Archive for December, 2009

h1

Swedish Amb Raised Detained AmCit in DPRK?

December 30, 2009

KCNA reports Mats Foyer [Swedish Amb. to DPRK] gave KJI a floral basket in honor of new year – did he also mention detained AmCit Park? [see KCNA report below]

Congratulations to Kim Jong Il from Foreign Diplomats

Pyongyang, December 30 (KCNA) — Leader Kim Jong Il received a floral basket and a congratulatory letter from the diplomatic corps here on the occasion of the New Year.

They were handed over to Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun by Mats Foyer, Swedish ambassador to the DPRK who is doyen of the corps, on Wednesday.

h1

Daily International News 12.30.09

December 30, 2009

First – a great NYT piece on 10 years of reader’s photographs @ Documenting the Decade.

Daily International News
December 30, 2009

DPRK
North Korea Said to Be Looting Heavy Equipment
[NYT – JoongAng Ilbo original reporting]

Japan
Japan Unveils New Plan for Growth
[NYT]

China
China downplays execution
[Global Times]

Burma
UK’s Brown pledges support to Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi
[BBC]
Rohingya to be sent back to Myanmar
[Al Jazeera]

AfPak
China Willing to Spend Big on Afghan Commerce
[NYT]

Iran
As standoff with Iran continues, U.S. prepares targeted sanctions
[WaPo]

Israel/Palestine
Hamas sees more prisoner swap talks with Israel
[Reuters]
Signs of movement seen in stalled Mideast process
[Reuters]

Iraq
British hostage in Iraq freed after over 2 years
[AP]
Bombs kill 23 in Iraq’s western Anbar province
[AP]

Africa
Somali arrested at airport with chemicals, syringe [AP]

Europe
Body scanners to be used at Dutch airport
[BBC]
Russia may send spacecraft to knock away asteroid
[AP]

h1

Daily International News 12.29.09

December 29, 2009

Daily International News
12.29.09

DPRK
North Korea Detains U.S. Activist
[WSJ] – see KCNA article below

Japan
U.S. concerned about new Japanese premier Hatoyama
[WaPo]
Standoff over US base closure sours US-Japan ties
[AP]
Japan mulls selling India nuke power tech
[China Daily]

China
China Executes Briton Despite Appeals for Mercy
[NYT]

Xinjiang back online, restrictions remain [China Daily]
China Finds $35 Billion in Fraud by Officials
[NYT]

Russia
U.S. missile shield holding up nuclear deal – Putin
[Reuters]
Vladimir Putin attacks US missile defence
[BBC]

AfPak
Attack Puts Afghan Leader and NATO at Odds
[NYT]

South/Southeast Asia
Thailand begins to return 4,000 Hmong asylum-seekers to Laos
[WaPo]
Bangladesh to send home thousands of Burmese refugees
[BBC]

Iran
Iran Lashes Out at West Over Protests
[NYT] and Iran’s Ahmadinejad says opposition rallies a “masquerade” [Reuters]
Iran limits movements of an opposition leader
[AP]
Sister of Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi ‘arrested in Iran’
[BBC]
WSJ Oped: The Tipping Point in Iran
[WSJ]

Israel/Palestine
Egypt FM: Netanyahu is serious about renewing peace talks
[Haaretz]
Israeli warplanes fly over Lebanon
[Reuters]
Israeli police arrest nuclear whistleblower Vanunu
[Reuters]

Yemen
Yemen terror camps attract ‘stream of Britons’
[Guardian]
Western counter-terrorism help ‘not enough for Yemen’
[BBC]

Europe
Suspect package triggers bomb scare at Milan airport
[Reuters]
Woman found dead in Vienna diplomat’s residence
[Reuters]

Africa
Three Saudi tourists killed in Niger attack – officials
[BBC]
Somali Pirates Seize a Tanker and a Cargo Ship
[NYT]

Domestic
Health Lobby Takes Fight to the States
[NYT]
A Phrase Sets Off Sniping After a Crisis
[NYT] and Detroit scare sparks full-body scanners debate [Reuters]

Republican senator DeMint holds up nomination for TSA chief [WaPo]

h1

International Daily News 12.28.09

December 28, 2009

Daily International News
December 28, 2009

Iranian protestors pursue police - WaPo photo.

