COPENHAGEN-CLIMATE: Tens of thousands of environmental activists are preparing for a massive march Saturday in Copenhagen to pressure world leaders to do more to combat climate change, as similar protests are held across the globe. Organizers estimate at least 40,000 people took part in Australia's "Walk Against Warming" to urge politicians meeting in Copenhagen to take bold measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Demonstrations also took place in Beijing, Manila, and Taipei. The group Global Climate Campaign, which organized Saturday's protests, is urging industrialized countries that emit the most greenhouse gases to take responsibility for climate change by reducing their emissions and investing in clean energy technology. A draft of a global climate agreement circulating at the U.N. talks in Copenhagen calls for the world to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050, with rich nations taking the lead.
PAKISTAN: Pakistan's prime minister says the military has ended its operation
targeting Taliban militants in the South Waziristan tribal region.
Yousuf Raza Gilani said Saturday the army is now focusing on the nearby Orakzai tribal region, in pursuit of the Pakistani Taliban leadership that is believed to have fled there from South Waziristan. Officials with the United Nations say thousands of civilians have left Orakzai. Meanwhile, U.S. officials have identified Saleh al-Somali as the senior al-Qaida operative they believe was killed in a drone attack in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday. U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they suspect al-Somali was responsible for planning terrorist attacks in the United States, Africa and Europe. His death has not been confirmed.
CLINTON-PAKISTAN: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Friday evening trumpeted the
new partnership she says she hopes is building between her country and
Pakistan. Clinton was speaking in New York at the inaugural dinner of the
American Pakistan Foundation, a new organization aimed at coordinating
aid efforts from the Pakistani diaspora. She dismissed criticism she says she heard from Pakistanis during a
recent trip there that the U.S.'s involvement was about U.S.
domination. Instead, she said, the U.S. has taken steps to support Pakistan in
strengthening its democracy, fostering economic growth, and defeating
extremists. Clinton said the U.S. will invest aid money in energy, transportation,
agriculture, water, and education, but said efforts of non-governmental
organizations, like the American Pakistan Foundation, have a crucial
role to play as well.
She said that to achieve the "long-term progress Pakistan seeks," Pakistan must strengthen its democratic institutions, and improve security by defeating extremist groups.
IRAQ-OIL-AUCTION: Iraq awarded a contract Saturday to Russia's Lukoil and Norway's Statoil to develop its gigantic West Qurna Phase Two oil field.
The two companies' joint bid said they would accept a fee of $1.15 per barrel of oil produced. The companies proposed a projected output target of 1.8 million barrels per day. Southern Iraq's West Qurna Phase Two is one of the world's biggest undeveloped oil fields and has estimated reserves of 12.9 billion barrels of oil. Iraqi officials have awarded contracts to foreign oil companies during a two-day auction aimed at dramatically raising the country's oil output.
On Friday, oil giant Royal Dutch Shell and Malaysia's state-run Petronas won the rights to the second-largest oil field offered at the auction. The companies will develop the Majnoon oil field, with oil reserves estimated at 12.6 billion barrels.
NOKOR NUCLEAR: A senior U.S. envoy says there are no plans for more bilateral talks with North Korea on resuming six-party nuclear disarmament negotiations. Steven Bosworth arrived in Beijing late Friday to brief Chinese officials on his three days of meetings with North Korean officials, which he called business-like, candid and forward-looking. However , he said how and when stalled six-nation negotiations on the North's nuclear diarmament would resume are yet to be resolved.