PAKISTAN: Police in Pakistan say gunmen have killed a high-ranking army officer and another soldier during an ambush in Islamabad.
Authorities said two gunmen riding a motorcycle fired into the
soldiers' vehicle Thursday morning in a residential area of the city
where many army officers live. Another soldier in their vehicle was
The gunmen escaped and no group claimed responsibility. Militants have
launched a wave of attacks in recent weeks on targets including police
training centers, the army's headquarters, an Islamic university and a
United Nations office.
AFGHANISTAN: President Barack Obama says he may withhold his decision on U.S. troop
levels and a new military strategy in Afghanistan until after that
country's runoff presidential vote next month.
In an interview on American television (NBC), Mr. Obama
said it is "entirely possible" his administration will have a new
strategic plan ready for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, but not announce
it until after the second-round election on November 7.
Mr. Obama said he and his White House team will take the time they need
to make the right decisions about troop levels and other details of the
U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
US - NUCLEAR: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says North Korea's nuclear weapons
programs are having a "destabilizing effect" both regionally and
Gates made the remarks Thursday in Seoul, where he took part in an
annual U.S. - South Korea security conference. He said the U.S. would
continue to provide "extended deterrence" to its democratic ally,
including a "nuclear umbrella."
The United States and South Korea are part of the six-nation talks
aimed at convincing Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
US - BURMA: The United States says it will send a mission to Burma in coming weeks as part of the Obama administration's new approach of pragmatic engagement with the country. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell told U.S. lawmakers Wednesday the mission will speak to Burmese military officials, representatives of ethnic nationalities, and the democratic opposition, including detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Asked what specific things the United States would hope to accomplish, Campbell listed goals of promoting a dialogue between various groups within Burma, and seeking reassurances regarding concerns the United States has about ties between Burma and North Korea.
THAILAND - CAMBODIA: Thai officials are downplaying Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's offer
of asylum for ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Mr. Hun Sen made the offer Wednesday after meeting with Chavalit
Yongchaiyudh, a close political ally of Mr. Thaksin, in the Cambodian
capital Phnom Penh. Mr. Hun Sen affirmed his friendship with Mr.
Thaksin, and even offered the ex-Thai prime minister a residence.
Officials in Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's government say
they understand the Cambodian leader's bond with Mr. Thaksin.
CHINA - ECONOMY: China says its economy soared 8.9 percent in the third quarter of 2009, putting it on track to reach the eight percent annual coveted by the country's leaders. The third quarter expansion represented a one percent jump from the second quarter, and major increase from the 6.1 percent in the first quarter. China's gross domestic product has risen 7.7 percent in the first nine months of 2009 compared to the same period last year. The government launched a series of steps at the height of the global economic slowdown to bolster its export-driven economy, including a massive $586 billion stimulus package dedicated to infrastructure projects.
SOMALIA - VIOLENCE: Medical workers and witnesses say at least 20 people, including many
civilians, are dead in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, after one of the
worst battles between Islamist militants and government forces in
Ali Muse, the head of Mogadishu's ambulance services, said at least 58 other people were wounded.
Witnesses say the shelling began Thursday at the international airport
as President Sharif Shekh Ahmed was heading to Uganda for an African
Union meeting on refugees and internally displaced people.
IRAN - EXECUTION: Iran has hanged five people convicted of murder, including a young woman found guilty of killing her newborn son. A state-owned newspaper said the government hanged all five Wednesday in Tehran. The report says officials executed a 27-year-old woman named Soheila, who was charged with killing her five-day-old son. Media reports show Iran has hanged at least 110 people since January.
US - EXECUTIVE PAY: A senior U.S. official says the Obama administration plans to order
firms that received billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout money to
make sharp cuts in compensation to their top executives.
The official, who asked to remain anonymous, said the seven firms who
received the most government aid will be asked to cut the annual
salaries of their 25 highest-paid executives by an average of about 90
percent from last year. This will mean total compensation for
executives at these firms will decline by an average of about 50
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