NE Asia
Activist: NKorea apparently detains US missionary
[AP]
Chinese tell British drug-smuggler Akmal Shaikh he will die tomorrow
[Times of London] and Relatives visit Briton on death row in China [AP]
Hijacked Chinese bulk carrier rescued
[Xinhua]
Mentally handicapped Chinese trafficked, killed – report
[Reuters]

Central/SE Asia
Vietnamese democracy advocate gets 5 years jail
[Reuters]
Thai move to kick out asylum-seekers angers West
[Reuters]
New form of malaria threatens Thai-Cambodia border
[AP]

AfPak
Bomb at Shi’ite procession in Pakistan kills 25 [Reuters]
Zardari WSJ Op-Ed
: ‘Democracy Is the Greatest Revenge.’

Middle East
Israel to build 700 apartments in east Jerusalem
[AP]
U.S. Widens Terror War to Yemen, a Qaeda Bastion
[NYT] and Yemen arrests 29 al Qaeda suspects after raids [Reuters]
Iran opposition figures arrested after protests
[BBC] and Pictures from the Protests [WaPo]
Abu Dhabi signs nuclear power deal with South Korean group
[The National]

Europe
Russia warns EU of oil cuts over Ukraine row
[Reuters]

Americas/Domestic
Plane suspect was listed in terror database after father alerted U.S. officials
[WaPo]
Democrats Say Final Health-Care Bill Will Look Like Senate’s
[WSJ]
Argentina puts officials on trial over the abuses of the ‘Dirty War’
[WaPo]

h1

Daily International News 12.22.09

December 22, 2009

Daily International News
December 22, 2009

DPRK
Talks on N. Korean nukes should resume before March: FM
[Yonhap]
“North Korea and regional powers should reopen their nuclear talks by the end of February if they want to salvage the often-troubled forum, South Korea’s foreign minister said Tuesday.”

S. Korea questioning seven N. Koreans found drifting in Yellow Sea [Yonhap]
“Seven North Koreans were being questioned by South Korean authorities on Tuesday after they were found drifting south of the Yellow Sea border, officials said.”

Koreas set to link modern military hot lines: officials [Yonhap]
“South and North Korea were poised Tuesday to link their military hot lines they have been working to modernize, an official in Seoul said, just a day after Pyongyang raised tension by declaring the western sea border its firing zone.”
Reactions to Copenhagen
China rejects UK claims it hindered Copenhagen talks
[BBC]
“China has dismissed claims made by a British minister that it “hijacked” efforts to reach an agreement at the climate summit in Copenhagen.”

South Africa blasts Copenhagen failure [AP]
“South Africa says Copenhagen’s failure to produce a legally binding climate change agreement was unacceptable, joining a global chorus of condemnation even though it helped draft the final accord.”

India ‘pleased’ with climate summit [BBC]
“Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told MPs that India had been able to resist pressure from the developed world to sign up to binding emission targets.”


Japan

Japan sets May deadline to resolve US base dispute
[AP]
“Japan aims to resolve a dispute with the United States over the relocation of an American military base on the southern island of Okinawa by May, the defense minister said Tuesday.”

Hatoyama support rate plummets [Japan Times]
“Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Monday the sharp dip in the public support rate for his administration, as shown in opinion polls over the weekend, means he must work harder.”
China
4th round of Taiwan trade talks underway with high hopes
[Global Times]
“The mainland’s chief negotiator for Taiwan affairs arrived in Taiwan Monday for a new round of high-level trade talks, while saying he respected people’s right to protest against his visit.”
Nepal
US stops aid to Nepal over human rights row
[Times of India]
“The US has passed a law that denies financial aid to the Nepal government, amid stepped up pressure on the country’s army to fulfill its human rights obligations, a news report has said.”
AfPak
NATO says no deadline for Afghan troop withdrawal
[Reuters]
“The head of NATO said on Tuesday there would be no deadline for the exit of allied troops from Afghanistan, as fears grow among Afghans that foreign forces will leave before their own troops are able to guarantee security.”


Israel/Palestine

Israel won’t pay “any price” to free soldier
[Reuters]
“Israel said on Tuesday it was not prepared to agree to all of Hamas’s demands in a German-mediated deal to exchange a captive Israeli soldier for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.”

Abbas Says Palestinians Won’t Rise Up, for Now [WSJ]
“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said there won’t be a new Palestinian uprising as long as he’s in office, but warned the current calm might end once he steps down, as early as June.”
Iran
Iran Nuclear Trigger Report a U.S. Forgery: Ahmadinejad
[ABC]
“A leaked memo appearing to show Tehran’s efforts to design an atomic bomb trigger was forged by the United States, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a U.S. news program.”

