ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

White House, Congressional Democrats Strike Deal on Auto Aid


US - ECONOMY: The Bush administration and Democratic lawmakers have reached a tentative agreement to provide the struggling U.S. auto industry with 15-billion dollars in emergency loans. The agreement was reached late Tuesday night after several days of intense negotiations. The deal would give General Motors and Chrysler -- two of the three so-called "Big Three" automakers -- an immediate infusion of cash to keep them in business for the next few months. Ford Motor Company, the other member of the "Big Three," says it does not need an immediate cash transfusion, but has asked for a nine-billion dollar line of credit.

WORLD ECONOMY: The World Bank says East Asian economies will face slower growth in 2009, a prediction that mirrors the institution's forecast for the global economy. A report issued by the Washington-based bank today says economic growth in the region, with the exception of Japan, will fall to just over five percent next year, from an expected seven percent this year. The World Bank says East Asia is better prepared to handle the current economic crisis than other regions in the world, thanks to policies enacted after the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

INDIA - ATTACKS: Pakistan's prime minister has confirmed that Pakistani police are holding two leaders of a militant group India says was behind last month's attacks in Mumbai. Yousuf Raza Gilani said today that Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah are in detention. Both are accused of belonging to the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba group. There were reports of Lakhvi's arrest earlier this week, but the Pakistani government only confirmed the detentions today. India has been stepping up pressure on Pakistan to do more to crack down on those responsible for the attacks that killed more than 170 people.

AFGHAN - VIOLENCE: Authorities in Afghanistan say U.S. soldiers have accidentally killed six Afghan police officers and one civilian. U.S. and Afghan officials said U.S. soldiers fired on a police station in the city of Qalat (in Zabul province) today. It was not clear how the firefight between the soldiers and the police broke out. The police station collapsed during the fight. Thirteen Afghans were wounded during the battle. Authorities said the soldiers were carrying out an anti-militant operation when the fighting started.

NOKOR NUCLEAR: Envoys to talks on North Korea's nuclear program have a third day of meetings today in Beijing. The negotiators are expected to share their reactions to a draft document prepared by China on procedures international inspectors could use to verify the disablement of North Korea's nuclear facilities. Envoys from China, Japan, Russia, the United States and North and South Korea discussed the draft Tuesday during separate bilateral meetings. Christopher Hill, the chief U.S. envoy to the talks, told reporters the negotiators must decide whether the proposal is "a draft everyone can work on."

US - NOKOR - FOOD: The United States has requested permission from North Korea to send more personnel to monitor food aid deliveries through the United Nations World Food Program. A U.S. State Department spokesman said Tuesday the U.N. agency and others in the international community share Washington's concerns about the need to verify that food aid reaches hungry North Koreans. He declined to confirm a published report Tuesday that said U.S. food deliveries through the World Food Program have stalled because of the monitoring issue.

MALAYSIA - DETAINEES: Authorities in Malaysia have released at least five suspected terrorists who have been detained for years without trial, including one believed to be involved in the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar says the suspects were released between late November and early December. Among them was Yazid Sufaat, an former Malaysian military officer who has been held since 2001. He allegedly allowed two of the hijackers involved in the September 11th attacks to stay at his apartment.

US - ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: The governor of (the central U.S. state of) Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, was arrested at his Chicago home Tuesday after prosecutors said he was caught on wiretaps scheming to sell the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. The governor was later released on 45-hundred dollars bond. FBI agents arrested the Democratic governor on corruption charges and took him away while his family was still asleep. His chief of staff, John Harris, was arrested separately. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said investigators intercepted telephone calls and recorded conversations that directly implicated the Democratic governor.

ZIMBABWE - CHOLERA: The United Nations says the death toll from a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe has risen to 746. The U.N. humanitarian office said today the total number of suspected cases reported in the southern African country has risen to more than 15-thousand-500 since the start of the outbreak in August. The U.N. last reported on December 5th that 589 people had died from cholera and almost 13-hundred were sick. The latest figures follow a warning from the World Health Organization Tuesday that the total number of cholera cases could reach 60-thousand unless the epidemic is stopped.

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