WORLD ECONOMY: World leaders are meeting in Washington today to craft an
action plan aimed at fixing the global economic crisis and problems
that led to it.
U.S. President George Bush opened the summit with a White House dinner
Friday, telling the leaders that billions of people around the world
are counting on them to stabilize the financial system. Mr. Bush said a
solution will require the international community to work together and
warned the crisis will not be fixed overnight.
Formal talks at the G-20 (Group of 20) summit begin today and will include leaders from the world's major industrial nations and
WORLD ECON SBRA - ASIA: Japan is offering to lend up to 100 billion dollars to the
International Monetary Fund to help nations hit hard by the global
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso announced the IMF loan offer Friday before joining (Group of 20)
world leaders in Washington to discuss how to tackle the economic
turmoil. Japan has almost one trillion dollars of foreign currency
reserves it can draw upon to support the IMF.
The IMF recently provided emergency loans to Iceland, Hungary and
Ukraine worth more than 30 billion dollars to support their ailing
AFGHANISTAN: The U.S. military says coalition troops in Afghanistan killed 10 militants linked to al-Qaida, including foreign fighters. A military statement says the attack took place today in eastern Afghanistan during an operation against a militant network known to carry out bomb attacks. The statement says the network is run Afghan militant leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, who authorities believe operates out of neighboring Pakistan. The U.S. alleges the Haqqani network has ties to al-Qaida and Pakistani intelligence agents.
SRI LANKA: The Sri Lankan military says its forces have seized control of a key village held by Tamil Tiger rebels.
Authorities say forces captured the strategic village of Pooneryn along the island's northwest coast.
The military can use Pooneryn to more easily access the Jaffna peninsula.
It is not possible to confirm the military's claim because the Sri
Lankan government has banned journalists from the conflict zone.
Sri Lankan forces have stepped-up a military campaign to push the Tigers from rebel-held territory in the north.
Tamil rebels, the country's ethnic minority group, have been fighting for an independent homeland since 1983.
TAIWAN CORRUPTION: Taiwan prosecutors say they have questioned the wife of jailed former President Chen Shui-bian as part of a corruption investigation. Prosecutors say Wu Shu-chen was questioned today about corruption allegations that led to Mr. Chen's detention Wednesday. Taiwan's wheelchair-bound former first lady was indicted two years ago on charges of embezzling money from a special presidential fund. Authorities jailed Mr. Chen on suspicion of embezzlement, money laundering, taking bribes and forgery. He denies the allegations and has been on a hunger strike for four days to protest his detention.
US - OBAMA - TRANSITION: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is considering two former rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination to serve as the top U.S. diplomat Officials with the Democratic party say Senator Hillary Clinton is among the candidates Mr. Obama is considering for secretary of state. Officials say Mr. Obama met with the former first lady Thursday in Chicago. Officials say the president-elect also met with another former rival for the nomination, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, in Chicago on Friday. The former energy secretary is also said to be considered for the post.
DRC UNREST: The U.N. special envoy to eastern Congo, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, is in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa for talks aimed at averting a regional war. Following a meeting with the Democratic Republic of Congo's President, Joseph Kabila, Mr. Obasanjo will fly today to the eastern part of the country for talks with rebel leader Laurent Nkunda. His forces have been fighting the Congolese army. Aid workers in eastern Congo have for the first time in weeks been able to deliver food to tens of thousands of people displaced by violence.
THAILAND - FUNERAL: Thousands of mourners have gathered in the Thai capital to pay their respects to Princess Galyani, elder sister of King Bhumibol Adulaydej, who died earlier this year at the age of 84. The lavish funeral ceremony began early today with a procession bearing the princess's remains inside an urn through the streets of Bangkok to a specially built crematorium. The royal funeral will cost several million dollars. Galyani died of cancer in January. A lull in political protests is expected during a three-day mourning period that began on Friday.
US STUTTLE: The U.S. space shuttle Endeavor is on its way to the International
Space Station, after a successful and rare night-time launch.
The shuttle took off late Friday from the Kennedy Space Center in (the
southeastern U.S. state of) Florida, carrying seven astronauts and
(more than 65-hundred kilograms) of equipment and supplies to increase
living space on the space station.
Minutes before launch, shuttle commander Chris Ferguson radioed to
flight controllers saying "it's our turn to take home improvement to a
new level." (News Updates)
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