OBAMA - ASIA: U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Tokyo for the start of his eight-day tour of Asia.
Mr. Obama will hold talks with new Japanese Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama aimed at improving ties with the longtime U.S. ally. Mr.
Hatoyama led his center-left Democratic Party to power in August
promising a much more independent relationship with the United States.
He campaigned on a pledge to move a U.S. Marine air base off the
southern island of Okinawa, which would renege on an agreement reached
The pact calls for relocating the Futenma base to a more remote part of
APEC - CHINA: China's President Hu Jintao has told Asian Pacific economies that China
is working hard to increase domestic demand and urged them to work
together to open up free trade.
In a speech at the Asia Pacific Economic Forum in Singapore Friday, Mr.
Hu listed his country's efforts at fighting the global economic crisis.
Mr. Hu says a major stimulus package and moderate adjustments to
China's monetary policy were some of the measures it had taken.
He added that China is now focusing on increasing domestic demand.
China's efforts to help revive the global economy have received wide praise during the APEC meetings this week.
BURMA - US: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Burma's plans to hold
elections next year will not be seen as legitimate unless its
government engages in dialogue with the country's opposition and ethnic
In an interview with VOA Friday in Manila, Clinton says that if she
meets with Burmese leaders in Singapore in the coming days, she will
again press them to allow the 2010 elections to be more open.
Clinton says that her message would be similar to the one carried by
U.S. envoys who recently made a rare visit to the military-ruled
country and met with Burmese leaders as well as the country's
CAMBODIA - THAILAND: Cambodia has detained a Thai man for allegedly spying on the country's
ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in the latest sign of
worsening ties between the two neighbors.
Cambodian authorities say Siwarak Chothipong, an employee of the
Cambodia Air Traffic Service, allegedly stole Mr. Thaksin's flight
schedule and sent it to diplomats at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.
Siwarak appeared in municipal court Thursday and was charged with
stealing information that could impact national security. If found
guilty he could face up to 15 years in jail.
CHINA - SNOW: Chinese authorities say unusually early snow storms in northern China
have claimed at least 38 lives and caused more than half a billion
dollars in damages.
Authorities say the storms were the worst the region has seen in nearly six decades.
China's Ministry of Civil Affairs says more than 4.7 million people
were affected by the storms, which also caused the collapse of more
than 7,000 buildings.
At least 19 of those who died were killed in traffic accidents.
The snow storms forced the partial and full closure of airports in
Beijing, Taiyuan, Xian, Shijiazhuang and other smaller cities.
PAKISTAN - BLAST: Pakistani officials say a suicide car bombing targeting an office of
the country's main intelligence agency in Peshawar has killed at least
10 people and wounded scores of others.
The blast early Friday destroyed much of the three-story building which
held the office of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
The spy agency targeted in the bombing oversees much of the
government's anti-terror campaign in the tribal regions bordering
Peshawar, situated in the northwest, not far from the government
offensive against the Taliban, has been a frequent target of militant
NEPAL PROTEST: Thousands of Maoist activists in Nepal have blockaded the government's
headquarters in the capital for the second day.
Demonstrators surrounded the main government complex in Kathmandu
Friday, effectively shutting down the government's daily operations.
Police are maintaining a heavy presence, and so far no violence has
On Thursday, police used tear gas and batons to disperse unruly
protesters. A number of people were reportedly injured in the scuffles.
Maoists have held a series of anti-government protests since May, when
their leader, Puspha Kamal Dahal, stepped down as
prime minister in a dispute with President Ram Baran Yadav.
US - IRAN - MOSQUES: Federal authorities have taken steps to seize four U.S. mosques and a
New York City skyscraper owned by a nonprofit Muslim organization
believed to have links with the Iranian government.
Prosecutors Thursday filed a civil lawsuit asking for the forfeiture of
buildings and other assets owned by the Alavi Foundation. The
foundation is suspected of funneling millions of dollars through a
front company to Iran's state-owned Bank Melli.
The U.S. Treasury Department accuses Bank Melli of supporting Iran's
nuclear program and has banned U.S. citizens from doing business with
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