PAKISTAN: Pakistani officials say a suicide bomber struck a crowded market Sunday
in northwest Pakistan, killing an anti-Taliban mayor. At least 11 other
people were killed in the blast and dozens were wounded in the Sunday
morning attack in the Matni area on the outskirts of Peshawar. Officials say Malik, a former Taliban supporter, had switched sides and
raised a militia to fight the Taliban. He had survived several attempts
on his life since shifting his allegiance. The market was crowded with shoppers and goats. The goats were being sold to to celebrate the upcoming Muslim festival of Eid.
AFGHANISTAN: The Afghan Defense Ministry says its troops, along with NATO forces,
have killed 17 rebels in the southern region of the country. The ministry said Sunday the fighting erupted after militants fired
several mortars at an Afghan army position in the province of Zabul. Officials say one wounded rebel was captured. On Saturday, NATO-led forces in Afghanistan said more than 25
international and Afghan National Security Force personnel were
mistakenly killed or wounded during an operation in western Badghis
province. A NATO statement said Friday's incident occurred when NATO and Afghan
forces were searching for two American soldiers who disappeared
Wednesday while attempting to recover airdropped supplies from the
Marghab River. The U.S. soldiers are believed to have drowned.
INDIA - CHINA - TIBET: Thousands of Buddhists lined the roadways Sunday to welcome the Dalai
Lama to a Tibetan monastery in Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India,
along the disputed border with China. China strongly opposed the Dalai Lama's trip to the Himalayan monastery
and demanded Indian authorities cancel it. Top Indian officials,
including the prime minister, refused, saying the Dalai Lama is an
honored guest and his trip to the Tawang Monastery is religious -- not
political. China and India fought a war over Arunachal Pradesh in 1962. The region has remained in dispute ever since
US - HEALTH CARE: The U.S. House of Representatives has narrowly passed a sweeping measure to reform America's health care system. One Republican joined 219 Democrats in approving the bill in the House
late Saturday after about 12 hours of debate. The bill needed 218 votes
to pass. In a statement from the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama hailed
what he called the "historic vote" and said he was absolutely confident
the Senate will pass its version of the legislation. Differences between the House and Senate versions will have to be
reconciled and approved by another vote before a final bill goes to the
president for his signature.
US - CLINTON TRIP: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left Washington early Sunday
for Europe and Asia to consult with allies on curbing North Korea's and
Iran's nuclear ambitions and stabilizing Afghanistan. The top U.S. diplomat will give a speech in Berlin Sunday, before
joining German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders in
celebrations on Monday, to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the
Berlin Wall. From Berlin, Clinton goes to Singapore, where she will meet Wednesday
with Asia-Pacific foreign ministers for talks centering on North Korea.
APEC: Annual meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum began in
Singapore Sunday, bringing together senior officials from 21 of the
world's largest economies to work toward improving trade and growth. The APEC officials talked about improving trade among their Pacific Rim
economies by simplifying documentation requirements and procedures.
They also discussed moving toward a free trade area for the
Asia-Pacific region. Michael Tay, the Executive Director of this year's APEC Secretariat
said globalization has produced great rewards for APEC economies. But
he said the global financial crisis has shown there are also large
imbalances to be addressed. The eight days of meetings will end with a summit of APEC leaders,
including U.S. President Barack Obama, who will make his first trip to
Asia as president.
CHINA - AFRICA: China's Premier Wen Jiabao has pledged $10 billion in loans to African countries over the next three years. Mr. Wen is in Cairo, where the two-day Forum on China-Africa Cooperation began Sunday in the Red Sea resort, Sharm el-Sheikh. The Chinese premier presented a plan to cancel the debts of some of
Africa's poorest countries. He also vowed to help set up 100 new clean
energy projects in the continent. Leaders of 49 African countries are attending the summit to discuss economic and political cooperation with China.
Chinese companies have invested billions of dollars in Africa to feed
China's appetite for raw materials. Trade between China and the
continent has grown significantly over the past five years.
JAPAN-BURMA: Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has urged Burma to release detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi before next year's election, saying Tokyo is willing to provide more aid if democratic reforms in Burma are advanced. On talks with Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein in Tokyo Saturday, Mr. Hatoyama said it is extremely important that Burma release Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners before the general election to be held in 2010.