CIA - OBAMA: Seven former CIA directors have urged U.S. President Barack Obama to
stop a criminal probe into alleged prisoner abuse by CIA interrogators
during the Bush administration.
The CIA directors, who served both Democratic and Republican
presidents, made they request in a letter Friday to the White House.
In their letter, the former directors (John Deutch, Porter Goss,
Michael Hayden, James Schlesinger, George Tenet, William Webster, and
James Woolsey) warned
that the investigation could discourage intelligence officers to take
risks to protect the country, and may inhibit foreign governments from
cooperating with the United States.
US TERROR SUSPECT: A senior U.S. law enforcement official says an Afghan national
questioned by federal agents this week about an alleged terrorist plot
has admitted to ties with the al-Qaida terror organization.
The senior official - who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity
Friday - says the man, Najibullah Zazi is now negotiating a possible
plea on terrorism charges.
Zazi has not yet been arrested or formally charged. But U.S. federal
agents questioned him this week in three separate sessions in his home
town of Denver, Colorado (in the western U.S.).
INDONESIA - TERROR: Indonesian authorities have confirmed that a man killed in a shootout with police this week is terrorist leader Noordin Top.
National police spokesman Nanan Sukarna said Saturday that DNA tests
supported findings of an earlier fingerprint identification.
Noordin was one of four people killed in a raid Thursday on a militant hideout in Central Java. Three others were arrested.
Police mistakenly announced last month that Noordin was killed in another raid.
The United States said Thursday that Indonesia has potentially taken a
"significant step forward" in its fight against militants.
THAILAND POL: Thousands of red-shirted protesters gathered Saturday in a public
square in Thailand's capital to mark the third anniversary of a
military coup against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The demonstrators, who were under the watchful eyes of thousands of
police and soldiers, called for the resignation of Prime Minister
Abhisit Vejjajiva, and for new elections.
On Friday, the deputy prime minister for security affairs (Suthep
Thaugsuban) said the Cabinet will enact an emergency decree if the
protests spiral out of control.
US - LAOS COUP PLOT: U.S. justice officials say charges against a prominent leader of Hmong
refugees accused of plotting to overthrow the communist government of
Laos have been dropped.
A statement Friday from U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown said that while 12
other people will be prosecuted for trying to bring down the Lao
government, charges against 79-year-old Vang Pao had been dismissed.
The statement said based on the totality of the evidence in the case, continued prosecution of Pao is no longer warranted.
NORTH KOREA - NUCLEAR: A top U.S. diplomat is welcoming reports that North Korean leader Kim
Jong Il is willing to participate in bilateral and multilateral talks
on his country's controversial nuclear program.
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Kurt
Campbell told reporters in Tokyo on Friday that it appears North Korea
is willing to accept commitments it made during previous disarmament
talks. Campbell also says any bilateral discussions between the U.S.
and North Korea can only take place within the framework of the ongoing
six-party talks (which also involve China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan).
OBAMA - GLOBAL ECONOMY: U.S. President Barack Obama says the world's major economies have taken important steps to address the global financial crisis, but he says more work needs to be done. In his weekly radio and Internet address, President Obama said world leaders meeting at the Group of 20 summit last April displayed unprecedented international cooperation, and took steps to address the global financial crisis and help the world's economies. Mr. Obama says the G-20 summit next week in Pittsburgh will be a five-month check-up to review steps taken by each nation to break the global economic crisis.
RUSSIA MISSILE DEFENSE: Russia says it has scrapped plans to deploy missiles in a region near
Poland after U.S. President Barack Obama canceled plans for a missile
defense system in Central Europe.
In a radio interview Saturday, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir
Popovkin said Mr. Obama's move has made the deployment of Iskander
short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region unnecessary.
President Obama said Thursday he is replacing the planned missile
defense system with what he called a new approach for defending the
United States and its NATO allies from a missile threat from Iran. (News Updates)
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