ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Sri Lanka Government, Opposition Supporters Clash in Colombo


SRI LANKA: Sri Lankan government supporters clashed with opposition activists protesting the arrest of their defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka. Thousands of opposition demonstrators gathered in front of the Supreme Court in Colombo Wednesday, when they were confronted by ruling-party activists who pelted them with stones. Police stepped in to break up the clashes. Witnesses say several people were wounded. Opposition supporters are demanding the release of Fonseka, the former chief of the armed forces, who was arrested Monday on charges of conspiring against the government.

BURMA - US - RIGHTS: A Burmese court has sentenced a Burmese-born U.S. citizen to three years in prison on charges of fraud and forgery. Kyaw Zaw Lwin, also known as Nyi Nyi Aung, was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday for possessing a faked national identity card, one year for possessing undeclared foreign currency, and one year for violating immigration laws. The judge ordered Kyaw Zaw Lwin to serve the sentences concurrently, or at the same time. Kyaw Zaw Lwin was arrested last September after arriving at Rangoon's airport, where he traveled to visit his ailing mother.

US - CAMBODIA - THAILAND: The United States is urging Cambodia and its neighbor Thailand to seek a peaceful solution to their long-standing border dispute. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scot Marciel conveyed Washington's concern regarding the 19-month standoff during a visit to Cambodia Tuesday. Marciel told reporters in Phnom Penh that the U.S. has friendly relations with both Asian countries, and hopes their leaders will do what they can to reduce border tensions. He said Washington also hopes the two sides will try to find "a peaceful and rapid solution" to the problem.

HONDA - RECALL: The Honda motor company says it is adding some 400,000 cars to an existing safety recall for air bag inflation problems. The Japanese automaker said Tuesday it cannot be certain that the driver's air bag inflator in the cars being added to the recall will perform as designed. The company said it will replace the driver's side inflators because they can apply too much pressure that can possibly cause death to the driver. A spokesman told the French news agency that the recall primarily affects Honda cars made in the United States. The recall affects airbags in some 2001 and 2002 Honda model-year cars.

CHINA - ECONOMY: China says its exports rose 21 percent in January from the same period a year ago, a further sign that its economy has withstood the global recession. The figures released by the General Administration of Customs Wednesday show exports totaled over $109 billion. January's increase follows on the heels of a 17.7 percent increase in December. The customs office also says imports soared 85.5 percent in January. The import and export figures taken together made a $14.2 billion trade surplus for the month. But in a month-on-month basis, exports dropped 16.3 percent in January from December, and imports fell 15.1 percent.

NORTH KOREA - FOOD: South Korea says North Korea's food production in 2009 fell well below demand, which will worsen the isolated regime's chronic food shortage. A spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry says the North produced an estimated 4.11 million tons of grain last year, five percent less than in 2008. Experts say North Korea's annual food demand is over five million tons. The regime has relied on foreign food aid to since a massive famine that killed around two million people in the mid-1990s.

AFGHANISTAN - OPIUM: The United Nations says the amount of land used for opium production in Afghanistan is likely to stabilize this year, as farmers continue to plant poppies. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime released a report Wednesday saying the area dedicated to opium production in the country is likely to stay around 123,000 hectares. But It said bad weather may curb production. The amount of land used for poppy cultivation had dropped substantially in recent years. Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world's opium, the raw ingredient in heroin.

US WEATHER: The U.S. government is closed for a third consecutive day as another major snow storm hits the mid-Atlantic region, which is still reeling from a paralyzing blizzard. The latest storm is expected to drop as much as 50 centimeters of snow by late Wednesday, reaching from the Washington area up to New York City. Hundreds of flights have been canceled at major airports in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Washington. Most federal government offices in Washington have been closed since Friday afternoon, at a cost of $100 million a day in lost productivity.

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