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|7767||Zaradi Sworn As Pakistan's New President||Graham Usher, Saeed Shah and Nadeem Sarwar||News||Pakistan||09 September 2008 10:54 Tue||
Asif Ali Zardari, has been sworn as Pakistan's new president. Mr Zardari is the widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated earlier this year. Mr Zardari won a sweeping victory in a presidential election by legislators on Saturday. The elections were called after former President Pervez Musharraf opted to resign rather than risk impeachment. The main challenges facing the new president are severe economic problems, and growing Islamist insurgency. Saturday's voting was marred by a bomb in Peshawar city, in the country's troubled North-West frontier province, in which at least 30 people were killed. Mr Zardari is now expected to set out his priorities in his first presidential news conference.
|7768||Zimbabwe's Leaders Optimistic About Power-Sharing||Gretchen Wilson||News||South Africa||10 September 2008 10:59 Wed||
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have both spoken optimistically about their talks in Harare on sharing power.
Following two days of discussions, the two men said they are to address remaining issues between them on Wednesday. South Africa's national broadcaster, SABC, have reported that a new document providing the opposition leader with more power, as executive prime minister, had been discussed in Harare. Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would like Mr Mugabe to remain as president, with ceremonial powers only, with Tsvangirai running the country. However, Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF is reluctant to relinquish control of the security services and the power to appoint and dismiss ministers.
Donors have been withholding aid to rescue the collapsing economy until the opposition are given genuine power in government.
Gretchen Wilson, Bill Corcoran and Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg are available for 2-ways.
|7769||North Korean Denies Leader Ill||Jason Strother||News||Korea||10 September 2008 11:02 Wed||
North Korea says reports that its leader Kim Jong-il has collapsed following illness are a "conspiracy plot."
Mr Kim failed to appear at a military parade commemorating the 60th anniversary of the foundation of North Korea on Tuesday prompting speculation that he has health problems. A South Korean diplomat was earlier quoted as saying Mr Kim "almost certainly"
The reclusive leader has not been seen in public since early last month. Although, he has been known to disappear from public view for extended periods in the past, rumours of ill health have been given more credibility by the news that a team of Chinese doctors was recently summoned to examine him. The future of the country is tightly linked to the personality of Kim Jong-il.
Jason Strother and Evan Ramstad in Seoul are following developments in North Korea.
|7770||Thai Parties Discuss Replacement PM||Tom Bell||News||Thailand||10 September 2008 11:06 Wed||
Thailand's ruling coalition held a meeting behind closed doors today to agree on a replacement prime minister for Samak Sundaravej, who was barred from ruling on Tuesday.
Mr Sundaravej was removed by the courts for violating the constitution by hosting cooking shows on commercial television while in office.
Mr Sundaravej People Power Party (PPP), the largest in the six-member coalition, had initially pledged to re-nominate him as prime Minster ahead of a parliamentary vote on Friday, but have now backed down. Smaller parties have not made their stance clear.
Andrew Drummond and Tom Bell in Bangkok are following developments in Thailand.
|7771||Afghanistan Welcomes US Troop Surge||Jerome Starkey||News||Afghanistan||10 September 2008 11:12 Wed||
Afghanistan has welcomed the US decision to send more troops, but repeated that the long-term key to defeating militants lay in the strengthening of Afghan security forces.
President George W Bush announced on Tuesday that the United States would send a fresh marine battalion and army combat brigade to Afghanistan by January and that 8,000 troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by February 2009.
The US has 33,000 troops in Afghanistan, about half the number of foreign troops in the country. The decision comes at a time of growing anger among Afghans and the government about civilian casualties caused by foreign forces. On Monday, following investigations by the Afghan government and the UN, the US military announced it would re-open an investigation into a US air attack last month in which up to 90 civilians were reportedly killed. The move by the US comes as
Human Rights Watch says that civilian deaths from international air strikes nearly tripled between 2006 and 2007. The New York-based rights group warned that such attacks were undermining Afghan support for NATO and US troops.
