US - IRAN: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Washington is prepared to
boost the defenses of its Persian Gulf allies if Iran does not back
down over its nuclear program.
Appearing on Thai televison Wednesday, Clinton said the U.S. is "still
holding the door open" for a negotiated solution with Iran, but warned
of what she called "crippling actions" if Tehran acquires nuclear
Clinton said if the U.S. extends a "defense umbrella" over the region,
it is unlikely that Iran will be stronger or safer by developing
CLINTON ASIA: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Obama administration
is concerned about the possible transfer of nuclear technology from
North Korea to Burma.
Clinton made the remarks during a television interview Wednesday in the
Thai capital Bangkok. The top U.S. diplomat later traveled to the
seaside resort island of Phuket for the foreign minister's meeting of
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
She told reporters Tuesday that any military ties between the
authoritarian regimes of North Korea and Burma would pose a direct
threat to Burma's neighbors.
US - IRAQ: U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to press Iraqi Prime Minister
Nouri al-Maliki to move more quickly on national reconciliation during
talks in Washington Wednesday.
The leaders will discuss ongoing disputes between Mr. Maliki's Shi'ite Muslim majority allies, minority Sunnis and ethnic Kurds.
Mr. Obama has said political reconciliation is essential to Iraq's long-term security and stability.
The White House meeting is also expected to cover other internal issues in Iraq including oil revenue and boundary disputes.
HOLBROOKE - PAKISTAN: U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke is in Pakistan Wednesday for talks
with political and military leaders on security and regional issues.
Holbrooke met with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and army
chief General Ashfaq Kayani in the capital Islamabad, where talks
focused on the repatriation of nearly two million civilians displaced
by military operations in the northwest.
Holbrooke is expected to hold talks with Pakistani President Asif Ali
Zadari later Wednesday. He travels to Afghanistan on Thursday.
CHINA - US - ECONOMY: China says it will urge the United States to follow economic policies
that will protect Beijing's U.S. investments during upcoming high-level
China's Assistant Finance Minister, Zhu Guangyao, told reporters
Wednesday the Chinese delegation will also ask Washington take steps to
ensure a stable exchange rate of the U.S. dollar.
Beijing has more than $800 billion of its currency reserves invested in
U.S. government bonds, and has repeatedly expressed concerns about the
"safety" of its assets in the United States.
SOLAR ECLIPSE: Millions of people across Asia have witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime event -- the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century.
The eclipse was first seen in parts of India and China as dawn broke.
The sun was completely obscured by the moon for about six minutes and 39 seconds at the peak of the eclipse.
People used special solar viewing glasses and gathering in wide open
spaces to watch the historic event. But rainstorms and clouds ruined
the view in some parts of China and India.
US - BURMA: The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a measure extending sanctions targeting Burma's military rulers for another year.
The resolution renews a ban on imports specified in the 2003 Burmese
Freedom and Democracy Act. The measure also maintains a ban on imports
of jade and other gems from Burma, either directly or through third
Democratic Representative Joe Crowley, who sponsored the measure,
denounced the Burmese government's rejection of diplomatic efforts to
secure the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
INDONESIA - BOMBING: Authorities in Indonesia have released sketches of two men believed to
have carried out last week's twin suicide bombings at two luxury
The sketches are based on two severed heads found at the Marriott Hotel
and the nearby Ritz Carlton Hotel after last Friday's attacks. The
suspected Marriott bomber is anywhere from 16 to 25 years old, while
the suspect in the Ritz Carlton attack is described as between 20 to 40
But police say DNA samples on the families of two men initially suspected in the bombings turned up negative.
INDONESIA - PAPUA: Authorities in Indonesia say two people are dead after gunmen staged
the latest in a series of ambushes near the world's largest gold mine
in Papua province.
Wednesday's attack occurred as a convoy of buses was carrying workers
to the Grasberg mining complex, operated by the U.S.-based Freeport
gold and copper company.
Sources say two policemen guarding the convoy were killed when their vehicle flipped over during the ambush.
Police have detained at least 15 people in connection with the attacks, which have left three people dead since mid-July.
Listen to our World News for details.