US - CHINA - IRAN: Iran's chief nuclear envoy says China agrees with his nation's position
that sanctions are no longer a useful means of resolving the standoff
with the West over Iran's nuclear program.
Saeed Jalili made the comments Friday in Beijing after talks with
high-ranking Chinese officials, including Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
Chinese officials did not directly address his remarks, but an earlier
Chinese Foreign Ministry statement called for the nuclear dispute to be
resolved through dialogue and negotiation, and for all sides to show
CHINA - INTERNET: An organization for Chinese-based foreign journalists says its website
has been shut down due to a burst of cyberattacks in recent days.
The Foreign Correspondents Club of China issued a statement by e-mail
Friday that it has traced the source of attacks to computers in both
China and the United States.
The club says it does not know who is behind the attacks, or the motivation behind them.
The attacks against the Correspondents Club's website are the latest in
a string of cyberattacks against Chinese-based journalists and Internet
PAKISTAN - POLITICS: A constitutional amendment aimed at stripping Pakistani President Asif
Ali Zardari of sweeping powers has been introduced in parliament.
The set of reforms, known as the "18th Amendment" transfers key powers
to the prime minister, including the ability to dissolve parliament and
the authority to appoint military chiefs and other key officials.
President Zardari has been criticized for being too slow to relinquish
the powers, which were adopted during former President Pervez
It is unclear when lawmakers will vote on the measure.
IRAQ - ELECTIONS: Supporters of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr began voting Friday
in a referendum to decide who should be Iraq's next prime minister.
Sadr's Shi'ite religious party won 39 seats in the March 7
parliamentary election, making him a likely kingmaker in the efforts to
form a governing coalition.
The secular alliance of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi won the most
seats with 91, two more than that of incumbent Prime Minister Nouri
al-Maliki's Shi'ite coalition.
In a vote that ends Saturday, supporters of Sadr will determine who
they should back for prime minister.
THAILAND: Thai police say suspected Islamic insurgents shot dead six villagers and wounded 10 police officers Thursday in the south of the country, as the United States announced millions of dollars of aid for the troubled region. Police said the six people were found dead in a village in the Narathiwat province. Ten policemen were also wounded in a roadside explosion as they were traveling to the scene. The U.S. Agency for International Development on Thursday announced a five-year, $30 million reconciliation program for Thailand aimed at strengthening civic institutions and promoting peace.<!-- IMAGE -->
CAMBODIA - US: The United States has stopped sending military vehicles to Cambodia to
protest the government's deportation of 20 ethnic Uighurs to China last
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Thursday that
Cambodia has been informed that a shipment of 200 surplus military
trucks and trailers would not go forward "as a consequence of the
Cambodia deported the Uighurs to China last December, two days before
China's vice president arrived in Phnom Penh to oversee nearly $1
billion in deals.
CAMBODIA - CHINA - DAMS: Chinese companies have begun constructing two major hydroelectric dam
projects planned to reduce electricity shortages in Cambodia.
Officials held a ceremony Thursday in the capital Phnom Penh for the
inauguration of a $500 million hydropower plant that will generate up
to 338 megawatts of electricity. State-owned China Huadian Corporation
will build the dam on Stung Russey Chrum Krom in southwestern Koh Kong
On Monday, the China National Heavy Machinery Corporation broke ground
on a separate project in Koh Kong.
ASIA - PACIFIC - WHALING: Australia says it will not support a proposal before the International Whaling Commission that would allow limited commercial whaling. New Zealand is negotiating with Japan on a possible deal that would reduce the number of whales killed during annual hunts. But Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett says the compromise is "flawed" and would legitimize commercial whaling. The IWC imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986. Japan claims its annual whale hunts are for scientific reasons, but much of the meat is sold in grocery stores and restaurants.
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