US ECONOMY: U.S. President Barack Obama will speak to lawmakers, as well as the American people, about the challenges facing the United States in a major address Tuesday night. This speech will mark Mr. Obama's first appearance before a joint session of Congress, and he will use the opportunity to outline his priorities and economic plans. The president is expected to discuss national security matters, but the focus of this speech is expected to be the economy. Mr. Obama is five weeks into his presidential term. In the past week, he has signed into law a $787 billion economic stimulus plan, unveiled plans to help struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages, and said he wants to slash the federal deficit in half by 2013.
JAPAN - US: Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is scheduled to meet with President
Barack Obama at the White House Tuesday, becoming the first foreign
leader to visit the new U.S. president.
The U.S. and Japan are the world's two biggest economies. Mr. Aso says
it is most important for both countries to have a common approach to
the world financial problems.
The U.S. and Japanese leaders are also expected to talk about global
warming, terrorism, and the kidnappings of Japanese citizens by North
Korean spies in the 1970s and 1980s.
Mr. Aso and Mr. Obama are at opposite ends of opinion polls.
NOKOR ROCKET: North Korea says it is planning to launch a satellite, which neighboring countries believe could actually be a test of a long-range missile. The North's official news agency broadcast a statement from the science ministry Tuesday, saying preparations to launch an experimental communications satellite are now making "brisk headway." Pyongyang said last week that it has the right to what it called "space development." Experts in South Korea say the North has used the term "space development" in the past to disguise tests of rockets capable of carrying weapons.
LAOS - US: A lawyer in the (western) U.S. state of California defending 11
men accused of plotting to violently overthrow the communist government
in Laos says the U.S. government's case against them is based on lies.
Attorney John Keker's clients include former Lao General Vang Pao -- a
prominent member of California's Hmong community -- ex-National Guard
Lieutenant-Colonel Harrison Jack, and nine Hmong men.
Keker told the court in Sacramento Monday that undercover agents lied
when they said the men tried to buy millions of dollars of grenades,
rockets, missiles and automatic weapons.
THAILAND PROTEST: Thousands of supporters of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin
Shinawatra surrounded the seat of government Tuesday to demand the
dissolution of Parliament, and new elections.
Protesters broke through barbed wire barricades manned by hundreds of
police and soldiers and took control of roads around Government House,
where Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's office is located.
Demonstrators say they plan to hold rallies for three days outside
government offices. The protests come just days ahead of a summit of
Southeast Asian leaders scheduled to be held at a Thai resort.
CAMBODIA - UN: A United Nations official says an agreement has been reached with Cambodian officials to find ways to prevent alleged corruption at the Khmer Rouge genocide trial. The U.N.-backed court, which opened its first trial last week, has faced allegations of political interference by the government and claims that Cambodian staff had to pay kickbacks to get their jobs. U.N. assistant secretary general for legal affairs, Peter Taksoe-Jensen, met Monday with Cambodian deputy prime minister Sok An and other officials to strengthen existing mechanisms to stop corruption.
US - AFGHANISTAN - PAKISTAN: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Pakistani Foreign
Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Tuesday to discuss U.S. policy in the
Pakistan-Afghanistan border regions.
The foreign minister of Afghanistan, Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, is also in
Washington for talks. He and Clinton are to meet on Thursday before a
trilateral meeting involving all three officials.
The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard
Holbrooke, will take part in the meetings. Holbrooke recently returned
from a regional tour of the area.
CUBA - DEFECTION: Cuban boxer Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has
defected to the United States and plans to turn professional.
A U.S. representative of German-based Arena-Box Promotion says
Rigondeaux is in Miami and has signed a contract with the company. The
promoter would not say when or how the boxer made it to Miami.
Rigondeaux won the gold medal in the bantamweight division at the 2000
and 2004 Olympic games.
Listen to our World News for details.