US - EUROPE MISSILE DEFENSE: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says U.S. President Barack
Obama's decision to scrap plans for a missile defense system in Poland
and the Czech Republic is "correct and brave."
In a televised remarks Friday, Mr. Putin said he hopes other measures that would improve ties will follow.
President Obama announced Thursday that he is dispensing with the plans
for a missile defense system for central Europe in favor of what he
calls a new approach for defending the United States and its NATO
He said the new approach will provide "stronger, smarter and swifter
defenses" and employ "proven and cost effective" capabilities.
IRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has again called the Holocaust a lie by western nations designed to create a pretext for the creation of the Jewish state of Israel. Mr. Ahmadinejad made the comment Friday as tens of thousands of Iranians filled the streets of the capital, Tehran, for an annual government-sponsored rally to express support for Palestinians and condemn Israel. The Iranian president called the Holocaust a myth and an unproveable lie designed to promote support for Israel. Opposition groups also took part in Friday's rally, despite a warning by security officials to stay away.
US - MIDEAST: U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is shuttling between Jerusalem
and the West Bank city of Ramallah for talks with Israeli and
Palestinian leaders in an effort to broker a Mideast peace deal.
Officials close to the former U.S. senator say Mitchell met early
Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then traveled to
the near-by city of Ramallah for talks with Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas. Israeli officials say Mitchell will later hold a second
meeting with Mr. Netanyahu.
The United States has been trying to arrange a three-way meeting with
Palestinian and Israeli leaders during next week's U.N. General
Assembly in New York.
PAKISTAN VIOLENCE: A suicide car bomb has killed at least 25 people in northwest Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan.
The blast ripped through a market on a road outside the garrison town
of Kohat Friday morning. Police say several shops and vehicles were
destroyed in the explosion.
The bombing is the second attack in two days in the small town. On
Thursday several people were wounded when a bomb exploded outside a
The inhabitants of Kohat are mainly Shi'ite Muslims. But Pakistan's
population is majority Sunni, as are the Taliban and other Islamist
militants who permeate the volatile region.
NORTH KOREA - NUCLEAR: Chinese state media are reporting North Korean leader Kim Jong Il says he is willing to participate in both bilateral and multilateral talks on his country's controversial nuclear program. China's official Xinhua news agency says Kim told visiting Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo on Friday the North would continue to pursue the goal of "denuclearization" of the Korean peninsula. Xinhua says Kim told the envoy his country is willing to resolve relevant problems through bilateral and multilateral talks. Dai traveled to North Korea this week as a special envoy for Chinese President Hu Jintao.
BURMA - SUU KYI: A Burmese court has heard an appeal from lawyers for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi against her recent criminal conviction.
Defense attorney Nyan Win told reporters before Friday's hearing at
Rangoon's Division Court he was confident the appeal was based on sound
Authorities refused Aung San Suu Kyi's request to attend the appeals
hearing. Editorials in several state-run newspapers Thursday defended
the decision, saying a defendant has no right to appear at a hearing if
he or she is serving a prison sentence.
SOMALIA VIOLENCE: Suicide bombers have attacked the main base of African Union forces in Somalia, killing at least 14 peacekeepers, including the force's deputy commander. Burundian General Juvenal Niyoyunguruza was among those who died when two car bombs exploded at the base in the Somali capital, Mogadishu Thursday. The head of the force, a Ugandan general (Nathan Mugisha), was one of many wounded in the blasts. The Islamist militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. The group said it was retaliation for Monday's U.S. helicopter raid that killed an al-Qaida-linked terrorist suspect (Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan) in southern Somalia.
NATO - RUSSIA: NATO is proposing a new partnership with Russia, saying the two should work together on defense.
Speaking in Brussels Friday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh
Rasmussen called for a "joint review" of the security challenges of the
21st century, and said Russia should be a "real stakeholder" and
"partner" in European and international security.
Rasmussen said Russia, NATO, and the U.S. should look into linking missile defense systems "at an appropriate time." (News Updates)
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