Jerome Starkey, Jon Boone and Tom Coghlan in Kabul are covering this story.
|7775||Pro-Syrian Poltician Killed By Car Bomb||Borzou Daragahi||News||Lebanon||11 September 2008 11:05 Thu||
A member of the pro-Syrian opposition in Lebanon has been killed in a car bombing south-east of the capital, Beirut, security officials say.
Saleh Aridi, of the Lebanese Democratic Party was killed when a bomb exploded as he started his car's engine in front of his home in Baissour, a village near the town of Aley, at about 2130 (1830GMT) on Wednesday. At least three of people were injured in the blast.
This comes a day after the Lebanese President Michel Suleiman announced reconciliation talks between rival factions would be held next week. Mr Aridi was a top advisor to pro-Syrian Druze leader and government minister Talal Arslan.
LA Times correspondent Borzou Daragahi, Hugh Macleod, Delphine Minoui and Nicholas Noe in Beirut are covering this event.
|7776||North Korea Close To Finishing Missile Launch Site||Jason Strother||News||Korea, North||11 September 2008 11:09 Thu||
North Korea is close to finishing a second launch site for long-range missiles, reports say. The site, 50km from the Chinese border, was made public by Joseph Bermudez, an analyst at Jane's Intelligence Group, using satellite imagery. Reports say that South Korea's defence minister Lee Sang-Hee told a closed-door parliamentary session that the project was about 80% completed.
North Korea's moves to dismantle its nuclear programme have recently stalled and Pyongyang now appears to be starting to reassemble its main nuclear plant. North Korea had agreed to give up its nuclear ambitions in February 2007 in return for aid and diplomatic concessions.
After a long delay, Pyongyang handed over details of its nuclear facilities in June 2008 and had expected the US to remove it from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. However, progress has stalled as Washington and Pyongyang cannot agree on a process to verify the information that North Korea handed over. Jason Strother and
Evan Ramstad in Seoul are following developments in North Korea.
|7777||Samak Accepts Party's Nomination||Tom Bell||News||Thailand||11 September 2008 11:14 Thu||
Thailand's Samak Sundaravej has accepted his party's nomination as prime minister, a move likely to enrage thousands of protesters who have sought his resignation.
Mr Samak was forced to resign two days ago, after courts ruled he had flouted the constitution by accepting payments for his appearances on a TV cookery show. However, the People Power Party said Mr Samak had done nothing wrong and wanted him to return to the post.
The PPP's coalition parties are likely to oppose the move, along with the thousands of protesters who have been holding a sit-in outside Government House calling for Mr Samak's resignation. They accuse him of being a proxy of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in an army coup in 2006 and is facing charges of corruption and abuse of power. They say they do not want any member of the PPP to become the next prime minister.
Tom Bell and Amy Kazmin in Bangkok are available for 2-ways.
|7778||US Needs To Combat Militants In Pakistan||James Gerstenzang||News||United States of America||11 September 2008 11:20 Thu||
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has called for a new strategy to combat militants across the border in Pakistan. Admiral Mike Mullen, speaking on the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, called for a military strategy encompassing both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan has repeatedly stressed it will not allow foreign forces onto its territory. However, the New York Times newspaper reported on Wednesday that President George Bush had approved orders in July to allow US Special Operations forces to carry out ground operations inside Pakistan without the Pakistani government's approval.
LA Times correspondents James Gerstanzang, Peter Nicholas, Pentagon correspondent Nancy Youssef in Washington, D.C., Graham Usher and Nadeem Sarwar are covering this story.
|7779||Thailand Postpones Re-Election Samak||Tom Bell||News||Thailand||12 September 2008 09:53 Fri||
Thailand's parliament has postponed a vote on whether to re-elect Samak Sundaravej as prime minister.
