MADAGASCAR: A tense standoff continues in Madagascar Tuesday between President Marc
Ravalomanana and forces loyal to opposition leader Andry Rajoelina. On
Monday, soldiers in the capital Antananarivo took over a
presidential palace after the opposition leader called for President
Ravalomanana's arrest. Mr. Ravalomanana was not in the palace when
soldiers stormed it. He had
taken refuge at a second presidential palace several kilometers away
from the center of the capital. The Associated Press says soldiers told
the president's supporters and guards to take down barriers near the
palace where he was staying.
PAKISTAN: The United States and Britain have welcomed the Pakistani government's
decision to peacefully resolve its political crisis by reinstating
deposed Supreme Court justices.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the resolution a first step towards reconciliation.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband separately praised Pakistan's
president and opposition leader for putting the country's interests
The diplomats had urged Pakistan's leaders to defuse the week-long
crisis, expressing concern it would divert Islamabad's attention from
the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban.
US ECONOMY: The U.S. central bank is meeting Tuesday to consider new ways to battle
the worst economic crisis facing the nation since the 1930s.
The Federal Reserve meeting comes amid increasing public frustration
with the government's economic rescue plans. Last week's Wall Street
rally fizzled yesterday, as traders wait for
figures on the state of the U.S. housing market - which is at the heart
of the global economic crisis.
President Barack Obama expressed anger Monday that taxpayer funds
intended to bail out a massive insurance company could end up in
US - EU - GUANTANAMO: Two top European Union officials are questioning members of the Obama
administration this week about its plans to close the controversial
detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot and Czech Interior Minister Ivan
Langer presented U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder a list of questions
on the issue Monday in Washington.
Barrot said they asked how Washington intends to avoid another
situation like Guantanamo, where terrorist suspects have been
imprisoned for years without charge and faced allegedly harsh
CHINA - NOKOR: North Korean Premier Kim Yong Il is in China on a five-day visit, as
Pyongyang prepares for a satellite launch some countries suspect of
being a cover for a ballistic missile test.
Mr. Kim arrived early Tuesday in Beijing for talks with Chinese
President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. He was accompanied by North
Korea's ministers for trade, industry, agriculture and culture.
The meetings are being held as the two countries mark the 60th
anniversary of diplomatic relations, but the North's planned rocket
launch is expected to top the agenda.
KOREA - TENSIONS: South Korea says the North has fully reopened a border crossing to
allow goods and people headed to a joint industrial complex.
South Korean officials said Tuesday that Pyongyang has informed them
all border restrictions have been lifted. On Monday, a South Korean
official said Seoul would hold North Korea
responsible for economic losses at the Kaesong industrial estate
because of Pyongyang's restrictions. The official (Kim Ho-nyoun) said
further development of the industrial park is not likely if North Korea
keeps blocking the flow of people and goods.
THAILAND POLITICS: Thai investigators say there are grounds to file criminal charges
against former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and other officials, in
connection with a police crackdown on protesters last year.
The National Counter Corruption Commission said Monday that Mr. Somchai
and former Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh were criminally
negligent in connection with the police action last October. Two
protesters died and about 500 were injured during the anti-government
The official commission also recommended that police officials be disciplined for their roles.
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