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
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
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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