Speaker Chai Chidchob announced the delay after not enough members of parliament turned up to form a quorum. Lawmakers from both the ruling coalition and the opposition Democratic Party allegedly refused to attend the session due to unhappiness at Mr Samak's nomination.
Mr Samak was forced to resign on 9 September when the courts ruled he had acted unconstitutionally for accepting a payment for hosting TV cookery shows. The ruling followed weeks of protests against his administration; organised by demonstrators who accuse Mr Samak of being a proxy of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in an army coup in 2006. However, street rallies and protests continue to demand his exclusion from office.
Tom Bell and Amy Kazmin in Bangkok are following developments in Thailand.
|7780||Palin Defends Candidacy In First TV Interview||Ed O'Keefe||News||United States of America||12 September 2008 09:55 Fri||
US Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, says that she is "ready" to serve the US and has rejected criticism that she is not experienced enough, in her first US TV interview.
Speaking to ABC News, Mrs Palin was quizzed on previous comments she made describing the war in Iraq as being a "task from God". She said she was quoting the words of Abraham Lincoln and would "never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words".
The governor of Alaska was also questioned over foreign policy and said she backed NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. Some observers were surprised when John McCain picked Mrs Palin to be his running mate, saying she lacked the necessary experience, especially in the foreign policy arena.
Washington Post correspondent Ed O'Keefe and LA Times correspondent Peter Nicholas in Washington are available for 2-ways.
|7781||Chavez Expells UN Ambassador||James Ingham||News||Venezuela||12 September 2008 09:57 Fri||
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is expelling the US envoy to Caracas in solidarity with Bolivia.
Mr Chavez says the US ambassador Patrick Duddy has 72 hours to leave, adding that he could "Go to hell 100 times". This comes just hours after Washington ordered out the Bolivian ambassador, in response to its envoy being ordered to leave Bolivia, amid an escalating regional diplomatic row.
Bolivia's President Evo Morales accuses the US envoy of encouraging the growing violent protests organised by opponents of his economic and social policies. At least eight people were killed and some further 20 were injured in clashes between pro- and anti-government groups in Bolivia's remote northern jungle region of Pando on Thursday.
James Ingham, Rory Carroll in Caracas, Jon Stibbs, Andres Schipani-Aduriz in Le Paz, LA Times correspondent James Gerstenzang in Washington, D.C. are covering this story.
|7782||Power-Sharing Deal Reached In Zimbabwe||Gretchen Wilson||News||South Africa||12 September 2008 09:59 Fri||
Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe say they have reached a deal to share power.
Leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Mr Tsvangirai, was the first to announce the breakthrough, telling reporters: "We've got a deal." South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has mediated the past four days of talks in Harare, later told a news conference that the two sides had agreed to form an inclusive government and would sign and make public the deal on Monday. Mr Mugabe has yet to comment on the deal.
This now opens the way for international donors to help revive Zimbabwe's collapsing economy.
Gretchen Wilson, Bill Corcoran and Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg and Zimbabwe expert Andrew Meldrum in Boston are available for 2-ways.
|7783||Indonesia Stampede Leaves 21 Dead||Michel Maas||News||Indonesia||15 September 2008 10:48 Mon||
At least 21 people, many of them women, have been killed and several more injured in a stampede in Indonesia, local officials and media report.
The crush happened as several thousand people waited for charity handouts from a wealthy family in the East Javan town of Pasuruan. Several people collapsed from a lack of oxygen and television footage shows women pushed into a fence and being trampled.
Under a system known as Zakat, wealthy Muslims are required to give away a portion of their money to the poor every year during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.
Michel Maas and John Aglionby in Jakarta are across this event.
|7786||Lehman Brothers Files For Bankruptcy||Phillip Sherwell||News||United States of America||15 September 2008 10:56 Mon||
The fourth-largest investment bank in the US, Lehman Brothers, says it will file for bankruptcy protection, amid a growing global financial crisis.