Ahmadinejad dismisses US deadline for nuclear deal [AP]
“Iran’s president on Tuesday dismissed a year-end deadline…for Tehran to accept a U.N.-drafted deal to swap enriched uranium for nuclear fuel, and claimed his government is now “10 times stronger” than a year ago.”

Iran says Iraq border incident a “misunderstanding” [Reuters]
“Iran on Tuesday described a border incident with Iraq, which caused oil prices to rise late last week, as a “misunderstanding” and called for experts from both countries to look into border demarcation issues.”


Europe

Serbia submits formal EU membership application
[DW]
“Serbia has submitted its formal application for membership of the European Union. President Boris Tadic flew to Stockholm to hand the application to Sweden, the current holders of the EU’s rotating presidency.”

Russia, U.S. plan unprecedented nuclear cut-Lavrov [Reuters]
“Russia and the United States plan unprecedented cuts to their Cold War arsenals of nuclear weapons under a new arms reduction deal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Tuesday.”

From 12/21 – Silvio Berlusconi bounces back in polls after attack [Times of London]
“Silvio Berlusconi’s approval ratings, which had slipped over the past six months because of sex scandals and corruption charges, have bounced back amid a wave sympathy for him after he was attacked in Milan a week ago.”
Africa
Guinea junta leader Camara should be tried – UN
[BBC]
“Guinea’s military leader should be charged with crimes against humanity over the killing of opposition protesters, a leaked UN report says.”

Mugabe, Tsvangirai agree on media, election bodies [Reuters]
“Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have agreed on commissions to drive media and electoral reforms, one of the key issues which has been threatening their power-sharing deal.”
Americas
Mexico City legalizes same-sex marriage, adoptions
[CNN]
“Mexico City, one of Latin America’s largest metropolises, on Monday legalized same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples.”
Domestic
Cyber Chief Selected by Obama
[WSJ]
“Howard Schmidt will be named as White House cybersecurity coordinator after a search that began in May, when President Barack Obama announced the creation of the new post.”

h1

PolitiFact’s ‘The Obamameter’

December 21, 2009

PolitiFact has compiled more than 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign and is tracking their progress on our Obameter.

So far he’s doing pretty well at 73 kept, 18 compromised, 9 broken, 35 stalled, 198 in the works and 180 unrated. I don’t remember him making THAT many campaign promises!

h1

Daily International News 12.21.09 (and some from the weekend)

December 21, 2009

Daily International News
December 21, 2009

Yours truly in front of the White House during Saturday's snow 'storm'!


DPRK

Arms Seized by Thailand Were Iran-Bound
[WSJ]
North Korea Threatens to Fire Into Disputed Waters
[NYT]

(Other) Asia
Nepal Crippled as Strike Enters Second Day
[NYT]
Court to Hear Suu Kyi’s Appeal
[Irrawaddy]
Tribunal charges Khmer Rouge “First Lady” with genocide
[Reuters]

AfPak
Some Afghan Lawmakers Criticize Karzai’s Cabinet Picks
[WSJ]

Iran
Iran cleric’s funeral turns to opposition protest [AP]
Iran nuclear negotiator calls for atomic arms ban
[AP]
From 12/20 – Iran-Iraq Standoff Over Oil Field Ends [NYT]

(Other) Middle East
Israel close to deciding on prisoner swap
[AP]
From 12/20 – Israel threatens to use force against settlers [AP]
From 12/20 –Lebanon PM Hariri meets Syrian leader Assad [BBC]

Europe
Polish Police Find Auschwitz Sign
[WSJ]

Americas
US envoy visits Zelaya at Brazilian embassy
[AFP]
Colombia to Build Military Bases on Venezuela Border
[LAHT]

Domestic
Health Bill Passes Key Test in the Senate With 60 Votes
[NYT]
A dozen Gitmo detainees sent to 3 countries
[CNN]
From 12/19 – U.S. holds 3 in alleged narcoterrorism case [WP]

h1

Daily International News 12.18.09

December 18, 2009

Daily International News
December 18, 2009

DPRK
Obama proposes U.S. liaison in North Korea-Yonhap
[Reuters] and (LEAD) N. Korea confirms Obama sent letter to Kim Jong-il [Yonhap]
“U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed setting up a liaison office in North Korea next year in a step to ease tensions between the two rival states, Yonhap news agency said on Friday.” [KCNA excerpt below]

Copenhagen
World leaders may drop 2010 climate deadline-draft
[Reuters]
“World leaders worked towards a target of halving greenhouse gas emissions on Friday, but a draft text abandoned ambitions for a legally binding climate treaty next year in a sign divisions remain.”

