CLINTON - ASIA: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her South Korean
counterpart have warned North Korea against provocative acts and urged
Pyongyang to return to cross-border talks.
The top U.S. diplomat added that Pyongyang will not forge new ties with
the United States while insulting the South and refusing its offers to
Clinton and South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan spoke Friday at a media conference in Seoul after a morning meeting.
Her visit to South Korea comes amid increased tensions on the Korean
PAKISTAN - BLAST: Pakistani officials say a suicide bomber has killed at least 20 people at a funeral procession for a slain Shi'ite leader in northwestern Pakistan. They say more than 50 other people were wounded in Friday's explosion in the town of Dera Ismail Khan, the scene of past sectarian violence between Shi'ites and Sunnis. Witnesses say a curfew imposed after the blast enraged mourners, who fired volleys of gunfire. There has been no immediate claim of responsibility. Dera Ismail Khan is close to Pakistan's restive tribal areas.
US - KYRGYZSTAN: Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has signed a law to close an air
base that serves as a key supply facility for U.S. and NATO troops in
Mr. Bakiyev signed the measure Friday, one day after Kyrgyzstan's
parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a government-backed bill to
end U.S. access to the Manas air base.
Kyrgyz authorities can now issue an eviction notice that will give U.S. forces 180 days to leave the facility.
In related news, a U.S. military officer says Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
have agreed to allow the transit of non-lethal U.S. cargo through their
territory to Afghanistan.
ISRAEL - ELECTION: Israeli President Shimon Peres has met with the top two candidates for
prime minister to try and convince them to form a broad and stable
Mr. Peres spoke separately Friday with Benjamin Netanyahu of the
nationalist Likud party and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the
moderate Kadima Party.
There was no immediate word on the content of the meetings.
On Thursday, the hawkish Mr. Netanyahu won a major endorsement from a
leading far-right party, boosting his chances of becoming prime
US - CANADA: U.S. President Barack Obama is back in Washington after meeting in
Ottawa with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the
global economic recession, climate change and Afghanistan.
The one-day visit to the Canadian capital was Mr. Obama's first foreign trip as president.
After their meeting, the two leaders held a joint news conference,
where they agreed to cooperate on so-called "clean energy" science to
reduce greenhouse gases and fight climate change.
SWISS BANK - US FRAUD: A $780-million settlement apparently is not enough to settle differences between the United States and Swiss banking giant UBS.
The U.S. government has filed suit against the bank, just one day after
UBS agreed to pay the fine and turn over the names of about 300 U.S.
clients allegedly involved in tax fraud.
U.S. officials (at the Internal Revenue Service) want UBS
to turn over information about thousands of additional accounts. They
say the account holders hid their holdings in violation of U.S. tax
JAPAN - AIR ACCIDENT: More than 30 people have been injured after a U.S. jetliner hit air turbulence during a flight from Manila to Tokyo. Authorities says the Boeing 747 jet, operated by Northwest Airlines, ran into turbulence shortly before landing at Tokyo's Narita International Airport Friday. The injured passengers had failed to heed the pilot's pre-landing instructions to fasten their seat belts. Some of the passengers who were injured bumped their heads on the ceiling of the cabin. Officials say none of the injuries were serious or life-threatening.
UN LANGUAGES: The United Nations says about half of the 6,700 languages spoken around the world today are in danger of extinction. The U.N. cultural organzation (UNESCO) released its new world atlas of endangered languages Thursday, saying safeguarding dying languages is a crucial task to preserve cultural diversity. The atlas reports there are 199 languages spoken by no more than 10 people. Among them is Livonian, a Latvian language spoken by just one person. UNESCO says the last speakers of Eyak in Alaska and Ubykh in Turkey died last year, reducing by two the list of living languages.
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