The move, prompted by Lehman's losses of billions of dollars in the US mortgage market, has dealt another blow to the global financial system.
Merrill Lynch has also agreed to be taken over by the Bank of America, to prevent its collapse. The FTSE 100 index of leading UK shares was down 160 points, almost 3%, at 5256.50 in early exchanges.
Wall Street is also expected to open lower after a weekend of dramatic events. Stock markets in Europe and Asia dropped sharply and the dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
Today promises to be a tense day of trading on Wall Street.
Philip Sherwell and Carole King in New York will be available for 2-ways.
|7787||Bolivian Government Holding Talks To End Violence||Jon Stibbs||News||Bolivia||15 September 2008 11:05 Mon||
Bolivia's government is holding talks with a key opposition leader in the capital, Le Paz, after days of clashes between supporters and opponents of President Evo Morales.
The talks between government officials and Mario Cossio, the governor of Tarija region, will try to ease tension in energy-rich areas held by the opposition and bring to an end several days of violence.
The crisis has been provoked by Mr Morales' decision to hold a referendum on a new constitution in December. The president wants to re-distribute Bolivia's wealth and give a greater voice to the large indigenous community, prompting opposition from the country's elite.
The crisis will be addressed at an emergency regional summit on Monday.
Jon Stibbs and Andres Schipani-Aduriz in Le Paz are following developments in Bolivia.
|7788||Historic Power-Sharing Deal Signed In Zimbabwe||Sebastien Berger||News||Zimbabwe||15 September 2008 11:09 Mon||
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are to sign an historic power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe, bringing to an end many months of political turmoil.
Both Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF endorsed the deal over the weekend, local media report.
Leaks of the agreement suggest that Robert Mugabe will remain president and retain control over the army, but with reduced powers. Mr Tsvangirai will be the new prime minister with substantial power, including responsibility of the police.
The deal will open the way for international donors to restore funding to revive Zimbabwe's collapsing economy - the fastest shrinking in the world.
Sebastien Berger and Elles van Gelder in Harare, Gretchen Wilson and Bill Corcoran in Johannesburg are covering this story.
|7816||Afghan Blast Kills US-led Troops||Tom Coghlan and Jon Boone||News||Afghanistan||17 September 2008 11:15 Wed||
Four US-led soldiers and an Afghan national have been killed in a bomb blast in eastern Afghanistan, a US-led coalition forces spokesman said. The nationalities of the victims were not given, but the majority of troops serving in the region are American. The coalition did not give the location of the attack or any other details.
The number of US military deaths in Afghanistan in 2008 has already surpassed the record 111 deaths the US suffered last year. "Four coalition service members and one Afghan national were killed in an IED (improvised explosive device) strike in eastern Afghanistan this morning," the coalition forces said in a statement on Wednesday. The deaths come as US Defence Secretary Robert Gates is visiting Kabul to hold talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the growing violence in the country.
Tom Coghlan and Jon Boone in Kabul are available for 2-ways.
|7817||Terror Attack At US Embassy In Yemen||Jennifer Steil||News||Yemen||17 September 2008 11:24 Wed||
Two suspected car bombs have detonated close to the US embassy in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. Eye witnesses have also said an exchange of gunfire between embassy guards and unidentified attackers occurred. Casualties are reported, but there has been no official comment by Yemeni or US officials. Hundreds of heavily-armed troops have now been deployed around the US embassy compound. Reports say the attack occurred at about 0830 local time (0530 GMT). According to eyewitnesses, the gun battle lasted only a short time as security forces were quickly on the scene.
The government of Yemen, which backs America's "war on terror", has often blamed al-Qaeda for attacks on Western targets in the country. US special forces have been helping the government fight the Islamist militants. The US ordered the evacuation of non-essential personnel from Yemen earlier this year after mortar bombs were fired towards the embassy.
