BANGLADESH - UNREST: Bangladeshi officials say 300 border guards have been arrested during a
search for mutineers who staged a bloody two-day rebellion.
Security officials say many guards fled their compound after
More than 130 Bangladeshi army officers remain missing Friday and
feared killed by the rebelling guards, who are from a paramilitary unit
called the Bangladesh Rifles, or BDR.
An officer with the unit (Lieutenant Colonel Syed Kamruzzaman) says the
commander of the Bangladesh Rifles, Major General Shakil Ahmed, was
killed in the mutiny.
IRAQ: U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce plans Friday to
withdraw combat troops from Iraq by August of 2010. Congressional
officials say Mr. Obama will announce the 19-month withdrawal plan at
Camp Lejeune, a U.S. military base in (the eastern state of) North
That withdrawal timetable would stretch three months more than Mr.
Obama promised while campaigning for the presidency.
Under his proposal, up to 50,000 troops could stay in Iraq for limited
missions in training and combating terrorism.
President Obama met late Thursday with U.S. lawmakers to discuss his
JAPAN - ECONOMY: Japan says its industrial output plunged a record 10 percent in
January, another sign the world's second-largest economy is facing its
worst economic recession since the end of World War Two.
January's bad numbers break the previous record of 9.8 percent set just
the month before. Japan's export-driven economy is faltering due to
plummeting demand around the world, especially in the United States, as
the global recession deepens. Industrial production has dropped in
nearly every area, including automobiles and electronics.
US ECONOMY: The battered U.S. jobs market, financial sector and auto industry have
all indicated new losses, pushing U.S. stock markets down once again.
All three major U.S. stock indexes fell more than one percent on Thursday. Nasdaq fell the furthest, losing 2.4 percent.
The Labor Department says the number of unemployed workers collecting
long-term assistance jumped to a record high above five million last
week. The number of newly-laid off workers signing up for unemployment
assistance jumped to the highest level since 1982 (667,000).
CHINA - US - MILITARY: China says the United States must take responsibility in improving military ties between the two economic giants.
Qian Lihua, a senior foreign policy official with the Chinese Defense
Ministry, says relations between Washington and Beijing remain at a
"difficult period." He says China expects the U.S. to take "concrete
measures" that will lead to resumption of military ties.
Qian made the remarks Friday at the start of a two day military summit
between the two sides in Beijing. The American delegation is headed by
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense David Sedney.
ASEAN SUMMIT: Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are urging faster
integration of their 10-member bloc in order to cushion the impact of
the global economic downturn.
Economic issues are topping the agenda at ASEAN's annual summit,
opening Friday at the seaside Thai resort of Cha-am, located south of
the capital Bangkok. The leaders will discuss plans to form a European
Union-style economic community by 2015, in order to boost trade and
economic development among the members.
Economic experts, both inside and outside ASEAN, say the global
economic recession will accelerate the goal of economic integration
within the region.
US - AFGHANISTAN - PAKISTAN: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States,
Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to hold regular talks on a new
strategy to fight the threat of terrorism and Islamist extremism in
Clinton made the announcement after talks late Thursday in Washington
with the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Shah Mehmood
Qureshi and Rangeen Dadfar Spanta. She said the next meeting is
tentatively scheduled for late April or early May.
Secretary Clinton said their basic purpose -- to exchange views on the strategic issues -- was fulfilled.
ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: A top European Union diplomat is in the Gaza Strip for the first time
since the Palestinian militant group Hamas seized control of the
territory in June 2007.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana is touring Gaza amid a flurry of
talks on an Israel-Hamas truce, reconciliation between Palestinian
factions, and donations for the territory's reconstruction.
On Thursday, rival Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas,
signed a deal in Cairo aimed at healing their divisions and creating a
national unity government.
VIETNAM - BIRD FLU: A 32-year-old man has become Vietnam's second fatality of the year from a deadly strain of bird flu.
The man from the northern province of Ninh Binh died in a hospital in
the capital, Hanoi. Health officials said Friday that the man became
infected with the H5N1 strain of the virus after eating poultry.
A woman who died from the virus last week was the country's first fatality of 2009.
Vietnam has seen more bird flu deaths than any other country except Indonesia.
The United Nations says Vietnam has already reported 52 bird flu deaths since 2003. Indonesia has seen 115 deaths. (News Updates)
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