NOKOR NUCLEAR: South Korea says it would not oppose the United States holding direct
talks with North Korea to persuade Pyongyang to rejoin stalled nuclear
South Korea's Foreign Ministry said Saturday it would support bilateral
negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, as long as they were
held within the six-party framework.
A U.S. State Department official (Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley) said
Friday the Obama administration is willing to have the U.S. special
envoy to North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, hold direct talks with North
Korean officials on the issue.
AFGHAN ELECTION: Afghan's Independent Election Commission says it plans to announce complete results from the August 20 presidential election Saturday. The results will not be final until a different, U.N.-backed complaints commission investigates all fraud allegations. Afghan President Hamid Karzai earlier had welcomed partial returns, which gave him 54 percent of the vote. But his main challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah (who has 28 percent of the vote), disputed those results. A candidate must win more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.
INDIA - PAKISTAN GUNFIRE: India is accusing Pakistan of firing three rockets Friday night across their shared border near a tourist town in the northern Punjab state. Indian officials say they immediately retaliated with machine guns. Pakistan denies it fired any rockets, and says the Indian gunfire was not provoked. Military officials from both sides later met to discuss the incident. There are no reports of casualties. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain in 1947, and cross-border fire continues to occur sporadically.
VENEZUELA - RUSSIA: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he has signed an arms deal with Russia and is soon expecting the arrival of some "little rockets." Mr. Chavez said Friday the rockets are strictly defense tools with a range of up to 300 kilometers. Moscow has said it will sell Venezuela whatever weapons it wants to buy. In recent years, Venezuela has spent more than $4 billion on Russian weapons. Mr. Chavez recently gave Moscow a boost by recognizing the independence of two Russian-supported Georgian separatist regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
CHINA - LAOS: Chinese President Hu Jintao has met with visiting Lao President Choummaly Saygnasone in Beijing and the two sides pledged to further cooperation. The Lao leader is on an eight-day working visit to China at the invitation of President Hu. The trip ends Sunday. The two leaders said after their Wednesday talks that they highly value their nations' long-standing friendly relations, regular exchange of high-level visits and various fields of cooperation. China's official Xinhua news agency quoted President Hu as saying the two sides could further learn from each other on party building and state governance.
US - CHINA: The United States will impose a punitive, three-year tariff to restrict
tire imports from China in response to a petition filed earlier this
year by the U.S. Steelworkers Union.
The White House said Friday that the three years of tariffs will
include an extra 35 percent duty on all car and light truck tires for
the first year to be followed by 30 percent the second year and 25
percent the third year.
Beijing immediately denounced the decision, saying the tariffs were a grave act of protectionism.
In a statement on its Web site Saturday, China's Commerce Ministry said
the move violates World Trade Organization rules.
AUSTRALIA POLLUTION: A new study shows that Australia has overtaken the U.S. as the world's highest per capita carbon dioxide polluter.
The global pollution report was compiled by the British company
Maplecroft. Using U.S. Energy Department data, it calculated that
Australia's per capita output of carbon dioxide at 18.66 metric tons a
year, four percent higher than the United States.
In a list of 185 countries, Canada, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia rounded out the top five.
Professor Barry Brook from Adelaide University says a global plan of
action to cut emissions is more important that the performance of
IRAN - NUCLEAR: Iranian officials say they are pleased the United States and other
world powers have accepted Tehran's new offer to hold talks, but say it
will not back down from its refusal to negotiate its controversial
In a news conference in Tehran Saturday, Iran's Foreign Minister
Manouchehr Mottaki welcomed the possibility of talks with the West, but
said Iran will not compromise on what he called its "inalienable right."
Iran did not mention its nuclear program Thursday when calling for
"comprehensive" negotiations with the West, and an end to hostilities. (News Updates)
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