CLINTON - RUSSIA: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says it is important for Russia
to embrace basic human rights and freedoms, including the right of
openly participating in the political process.
Clinton told a group of students at Moscow State University Wednesday
that "citizens must be empowered" to determine what laws they will live
She said the freedom to take unpopular positions and "disagree with
conventional wisdom" are the hallmarks of "an innovative society."
Clinton said it is those values that make the recent attacks on
journalists and human rights activists in Russia a "great concern" for
KOREAS TALKS: North Korea has expressed its regret over the death of six South Koreans last month who were swept away by a deadly dam discharge on a river that runs across their heavily armed border. Pyongyang made the comments Wednesday during an inter-Korean meeting in the northern town of Kaesong. The two sides are meeting in Kaesong to discuss how to keep such incidents from happening again. They will also hold talks Friday to discuss reunions of families separated by the Korean War. Pyongyang says a sudden surge in the water level of a dam on the Imjin River in the North required it to make an emergency release.
US - NOKOR NUCLEAR: A senior U.S. diplomat says Washington will hold direct meetings with
North Korea only within the framework of the six-nation nuclear
Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell made the comment Wednesday
in Beijing after meeting with Chinese officials on the stalled
Campbell told reporters China believes Pyongyang is willing to accept
the six-nation framework. But he admitted that diplomacy with the
isolated Stalinist regime is 'very challenging."
Former U.S. President George W. Bush made a similar observation in a
speech Wednesday in the South Korean capital of Seoul.
ASIA - ECONOMY - BUSH: Former U.S. President George W. Bush says Asian economies and their
governments are leading the global economy out of its slump.
Speaking in Seoul on Wednesday, Mr. Bush says that despite the global
financial crisis many Asian economies (China, South Korea, Singapore,
Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand) are performing well because of
what he called clever stimulus policies of their governments.
Mr. Bush says he believes Asian economies will be a powerful engine for
growth in the future, but cautioned against protectionism.
THAI - ASEAN SECURITY: The government of Thailand says it will use a strict security law to control protests in Bangkok during an upcoming regional summit. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Tuesday said the government will invoke the Internal Security Act during a meeting of members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations October 23 through 25. The security act gives the government permission to monitor and investigate situations that could threaten national security. A security force of some 18,000 will be on guard during the summit in the coastal resorts of Hua Hin and Cha-am. Protesters are set to rally in Bangkok during that time.
AFGHANISTAN: NATO says Afghan and international forces have killed a Taliban commander in southeastern Afghanistan.
NATO said Wednesday a joint security force killed a man in a vehicle
who did not comply with the force's commands and acted in a hostile
manner during a search Tuesday near Qalat City in Zabul province.
Troops examined the vehicle and identified the man as the Taliban commander for whom the force had been searching.
NATO said Tuesday Afghan and international forces had killed several
suspected militants in three operations in southern and eastern
Afghanistan since Monday.
UN - HUNGER: The global financial downturn and a food crisis in developing countries
have pushed the ranks of the world's hungry to a record one billion
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food
Program (WFP) say the increase is due to high food prices, as well as
lower incomes and lost jobs.
Asia has the most hungry people with 642 million; followed by Africa
with 265 million; Latin America with 53 million; and the Middle East
and North Africa with 42 million.
The report has been released ahead of World Food Day, which will be
observed Friday (Oct. 16).
IRAQ - WATER: The United Nations says a water shortage has forced more than 100,000 to abandon their homes in northern Iraq since 2005.
The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization says another
36,000 Iraqis are on the verge of leaving if conditions do not improve.
UNESCO Tuesday released a study that says drought and excessive
well-pumping have led to a dramatic decline of water flow in the
country's ancient underground aqueducts, or karez. The system already
was badly impacted by political turmoil and neglect.
The study says nearly 70 percent of functioning karez have dried up, with only 116 of 683 karez systems operational.
Listen to our World News for details.