KOREAS - TENSIONS: South Korea is expressing "deep regret" over North Korea's announcement
that it is canceling all political and military agreements between the
A spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles
relations with Pyongyang, urged the communist regime to engage in
dialogue to resolved their differences.
The regime's Korean Central News Agency issued a statement today nullifying
the accords, accusing Seoul of pushing the two countries to the brink
of war. The North is also voiding a border in the Yellow Sea that was
demarcated by a U.S.-led United Nations command at the end of the
US - ECONOMY: A new government report is expected to show the U.S. economy contracted
sharply during the last three months of 2008.
Economists predict today's report from the Commerce
Department will show the U.S. gross domestic product (-- a measure of
all the goods and services produced in the nation --) fell by more than
five percent -- the steepest drop in 26 years.
The GDP fell by one-half of one percent during the previous period.
American consumers have drastically pulled back spending, which is the
major driving force behind the U.S. economy. As a result businesses
have had to cut workers to save costs, creating a rising wave of
JAPAN - ECONOMY: The Japanese government has released figures showing its fragile
economy continues to worsen as the global recession deepens.
Industrial production plunged nine-point-six percent, the biggest drop
since the government began taking such data in 1953. Meanwhile, the
unemployment rate jumped to four-point-four (4.4) percent in December
from three-point-nine (3.9) percent the month before. It is the largest
one month increase in the unemployment rate in more than four decades.
The government also says household spending plunged nearly five percent
US - ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: The Illinois Senate has convicted Governor Rod Blagojevich of abuse of
power, voting unanimously to remove him from office on charges he tried
to sell the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama.
In a 59 to zero vote Thursday, lawmakers also barred Blagojevich from
ever holding public office in the state again. The move came after an
impeachment trial that lasted four days.
Lieutenant Governor Patrick Quinn was sworn in to replace him almost
immediately. Afterward, Governor Quinn said "the ordeal is over," and
state lawmakers broke out into applause.
CUBA - US: Cuba's former president Fidel Castro is demanding that U.S. President
Barack Obama return the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba back to
the Cuban people.
In his latest essay, published on a state Web site Thursday, Mr. Castro
said maintaining a military base in Cuba against the will of the people
violates the principles of international law.
Mr. Obama has ordered the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay
closed within a year. But Mr. Castro and his brother, President Raul
Castro, want the entire base closed and the land it occupies returned
US - GUANTANAMO: A U.S. military judge at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has rejected President
Barack Obama's request to suspend a hearing for the alleged mastermind
of the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.
Judge James Pohl denied a motion to suspend for 120 days the trial of
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi citizen of Yemeni descent. He was
quoted as saying the decision was necessary to protect "the public
interest in a speedy trial."
The Defense Department said it was reviewing the ruling. Reports say
the judge's decision could force the Pentagon to withdraw the charges
against al-Nashiri, although they could be refiled later.
ZIMBABWE - CHOLERA: The World Health Organization says more than 60-thousand people in Zimbabwe are now suffering from cholera. In figures released today the UN agency said more than 31-hundred people have died from the disease. On Thursday, the U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, visited a government clinic where western aid is helping to treat victims of the disease. McGee's visit was the first time journalists have been allowed into such medical facilities since the epidemic began in August. McGee said he does not think the outbreak will end until the government does something to assist its people.
US - CHINA: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says the incoming U.S. administration
will take a "blunter" approach in insisting that China play by
international trade rules.
But Biden said Thursday in an interview with a U.S. television network (CNBC)
that Washington will not move against China unilaterally, and will not
impose restraints on China in order to benefit the U.S. economy.
Last week, incoming Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner angered China by accusing it of manipulating its currency.
China denied the charge and warned the United States not to trigger new trade protectionism.
OBAMA SUPER BOWL: By now most sports fans know who they will be rooting for in Sunday's National Football League Super Bowl championship game, and President Barack Obama is no different. While he used a politician's touch, the president said he's pulling for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Arizona Cardinals. Steelers team owner Dan Rooney, a longtime Republican, endorsed Obama's presidential bid and campaigned for him. His spokesman also said the president would watch the game with members of Congress.
Listen to our World News for details.