BANGLADESH - UNREST: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has warned mutinous
paramilitary border guards that her government will take "tough action"
if they do not surrender.
Ms. Hasina said Thursday in a nationally televised address that the
people of Bangladesh should remain calm as her government tries to stop
the deadly mutiny. Police in Bangladesh say mutinous soldiers fired at
several border guard posts across the country and renewed violent
attacks in the capital.
Officials said the government shut mobile phone networks during the
OBAMA - ECONOMY: President Barack Obama presents his first budget proposal to Congress Thursday, and administration officials say it will seek a $634 billion fund for health care reform as well as cuts in some programs. The president has said he intends to cut the U.S. government's budget deficit in half in four years, despite the need for large amounts of new spending in attempts to reverse the country's economic decline. On Wednesday, President Obama called for new, stronger regulation for the financial industry after meeting at the White House with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the top members of two Congressional financial committees.
US - RIGHTS REPORT: A new human rights report by the U.S. State Department says hundreds of
millions of people worldwide were denied fundamental freedoms by their
governments last year.
In releasing the report, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said
Wednesday that the U.S. will seek to live up to its own human rights
ideals. She said the promotion of human rights is essential to U.S.
The report says a "disturbing" number of countries imposed burdensome,
restrictive, or repressive laws and regulations against
non-governmental groups and the media, including the Internet. Vietnam,
China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan were among the countries
CHINA - US HUMAN RIGHTS: China has rejected the findings of a U.S. State Department report that
says human rights conditions in the country remained poor and worsened
in some areas in 2008.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters Thursday that China
is willing to discuss human rights with any country, but only on the
basis of mutual equality and mutual respect.
He also urged the United States to reflect on its own human rights
problems and accused Washington of using human rights as an excuse to
interfere in other countries' internal affairs.
NOKOR - ROCKET: A South Korean newspaper says North Korea has built an underground
fueling facility near where the communist regime is preparing for a
The Dong-a Ilbo says the underground station has been built at the
Musudan-ri launch facility in the northeastern province of North
Hamkyong. The newspaper says it learned about the fueling stations from
South Korean and U.S. intelligence officials.
The underground fueling stations would make it more difficult for spy satellites to detect signs of a possible missile launch.
Pyongyang announced earlier this week that it will launch an
experimental communications satellite from North Hamkyong.
TIBET - CHINA: Tibetans in their homeland and in exile have marked the beginning of their traditional New Year holiday with prayers but little celebration. One year after the largest protests in half a century swept across the Tibetan plateau, many Tibetans instead decided to mourn victims of the crackdown. On the first day of the Year of the Earth Ox, foreign journalists reported that Tibetans appeared to be observing an informal boycott of festivities as riot police patrolled the streets of some towns in Tibet. Tibetan exiles on Wednesday held protests at Chinese consulates in New York and Kathmandu, while others gathered to say prayers for their dead compatriots.
ASEAN - BURMA: The United States is urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
to push for reform and political progress in Burma, as regional leaders
gather in Thailand over the next few days.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday in Vietnam, U.S. Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State Scot Marciel urged ASEAN members to use their
contacts in Burma to encourage new thinking and reform, and increase
openness and political progress in the country.
The U.S. official's comments come as ASEAN leaders are scheduled to
begin holding a summit in Thailand on Friday. Burma is a member of the
US - MEXICO - DRUGS: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has announced the arrests of 755
people during a 21-month crackdown against one of Mexico's most violent
Holder said Wednesday that 52 of the suspects were arrested Wednesday in (the U.S. states of) California,
Maryland and Minnesota as part of "Operation Xcellerator," which
targeted the operations of the infamous Sinaloa cartel.
Holder said authorities had seized more than 23 tons of marijuana,
cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines. Three aircraft, three maritime
vessels, nearly 150 vehicles and 169 weapons were seized as well.
Listen to our World News for details.