US ECONOMY: U.S. lawmakers and the president are close to a deal to prevent the possible collapse of the country's ailing auto industry.
Senior congressional aides say (late Friday) the deal
would give the so-called Big Three automakers -- General Motors, Ford
and Chrysler -- 15 billion to 17 billion dollars in loans.
They say the money would be enough to keep the companies operating for
at least the next few months, and that it would come from an existing,
multi-billion-dollar program aimed at helping the automakers produce
more fuel-efficient cars.
OBAMA - ECONOMY: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama says Americans can retake control of
their "economic destiny," despite a recession that has cost the country
nearly two million jobs.
In his weekly radio address today, the
president-elect says the ailing economy has left many Americans feeling
frustrated. But he says his economic recovery plan will put people back
to work and make the United States stronger.
Mr. Obama says he will launch a "massive effort" to make public
buildings more energy efficient, invest heavily in roads and
infrastructure, and upgrade school buildings.
INDIA - ATTACKS: Indian police have detained two men, accusing them of helping the terrorists carry out last week's deadly attacks in Mumbai. A senior police official says toda the men were arrested Friday in the eastern city of Kolkata (also known as Calcutta). He says they are charged with buying mobile phone cards (also known as SIM, or Subscriber Identity Modules) used by the terrorists during the attack, which killed more than 170 people. Indian officials say the cards enabled the terrorists to talk to their commanders in Pakistan during the attacks.
PAKISTAN VIOLENCE: Pakistani security officials say a suspected U.S. drone has carried out an airstrike in Pakistan's northwest tribal region, killing at least three people. Local officials and witnesses said the drone fired at least one missile at a home in the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan Friday. Pakistan's government has accused the United States of carrying out missile strikes in the past, which the U.S. has neither confirmed nor denied. Pakistani leaders have criticized the attacks as violations of Pakistan's sovereignty. The missile strike took place hours after a deadly car bombing in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
NOKOR NUCLEAR: North Korea says it will no longer recognize Japan as a member of the six-party disarmament talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear programs. In a statement issued today, the North's foreign ministry said it will not "treat Japan as a party to the talks" or deal with Japanese officials if they show up at the meetings. The move was in response to Tokyo's refusal to provide its share of energy aid promised to Pyongyang. On Monday, envoys from the United States, the two Koreas, China, Russia and Japan are due to open a new round of talks in Beijing aimed at ending the isolated communist country's nuclear program in exchange for energy aid and other benefits.
PHILIPPINES VIOLENCE: Philippine authorities say at least 17 people were killed when police
clashed with suspected robbers in the capital, Manila.
Officials said a shoot-out took place late Friday as police were
following a gang on their way to rob a warehouse in the suburb of
Pananaque. Police chief Leopoldo Bataoil said the gunmen, some armed
with M-16 rifles fitted with grenade launchers, "went berserk (crazy)"
when they discovered they were being followed, and started firing
Among the dead were at least 10 members of the gang, a police officer
and four bystanders.
ZIMBABWE: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says world powers must tell Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe "enough is enough" amid a cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 600 people. Mr. Brown said the crisis in Zimbabwe is now an international rather than national emergency. His comments today echoed those of other world leaders who said their patience with Mr. Mugabe is at an end. However, Mr. Brown stopped short of joining the United State's call for Mr. Mugabe to step down. United Nations aid agencies say they are facing enormous difficulties in containing the outbreak.
BUSH - IRAQ: U.S. President George Bush says the Middle East is a freer, more
hopeful place than it was when he took office in 2001. At the same
time, he cautions that his successor, President-elect Barack Obama,
will inherit threats from Iran's nuclear program, an unfinished
Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, and a fragile democracy in Iraq.
In remarks delivered Friday at a Washington forum,
Mr. Bush defended his administration's efforts in the region,
highlighting the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq.
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