ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Obama Seeks Equal Partnership with US Neighbors


OBAMA - SUMMIT: U.S. President Barack Obama has a busy day Saturday at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago as he pushes for a renewed partnership among Western Hemisphere nations. Mr. Obama is meeting with the union of South American countries, and will take part in the three general sessions. At start of the summit Friday, , Mr. Obama called for a new beginning in relations between the United States and Cuba -- a country not represented at the summit. Cuban President Raul Castro has said Havana is prepared to discuss any issue with Washington.

OBAMA - CHAVEZ: U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Friday at the opening of the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. Photographs released by the Venezuelan government Friday showed President Chavez, a fierce critic of the United States, smiling and clasping hands with the new American president at the start of the summit. The United States has had contentious relations with Venezuela, reaching a new low in September when Mr. Chavez expelled the U.S. ambassador and the U.S. expelled Venezuela's envoy in response.

PHILIPPINES - HOSTAGES: Red Cross worker Andreas Notter says he is "happy to be alive and safe" after being rescued from his al-Qaida-linked kidnappers in the Philippines where he was held hostage for three months. The Swiss national says he is unclear on how he got free from his captors, saying it "happened very quickly." Philippine Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno said security forces spotted the militants trying to escape through a military-police cordon around their camp near Indanan town. Puno said the security forces chased the militants, who left Notter behind when they could not "drag him with them anymore."

NORTH - SOUTH KOREA: A South Korean official says North Korea has proposed a meeting, more than a year after Pyongyang cut official contact when a conservative government took office in South Korea. Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-Nyoun said North Korea proposed a meeting in the Kaesong industrial zone, without specifying the talks would be about. South Korea's Yonhap media service says Seoul will attend the talks, proposed for Tuesday. And South Korea has delayed its plan to join the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), aimed at stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

NOKOR - US JOURNALISTS: The press freedom group Reporters Without Borders has called on North Korea to release two U.S. journalists while the U.S. State Department says diplomatic efforts are underway to free the women. State department spokesman Robert Wood says a Swiss official has visited the reporters, and is seeking another visit. The U.S. and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations. The two reporters -- Laura Ling and Euna Lee -- were seized by North Korean security forces one month ago (March 17th) along the Chinese-North Korean border.

THAILAND - POLITICS: Police in Thailand say they are investigating both political and private motives for Friday's attack on political activist Sondhi Limthongkul. The deputy national police chief (Jongrak Jutanond) said he believes five men were involved in the attack that wounded Sondhi, his driver and an aide. Gunmen wielding AK-47s and and M-16s opened fire on Sondhi's car near a Bangkok gas station on Friday. Doctors (at Chulalongkorn Hospital) say Sondhi is recuperating well after having bullet shards removed from his head, but his driver is still in critical condition.

CHINA - ECONOMY: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has announced a new $10 billion Asian infrastructure investment fund and says China's stimulus package was already paying off. He also called Saturday for a more diversified monetary system and responsible oversight. In his opening remarks at the Boao Forum on Asia, Mr. Wen said the China-ASEAN Fund on Investment Cooperation would support infrastructure development in the region. He cautioned that world economic recovery could be a "long and torturous process" and that "the basic trend of the world economic recession is not reversed."

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