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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.”

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