US ECONOMY: Negotiators for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have
reached agreement on a $789 billion dollar economic stimulus package,
paving the way for final congressional votes.
At a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Senate (Democratic) Majority
Leader Harry Reid said the compromise legislation should create 3.5
million jobs once it takes effect. Moderate Republican Senators Susan
Collins and Arlen Specter were among
those speaking in favor of the bill. Collins said the bill is "fiscally
responsible," while Specter said the seriousness of the situation
required decisive action.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan troops are filling the streets of Kabul in preparation for the
arrival of the new U.S. envoy to the region, a day after the Taliban
carried out deadly attacks in the Afghan capital.
Richard Holbrooke is expected to visit Afghanistan Thursday for his first trip to the country.
Officials say they had already planned increased security for the
envoy, but Holbrooke's arrival comes after Wednesday's
near-simultaneous attacks on three government buildings in Kabul. At
least 26 people were killed and nearly 60 others wounded in the Taliban
SATELLITES COLLIDE: A defunct Russian communications satellite has smashed into a U.S. satellite in orbit, creating a possible risk to the International Space Station. U.S. officials say this is the first time two whole satellites ever crashed into each other in space. They collided Tuesday about 780 kilometers above Siberia, creating a huge explosion with many pieces of debris. The U.S. space agency, NASA, said the floating satellite parts create a small risk to the International Space Station, which flies at a lower orbit than where the collision took place.
SUDAN - BASHIR: U.N. diplomats and officials say judges at the International Criminal
Court have decided to indict Sudan's president for war crimes in
Officials say on the condition of anonymity that the court will issue
an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir. They say the decision
will be made public later this month.
It is not clear whether the Hague-based court will indict him on all 10
counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes brought by
the court's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo.
CHINA - TAINTED MILK: The Chinese dairy company at the heart of last year's tainted milk scandal has been formally declared bankrupt.
China's official Xinhua news agency says a court in northern Hebei
province's Shijiazhuang city accepted a petition filed by Sanlu Group
Sanlu was the first of 22 dairies revealed to have sold milk and milk
products laced with the industrial chemical melamine, which was used to
artificially boost the products' protein levels. The tainted products
sickened almost 300,000 children and killed six infants.
CHINA - FIRE: Chinese authorities have detained a senior official with China's
state-run television in connection with a fire next to the
broadcaster's new headquarters.
Local newspapers Thursday reported that Xu Wei, a site manager for CCTV's new headquarters, has been detained.
The "Beijing Times" newspaper said Xu was one of 12 detained suspects, who included other television staff members.
CCTV has apologized for an unlicensed fireworks display that caused a
fire in an unfinished luxury hotel next to the network's new
KOREAS - TENSIONS: South Korea says its ties with North Korea could be harmed if the regime goes through with a test-launching of a long-range ballistic missile. Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan told reporters in Seoul Thursday that any such act will seriously threaten stability along the Korean peninsula and northeast Asia. Yu also says the North could face further isolation and sanctions from the international community if it launches the missile, which is said to be capable of reaching the western United States.
INDIA - PAKISTAN: A Pakistani official has acknowledged for the first time that last
November's terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India were partly planned in
Interior Ministry chief Rahman Malik made the comments Thursday during a news conference in Islamabad.
Pakistan had earlier acknowledged that the sole surviving gunman from
the attacks is a Pakistani national. But Islamabad denies any
involvement in the three-day assault on Mumbai that began November
India has blamed the assault on the banned militant group
BRITAIN - PRINCE HARRY: British media say Prince Harry is being sent to an equality and diversity course after making racist remarks. The "Daily Mirror" reported Thursday the course will help show the prince how racist language can greatly offend others. The young prince issued an apology after a video made in 2006 showed him making derogatory remarks to an Asian army colleague. The prince's office said Harry is sorry and had been dealt with according to normal British army disciplinary procedures. Four years ago Prince Harry sparked international outrage for wearing a Nazi uniform to a costume party.
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