THAILAND - PROTEST: Thailand's army commander has urged the government of Prime Minister
Somchai Wongsawat to step aside and call a new election to resolve the
country's political crisis.
Speaking today after a meeting of military,
government and business leaders, General Anupong Paojinda said the
military was not staging a coup. He also ordered anti-government
protesters to leave Bangkok's international airport and end their
campaign against the government.
His suggestions were quickly rejected by both the prime minister's office and protest leaders.
OBAMA - DEFENSE CHIEF: U.S. officials say Defense Secretary Robert Gates has agreed to stay in
his job when President-elect Barack Obama takes office in January.
Officials familiar with the discussions tell media that Gates will
remain in the post for at least one year. There was no immediate
confirmation on the reports Tuesday from the Obama transition team or
the Defense Department.
Gates is a Republican who has served in President George Bush's
administration for two years. The 65-year-old Gates also served as
director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Mr. Bush's father,
former President George H. W. Bush.
US ECONOMY: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is expected to name more appointees to his economic team today.
The Wall Street Journal newspaper reports that Mr. Obama will name
former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker to head a new economic
This week, Mr. Obama has already identified several people he wants to
hold key economic posts in his administration, including his choice for
Treasury Secretary (Timothy Geithner) and a Congressional Budget Director (Peter Orszag).
He has also announced plans for a new economic stimulus package that
could cost as much as 500-billion dollars, and which he hopes will
create or save two-and-a-half million jobs over a two year period.
WORLD ECONOMY: China's central bank is slashing interest rates for the fourth time
since September in an effort to boost economic growth.
The People's Bank of China today said it is lowering the
key one-year lending rate by more than one percent (to
five-point-five-eight percent). The bank is also reducing the amount of
money that banks must hold in reserves. Both moves are designed to
The European Union is unveiling a new economic stimulus plan today that
is expected to ask its 27-members to coordinate efforts to revive their
IRAQ: Iraqi parliamentarians are set to vote on a security deal with the United States that will allow American troops to remain in the country for another three years. Iraqi Shi'ite and Kurdish parties have enough votes to secure narrow passage of the agreement in the 275-member assembly. But they are urging parliament's main Sunni faction, the Iraqi Accordance Front, to back the deal to give it greater legitimacy. Members of the Sunni faction said they would support the agreement if parliament passes political reforms giving them a greater say in political decisions.
CHINA - RIOT: Hundreds of laid-off workers have trashed offices and overturned a police car at a toy factory in southern China. Officials say today about 500 people rioted at the Kaida toy factory in China's Guangdong province late Tuesday following a pay dispute, while a thousand people watched. Chinese state media report many of the workers had been told they were being fired, and were unhappy with their severance payments. Some workers say the company offered to pay them just one month's wages, about 140-dollars, even though they had worked there for many years.
KOREAS - TENSIONS: South Korea says nine officials at an industrial enclave in North Korea
will leave Friday, as relations between the two countries continue to
A spokesman for Seoul's Unification Ministry (Kim Ho-nyoun) says today the move is designed to comply with North Korea's
request to shut down the jointly operated industrial park in Kaesong.
The industrial park near the border between the two countries was built
as a symbol of reconciliation. It hosts nearly 90 South Korean
companies, which employ more than 33-thousand North Korean workers.
Listen to our World News for details.