US ECONOMY: The Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate and several Republicans have reached a compromise on a huge package to help stimulate the battered U.S. economy -- even as job losses mount. Senators announced the deal late Friday, and they say they have enough votes to approve the package in the Senate. The vote is expected in the next few days. During negotiations, senators reduced the cost of the bill from 937 billion to 780 billion dollars. Lawmakers said the changes won the support of the small number of moderate Republican senators needed to pass the measure.
PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Police say unknown attackers have killed at least seven police officers in central Pakistan. The attack happened early today near the town of Mianwali, in Punjab province. Police say militants first opened fire on a police checkpoint and then blew it up with explosives. The outpost building was destroyed in the blast. Security officials say it is not clear who is behind the attack. Mianwali is near the restive North West Frontier Province, where Pakistani security forces have been battling pro-Taliban militants.
AFGHANISTAN - VIOLENCE: Authorities say two separate attacks in eastern Afghanistan have killed three local officials. A Nangarhar provincial government spokesman says unknown gunmen killed a senior member of the provincial council early today in Dara-i-Noor. Officials say Khan Mohammed was killed while driving to his office in Jalalabad. In neighboring Laghman province late Friday, two police officers died in clashes with Taliban militants. A provincial spokesman said the (Qarghayi) district police chief and another policeman were killed while trying to reinforce a police checkpoint that had been attacked by insurgents.
US - IRAQ: Senior U.S. defense officials say the White House is considering three
different timelines for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.
The officials, none of whom have been identified, told several Western
news agencies that the Pentagon has submitted assessments of the risks
associated with three options for troop withdrawal, in response to a
White House request.
The shortest option is reported to be a 16-month pullout, in line with
a pledge that President Barack Obama made during his campaign.
GERMANY - SECURITY: The head of NATO has scolded some of the alliance's European members
for not boosting their troop commitments in Afghanistan enough.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer did not single out any
specific country during his speech at the 45th annual Munich Security
He said it is "not good for the political balance" in the alliance for
Washington to shoulder most of the military burden, even as some
European allies call for a greater European voice in NATO.
US - NOKOR NUCLEAR: A former U.S. diplomat says North Korea has expressed willingness to
move forward with long-stalled denuclearization talks, and played down
reports it may test fire missiles.
Stephen Bosworth, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, told reporters
in Beijing today that North Korean officials told him they
were willing to talk to President Barack Obama's administration.
Bosworth just completed a five-day visit to Pyongyang as part of a
non-government delegation of U.S. experts.
INDONESIA - BURMA REFUGEES: Indonesia has reversed its position on Rohingya boat people fleeing
persecution in Burma, saying they may qualify for refugee status.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said Friday that the
Rohingya could claim to be refugees, and that the U.N. High Commission
for Refugees would be given access to them.
The change in policy comes after fishermen rescued 198 Burmese Rohingya
men who were found drifting off western Indonesia Monday. They said
they were beaten by authorities in Thailand, who pushed them out to sea.
CHINA FAKE DRUG: Chinese police have arrested a man accused of selling a fake diabetes drug that killed two people. The official Xinhua news agency said today the man (identified as Li Dong) was arrested in northeastern Liaoning Province along with two suspected associates. Xinhua said the medicine contained six times the normal amount of a chemical ingredient used to lower blood sugar. The agency said the drug is believed to have been widely distributed throughout the country. Bans and recalls of drugs are common in China due to widespread safety problems in the nation's under-regulated and often corrupt health industry.
Listen to our World News for details.