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Climate Talks Enter Critical Stage



CLIMATE CONFERENCE: Time is starting to run out for officials struggling to agree on a plan to fight global warming, with some leaders warning the talks could fail. The United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Copenhagen enter their final week Monday, with leaders from around the world preparing to descend on the city for the summit's climax. Disagreements remain over how much each country will need to cut greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, and who will pay for the cuts.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told Sky News Monday there is a chance the summit will end in failure, while British Climate Change Minister Ed Miliband called for more urgency, saying the summit is "not on track for the kind of deal" needed.
DUBAI-DEBT: The debt-ridden Gulf emirate of Dubai is getting a last-minute aid package that could ease the concerns of investors around the world.
Officials said Monday that Abu Dhabi is rushing to the rescue with a $10 billion bailout. Both Gulf states are part of the United Arab Emirates.
The announcement comes the same day the property unit of Dubai World, a state-owned conglomerate, was required to pay back a $3.5 billion debt.
Dubai World sent stock markets around the world plunging last month after it said could not repay nearly $60 billion in loans on time. Analysts feared the failure of the conglomerate's property unit (Nakheel) to meet Monday's deadline could result in another shock to the global economy.
THAILAND-NOKOR-WEAPONS: A court in Thailand has ordered 12 days of detention for five men while they are under investigation for flying a plane carrying North Korean weapons into the country. The men were arrested Friday, as they stopped to refuel at a Bangkok airport (Don Muang). Thai officials say police acted on a tip from the United States, but Washington has not confirmed the report. The four Kazakhs and one Belarusian deny wrongdoing, saying they did not know they were transporting weapons. They listed their cargo as oil drilling equipment. The plane's co-pilot, Viktor Abdullayev, told the New York Times the crew began its mission in Ukraine and picked up cargo in North Korea. He said they were traveling back to Ukraine via Thailand, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates. He did not say where the cargo was to be delivered.
CHINA-PIPELINE: Chinese President Hu Jintao opened a major new gas pipeline from Central Asia on Monday. The leaders of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Central Asia's biggest energy exporters, joined Mr. Hu for the official commissioning ceremony Monday at the remote Samandepe gas field in eastern Turkmenistan, where the pipeline begins. The pipeline runs for 1,800 kilometers, through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, before linking up with a further 5,000-plus kilometers of pipeline in China's far-west Xinjiang region. The pipeline is the first major Central Asian gas export route to bypass Russia, giving Beijing an important foothold in the region.
AFGHANISTAN VIOLENCE: Afghan officials say gunmen have killed 16 Afghan policemen in two attacks on checkpoints in the country's north and south. The Afghan Interior ministry says an attack at a checkpoint in southern Helmand province Monday killed eight policemen. The ministry says attackers killed another eight policemen during an assault on a major highway in northeastern Baghlan province.Authorities said police killed at least one militant during the attack and blamed the assault on Hezb-i-Islami, an Islamist group that is allied to the Taliban. The Pentagon's top military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, arrived in Kabul Monday, just days ahead of the first of the 30,000 reinforcements U.S. President Barack Obama has slated for Afghanistan.
SEA GAMES: Thailand has moved to the top of the medals table at the Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane, Laos, as weightlifters and track athletes took gold medals on Sunday. Khunchai Nuchpum won the men's above 94-kilogram weightlifting gold with a total lift of 345 kilograms, while Suthiphon Watthanakasikam won the men's under 94-kilogram division with a Games record lift of 360 kilos. Pitaya Tibnoke earned the 85-kilogram division gold medal with a combined lift of 331 kilos. Thailand's athletics golds were won by Theerayut Philakong with a meet-record 16.51-meter triple jump, Chatchawal Polyiam with a meet-record toss of 17.59-meters in the shot put, and Narongdech Janjai in the 400-meter hurdles. Thailand also won golds in cycling, shooting and swimming.The Philippines got gold medals from Arniel Ferrera in the hammer throw (61.62-m), Rosie Villarito in the women's javelin throw (49.69-m), and swimmer Daniel Coakley in the men's 50-meter freestyle.
As the biennial tournament approaches the halfway point, Thailand has 29 golds with a total of 108 medals. Vietnam is second with a total of 76 medals including 25 gold, while Singapore is third with 23 gold and a total of 60.


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