SRI LANKA - ELECTIONS: Sri Lankan state television says incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa has won Tuesday's presidential election. Official final results have not been announced, but early results showed Mr. Rajapaksa with more 60 percent of the vote, to 36 percent for his main rival, former military chief Sarath Fonseka. A Sri Lankan military spokesman said government troops surrounded the central Colombo hotel where General Fonseka is staying Wednesday. The spokesman said there are about 400 people, including army deserters, who gathered at the hotel after the election in support of the general.
KOREAS - TENSIONS: North Korea fired a second round of artillery near a disputed western
sea border with South Korea Wednesday, after the two sides traded
warning shots in the area
The second salvo occurred hours after the regime fired about 30 rounds
of artillery from its coast, prompting South Korea's military to
respond by firing several artillery shells from a nearby marine base.
In a statement issued through the North's official Korean Central News
Agency, the army's general staff said the shells were fired as part of
military drills that will continue "in the same waters in the future."
YEMEN: A U.S. newspaper is reporting that U.S. military and intelligence
agencies are involved in joint secret operations with Yemeni troops
that have killed six top leaders of the Yemen-based wing of al-Qaida.
The report comes just before a high-level international meeting is
being held in London Wednesday to discuss Yemen's fight against
al-Qaida.The Washington Post says U.S. President Barack Obama approved
the secret operations six weeks ago. The newspaper says American
advisers do not take part in the Yemen raids, but help plan the
missions and provide weapons.
OBAMA - STATE OF THE UNION: U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to focus on the economy in his
State of the Union address Wednesday, including a request to Congress
for a three-year spending freeze on many domestic programs, in en
effort to reduce the soaring budget deficit.
Mr. Obama will deliver the nationally-televised address to Congress at
a time when his public approval ratings have been declining and with
the unemployment rate at 10 percent.
The White House has been under conflicting pressure to cut spending,
while at the same time creating jobs and improving the sagging economy.
CHINA - GOOGLE: China says its domestic mobile phone carriers can use an operating system developed by U.S. technology giant Google.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology
told reporters in Beijing Wednesday there should be no restrictions on
use of Google's Android system, as long as it conforms with the
nation's rules and regulations and cooperates with the mobile phone
Google has threatened to withdraw from China because of censorship
concerns and cyber attacks on its e-mail accounts earlier this month.
BURMA - US - RIGHTS: A Burmese court has delayed a verdict in the case of a Burmese-born U.S. citizen charged with fraud and forgery.
The lawyer for Kyaw Zaw Lwin told reporters Wednesday the judge postponed the verdict until February 10th.
Kyaw Zaw Lwin, also known as Nyi Nyi Aung, was arrested last September
after arriving at Rangoon's airport, and was put on trial the following
month. The charges are in connection with possessing a forged national
identity card and failing to declare foreign currency.
Kyaw Zaw Lwin was one of the organizers of the 1988 pro-democracy
MALAYSIA - RELIGION: Authorities in Malaysia say severed pig heads were discovered at two
mosques Wednesday, another sign of rising religious tensions amid a
dispute over the use of the word "Allah" by Christians.
The mosques where the pig heads were found are located on the outskirts
of the capital Kuala Lumpur. Muslims consider pigs to be unclean, and
are forbidden to consume them.
Wednesday's incidents are the latest involving churches and other
places of worship since Malaysia's High Court ruled last month that
non-Muslims can use the word "Allah" to refer to God, overturning a
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