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Obama Discusses Afghanistan With Advisors


US - AFGHANISTAN: U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with his senior military and political advisors for another strategy session on Afghanistan Wednesday, the eighth anniversary of the U.S.-led military mission. Mr. Obama held a 90-minute meeting with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders at the White House Tuesday to discuss Afghanistan. A senior administration official said the president assured lawmakers the policy review would be rigorous and deliberate, but move forward with a sense of urgency.

US - OBAMA - IRAQ: U.S. President Barack Obama and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani discussed security and economic issues at the White House Tuesday. A statement released by the White House says the meeting took place when Mr. Obama dropped in on a meeting between retired General Jim Jones, his national security advisor, and Mr. Talabani. The statement says Mr. Obama praised his Iraqi counterpart for promoting national unity in Iraq, and expressed support for Iraqi efforts to adopt a new election law.

US - PAKISTAN: Pakistan's parliament will begin debate Wednesday on a $7.5 billion U.S. aid bill, amid criticism from some Pakistanis that the money comes with conditions that could violate the country's sovereignty. Islamabad welcomed the unprecedented U.S. civilian aid program approved by the U.S. Congress last week. But some in Pakistan are concerned that its terms, and an expected larger U.S. presence to administer the program, will amount to U.S. interference in the country's internal affairs.

IRAN - NUCLEAR: Iranian news agencies report the head of Tehran's nuclear program has announced plans to install a more advanced type of centrifuge at the country's newly revealed nuclear facility. The news agencies say Ali Akbar Salehi announced Iran is focusing more on research and development at the site near the Shi'ite holy city of Qom. They quote him as saying Iran hopes to use a "new generation of centrifuges" to enrich uranium there. The United States and other Western countries suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, and has agreed to let international inspectors visit the site near Qom.

NOBEL PRIZE - CHEMISTRY: Two Americans and an Israeli have won the Nobel Prize in chemistry mapping the structure of key protein-making parts of cells. Americans Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas Steitmz, and Israeli Ada Yonath will share the $1.4 million prize announced Wednesday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The academy says their work has helped researchers develop antibiotic cures for various diseases. Each of them will also receive a diploma and an invitation to the prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden on December 10.

BURMA - SUU KYI: Detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi held talks with a Burmese government official Wednesday, the second time in less than a week. Aung San Suu Kyi met with the military government's official liaison with the country's opposition, labor minister Aung Kyi, for 30-minutes at a government state house in Rangoon. Details of the talks were not immediately known. On Saturday, the pair met for the first time since January 2008. Her lawyer Nyan Win says the talks were likely to have centered on how to get sanctions against military-ruled Burma lifted.

JAPAN - TYPHOON: A powerful typhoon is approaching Japan's main islands on Wednesday, threatening the heavily populated country's industrial centers with torrential rain and strong winds. Japanese forecasters say Typhoon Melor has the potential to be the most powerful storm to hit Japan's main islands in more than 10 years if it makes landfall. Forecasters say Melor would probably hit sometime Thursday. Typhoon Melor is bringing with it gusts of up to 216 kilometers-per-hour.

US - PHILIPPINES: President Barack Obama has sent condolences to the Philippines as it struggles to recover from deadly storms and flooding that have left at least 300 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands. In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Obama said that both he and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, feel great sorrow over the hundreds of people who have died from the storms and those who have been displaced. Mr. Obama added that as a longstanding friend and partner of the Philippines, the United States stands ready to continue its cooperation and assistance.

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