OBAMA - IRAN: U.S. President Barack Obama is appealing directly to the Iranian people as they celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year. In an Internet video released by the White House overnight (late Friday), Mr. Obama reiterated his offer of engaging in dialogue with Iran, but said Iran's leaders have chosen isolation. He said the U.S. is working with the international community to hold Iran accountable for not living up to international obligations on disclosing the extent and intent of its nuclear program. The U.S. and other Western nations accuse Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons.<!-- IMAGE -->
THAILAND - PROTESTS: Thousands of protesters rolled through the Thai capital Bangkok Saturday in trucks, cars, buses and on motorcycles to recruit supporters in their campaign against the government. The so-called "Red Shirts" plan to follow up their day-long caravan with a "blood painting" on Sunday, the latest tactic in their week-long effort to oust the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Leaders of the anti-government movement on Friday rejected the prime minister's repeated offer for talks. The Red Shirts said they will not enter into negotiations until the prime minister meets their conditions.<!-- IMAGE -->
THAILAND - CENSORSHIP: One of the world's most popular English-language news publications will
not be distributed in Thailand this week because of an article on the
In an email issued to subscribers, the UK-based magazine The Economist,
said on Friday that due to the sensitive nature of the publication's
coverage of the Thai monarchy, the March 20th edition will not be
distributed in the South East Asian country. There were no indications
that the online edition of The Economist would be affected.
NEPAL - OBIT KOIRALA: Former Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, one of Nepal's most prominent politicians, has died.
He served five terms as prime minister and was seen as a stabilizing
force in a country that has experienced frequent upheavals.
He led mass protests that brought down King Gyanendra's authoritarian rule.
Mr. Koirala, who was president of the Nepali Congress, was active in politics for over 60 years.
Mr. Koirala, who had suffered from respiratory disease for many years,
died Saturday at his daughter's home in Kathmandu.
ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he hopes to see a peace agreement in the Middle East within 24 months.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Mr. Ban said that agreement
should include an end the occupation of Palestinian territories and
include Jerusalem as the capital of both the Israeli and Palestinian
He stressed that he was merely reiterating the message he and the other
members of the international Quartet decided on at Friday's meeting in
OBAMA - FINANCIAL REFORM: U.S. President Barack Obama says financial reform is needed or the
United States could be doomed to repeat the economic meltdown of the
last two years. In his Saturday address, Mr. Obama
blamed "reckless" banks and predatory loan practices for the economic
crisis. He said a new reform package to be presented for debate in the
on Monday will include updated regulations, greater oversight for large
banks, and tools to break up failing banks into smaller entities.
US - HEALTH CARE: U.S. President Barack Obama is heading to the Capitol on Saturday for a
final, personal appeal to Congressional Democrats for support in what
he calls a "fateful debate" about the future of health care in the
Republicans, however, are maintaining their staunch opposition to the
bill. Speaking for the party's Saturday response address, House
Republican leader John Boehner said the bill would mean higher taxes
and too much government intervention in healthcare decisions.
US - IMMIGRATION: Thousands of immigrants and advocates are preparing to demonstrate in
Washington, DC on Sunday to push the government to move forward on
U.S. President Barack Obama said during his campaign overhauling the immigration system was a top priority.
Many immigration activists and Latino voters said they voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 because of this promise.
But after more than a year in office, healthcare, jobs, and the economy have dominated Mr. Obama's domestic agenda.
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