Jennifer Steil in Sanaa is across this event.
|7818||Thai MPs Elect New Prime Minister||Andrew Chant, Andrew Drummond and David Piper||News||Thailand||17 September 2008 11:30 Wed||
The brother-in-law of ousted Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra has won a parliamentary vote to become the country's new prime minister. Somchai Wongsawat, whose candidacy was supported by the governing People Power Party, won a simple majority of votes in Bangkok's lower house of parliament after five days of negotiation. Mr Somchai became acting PM last week after a court forced his predecessor, Samak Sundaravej, to step down.
Protesters in Bangkok claim the present government is a proxy for Mr Thaksin, who fled to Britain in July to avoid corruption charges. The new government is expected to face continued opposition because Mr Somchai is married to Mr Thaksin's sister. With the formality of a parliamentary vote behind him, the immediate task now confronting the Mr Somchai is to get the government functioning again. Protesters have been occupying key government buildings in Bangkok, demanding the resignation of the government.
Andrew Chant, Andrew Drummond and David Piper in Bangkok are covering this story.
|7819||Israel's Kadima Party Holds Leadership Elections||Tim Butcher and Annette Young||News||Israel||17 September 2008 11:35 Wed||
Israel's governing Kadima party is due to hold elections to replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader. Front-runners as his successor are Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz. Polls show Livni well ahead of Mofaz. Livni’s supporters believe she will breathe new life into a political establishment mired in sleaze and dominated by ageing male, former military figures. However, Livni is widely criticised for her lack of political experience.
Mofaz, a former army chief and defence minister, is famous for talking tough on the Palestinians and supporting an attack on Iran should it develop nuclear arms. Mr Olmert, currently being investigated for corruption, has stated he will step down as PM after his successor is chosen. He has vowed however to carry on with Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, following what was believed to be his last ever meeting with Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday. The US government wants to see a full Israeli-Palestinian peace deal reached before President George W Bush leaves office in January.
Tim Butcher and Annette Young in Jerusalem are covering this story.
|7820||US Federal Reserve Rescues AIG||Phillip Sherwell and Julie Walker||News||United States of America||17 September 2008 11:41 Wed||
The US Federal Reserve has announced a $85bn (£48bn) rescue package for AIG, the country's biggest insurance company, to save it from
US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson refused to bail out Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest American investment bank, after it filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday. However Mr Paulson said he supported the Fed's move to assist AIG, whose collapse could potentially have a far greater impact on financial markets than Lehmans bankruptcy. "These are challenging times for our financial markets," he said.
Philip Sherwell and Julie Walker in New York are available for 2-ways.
|7868||More Arrests in China||Daniel Schearf and Jamila Trindle||News||China||18 September 2008 03:30 Thu||
Twelve more people have been arrested in China over the scandal of contaminated milk powder that has killed three babies and sickened thousands of others.
The total number of people in custody is now 18. Six are accused of selling the industrial chemical melamine. The suppliers to the dairy companies are believed to have added the substance, normally used in plastics, to watered-down milk to make it appear higher in protein.
In addition to the deaths, more than 1,300 other children, mostly newborns, remain hospitalized, with 158 suffering from acute kidney failure.
The crisis has raised questions about China’s commitment to tighten control on food safety after a series of scares in recent years over contaminated seafood, toothpaste and pet food. Nationwide checks on milk power are continuing and police have confiscated more than 200kg (440lb) of melamine.
Daniel Schearf and Jamila Trindle in Beijing are following this story.
|7869||Mugabe Says Power Sharing Deal is "Humiliating"||Sebastian Berger and Elles van Gelder||News||Zimbabwe||18 September 2008 03:32 Thu||
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has described Monday’s power-sharing deal with the opposition to his party members as “a humiliation”. However, he admitted the party had no alternative after losing the March parliamentary elections. Mr Mugabe is to meet the designated Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai later to discuss allocating ministerial posts in the framework of the deal. There is intense lobbying for positions among all parties to the agreement. Under the deal, Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF has 15 posts in cabinet, Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) 13 and a smaller MDC faction three. But the division of portfolios among the parties and the identity of the ministers are yet to be decided.
