US BANK BAILOUT: The Obama administration is expected to unveil new rules limiting
salaries for executives of banks who accept federal bailout funds to
500-thousand dollars a year.
Administration officials say President Barack Obama and Treasury
Secretary Timothy Geithner will announce the new limits at the White
The move was spurred by recent reports that Wall Street firms paid some
18 billion dollars in bonuses last year, while the economy was
spiraling downward and the companies were seeking federal help. Mr.
Obama denounced the bonuses last week as "irresponsible" and "shameful."
US - CABINET: U.S. President Barack Obama says he "screwed up" (made a mistake) with his nomination for health secretary, Tom Daschle, who withdrew his candidacy Tuesday. Daschle withdrew over questions about his late payment of more than 120-thousand dollars in taxes. He said he did not want to be a "distraction" to Mr. Obama's agenda. Mr. Obama said Tuesday he accepted Daschle's withdrawal with regret. Later (in an interview with CNN and ABC television) Mr. Obama said he did not want to send the message that there is a different set of standards for powerful people than for regular citizens.
SRI LANKA: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa says his government has almost
defeated a decades-long Tamil rebellion for a separate homeland.
Mr. Rajapaksa made his comments today in an address marking the country's national day.
Meanwhile, the United Nations says 52 civilians were killed in Sri Lanka's northern war zone on Tuesday.
Earlier, the International Committee of the Red Cross said civilians on
Tuesday started fleeing a crowded hospital in northern Sri Lanka that
has been shelled at least four times since Sunday morning. At least 12
people died in the artillery fire.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani police say suspected Taliban militants have kidnapped at
least 29 Pakistani security officers in the country's volatile
Officials today said militants attacked a
police station in the Shamozi area of the Swat Valley, and captured the
base after a day-long siege. The militants then blew up the base and
escaped with the hostages.
In other news, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to met in Pakistan todaywith the country's leaders.
A Pakistani foreign ministry official told the French news agency that
Mr. Ban is expected to announce the formation of a U.N. probe into the
assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
US - KYRGYZSTAN: Kyrgyzstan's government has submitted a draft bill to parliament to shut down a U.S. military base outside the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. The U.S. Embassy in Krygystan earlier today said it had not received any notification that the Kyrgyz government will order the closure of the base. The base serves as a key support center for operations in Afghanistan. Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said on Tuesday that his government decided to expel U.S. forces from the base because the two sides failed to agree on compensation for its use.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: Senior diplomats from six of the world's leading nations will meet in Germany today to discuss Iran's nuclear program, a day after the Islamic Republic announced the launch of its first satellite into orbit. Envoys from France, Germany, the United States, China, Russia and Britain will review diplomatic efforts to get Iran to stop enriching uranium. It will be the first meeting of the group since U.S. President Barack Obama took office last month. The United States and several European countries expressed alarm after Tehran announced that an Iranian-made rocket had carried a domestically built satellite into orbit late Monday.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: The top U.S. military commander in South Korea is urging North Korea to
lower tensions on the divided peninsula, in the wake of reports that
Pyongyang is preparing to test a long-range ballistic missile.
General Walter Sharp says the United States and South Korea are keeping
a close eye on the communist regime, and are prepared for what he
called "any contingency."
Media reports in South Korea say intelligence officials in both nations
have recently observed a train carrying what is believed to be
Sharp is calling on North Korea to stop its recent "provocations," such
as ending all previous military and political accords with Seoul.
JAPAN - ECONOMY: Three more Japanese corporations are reporting massive profit losses today due to the worsening global recession. Electronics maker Panasonic says it will cut 15-thousand jobs and close about 27 plants worldwide, as it faces an annual profit loss of just over four billion dollars for the fiscal year ending March 31st. The corporation is reporting a loss of over 700 million dollars for the third quarter of 2008, down from its one-point-two billion dollar profit posted a year earlier. Meanwhile, automakers Mitsubishi and Mazda say they will post net losses of 670 million dollars and 144 million dollars, respectively, for the fiscal year ending in March.
US - ZIMBABWE: The United States says it will not consider providing new development
assistance to Zimbabwe or ease economic sanctions unless it has proof
of real power-sharing.
The U.S. State Department says it is waiting to see evidence of
inclusive and effective governance by the proposed unity government of
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
A statement released Tuesday urged Zimbabwe's neighbors to watch
closely to see if Mr. Mugabe abides by the power-sharing agreement.
Mr. Mugabe blames his country's economic problems on Western countries.
Listen to our World News for details.