ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed "regret" to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden about an Israeli ministry's approval of housing plans in disputed east Jerusalem. Mr. Netanyahu's office says he regrets the timing of Tuesday's housing approval, which came as Biden was visiting Israel to help relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. It says Mr. Netanyahu told Biden the timing was "unfortunate." Biden condemned the housing plan Wednesday, saying it undermines trust needed to restart peace talks that have been suspended for 14 months.<!-- IMAGE -->
PAKISTAN - AFGHANISTAN: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has welcomed Pakistan's offer to help the
Afghan government achieve reconciliation with Taliban militants.
Speaking on a visit to Islamabad Thursday, Mr. Karzai said Pakistan has
a "significantly important role" to play in Afghanistan's
reconciliation process. He made the comment in a joint news conference
with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
Mr. Karzai plans to hold a reconciliation conference with the Taliban in April.
Mr. Gilani said Pakistan will help the Afghan people to stabilize their
country in any way possible.
BURMA - ELECTION: Burma's new election laws have invalidated the results of the 1990
elections, won by Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition National League for
State-sanctioned newspapers unveiled the latest set of election laws Thursday that were approved by the ruling military regime.
The laws say the 1990 elections results are no longer valid because the
vote was held under election laws that are no longer in effect.
The military regime has refused to accept the results of the 1990 elections. The military regime has refused to accept the results of the 1990 elections.
The invalidation is the latest blow suffered by Aung San Suu Kyi and
the NLD under the new election laws.
CHINA - INFLATION: The Chinese government says inflation rose in February for the fourth straight month.
The National Bureau of Statistics says consumer prices rose 2.7 percent last month compared to a year earlier.
January's inflation rate stood at 1.5 percent.
The bureau attributed the jump in consumer prices to bad weather that drove up food prices.
Economic experts say the rise in consumer prices in China may lead the
country's Communist Party leaders to impose tighter controls on the
nation's monetary supply.
Chinese banks began a massive lending program last year, which coupled
with the government's $586 billion economic stimulus package helped
boost China's struggling economy as the global recession took hold.
GREECE - STRIKE: More than one million workers throughout Greece are on strike to protest the government's efforts to reduce its budget deficit.
The country's two biggest unions called the day-long strike Thursday,
stopping government services, grounding flights, and closing facilities
including hospitals and schools. Public transportation also stopped.
The unions say the austerity measures will hurt the poor and worsen
Greece's economic problems.
Police and firefighting forces are planning to join in protest marches.
Last week, the Greek government announced a sales tax increase, cuts in
civil servants' salaries, and a freeze on pensions worth a total of
CHILE - POLITICS: Billionaire Sebastian Pinera takes office Thursday as Chile's president, and will be faced with the task of rebuilding the nation following last month's devastating earthquake. The inauguration will mark the first time a conservative has led the country since democracy was reinstated in 1990. Mr. Pinera is succeeding Chile's first woman president, socialist Michelle Bachelet, who is barred from a second consecutive term. The Harvard-educated economist is expected to steer the Chilean economy toward more free market policies.<!-- IMAGE -->
US - WOMEN OF COURAGE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has honored 10 women from around the world with the State Department's annualInternational Women of Courage Award. Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama led the awards ceremony Wednesday at the State Department. Secretary Clinton said honoring the women rights activists in such a public way sends a clear message that although they might work in lonely circumstances, they are not alone and that the United States stands with them. Speaking on behalf of the recipients, Zimbabwe human rights monitor Justine Mukoko said the prestigious U.S. award lends encouragement to all women's rights advocates.<!-- IMAGE -->
FORBES - WORLD'S RICHEST: The U.S. magazine, Forbes, has named Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim as
the world's richest person, saying he has amassed a fortune worth $53.5
The telecommunications mogul edges out Microsoft founder Bill Gates,
who is second place on this year's list with a fortune estimated at $53
billion. U.S. investor Warren Buffett is third with a net worth of $47
The 70-year-old Slim is a telecommunications magnate who was third on
the list last year with a net worth at that time of $35 billion.
Slim's investments include construction and the retail industry.
Listen to our World News for details.