OBAMA - CHINA: U.S. President Barack Obama met with local political leaders in
Shanghai, China Monday and held a town hall meeting with Chinese
college students. At the town hall meeting, Mr. Obama answered questions from the
audience and submitted by the Chinese public on various Web sites. The Chinese government carefully controlled media coverage of the
event, allowing it to be broadcast on local television but not
nationally. In opening remarks, Mr. Obama stressed the importance of China and the
United States working together to tackle global challenges.
During the question and answer session, Mr. Obama called climate change
one of the most critical challenges and said the world will be watching
what the U.S. and China do on the issue. The president also said one country should not impose its system of
government on another. But, he made clear that he would stand up for
the basic freedoms Americans hold dear.
On the sensitive topic of Taiwan, Mr. Obama said the United States
supports a one-China policy. He added that he hopes for improved
China-Taiwan ties, and he said economic links had helped lower tensions
across the Taiwan Strait. He did not answer a question about arms sales
After the town hall session, Mr. Obama flew to Beijing where he meets
Monday evening and Tuesday with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
AFGHANISTAN: U.S. President Barack Obama says terrorist networks likeal-Qaida pose the "greatest threat" to U.S. security. Mr. Obama said in Shanghai Monday the terrorist groups are dangerous
because their militants have "no conscience" when killing innocent
civilians. The U.S. president has promised a decision soon on if or how he will
reinforce the nearly 68,000 U.S. troops fighting militants in
Afghanistan. U.S. officials have said a key issue for the president is
the credibility of Afghan President Hamid Karzai as a partner in his
Meanwhile, Afghan police in volatile Kandahar province say militants
have attacked a police checkpoint in southern Afghanistan, killing as
many as eight police officers and wounding at least three others.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani police say a suicide bomber blew up his pickup truck filled
with explosives near a police station in the country's northwest,
killing at least four people and wounding more than 25. Officials say the bombing is the seventh in a week to explode in and
around the city of Peshawar. Monday's blast severely damaged the police
station, a mosque and other nearby buildings. The area has seen a wave of attacks that has killed hundreds of people
since the army launched its offensive on the Taliban's stronghold in
Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal region. Militants say they are taking revenge for the government assault that began in mid-October.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned that Western pressures
about Iran's nuclear program will only make the country "more powerful." The Iranian student news agency ISNA quoted President Ahmadinejad
Monday as saying Iran's nuclear rights are "non-negotiable" and that
nuclear cooperation with his country is in the West's best interest. Mr. Ahmadinejad said Iran's nuclear activities would continue within the framework of the United Nations nuclear agency.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday that time is running out for
Iran to agree to a U.N.-backed plan to ship its low-enriched uranium
abroad for further processing. The plan would send the uranium to Russia, which announced Monday that
the controversial nuclear power plant it is building in the southern
Iranian city of Bushehr will not launch this year as planned.
WORLD FOOD SUMMIT: The United Nations opens a three-day World Food Summit Monday in Rome
with UN officials saying one-billion people -- one out of every six --
go to sleep hungry each night. The head of the Food and Agriculture Organization Jacques Diouf says
this is not just a moral outrage, but a serious threat to world peace
and security. Pope Benedict and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon plan to address the summit. But many advocates for the hungry say the meeting will be a waste of time. Most major world leaders will not be there.
CAMBODIA POL: Cambodia's parliament on Monday stripped immunity from main opposition
leader Sam Rainsy, leaving him open to charges of uprooting border
markings with neighboring Vietnam. A statement from the legislative body said Sam Rainsy, currently out of
the country, had committed acts of uprooting border posts between
Cambodia and Vietnam and inciting people to commit criminal offenses in
southeastern Svay Rieng province.
Lawmakers from the Sam Rainsy Party boycotted Monday's closed
parliamentary vote and denounced the decision as political intimidation. Critics, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights in Cambodia, have said the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen
has used the judiciary in several cases to suppress criticism.
PHILIPPINES POL: An independent poll released in the Philippines Monday finds that the
son of the late president and democracy icon Corazon Aquino is the most
favored candidate in next year's presidential elections. Senator Benigno Aquino the Third was the top choice of 44 percent of
respondents in the survey. Senator Manuel Villar, a billionaire
property developer, was second, with only 19 percent.