AFGHANISTAN: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been sworn in for a second five-year
term following his disputed victory in fraud-marred presidential
The inauguration was held Thursday at the presidential palace in the capital Kabul.
Addressing hundreds of foreign dignitaries and Afghan leaders at the
ceremony, President Karzai vowed to tackle government corruption,
calling it a "dangerous enemy of the state."
Mr. Karzai has faced intense Western pressure to fight corruption and
improve government accountability. He promised to select "competent,"
"expert" ministers and vowed to take action against those who are
stepping over the country's laws and constitution.
OBAMA - ASIA: U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak
have urged North Korea to return to international talks on ending its
nuclear weapons program and end its provocative behavior.
Following a meeting in Seoul Thursday, Mr. Lee told reporters that he
and President Obama agreed to work closely together to bring North
Korea back to the six-party talks. They also said patience is running
Mr. Obama said that if North Korea takes serious steps toward
disarmament, the reductions of sanctions and its full integration into
the international community would follow over time.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States has begun talks with its international partners on the consequences of Iran's failure to respond to a proposed nuclear deal. Speaking in South Korea Thursday, President Obama said a package of potential steps will be developed during the next several weeks with the aim of sending a "clear message" to Iran. He said he continues to hold out the hope that Iran will decide to accept the United Nations-brokered plan, which involves sending its uranium abroad for further enrichment.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani officials say a suicide bomber killed at least 19 people
outside a court building in Peshawar Thursday, in the latest attack to
strike the northwestern city.
The bombing was the sixth in less than two weeks in and around
Peshawar. Officials say the attacker blew himself up when guards were
trying to search him at the court's gate. They say three policemen were
among the dead. Doctors say at least 36 people were wounded.
Militant attacks have surged in the northwest since Pakistan launched a
major anti-Taliban offensive in the lawless tribal region of South
Waziristan in mid-October.
BANGLADESH - TRIAL: Bangladesh's Supreme Court has rejected the final appeals of five men
sentenced to death in the killing of the country's independence leader
in 1975. The court ruled Thursday to uphold the former soldiers' guilty
for their roles in the killing of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Sheikh Mujib
was slain in a 1975 military coup along with more than 20
of his family members. He had led Bangladesh to independence from
Pakistan in 1971.
US - DRUG ARRESTS: Two men have been arrested in (the midwestern U.S. state of) Oklahoma for allegedly trying to smuggle several kilograms of opium into the United States. Authorities say Xue Yang and Wang Chong Khang were detained after they retrieved a package from a local post office containing the drug, which was hidden in mushrooms. The opium weighed nearly three kilograms, estimated value of $1.1 million. The package, which originated in Laos, was intercepted in Dallas, Texas earlier this month. Xue Yang and Wang Chong Khang are both being held on $1 million bail.
CARTER - VIETNAM: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is in Vietnam to launch a program to help build 30 homes for the poor. Mr. Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, traveled to the northern fishing village of Dong Xa (located west of the capital, Hanoi) where they toured homes under construction Wednesday. Each year, the Carters spend a week working with the charity Habitat for Humanity on what is known as the Carter Work Project. Thousands of volunteers are also working on the project, which will build or repair 166 homes in five nations along the Mekong River ( - Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam).
OBAMA - BROTHER: U.S. President Barack Obama says he took five minutes out of his busy overseas diplomatic schedule to meet a half-brother who lives in China. Mr. Obama told a U.S. television network (CNN) that he met Mark Ndesandjo and his wife briefly Monday in Beijing, where the U.S. president held meetings with Chinese leaders this week. The president has the same Kenyan father as Ndesandjo, who recently published a book ("Nairobi to Shenzhen") describing Barack Obama Sr. as abusive. President Obama said he does not know his half-brother very well.
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