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President Barak Obama Joins World Leaders at Climate Conference


CLIMATE CONFERENCE: U.S. President Barack Obama has addressed the climate change conference in Copenhagen, saying all nations will "be stronger and safer and more secure" with a global climate accord.

Mr. Obama said world leaders must accept an accord, even if it is not perfect. He said nations can "be a part of an historic endeavor" or "fall back into" divisions.

President Obama and other world leaders are in a final day of talks at the conference, which has featured deep divisions between rich and poor nations over who should cut carbon gas emissions and who pays for anti-pollution efforts.

Negotiators worked overnight to hammer out an agreement cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which many scientists blame for global warming.

Media reports say an early text of a draft agreement does not mention deep emissions-cutting targets for industrialized nations, falling well short of the goal of a legally binding pact.

The reports say the climate pact is likely to call for preventing global temperatures from going up more than 2 degrees Celsius. Small island nations, worried about rising seas, have called for a cap of at 1.5 degrees.

CAMBODIA – TRIBUNAL: Cambodia's U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal has charged the Khmer Rouge's former head of state with genocide, the third such charge this week against a former leader of the brutal regime.

A court spokesman says Khieu Samphan was brought before investigating judges of the U.N.-assisted tribunal Friday and charged.

On Wednesday, the tribunal charged two other defendants with genocide for the first time: Nuon Chea, the group's top ideologist and former foreign minister Ieng Sary.

All three have been charged with involvement in the deaths of members of the country's ethnic Cham and Vietnamese communities.

Some Chams, who are mostly Muslims, were among the few Cambodians to actively resist Khmer Rouge rule. The Khmer Rouge brutally suppressed the rebellions in several villages.

All three are also facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as homicide and torture for their involvement in the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979.


BURMA – EXPLOSION: Burmese state media say seven people are dead Friday after a bomb exploded at a fair in southeastern Burma.

The incident occurred Wednesday in the town of Hpapun in northern Karen state, during celebrations for the Karen New Year. Eleven people were wounded in the attack.

Official media have blamed rebels with the ethnic Karen National Union for the deadly blast. The KNU has been fighting for greater autonomy for more than 60 years. It is the only major Burmese ethnic rebel group that has not signed a peace agreement with Burma's military junta.

The regime has launched major offensive against KNU strongholds along the shared border with Thailand.


KOREAS - SWINE FLU: South Korea has delivered its first shipment of aid to North Korea in about two years, to help the North fight an outbreak of swine flu.

Refrigerated trucks carried the load of the medicines Tamiflu and Relenza -- some 500,000 doses -- across the border on Friday.

Pyongyang announced last week it had confirmed nine cases of the H1N1 swine flu virus, without mentioning any deaths. Pyongyang agreed to accept medicine from Seoul to fight the outbreak.

The humanitarian group Good Friends says the North Korean outbreak is worse than officially reported. It says informants in North Korea have reported the deaths of at least 49 people, most of them children.


PAKISTAN: Pakistan's defense minister says he was barred from leaving the country late Thursday following a Supreme Court decision that revived corruption charges against him and several senior members of Pakistan's government.

Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar told a local television station he and his naval chief were blocked from boarding a flight at Islamabad's airport for an official state visit to China, where he was to pick up a new warship. He said he was not aware that federal authorities had his name on an exit control list.

Mukhtar is among 247 people who are barred from traveling without permission while Pakistan's anti-corruption agency investigates graft charges against them.

Pakistan's Supreme Court Wednesday ruled that an amnesty for top politicians and bureaucrats, including President Asif Ali Zardari, was unconstitutional, meaning that up to 8,000 graft cases could be reopened.

INDIA - MUMBAI ATTACKS: A Pakistani man accused in last year's deadly terror attacks in Mumbai, India has recanted his confession saying he was framed by Indian police.

Mohammed Ajmal Kasab told a judge in Mumbai Friday that he was forced to make the statements and denied being involved in the attacks.

Kasab said he came to Mumbai as a tourist and was arrested 20 days before the siege began.

Kasab is charged with 86 offenses, including waging war on India, murder and possessing explosives. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

During his earlier confession, Kasab said he was recruited by the banned Pakistani-based Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The three-day siege in November 2008 killed more than 160 people. Nine other gunmen believed to be involved in the attack were killed.


IRAN – NUCLEAR: The head of Iran's atomic energy agency says their new, more efficient centrifuges will be ready by March 2011.

Ali Akbar Salehi told the semi-official Fars news agency Iran was currently testing the new generation of centrifuges to eliminate any problems or defects.

He said Iran currently has over 6,000 centrifuges in operation. The new models are expected to greatly increase the output of enriched uranium.

Iran says its nuclear program is for electricity, but the United States and other western nations accuse Iran of using its civil atomic energy program as a cover for efforts to build nuclear weapons. Tehran has repeatedly denied those charges.



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