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
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
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
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
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
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.
Listen to our World News for details.