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Global Finance Leaders Seek Economic Fix


WORLD ECONOMY: Economic leaders from the world's richest countries are meeting near London, where they are working to resolve deep divisions on how to reverse the global recession. Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 nations are holding round-table talks Saturday, after meeting one-on-one Friday. U.S. and European leaders disagree on whether more government spending is needed to stimulate the economy or if tighter regulation of the financial markets is more urgently needed. The United States is pressing for a coordinated stimulus effort and lower taxes.

PAKISTAN - POLITICS: Pakistan's government continues to crackdown on an four-day anti-government march, even as it calls for a compromise with activists to avert a political showdown. Police detained protesters in the central city of Multan Saturday, the third straight day the government has tried to break up a nationwide march scheduled to converge in the capital of Islamabad on Monday. Pakistan's government offered to hold reconciliation talks after several meetings with top political and military leaders Friday, as well as consultations with American diplomats.

US - BRAZIL: President Barack Obama meets with his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at the White House Saturday for talks likely to include the case of an 8-year-old boy at the center of a custody battle. State Department official (Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere) Thomas Shannon said Friday the fate of the American-born child, Sean Goldman, is of "great importance" to the United States. Shannon said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke by telephone with the biological father, U.S. citizen David Goldman, (on Thursday), telling him the U.S. hopes for a resolution to the case as soon as possible.

JAPAN - SOMALIA: Japan has sent two navy destroyers to the water's off Somalia's coast to join international anti-piracy efforts in the region. The ships carry helicopters and speedboats and a combined crew of 400. A day earlier, on Friday, South Korea sent a warship to join the anti-piracy force. The International Maritime Bureau says international anti-piracy efforts have reduced the number of successful hijackings in the area to one in seven attacks. Somalia-based pirates carried out more than 120 attacks on ships last year, hijacking 42. In some cases, the pirates received millions of dollars in ransom for the release of the ships.

KOREA TENSIONS: North Korea has barred border crossings with South Korea for a second straight day Saturday, stranding hundreds of people in the North. Pyongyang banned border traffic on Friday, preventing more than 400 people who work at a joint industrial complex at Kaesong from returning South. Seoul's unification ministry says five people were allowed to cross, including four foreigners and a bride-to-be. Earlier this week, North Korea switched off military military phones to the South to protest annual military exercises being conducted jointly by the United States and South Korea.

MADAGASCA - MUTINY: Mutinous soldiers in Madagascar say they have deployed some of the army's tanks into the capital, and that they want the president to leave power. A spokesman for the dissident troops (Colonel Noel Rakotonandrasa) said Friday the tanks were moved into undisclosed locations in Antananarivo. He told foreign media President Marc Ravalomanana must resign immediately. Meanwhile, protesters who back opposition leader Andry Rajoelina held a small demonstration. The United States government is urging immediate dialogue between the country's political leaders.

SRI LANKA: Sri Lankan officials are rejecting claims that the government may have committed war crimes during intense fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels in recent weeks. Sri Lanka's Human Rights Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe, on Saturday rejected charges by the U.N.'s human rights chief that both sides in the civil war are responsible for the deaths of up to 2,800 civilians since January, many of them inside no-fire zones. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said Friday that Sri Lanka's military has repeatedly shelled safe zones.

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