US - OBAMA: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama says Americans must put political
differences aside and swiftly work together to solve the economic
In a radio address today, Mr. Obama said he wanted to ensure
that his administration "hits the ground running" (gets to work
immediately) when he is inaugurated on January 20th. On Friday, in his
first news conference since winning the election, Mr.
Obama said that immediately after taking office he will confront the
"greatest economic challenge of our lifetime." He said he will take the
necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help working families and
On Monday, Mr. Obama will meet with President George Bush to discuss
the transfer of power.
US - MIDEAST: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to continue peace
talks today in the West Bank with Palestinian officials.
Before the talks, Rice toured the West Bank town of Jenin with
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Israel once referred to Jenin as the "capital of suicide bombers." Last
May, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas deployed soldiers trained
under a multi-million dollar U.S. program into the town to stop
Israel also conducts raids in Jenin to capture militants and find bomb
factories. Palestinian officials complain that these Israeli measures
undermine their ability to win the confidence of the people and restore
law and order.
BRITAIN - THAILAND: Airline officials say Britain has revoked the visas of Thailand's ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Pojaman.
British officials would not comment, but media reports today
said the British Embassy in Bangkok sent an e-mail to airlines advising
them not to transport the couple to Britain from any port.
Thaksin, ousted in a 2006 military coup, jumped bail in early August
and fled to Britain, where he has been living in exile. He has since
been sentenced in absentia to two years in prison for corruption.
Thai prosecutors have said they would seek Thaksin's extradition.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani security officials say suspected Taliban militants have
killed two Afghan men, accusing them of spying for U.S. forces.
Officials said the militants left the bodies on a road in the North Waziristan tribal area of Pakistan's volatile northwest.
On Friday, Pakistani officials said a suspected U.S. missile strike in the region killed at least 13 people.
They said missiles believed to be fired from an unmanned U.S. (drone) aircraft
targeted a suspected Taliban militant compound in the tribal area. The
officials said some of those killed were foreign militants, but their
identities are not yet clear. There has been no independent
confirmation of the casualty figures.
EU - FINANCE: European Union leaders have agreed to push for a set of tough
regulatory reforms at next week's world financial summit in Washington.
The EU will seek more powers for the International Monetary Fund, and
stiffer regulation of large international banks, credit-rating agencies
and hedge funds, as well as a crackdown on risk-taking and bankers' pay.
EU leaders on Friday also announced their support for a second summit within 100 days of the November 15 meeting.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating EU
presidency, told reporters the 27 leaders, meeting in Brussels, had
agreed on the need for a fully coordinated political and economic
response to the crisis.
DRC - FIGHTING: Leaders of Africa's Great Lakes region have called for an immediate
cease-fire and the creation of aid corridors in the eastern Democratic
Republic of Congo.
At the summit in Nairobi, Kenya Friday, Congo's
president, Joseph Kabila, met with his Rwandan counterpart, Paul
Kagame. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged them to
continue their dialogue and warned the conflict risks spilling over
into the wider region.
The two African leaders have traded accusations over the recent
fighting, which continued Friday near a camp for displaced people, just
north of the eastern city of Goma.
Congo's government accuses Rwanda of backing the ethnic Tutsi rebels.
RUSSIA - EU - US: French President Nicolas Sarkozy has expressed "strong concern" about
Russia's announcement of plans to station missiles near the Polish
Mr. Sarkozy, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating
presidency, was responding to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev's
statement that Moscow intends to deploy the missiles to counter a
planned U.S. missile defense system in Eastern Europe.
The European Union released a statement Friday saying the Russian move
will do nothing to improve European security and will curb future
U.S. officials say they have tried hard to address Russian concerns
about the missile defense system, and called Mr. Medvedev's decision
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