US - TAIWAN - CHINA: State media say China is suspending military exchanges with the United
States and will level sanctions against U.S. companies that sell arms
to Taiwan after Washington said it intends to sell $6 billion in
military equipment to Taiwan.
The official Xinhua news agency carried a strongly-worded statement
from the ministry Saturday saying scheduled mutual visits by military
personnel have been canceled because of the weapons deal.
A foreign ministry press release also said China will impose sanctions on U.S. companies involved in arms sales to Taiwan.
AFGHANISTAN - CLASH: Afghan officials say NATO troops clashed with their Afghan army allies and called in air strikes, killing four Afghan soldiers and wounding at least six others. A Wardak province spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, says the troops starting shooting each other after a military operation in the area. The Associated Press is reporting the Afghan Defense Ministry is condemning the incident and want those responsible brought to justice after an investigation. NATO officials say they are investigating the incident and did not provide details.
AFGHAN TALIBAN: The Taliban are denying reports their leaders have met with a U.N. official to discuss prospects for peace in Afghanistan. The Taliban issued a statement Saturday saying the reports of them meeting with Kai Eide, the U.N. representative for Afghanistan, were baseless "rumors." The militants' statement said their refusal to negotiate peace had ensured the failure of this week's international conference in London on stabilizing Afghanistan. An unidentified U.N. official attending the conference said Thursday the Taliban had met secretly with Eide about the possibility of beginning peace talks with the government.
US - 9/11 TRIAL: Officials say the Obama administration is likely to move the trial of
the accused mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks to outside New
York City due to growing cost and security concerns.
While the decision has not yet been officially announced, a Justice
Department spokesman (Dean Boyd) said Friday the Obama administration
is now "considering options."
Other senior administration officials, speaking anonymously, said
Friday plans are being made for alternate locations to try Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged accomplices.
NIGERIA - MILITANTS: The main militant group in Nigeria's oil-rich south has called off its three-month-old cease-fire with the government.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta issued a statement
Saturday, saying it does not believe the government will meet its
demands for greater control of the Niger Delta's oil resources and
The group says the oil industry in the region should expect an all-out onslaught against its pipelines and workers.
OBAMA - DEFICITS: U.S President Barack Obama is pledging to bring the nation's budget deficit under control and has outlined steps he intends to take to do that. In his weekly Saturday address, President Obama returned to the theme of this week's State of the Union address and said improving the economy is his number-one priority. But he said budget deficits need to be reined in so they do not affect financial markets and thwart economic recovery. The president also praised the U.S. Senate for restoring the pay-as-you-go budget rules this week.
US REPUBLICAN - SECURITY: A top Republican in the U.S. Senate is questioning the Obama
administration's treatment of the man arrested in connection with the
attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner last month (December 25).
In Saturday's weekly Republican address, Senator Susan Collins (of the northeastern state of Maine) expresses
her shock and disbelief that federal investigators spent only 50
minutes questioning bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab before
they allowed him to meet with a court-appointed attorney.
THAILAND - GM - AUTO: U.S. auto giant General Motors Corporation (GM) says it plans to spend
more than $400 million on expanding its production facilities in
Plans for the expansion were announced by the company's Thailand unit
on Friday. GM says it will build a new diesel engine plant in Rayong
province, as well as retool existing facilities.
Most of the financing will be provided by local banks. Bangkok Bank,
Siam Commercial Bank and Tisco Bank have all signed contracts to extend
credit to the automaker.
Listen to our World News for details.