged to continue U.S. efforts for an
Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. But she conceded that any deal
between the two sides is unlikely by the end of the year.
Livni promised to pursue negotiations with the Palestinians.
Listen to our World News for details.