CLINTON - ASIA: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves Thursday on a trip to Asia, where she hopes to advance U.S.-Indian partnership with what she says will be the widest-ranging talks ever between the two countries. In a speech in Washington Wednesday, Clinton said her talks with Indian leaders will cover issues of foreign policy, health, education, the economy, climate change and energy. A State Department spokesman (Robert Blake) told reporters Wednesday that the U.S. hopes to solidify a strategic partnership with India begun in 2005 with a nuclear cooperation accord, arriving at deals for India to buy nuclear technology and fighter planes from the United States.
CHINA - ECONOMY: China says its economy grew nearly eight percent in the second quarter of 2009, boosted by a massive stimulus package aimed at helping the world's third-biggest economy survive the current global recession. The National Bureau of Statistics says the country's gross domestic product expanded 7.9 percent compared to the same period in 2008, representing a major increase from the 6.1 percent gain in the first quarter of the 2009. The bureau also had more good economic news -- retail sales climbed 15 percent in the first six months of 2009, while consumer prices dropped 1.7 percent in June compared to the same month in 2008.
CLINTON - ASIA SDBR - BURMA: A top official with the U.S. State Department insists the Obama
administration has a concrete policy to deal with the Burmese military
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scot Marciel told reporters
Wednesday the department's review of its policy for Burma has not been
completed due to the trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But
Marciel says the delay will not keep Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
from discussing Burma when she attends the ASEAN (Association of
Southeast Asian nations) ministerial conference in Phuket, Thialand
NOKOR - KIM JONG IL: North Korea says it has begun making a series of documentaries about
the life of leader Kim Jong Il, sparking new speculation about the
actual status of his health.
The official Korean Central News Agency says the documentaries will
highlight Mr. Kim's role in establishing the communist regime.
Speculation about the 67-year-old leader's health has grown since he
reportedly suffered a serious stroke last year. Mr. Kim looked gaunt
and walked with a noticeable limp during an appearance last week at a
memorial in honor of the 15th anniversary of the death of his father,
North Korean founder Kim Il Sung.
BURMA - DRUG BUST: Burmese authorities say three people have been arrested in what they call one of the biggest drug seizures ever. Anti-narcotics police confiscated 762 kilograms of heroin, along with 340,000 methamphetamine tablets from a truck traveling in the eastern town of Tachilek near the Burmese-Thai border last Friday. The truck had stopped at a checkpoint when the raid occurred. The three people arrested were aboard the truck. Burma is the world's second-biggest heroin producer after Afghanistan, as well as a major source of methamphetamine.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani police say a U.N. employee working at a refugee camp in northwest Pakistan was fatally shot during a failed kidnapping attempt Thursday. U.N. officials say the employee was a Pakistani man working at the Kacha Garhi camp near the city of Peshawar. U.N. officials say the gunman shot the employee multiple times as they tried to kidnap him. The U.N. worker was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police say the assailants also shot a security guard at the camp, but there are conflicting reports about the guard was wounded or killed.
NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT SUMMIT: The prime ministers of Pakistan and India have met in Egypt, in an
effort to ease tensions between the two countries following last year's
terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh held talks Thursday on the sidelines of a Non-Alignment
Movement summit in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Mr. Gilani said Wednesday he believes his nation's relationship with
India has improved, adding that "a durable peace in South Asia is
US - SPACE SHUTTLE: The U.S. space shuttle Endeavour is finally heading toward the orbiting International Space Station, after launching on a sixth try from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The U.S. Space Agency NASA says launch video shows what appears to be foam insulation breaking off from the external fuel tank and hitting the shuttle less than two minutes after blast off. The agency's space operations chief (Bill Gerstenmaier) says astronauts will be able to take a closer look at possible damage before the shuttle docks with the space station Friday.
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