JAPAN - POLITICS: Japan's parliament has elected former opposition leader Yukio Hatoyama as the country's new prime minister.
In a landslide victory last month, Mr. Hatoyama's Democratic Party of
Japan won 308 of the 480 seats in parliament's lower chamber - ending
more than 50 years of rule by the conservative Liberal Democratic Party.
On Wednesday, the lower house of Japan's parliament held a special
session to formally elect Mr. Hatoyama, who has pledged to cut
government waste and reinvigorate the world's second-largest economy.
NEWSMAKER - HATOYAMA: Japan's new prime minister, 62-year-old Yukio Hatoyama, may have been
elected into office because of his pledges of radical change, but his
personal story is not that different from other past Japanese prime
Like many others, Mr. Hatoyama is the heir to a powerful political
dynasty and comes from a wealthy family. He is one of the country's
wealthiest lawmakers and his grandfather, former Prime Minister Ichiro
Hatoyama, even helped create the powerful Liberal Democratic Party,
which he defeated and has ruled Japan almost continuously since its
founding in 1955.
AUSTRALIA - ASYLUM SEEKERS: Australian officials say they have intercepted a boat carrying nearly
60 suspected asylum-seekers off the country's northwestern coast.
Officials say a navy patrol vessel stopped the boat early Tuesday and
transferred the group to Australia's high-security processing center on
In a little more than a week, more than 200 apparent illegal immigrants have been found off Australia's northwestern coast.
The recent rise in boat arrivals has rekindled a political debate in Australia over immigration.
IRAQ: The U.S. military says Iraqi and U.S. troops have detained three
militants suspected of carrying out a deadly mortar attack on Baghdad's
Green Zone government district.
Militants fired four mortars at the complex Tuesday, hours after U.S.
Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Baghdad for meetings with U.S.
military and Iraqi officials. Iraqi police say one mortar fell short
and hit a nearby apartment building, killing two civilians.
No casualties or damage were reported inside the Green Zone. The U.S.
military says Iraqi and U.S. troops raided a possible launch site for
the mortars, detaining three Iraqi men and seizing rocket-launching
US - MIDEAST: A U.S. envoy has ended a second day of talks with Israel's prime
minister without securing an Israeli agreement to freeze settlement
building in areas the Palestinians want for a state.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office described his meeting with
U.S. envoy George Mitchell in Jerusalem Wednesday as "good." It says
the two plan to meet again on Friday, after Mitchell returns from
visits to Arab states.
The U.S. and Palestinian governments have been pressing Israel to stop
all building in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem to enable
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to restart.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Iran must address concerns
about its nuclear program "head on" (directly) when it meets diplomats
from six world powers early next month.
Clinton said Tuesday the nuclear issue "cannot be ignored" in the
October 1 talks, in which the United States will participate fully for
the first time. The European Union says the meeting likely will be held
Western nations accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, but
Iran insists its nuclear activities are peaceful and not subject to
US - RECESSION: The chief of the U.S. central bank says the recession "is very likely
over" but warned it will take time for many Americans to feel relief.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday economic data
indicates the U.S. economy is growing again and will continue to grow
into next year.
However, he agreed with economic forecasts that say despite the growth,
the economy will not produce many new jobs and the unemployment rate
will remain high for some time.
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