US - AFGHANISTAN: U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have discussed the details of Washington's new military strategy for Afghanistan in a lengthy video conference. A statement from Mr. Karzai's office said the talks Tuesday included plans for security issues, military advancements, political progress and economic developments. Mr. Obama will announce his new Afghan strategy in a nationally televised speech later Tuesday. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday Mr. Obama informed his national security team of his decision and issued orders for its implementation.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani officials say a suicide bomber has killed a politician in the country's volatile northwest.
Authorities say the bomber blew himself up Tuesday and killed lawmaker
Shamsher Ali Khanat at his house in Kanju, about 30 kilometers
northwest of the Swat Valley's major town, Mingora.
Swat Valley was the focus of a military offensive to rid the northwestern area of Taliban militants.
Insurgents in Pakistan have killed hundreds in bombings since military
forces launched another major offensive in South Waziristan two months
On Monday, Pakistan's military reported deadly battles with militants
in tribal areas north of the army's ongoing offensive in South
BRITAIN - IRAN: The British government says five Britons have been detained in Iran
after their racing yacht may have inadvertently strayed into Iranian
The Foreign Office in London says Iranian naval vessels stopped the
yacht on November 25 in the Persian Gulf. In a Monday statement,
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband says the crew was en route
from Bahrain to Dubai when the incident occurred.
The yacht, owned by the Sail Bahrain company, was due to join the
580-kilometer Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race. British news reports
say the boat may have drifted into Iranian territory after developing a
problem with its propeller.
PHILIPPINES MASSACRE: Prosecutors in the Philippines said Tuesday they have filed 25 counts of murder against the heir to a political clan accused of leading the election-related massacre of 57 people last week. On Friday, authorities charged Andal Ampatuan Jr., a town mayor in Maguindanao province, with mass murder. Authorities flew him to Manila from the southern Philippines, where he turned himself in the day before. Ampatuan is suspected of planning the attack on a rival politician's convoy of relatives, supporters and journalists.
LAOS - RELIGION: The United Nations said Monday that Christians and other religious minorities in communist Laos are excluded from public decision-making and have little access to higher education and government job promotions. Asma Jahangir, a UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, said after a week-long visit to the Southeast Asian country that Laos must sustain and foster respect for religious diversity. Jahangir said in a statement issued in the Laos capital of Vientiane that the test of freedom of religion or belief lies with the level of tolerance extended to religious minorities.
AUSTRALIA - CLIMATE: Australia's opposition on Tuesday elected a new leader, Tony Abbott,
who immediately vowed to reject a controversial government bill on
Abbott, a right-wing maverick, replaces Malcolm Turnbull at the helm of the conservative Liberal Party.
The Labor party government's bill calls for a tax on industrial carbon
emissions, starting in 2011, to limit Australia's overall pollution.
If the opposition votes against the bill, it is almost certain to be
defeated in the Senate, the upper chamber of Australia's parliament, as
it was in an earlier vote in August.
NORTH KOREA - CURRENCY: North Korea's central bank is reported to have revalued the country's
national currency, the won, for the first time in 17 years.
A brief report from China's official Xinhua news agency says embassies
in North Korea were given a verbal notice on Tuesday about the
revaluation of the won.
Xinhua and South Korea's Yonhap news agency say North Korea revalued
its currency at an exchange rate between old and new notes of 100 to
one. Citizens have reportedly been ordered to trade in old-denomination
1,000 won notes for new 10-won notes this week.
US - AIDS: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Obama administration
will lift a longtime ban on HIV-positive visitors to the United States
early next year and that Washington will host the International AIDS
Conference in 2012.
Secretary Clinton spoke Monday at a White House event on the eve of
World AIDS Day. The top U.S. diplomat said President Barack Obama is
dedicated to enhancing America's leadership in the fight against global
In October, President Obama said the U.S. would no longer bar entry for
people who have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
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