CLINTON - ASIA: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says North Korea should not
carry out plans to test-fire a long-range missile.
The top U.S. diplomat made the comments Tuesday in Tokyo during a joint
news conference with her Japanese counterpart, Hirofumi Nakasone. She
told reporters such a move by Pyongyang would be "very unhelpful."
North Korea issued a statement Monday saying it will go ahead with a
test launch of its Taepodong Two missile, saying the test is part of a
space development program. Clinton says if Pyongyang ends its nuclear
weapons program, and abides
by its previous agreements, the U.S. would sign a peace treaty and seek
to normalize relations.
CAMBODIA - KHMER ROUGE: The man in charge of a Khmer Rouge detention center has gone on trial
for alleged war crimes, in the first prosecution from the 1970s reign
of terror in Cambodia.
Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, went on trial Tuesday for war crimes,
crimes against humanity, torture and murder. Duch was head of the S-21
detention center where more than 12,000 Cambodians were executed after
being accused of disloyalty to the Khmer Rouge.
Duch has confessed that he committed atrocities and has asked for forgiveness.
An estimated 1.7 million people died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime.
The joint Cambodian - United Nations court will put at least five Khmer Rouge officials on trial.
JAPAN POL: Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa submitted his immediate
resignation Tuesday, just hours after he said he would step down after
the passage of a budget.
Opposition lawmakers have been calling for Nakagawa to resign after the
minister appeared to be drunk during a G7 news conference in Rome
Nakagawa had said he would submit a letter to parliament from his
doctor to explain how medication caused his slurred speech and
drowsiness at the news conference.
However, the minister told reporters Tuesday he would step down after
the lower house of parliament took action on key budget bills.
US ECONOMY: U.S. President Barack Obama is set to sign a $787 billion economic stimulus package into law Tuesday in Denver, Colorado.
The bill, which includes government spending and tax cuts designed to
help push the U.S. economy out of recession, is Mr. Obama's first big
legislative victory since taking office last month.
Congress approved the plan on Friday, with legislators voting mostly
along party lines. The Senate passed the plan with only three minority
Republicans voting in favor. The plan received no Republican support in
the House of Representatives.
The Obama administration says the tax cuts and domestic spending
projects will create jobs and spurring economic growth.
US AUTO INDUSTRY: U.S. auto giants General Motors and Chrysler face a Tuesday deadline to submit reform plans to the government.
The two companies have already received billions of dollars in
government aid, and a White House official said more funds are due to
be released Tuesday.
The auto companies must now show how they can use the money to
transform their failing firms into companies that can compete in the
Conditions in the auto industry have deteriorated further since the
loans were initially granted in December. January's sales figures were
the worst in 26 years.
AFGHANISTAN: The United Nations says more than 2,000 civilians were killed in the
conflict in Afghanistan in 2008, a 40 percent increase over the number
who lost their lives in 2007.
A U.N. report issued Tuesday says militants were responsible for 55
percent of the 2,118 civilian deaths last year. The world body
attributes 39 percent of the deaths to military forces, including
Afghan and foreign troops. The remaining deaths could not be accounted
for because of issues like cross-fire.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly said civilian deaths are
raising tensions between Washington and Kabul, as well as undermining
the Afghan people's support for the presence of international troops.
IRAQ - GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Iraqi officials say German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is in Baghdad Tuesday, the highest ranking German official to visit since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Steinmeier has met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. Officials say Steinmeier is also due to meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Steinmeier's unannounced trip comes one week after French President Nicolas Sarkozy made an unannounced visit to Iraq. Both France and Germany opposed the U.S.-led invasion which toppled Saddam Hussein's regime.
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