Diplomatic frenzy at final day of UN climate talks [AP]
Obama Presses China on Rules for Monitoring Emissions Cuts
[NYT]

Asia
China Is Disputing Status of Uighurs in Cambodia
[NYT]
“The Chinese Foreign Ministry has hinted that it is seeking or will seek the return of 22 Uighurs who fled to Cambodia after the eruption of deadly ethnic riots in July in western China and a subsequent government crackdown.”

New genocide charge in Cambodian Khmer Rouge trial [Reuters]
Seven killed, 11 injured in Myanmar bombing
[Reuters]
“ ‘It is learnt that the time bomb was planted by KNU (Karen National Union) terrorist insurgent group,’ state-controlled newspapers said.”

AfPak/India
Afghan officials: Karzai to keep half his Cabinet
[AP]
India says it has pulled 30K forces from Kashmir
[AP]
‘Mumbai gunman’ retracts confession
[Al Jazeera]

Middle East
Six Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay to be repatriated
[WP]
“The Obama administration is planning to repatriate six Yemenis held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a transfer that could be a prelude to the release of dozens more detainees to Yemen.”

Iranian forces take over Iraq oil well [AFP]
“ ‘There has been no violence related to this incident and we trust this will be resolved through peaceful diplomacy between the governments of Iraq and Iran,’ a US military spokesman told AFP at Contingency Operating Base Adder.”

Iran making new model centrifuges for nuke program [AP]

Africa
Suspected Somalia pirates freed by Dutch navy
[BBC]
Eritrea’s national soccer team seeks asylum in Kenya
[WP]

Europe
Poland: Auschwitz ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign stolen
[AP]
Merkel set to become next target in Afghan airstrike probe
[DW]
Bruised Berlusconi to capitalise on assault
[Reuters]

Americas
Mexican drug lord killed in gunfight with federal forces
[WP]
Venezuela’s Chavez sees US threat in Dutch islands
[AP]
NJ dad seeks Brazil gov’t backing in custody fight
[AP]

Domestic
D.C. mayor signs gay marriage bill
[Wash Times]
Illinois Prison Sale May Proceed Without Legislative Approval
[Bloomberg]
“Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has the authority to sell a state prison to the federal government so it can be used to hold suspected terrorists, an opinion from that state’s attorney general says.”

Nelson Says He Can’t ‘See How’ to Back Health Bill by Christmas [Bloomberg]
Hackers Briefly Bring Down Twitter
[WSJ]
“Twitter suffered a hacker attack in the early hours of Friday morning, which made its home page redirect to a site for the ‘Iranian Cyber Army.’ ”

Still from Twitter hackers.

Letter to Kim Jong Il from U.S. President [KCNA]

“Leader Kim Jong Il received a personal letter from Barack Obama, president of the United States of America. The letter was conveyed to Kang Sok Ju, first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK, on December 9 by Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special representative for DPRK policy who visited the DPRK.”

h1

Daily International News 12.17.09

December 17, 2009

Daily International News
December 17, 2009

DPRK
France Decides to Establish Its Office in DPRK [KCNA]

“As already reported, Jack Lang, special envoy of the French president, had a consultation with the DPRK side on the issue of developing the bilateral relations and a series of matters of mutual concern during his visit to the DPRK from November 9, 2009 to 13. The French side informed the DPRK that it decided to establish the French Cooperation and Cultural Action Office in Pyongyang as a step of the first phase for normalizing the relations between the two countries according to the results of his visit to the DPRK. The DPRK consented to France’s opening of the office in Pyongyang, proceeding from the stand to boost the relations with France.”

Thais: US tip led to seizure of arms from NKorea [AP]
“Thai authorities were acting on a tip from the United States when they seized tons of illicit weapons from a plane from North Korea, a senior official said Thursday.”

