INDIA - PAKISTAN - US: Pakistan's president has assured U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice that he will take "strong action " against anyone in Pakistan who
was involved in last week's deadly terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
President Asif Ali Zardari also says Pakistan will not allow its
territory to be used for acts of terrorism. Mr. Zardari's office issued
the statement today following his meeting with Secretary Rice in Islamabad.
Rice says she believes Pakistan is committed to fighting terrorism.
Before arriving in Islamabad, Rice had urged Pakistan to mount a
"robust" response to the Mumbai attacks. She flew to Pakistan after
similar, high level talks in New Delhi on Wednesday.
US ECONOMY: The heads of the big three U.S. automakers are to testify before a U.S. Senate committee today, to make the case for why the government should spend 34 billion dollars to bail them out. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are reporting their worst sales in 26 years. GM and Chrysler say they may be out of business by February without government help. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, tells the Associated Press there are not enough Senate votes at this time to bail out the carmakers. All three have submitted plans for rebuilding their businesses, severely hurt by the global recession, a lack of consumer credit, and selling large gas-guzzling cars many customers no longer want.
US - CHINA - ECON: China is urging the United States to stabilize its economy, as the two
nations begin a new round high-level bilateral economic talks in
During his opening remarks today at the
Strategic Economic Dialogue, Vice-Premier Wang Quishan also called on
the United States to protect China's American assets. China's holds
much of its two trillion dollars of currency reserves in U.S. Treasury
Wang says China is taking steps to boost domestic demand and transform
its economic growth model. It recently announced a 586 billion dollar
stimulus package, focused mainly on the construction of public works
projects to create more jobs.
THAILAND POL: An illness has prevented Thailand's revered monarch from delivering his
annual pre-birthday speech, as the nation seeks an end to its long
political crisis. King Bhumidol Adulyadej's traditional radio address
was set for today, the eve of his 81st birthday. But Crown
Prince Varjiralongkorn told listeners his father is suffering from a
mild illness. Crown Princess Sirindhorn later said her father has a
throat problem that has left him barely able to eat. The speech was to
be delivered days after anti-government protesters
ended more than six months of demonstrations that included a takeover
of the prime minister's compound and Bangkok's main (Suvarnabhumi
UN - ASIA HUNGER: The World Food Program has announced it is committing 15 million dollars to help feed hungry children and their families in seven countries across Asia. Officials made the announcement Wednesday in Hong Kong, at a meeting of businesspeople and philanthropists organized by the Clinton Global Initiative, the charity organization formed by former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Attendees at the meeting committed to raising more than four million dollars, in addition to the pledge by the World Food Program. In a video message played for the opening of the conference Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the world faces accelerating climate change, persistent poverty and unacceptable levels of hunger.
VIETNAM - ECONOMY: The International Monetary Fund says Vietnam's economy will decline to
five percent next year, ending years of consistent growth for the
IMF official Shogo Ishii made the prediction today at
a donors conference in the capital Hanoi. Ishii says Vietnam should a
expect a slowdown in demand for exports and foreign investment, due to
the current global economic crisis.
He says Vietnam's medium-term outlook remains favorable, but urges the
government to address a number of challenges, including weaknesses in
the banking and corporate sectors.
Vietnam's economy has grown by seven percent or more for the past
decade, reaching eight-point-five percent in 2007.
ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe is asking for international help to deal with a Cholera outbreak that has killed 565 people and the collapse of the national health system. State run media says the health minister told a meeting of aid groups Thursday the epidemic and the breakdown of the medical system are national emergencies. He said the country's hospitals are not functioning and urgently need international assistance. Cholera spread after water was cut off in the capital Harare for three days because the sanitation department ran out of purification chemicals. The government is asking for nearly four-million dollars to buy two months supply of water treatment products.
IRAQ: A top U.S. commander in Iraq says the number of deadly attacks in the
country fell in November to the lowest level since the beginning of the
U.S.-led war in 2003.
Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin Wednesday attributed the fall in
violence to an increased number of Iraqi security forces on the
streets. He said the killing or capture of a number of key figures from
al-Qaida and Shi'ite extremist groups also significantly degraded their
ability to plan, resource and execute their attacks.
Also Wednesday, the U.S. military said coalition forces captured two suspected members of an alleged Iranian-backed network.
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