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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.”

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One comment

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