US - RUSSIA NUCLEAR: U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev have
signed a major nuclear arms reduction treaty, during a ceremony in the
Czech Republic capital, Prague Thursday.
The pact cuts both countries' nuclear arsenals by as much as 30
percent, leaving each with about 1,500 strategic nuclear weapons. The
deal replaces the expired 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)
and comes after nearly a year of talks between U.S. and Russian
Mr. Obama called the new treaty an "important milestone for nuclear
security and nonproliferation and for U.S. - Russia relations."
KYRGYZSTAN - PROTESTS: The political opposition in Kyrgyzstan says it has seized power and
dissolved parliament, after deadly protests forced the president to
flee the capital, Bishkek.
The leader of the interim government, Roza Otunbayeva, on Thursday
demanded the resignation of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who
fled to the Jalalabad region and was said to be rallying supporters.
The health ministry says at least 75 people were killed and more than
1,000 wounded in clashes between opposition protesters and police on
Wednesday in Bishkek.
THAILAND PROTEST: Anti-government protesters in Thailand are defying a state of emergency in Bangkok and remain camped in the city's tourist and commercial center for a fifth day Thursday. Leaders of the "Red Shirts" are calling for a new mass rally on Friday. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared the state of emergency Wednesday after hundreds of Red Shirts stormed the Thai parliament and forced lawmakers to flee. The decree allows security forces to detain people without charge and to ban large public gatherings. But a government spokesman later said authorities will not use excessive force against the protesters.<!-- IMAGE -->
ASEAN SUMMIT: Leaders of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations opened a two-day summit in Vietnam's capital Hanoi Thursday.
The leaders will discuss economic cooperation during the forum, but the
ongoing political turmoil in member states Thailand and Burma is also
expected to dominate the discussion.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva canceled plans to travel to Hanoi
due to the continued protests by anti-government demonstrators
demanding new elections. Mr. Abhisit declared a state of emergency in
Bangkok Wednesday after the protesters stormed the Parliament building.
US CHINA: U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is in China for talks likely
to focus on a currency dispute between Beijing and its Western trading
Geithner plans to meet Thursday with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, who is in charge of economic affairs.
U.S. and Chinese officials have not given any details on the agenda for the talks.
But the United States has been pushing China to let the international markets determine the value of its currency, the yuan.
Western nations say Chinese currency controls keep the value of the
yuan artificially low, making Chinese exports cheaper on world markets.
SRI LANKA - ELECTIONS: Sri Lankans voted Thursday in the first parliamentary elections since the end of a 25-year civil war in May 2009. Security was tight as people cast their ballots, with thousands of police and soldiers deployed to guard polling stations. Election monitors reported low voter turn-out and some minor incidents of violence. More than 14 million eligible voters were deciding from among 7,620 candidates running for 225 seats. The polls are likely to further entrench President Mahinda Rajapaksa's political dominance, two months after he was easily re-elected as the country's president following the government's defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels.<!-- IMAGE -->
US - AIRLINE INCIDENT: U.S. security officials say a passenger on a flight from Washington to Denver sparked a bomb scare by trying to smoke in one of the aircraft's bathrooms. The officials say investigators questioned the man, a Qatari diplomat, after the United Airlines flight landed at Denver International Airport late Wednesday. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say the passenger apparently was caught smoking in a bathroom on the flight and then made a joke that he had been trying to light one of his shoes. This prompted federal air marshals on the plane to restrain him.
Listen to our World News for details.