IRAN: Iranian police have clashed with opposition demonstrators who renewed protests against the government on the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Witnesses say police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of people who came out to the streets of Tehran Wednesday for protests supported by defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. Demonstrators shouted "death to the dictator" as they rekindled protests that began in June against the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
US ELECTIONS: Republican Party candidates won two key governorships Tuesday in U.S. state elections widely seen as a referendum on President Barack Obama's administration and its policies. Statewide issues dominated campaigns in both Virginia and New Jersey, but political analysts said the vote in the two populous eastern states indicated a shift in voters' preferences, away from Democrats and toward Republican candidates. That would reverse the trend established in last year's presidential race and indicate trouble ahead for Democrats nationwide in 2010, when all seats in the House of Representatives will be on the ballot.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan President Hamid Karzai's main political rival is questioning the president's commitment to fighting corruption.
Former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah withdrew days ago from a
second-round runoff vote because of concerns over fraud. On Tuesday, he
said Mr. Karzai's government lacks legitimacy because of the
controversial election process that declared Mr. Karzai the winner by
Abdullah addressed a news conference in Kabul. It followed a similar
conference by Mr. Karzai Tuesday in which the president vowed to "make
every possible effort" to eradicate government corruption, but also
appeared to reject removing high-level officials in any anti-corruption
BURMA - US: Senior U.S. diplomats are meeting with detained Burmese opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi Wednesday, as the Obama administration pursues
a new diplomatic approach towards the military-ruled nation.
The Nobel Peace laureate shook hands with Assistant Secretary of State
Kurt Campbell as she arrived at a luxury hotel in the main city of
Rangoon. The meeting is a rare break from the detention she has endured
for 14 of the last 20 years.
The meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi came hours after Campbell, the top
U.S. diplomat for East Asia, and his deputy, Scott Marceil, held talks
with Prime Minister Thein Sein in Burma's administrative capital,
ASIA STORM: Disaster officials in Vietnam say tropical storm Mirinae killed more than 40 people, and several others are still missing.
Most of the known deaths are in the coastal provinces of Phu Yen and
Binh Dinh, where heavy rains caused serious floods. Rescue efforts are
under way to help people trapped in flooded villages, and to locate the
State media reported Wednesday that the storm damaged or destroyed at
least 2,500 homes and flooded some 1,800 hectares of farm land.
CHINA - WORLD BANK: The World Bank has raised China's economic growth forecast to 8.4 percent for 2009.
The prediction issued Wednesday by the Washington-based development
bank represents a major increase from the 7.2 percent it forecast in
The World Bank says it boosted its outlook based on the effects of a
$586 billion economic stimulus package approved by Beijing last year at
the height of the global financial crisis.
But the bank is urging China to undertake a "successful rebalancing" of
its heavily export-driven economy by encouraging more domestic spending.
US - MIDEAST: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States does not
accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlement activity on Palestinian
Clinton delivered her remarks Wednesday in Cairo after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Middle East peace efforts.
She said the U.S. would like to see Israel completely halt all settlement activity.
Clinton drew sharp criticism from Palestinian leaders last week when
she welcomed Israel's offer to restrain settlement activity in order to
start peace negotiations as an "unprecedented" concession.
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