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Obama, Brown Stress Common Action to Deal with Economic Crisis at G-20


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G-20 SUMMIT: U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have stressed the importance of common efforts to deal with the world economic crisis. Speaking after talks in London ahead of the summit of the Group of 20 major economies, the two men stressed their commitment to assure that such a crisis will never happen again. Mr. Obama said he came to listen and not lecture. He noted the need to focus on common ground not occasional differences. He also said the world must reject protectionism.

PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Pakistani officials say a suspected U.S. drone attack has killed at least 12 people in norhtwest Pakistan. The officials say Wednesday's missile strike targeted a Taliban hide-out in the Orakzai tribal region near the Afghan border. The incident comes just one day after the leader of Pakistan's Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, claimed responsibility for a deadly assault in Lahore that he said was in retaliation for U.S. drone attacks in the country's tribal regions.

AFGHAN - VIOLENCE: Afghan officials say at least 10 people are dead after an attack on the provincial council's office in the southern city of Kandahar. Officials say the assault Wednesday began with a bombing outside the government building. Witnesses say after the explosion, three gunmen in military-style uniforms stormed the office and started firing. At least one of the attackers was said to have blown himself up. A provincial council member who was in the building at the time of the attack said one council member had been wounded.

NOKOR - MISSILE: North Korea says it will shoot down any U.S. spy planes if they violate its airspace and try to monitor its planned launch of a rocket early this month. In a message announced over state-radio Wednesday, North Korea said that it would shoot the planes down unsparingly if they tried to interfere with its preparations. North Korea says it plans to launch what it calls a satellite rocket into space between April 4-8. The United States, South Korea and Japan say the launch is just a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test.

CAMBODIA - GENOCIDE TRIAL: Defense lawyers for Cambodia's former Khmer Rouge prison chief are calling for his release, one day after he apologized in court for brutal crimes he committed for the regime three decades ago. The lawyers told the war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh Wednesday that Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, should be freed immediately because he had been held for an illegal length of time following his 1999 arrest. Prosecutors argued that Duch must stay in the tribunal's jail to ensure his own safety.

THAILAND - POLITICS: Thailand's government has offered to hold talks with ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a bid to end ongoing political unrest in the country. Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the government is willing to hold talks with Mr. Thaksin to make Thailand peaceful. But, he said that some of the demands the former leader has made in recent video and telephone speeches supporters in Bangkok could not be met.

ISRAEL - POL: Benjamin Netanyahu began his second term as Israel's prime minister Wednesday, saying his new government needed to "begin work immediately." Mr. Netanyahu spoke at a ceremony in Jerusalem Wednesday where he officially took over the premiership from Ehud Olmert. Israeli President Shimon Peres conducted the ceremony, attended by all 30 ministers of the new government. But Mr. Netanyahu's coalition faces a mostly disapproving public. A new poll published Wednesday by Israel's "Haaretz" newspaper found that 54 percent of Israelis are dissatisfied with the new right-wing government.

UN - HELEN CLARK: The United Nations General Assembly has approved the nomination of former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark to head the U.N. Development Program. The 192-member assembly approved Ms. Clark's nomination in a unanimous vote Tuesday. She was nominated last week by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Ms. Clark served as New Zealand's prime minister from 1999 until her center-left Labor Party was defeated in parliamentary elections last November.

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