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US Military Expands Presence in Haiti


HAITI - EARTHQUAKE: The United Nations Security Council is expected to vote Tuesday on sending an extra 3,500 troops and police to bolster peacekeeping efforts in earthquake ravaged Haiti, as relief efforts gain momentum. The vote comes exactly one week after the deadly quake left the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas in ruins. About 2,200 U.S. Marines arrived for duty on the Caribbean nation Monday aboard the amphibious ship USS Bataan. Major General Cornell Wilson says the deployment boosts the total number of U.S. military personnel in the area to more than 7,000.

US - INDIA: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is calling for closer military cooperation between the United States and India in the effort to bring stability to South Asia. The U.S. defense secretary arrived in New Delhi Tuesday for the first high-level talks between the two countries since Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the White House in November. During his two-day visit, Secretary Gates will meet with Prime Minister Singh, as well as India's foreign and defense ministers. In an opinion piece published in The Times of India Tuesday, Gates said India and the United States should push for even greater cooperation in confronting new security threats.

US - KENNEDY SUCCESSOR: Voters in the northeastern U.S. state of Massachusetts will head to the polls Tuesday to choose a new U.S. Senator in a tight election that could derail President Barack Obama's legislative agenda. Democrat Martha Coakley, the state's attorney general, is facing a tough challenge from Republican State Senator Scott Brown in Tuesday's special election to fill the Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy. A Brown victory would cost Democrats their 60-seat super majority in the U.S. Senate and curtail their ability to override Republican delaying tactics on contentious legislation, such as heath care reform.

JAPAN AIRLINES: Japan Airlines decided to file for bankruptcy protection Tuesday in one of the biggest corporate failures in Japanese history. However, Asia's biggest airline is set up to keep flying with an injection of billions of dollars in government aid and a reduction of one-third of its workforce. JAL began the bankruptcy process in October, when it asked the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation of Japan for help. Under a restructuring plan, JAL will receive a $3.3 billion injection of public funds and creditors will be asked to forgive $3.8 billion of debt.

GOOGLE - CHINA: Internet giant Google says it has postponed the much-anticipated Wednesday launch of its mobile phone in China, amid a dispute with Beijing over Internet censorship and alleged e-mail hacking. The announcement was made as China said it has clear laws against computer hacking, rejecting accusations it may have been behind attacks on Google. Foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu on Tuesday, repeated Beijing's position that the Internet in China is open, but at the same time, said foreign enterprises operating in China need to follow laws and cultural traditions.

CHINA - CORRUPTION: Official media in China said Tuesday that a Chinese court has sentenced a former supreme court judge to life in prison after a conviction on corruption charges. The Xinhua news agency said 52-year-old Huang Songyou was convicted of taking more than $574,000 dollars in bribes from 2005 to 2008 by abusing his posts as vice president of the Supreme People's Court. Huang was also found to have embezzled nearly $176,000 of public funds in 1997, when he was president of the Intermediate People's Court of Zhanjiang, a city in southern China's Guangdong Province.

INDONESIA - CORRUPTION: Indonesian prosecutors asked Tuesday for the death penalty for former chief corruption investigator Antasari Ashar, who is on trial for the alleged murder of a wealthy businessman. The ousted Corruption Eradication Commission chief has denied any role in the March shooting of a businessman (Nasrudin Zulkarnaen) and says he is the victim of a conspiracy to discredit the commission. Prosecutors have argued that Ashar was romantically involved with the businessman's wife. But, a police officer testified last year that senior police officials had asked him to join their plot to frame the commission chief.

US - BURMA - TRIAL: U.S officials say they are continuing to monitor the trial of a detained Burmese-American in Rangoon. Activist Kyaw Zaw Lwin, better known as Nyi Nyi Aung has been held in Burma since September on charges of forgery and violating foreign currency laws. A statement released Tuesday from the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon said embassy officials have visited Kyaw Zaw Lwin in prison seven times and attended 12 of his court hearings. Final arguments in the case are scheduled for January 22. The statement said the United States continues to press the Burmese government to handle his case in accordance with international standards of due process.

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