N. Korean leader makes rare visit to trade zone, stresses export growth [Yonhap]
“North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has visited Rason, a northern port city that the country is developing into a trade hub, where he gave guidelines on increasing exports, state media said Thursday.”

NKorea threatens SKorea over naval drills [AP]
“North Korea threatened retaliation against South Korea over what it claimed were naval drills around their disputed sea border, accusing Seoul on Thursday of attempting to escalate tension.”

China
China Imposes New Internet Controls
[NYT]

“China’s government censors have taken fresh aim at the Internet, rolling out new measures that limit ordinary citizens’ ability to set up personal Web sites and to view hundreds of other Web sites offering films, video games [etc].”

Copenhagen
U.S. pledges billions; China says climate pact is doubtful
[WP]
“Clinton warned that China — which has resisted attempts for international verification of emission cuts and told officials here before Clinton spoke that a global pact seems unlikely — must agree to monitoring if a deal is to reached.”

Obama heads to Copenhagen as climate talks falter [Reuters]
“U.S. President Barack Obama heads to Copenhagen on Thursday to help secure a U.N. climate pact, staking his credibility on an as yet elusive deal that has ramifications for him at home and on the world stage.”

AfPak
Afghan ministers on ‘graft’ list
[Al Jazeera]
“The list, released on the final day of a three-day anti-corruption conference, includes five senior members within the government of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, said Hashem Ahelbarra, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Kabul.”

U.N. Officials Say American Offered Plan to Replace Karzai [NYT]
“As widespread fraud in the Afghanistan presidential election was becoming clear three months ago, the No. 2 United Nations official in the country, the American Peter W. Galbraith, proposed enlisting the White House in a plan to replace the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, according to two senior United Nations officials.”

Pakistan Strikes Down Amnesty for Politicians [NYT]
“The Supreme Court struck down a controversial amnesty on Wednesday that had dismissed corruption allegations against thousands of Pakistan’s politicians, including President Zardari, effectively restoring the cases against them.”

Pakistan Reported to Be Harassing U.S. Diplomats [NYT]
“Parts of the Pakistani military and intelligence services are mounting what American officials here describe as a campaign to harass American diplomats.”

Intel officials: US missiles kill 17 in Pakistan [AP]
“Two suspected U.S. missile strikes, one using multiple drones, killed 17 people in a Pakistani tribal region along the Afghan border Thursday, local intelligence officials said.”

Middle East
Haaretz exclusive: Olmert’s plan for peace with the Palestinians
[Haaretz]
“Former prime minister Ehud Olmert proposed giving the Palestinians land from communities bordering the Gaza Strip and from the Judean Desert nature reserve in exchange for settlement blocs in the West Bank.”

Yemeni security forces exterminate al-Qaeda [Yemen Today]
“A group of 34 al-Qaeda members were killed and 17 others were arrested by special operations in Abyan province, Sana’a city, and Arhab, implemented by the Yemeni security forces said an official statement on Thursday.”

Europe
Nato fails to gain Russia aid in Afghanistan [BBC]
“On Wednesday Mr Rasmussen asked Moscow to provide helicopters to Afghanistan and also requested Russian help in training the Afghan air force. But he told the BBC he had received no positive response from the Kremlin.”

Russian FM: US-Russian arms deal not ready [AP]
“Sergey Lavrov said disagreements over such issues during the past few days had slowed efforts to reach a deal, and he agreed with the White House’s assessment that President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are not expected to sign a nuclear weapons treaty when they travel to Copenhagen this week.”

España tendrá más de 1.500 soldados en Afganistán en 2010 – “Spain will have more than 1500 soldiers in Afghanistan in 2010” [El Pais]
“España aumentará en más del 50% su actual contingente permanente en Afganistán que en 2010 sobrepasará los 1.500 militares.” – “Spain will increase its permanent contingent in Afghanistan by more than 50% in 2010, surpassing 1500 soldiers…”

Silvio Berlusconi leaves hospital with bandaged nose [Times of London]
“Doctors say that the normally ebullient Mr Berlusconi is still in pain and having difficulty eating. There are fears for the long-term impact of the attack on his morale.”

h1

Daily International News 12.16.09

December 16, 2009

Daily International News
December 16, 2009

DPRK
AP source: Obama writes letter to NKorean leader [AP]
“Washington’s recent bid to persuade North Korea to return to nuclear disarmament negotiations included a personal letter to leader Kim Jong Il written by President Barack Obama, a senior U.S. official said.”

