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China Warns Obama Against Meeting with Dalai Lama


US - CHINA - TIBET: China has warned U.S. President Barack Obama not to meet with Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, saying such a meeting would harm bilateral relations. Zhu Weiqun, the head of the department in charge of talks with the Dalai Lama, told a news conference Tuesday that if Mr. Obama meets with the Dalai Lama, it would threaten trust and cooperation between China and the United States. The warning follows a meeting between China and envoys of the Dalai Lama last week. The meeting ended with no compromise from Beijing on Tibet's status.

US - CHINA - TAIWAN: The U.S. State Department has expressed regret that China has cut off bilateral military contacts over the sale of U.S. arms to Taiwan. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Monday that despite China's displeasure over the arms sale, dialogue on other bilateral issues should continue. He said the sale is no different from past U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. The $6.4 billion sale, announced Friday, prompted Beijing to threaten sanctions against U.S. companies that sell Taiwan weaponry. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday that sanctions would not be "warranted."

US BUDGET: U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday unveiled a federal government budget that puts spending at $3.8 trillion and will push the deficit to a record $1.6 trillion this year. The budget includes $100 billion in spending on a new jobs program aimed at tackling the country's double-digit unemployment. It also includes increases in spending for the military and education. But Mr. Obama also vowed to work to slash the deficit in half while in office through a combination of tax increases on wealthy Americans and cuts in domestic spending.

US - PAKISTAN: Five American terrorism suspects detained in Pakistan have declared their innocence and say they have been tortured by U.S. investigators and Pakistani police in jail. As the five suspects arrived in a police van for court Tuesday in the eastern city of Sargodha, one of the suspects tossed a scrap of paper to reporters. The suspects wrote on the paper that U.S. FBI and Pakistani police have tortured them, and that they are being framed. The paper also said the police are keeping the suspects away from their families and the media.

SRI LANKA: An international human rights group is calling on the Sri Lankan government to end what it calls a crackdown on journalists, political opponents and human rights activists following the country's presidential election. Amnesty International says opposition supporters and journalists have been arrested in Sri Lanka since the election last week. The group says several newspaper editors have also received death threats. Madhu Malhotra, the group's Asia-Pacific Deputy Director, said the end of the country's civil war against the Tamil Tiger rebels and the historic election should have ended political repression in Sri Lanka.

US - IRAN: Iran has dismissed a U.S. expansion of missile defense systems in four Persian Gulf nations to counter what the U.S. sees as a growing threat from Tehran. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast rejected the U.S. missile expansion plan Tuesday at a news conference, saying the plan is not workable. U.S. officials said Sunday the military has been quietly increasing the deployment of land-based Patriot missile defense systems in Gulf nations for months. Officials say those nations include Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

CHINA - MILK: China has launched a 10-day nationwide check for toxic milk products that have found their way back into the market after a 2008 scandal that sickened hundreds of thousands of children. The official China Daily newspaper quoted Health Minister Chen Zhu as saying that some unscrupulous food companies processed and resold melamine-laced milk powder that was recalled but not destroyed by dairy companies. Melamine can cause kidney stones and is used for making plastics, fertilizers and concrete. Its high nitrogen content allows protein levels to appear higher when it is added to milk or animal feed.

MALAYSIA - BURMA: Malaysia says it plans to issue identification cards to refugees who are recognized by the United Nations, allowing them to stay in the country temporarily and avoid arrest as illegal immigrants. The refugees, mostly from Burma, have often spent months in overcrowded detention centers and faced caning and deportation. Malaysian Home Secretary General Mahmood Adam said Monday that the government would work with the UN refugee agency to issued the cards. He said the refugees could stay in the country temporarily, but cannot work there except for performing odd jobs.

FRANCE - US - PLANE CRASH: The trial of U.S. airline Continental and five individuals charged with the crash of an Air France Concorde that killed 113 people in 2000 is set to begin Tuesday in France. The defendants include two employees of the U.S. carrier, two employees of Aerospatiale, the company that made the supersonic Concorde, and a French aviation official. All are charged with manslaughter. The trial is expected to last four months. The Concorde crashed in flames shortly after takeoff from Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport on July 25, 2000, killing all 109 people on board and four on the ground.

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