CLINTON - ASEAN: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the international
community is united in its efforts to force North Korea to dismantle
its nuclear program.
During a press briefing Thursday on the closing day of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)
Regional Forum on Thailand's Phuket island, Clinton said the regime
"has no friends left" who will allow it to continue to pursue nuclear
She said the U.S. and its partners in the six-party disarmament talks
are ready to offer a package of economic and diplomatic incentives if
Pyongyang was committed to an "irreversible" path towards
US - BURMA: A senior U.S. State Department official says American diplomats held
talks with the Burmese delegation Wednesday night on the sidelines of
ASEAN security meeting in Phuket, Thailand
The official says the U.S. urged Burma to implement the United Nations
sanctions on trade with Pyongyang. They also discussed the current
trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, telling the Burmese
team the outcome of the trial would affect Washington's approach to
bilateral relations with the ruling military junta.
ASIAN ECONOMY: The Asian Development Bank says the economies of China and other East
Asian nations will start recovering next year from the current economic
A report issued Thursday by the Manila-based institution says the
region will experience a "V-shaped recovery," with economic growth
falling this year before gaining ground in 2010.
The ADB says the East Asian economies should continue to boost domestic
demand to offset the drop in demand in the United States and Europe for
the region's exports.
OBAMA - HEALTHCARE: U.S. President Barack Obama defended his health care reform plan during
a nationally televised news conference Wednesday, taking his case
directly to the American people and countering objections by lawmakers
in both parties.
With polls showing slipping support for health care reform, Mr. Obama
argued his plan will lower skyrocketing health care costs -- something
he said is key to the nation's economic recovery and long-term economic
Mr. Obama also said the plan will provide Americans more insurance
options and provide them with coverage they can depend on.
US - GEORGIA: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says the United States supports Georgia,
even as Russia sends a warning to countries not to sell weapons to the
former Soviet republic.
Ahead of his meeting Thursday in Tbilisi with Georgian President
Mikheil Saakashvili, Biden said his visit shows the U.S. "stands with"
Meanwhile, Russia's deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, says
Russia will take "concrete measures" against rearming Georgia. He says
Russia will consider breaking off "military-technical and
military-economic cooperation" with any states that supply Georgia with
IRAQ - US: U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States is on track to remove all of its troops from Iraq by 2011, but he warns
of "tough days ahead." After talks at the White House with Iraqi Prime
al-Maliki, Mr. Obama said the level of violence in Iraq continues to be
lower. The president said he and Mr. al-Maliki discussed Iraqi efforts
to promote national unity and the Baghdad government's plan to
distribute oil revenues equally among Iraq's different communities. The
two leaders' White House meeting (Wednesday) followed
U.S. combat troops' withdrawal from Iraqi cities.
KYRGYZSTAN - ELECTION: Voters in Kyrgyzstan are casting ballots in a presidential election
that is expected to keep incumbent President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in power
for another five-year term.
Mr. Bakiyev faces five challengers, including opposition leader and former Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev.
Political analysts have already predicted victory for Bakiyev, citing
widespread voter apathy and an increasingly authoritarian government.
The government has promised a free and fair ballot. However, hours
after the start of polling, the opposition accused the government of
rigging the vote.
SAUDI ARABIA - EGYPT - SWINE FLU: Arab health ministers have agreed to ban certain people from attending
this year's hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia because of concerns about
the spread of the H1N1 swine flu.
World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Ibrahim
al-Kerdani says the ministers agreed to ban people over the age of 65,
people under the age of 12 and those with chronic illnesses from the
annual Muslim holy event.
He commented in Egypt Wednesday after meeting with Arab ministers.
Al-Kerdani says the decision would have to be ratified by the health
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