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Germany Celebrates Collapse of Berlin Wall


BERLIN WALL ANNIVERSARY: Germany is marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with prayers and promises to remember the joys of freedom. German Chancellor Angela Merkel started the day with President Horst Koehler and other leaders at a prayer service in Gethsemane Church. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was among the top officials at the service.
One-hundred thousand people are in Berlin for the celebration, which Berlin officials are calling the "Festival of Freedom." It includes rock concerts, fireworks and a line of large foam dominoes that will be toppled along the path where the wall stood. The fall of the Berlin Wall cleared the way for German reunification, which took place formally on October 3, 1990. U.S. Secretary of State Clinton is leading the American delegation at Monday's ceremony.

PAKISTAN: Pakistani police say a suicide bomber in a rickshaw has killed threepeople in Peshawar, a day after another suicide bomber killed 13 people in a crowded market outside the northwestern city. Police say the suicide bomber detonated his explosives Monday at a checkpoint on a frequently traveled road that runs around Peshawar. The blast wounded five other people. The earlier bombing on Sunday killed a local mayor, Abdul Malik. He was once a Taliban supporter, but switched sides and mobilized villagers to form a tribal militia against militants. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

IRAQ - ELECTION LAW: Iraq's parliament has passed a long-delayed election law required for national elections to be held in January. The law won approval Sunday from 141 of 195 Iraq lawmakers present. The lawmakers overcame a key dispute about how to conduct the election in northern Iraq's ethnically-mixed, oil-rich city of Kirkuk. During the session, U.S. ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill shuttled between rival factions to press them to reach a deal. At the White House, President Barack Obama welcomed the passage of the law, calling it an important milestone toward ensuring lasting peace in Iraq. He also said it will pave the way for an orderly withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by next September.

ISRAEL - US: U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Israel's prime minister in Washington Monday. Benjamin Netanyahu is in the U.S. capital to speak to an annual forum of the Jewish Federations of North America.
White House officials said Sunday the leaders will hold talks Monday evening, but they will not appear together before the White House press corps. The Obama administration has been trying for months to press Mr. Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to revive peace talks. U.S.-Israeli relations have been strained since Mr. Netanyahu rejected President Obama's demand to halt construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

ZIMBABWE - TRIAL: A top aide to Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai went on trial Monday, facing terrorism and weapons-smuggling charges. Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change says the case against Roy Bennett is politically motivated - in the prime minister's words, a "malicious prosecution." Bennett, a white former coffee farmer, is one of the MDC's most popular leaders. He is the political group's treasurer and deputy agriculture minister-designate in Zimbabwe's power-sharing government.
He was arrested in February on charges that date back to 2006, when a weapons dealer was arrested and initially charged with plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe. The weapons dealer signed a confession implicating Bennett and others in the alleged plot, but later recanted and told reporters he had been tortured before signing the document.

PHILIPPINES - KIDNAP: The government of the Philippines vowed Monday to hunt down the al-Qaeda-linked militants suspected of kidnapping and beheading a school principal. Police on the southern island of Jolo said the head of Gabriel Canizares was found in a bag at a gas station early Monday morning, 22 days after he was kidnapped. His body is missing. Authorities say the Abu Sayyaf had demanded a $42,000 ransom for Canizares' release, but officials and his relatives refused to pay. A spokeswoman for President Gloria Arroyo (Lorelei Fajardo) said in a statement Monday that authorities are determined to put an end to what she called the Abu Sayyaf's "heinous and inhumane atrocities." The militant Muslim group is notorious for bombings, ransom kidnappings and beheadings.

CAMBODIA - THAILAND: Cambodia's Prime Minister says Thailand's fugitive former leader, Thaksin Shinawatra, will visit the country to make a speech to economists, a move expected to worsen the diplomatic spat between the two nations. Hun Sen told a news conference Sunday that Mr. Thaksin will brief more than 300 Cambodian economists on November 12th. The announcement follows last week's appointment of the ousted leader as an economic advisor to the Cambodian government. Thailand responded by recalling its ambassador, with Cambodia following suit.

CHINA - US ECONOMY(in News Updates): Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says he welcomes signs of improvement in the U.S. economy, but also hopes that Washington will keep its deficit to "an appropriate size." Mr. Wen spoke Sunday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where he is attending a two-day forum on cooperation between China and Africa. At a news conference, Mr. Wen said he wants the U.S. to keep its deficit under control, because that will help the global economic recovery and ensure stability in foreign-exchange rates. China is the largest international holder of U.S. government debt, and has invested about 70 percent of its foreign-exchange reserves, or over $1.4 trillion, in dollar-denominated assets.


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