Thailand prepares to destroy N.Korean weapons haul [Global Times]
“The Thai government said Tuesday it would ask the UN for money to destroy a cache of sanctions-busting weapons seized from a plane that took off from North Korea.”

N. Korea’s nominal leader meets with U.S. businessmen [Yonhap]
“North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, held talks with a group of visiting U.S. businessmen in Pyongyang on Wednesday, state media said.”

N.K. told Bosworth that U.N. sanctions are unreasonable: Seoul FM [Yonhap]
“North Korea apparently told a visiting U.S. envoy that international sanctions imposed on Pyongyang over its long-range rocket launch were unreasonable, insisting the launch was for non-military purposes, Seoul’s top diplomat said Wednesday.”

East Asia
Japan can meet deadline for relocating U.S. base in Okinawa: Hatoyama [Kyodo]
“PM Hatoyama said Wednesday that Japan can still meet the 2014 deadline for relocating a U.S. military base in Okinawa despite the government putting off a decision on the issue and deciding to seek an alternative site to the one previously agreed.”

Japan enters high-speed train sales race [AP]
“JR Central, one of the operators created when Japan privatized its railways in 1987, is leading the charge in the U.S., but is also taking a risky winner-takes-all approach.”

Nuclear Power Expansion in China Stirs Concerns [NYT]
China is preparing to build three times as many nuclear power plants in the coming decade as the rest of the world combined, a breakneck pace with the potential to help slow global warming.”

China begins work on world’s longest cross-sea bridge [BBC]
“China has begun constructing a bridge to link southern Guangdong province, China’s main manufacturing hub, with Hong Kong and Macau.”

S/SE Asia
Philippines arrests alleged militant wanted by US
[WP]
“Latip has been charged in the United States with the 1993 kidnapping of linguist and Christian missionary Charles Walton by the Abu Sayyaf militant group on a southern Philippine island, Diaz said.”

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi in rare talks with party elders [AFP]
“Myanmar’s junta allowed detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to meet with three elderly senior members of her party Wednesday in a rare concession by the military regime.”

Middle East
Iran missile test draws Western condemnation
[Reuters]
“The United States said the launch of a Sejil 2 missile, with a reported range that would put the Jewish state and U.S. Gulf bases within reach, undermined Iran’s insistence of peaceful intentions and would be looked upon seriously by the world.” [Press TV Iran tests new Sejjil-2 missile with success]

House votes to expand sanctions on Iran [AP]
“The legislation, approved 412-12, would end access to U.S. markets for foreign companies selling refined petroleum products to Iran or helping that country develop its petroleum capacity.”

PLO keeps Abbas as Palestinian president [Reuters]
“PLO Central Council members said Abbas, whose tenure ends on January 25, will remain in his post until elections can be held, extending until further notice the term of the Western-backed leader who heads the Ramallah-based PA.”

Abbas says peace deal possible in 6 months [AP]
“A comprehensive peace deal can be reached between Israel and the Palestinians within six months if Israel completely freezes its settlement construction, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview published Wednesday.”

Europe
British premier says Livni welcome
[AP]
“Livni’s office says the British premier phoned her Wednesday afternoon and said he intends to act to change a law that allows non-citizens to be brought before British courts.”

Man Arrested Trying to Enter Berlusconi’s Hospital Room [NYT]
“Three days after an attack…PM Silvio Berlusconi was at the center of another bizarre episode Wednesday when police arrested a man who entered the hospital where he is being treated at around 2 a.m., ostensibly to talk to him.”

Americas
Calderón Proposes Ballot-Law Overhaul
[WSJ]
“The proposals, which have to pass the opposition-dominated Congress, would establish a 2nd-round vote for presidential elections, cut the number of seats in Congress and allow federal lawmakers and local officials to be re-elected.”

START
US and Russia close in on nuclear treaty
[Guardian]
“Obama and Medvedev could sign agreement on nuclear arms reduction on margins of Copenhagen summit this week.”

Copenhagen
Climate Talks Near Deal to Save Forests
[NYT]
“The agreement for the program, if signed as expected, may turn out to be the most significant achievement to come out of the Copenhagen climate talks.”

Police hold 230 as climate protesters storm barricades [Reuters]
“Danish police detained 230 people on Wednesday as protesters stormed barricades around a global climate summit and a handful briefly broke through, witnesses and a police spokesman said.”

”]