Sebastian Berger and Elles van Gelder are following events in Zimbabwe.
|7870||Pirates Attack Greek Ship Off Somalia Coast||Abdurahman Warsameh and Louis Economopoulos||News||Somalia||18 September 2008 03:36 Thu||
A Greek ship with 25 crew members has been attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. All crew members are still missing. According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the ship was on its way to Kenya when it was hijacked. Pirates out of war-torn Somalia regularly attack vessels using the country’s commercial shipping routes. The country has not had a functioning government since 1991. The pirates often dress in military attire and are carrying firearms. Many of them are trained fighters. The Greek ship is the 13th ship attacked off of the coast of Somalia in the past two months. Noel Choong of the IMB told the Associated Press that the attack indicates that the Somali pirates are stretching out their area of target from the Gulf of Arden to the coast of Mogadishu. Choong said a multinational naval force has been informed of the attack. “We advise ships to stay at least 400 kilometres from the coast and even then, they must maintain a strict watch,” Choong said.
Abdurahman Warsameh is Somalia and Louis Economopoulos in Greece are available for 2-ways.
|7871||A New Leader For Israel's Ruling Party||Annette young, Tim Butcher and Sami Sockol||News||Israel||18 September 2008 03:39 Thu||
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has conquered the leadership of the ruling Kadima party, putting her on track to succeed Ehud Olmert as prime minister. Ms Livni gained a slim win over Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz by just 431 votes, or 1.1%. In a victory speech, Ms. Livni said that she intends to form a new cabinet "as quickly as possible in the face of the serious threats" facing Israel. She has 42 days to present her new cabinet, during which time Mr. Olmert remains prime minister. Mr. Olmert announced he would step down in July after facing growing pressure over numerous corruption investigations. The senior Palestinian Authority negotiator, Sa'eb Erekat, said he hoped the result would lead to a return to stability. Ms Livni is considered to be more moderate than her contender Mr. Mofaz, who has issued continuous threats towards Iran during his campaign.
Annette young, Tim Butcher and Sami Sockol in Jerusalem are covering this story.
|7872||Lloyds Discloses Details of HBOS Takeover||Christopher Walker||News||United Kingdom||18 September 2008 03:44 Thu||
Lloyds TSB Bank has disclosed details of its £12.2bn takeover of HBOS. Lloyd TSB described the deal as “a unique opportunity". The deal values shares in Halifax Bank of Scotland - the UK's biggest mortgage lender - at 232p each, and could lead to cost savings of £1bn a year. Lloyds confirmed that employees are to be made redundant lost as a result, but played down claims that the number of job losses is to be as high as 40,000. The UK Chancellor, Alistair Darling, said the government is to allow the deal arguing financial stability should prevail over competition fears. He added that without the deal the outlook was "very bleak indeed". Mr Darling denied, however, that the authorities had rushed through the deal. He told the BBC the government was dealing with HBOS's problem for several weeks. “It didn’t just happen,” he said. The buyout is effectively a rescue deal as HBOS shares have been sinking in recent days, raising concerns for the bank’s future. Lloyds said the new bank would continue to use HBOS's central offices in Scotland and would concentrate on keeping jobs there.
Christopher Walker in London s covering this story.
|7873||Inquest Into de Menezes Killing To Begin||Christopher Walker||News||United Kingdom||22 September 2008 10:48 Mon||
An inquest into the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes by police hunting a suicide bomber is due to begin at the Old Bailey.
The inquest jury will consider whether or not Mr de Menezes, who was shot at Stockwell Tube station in south London, was unlawfully killed.
The Brazilian electrician was shot dead on 22 July 2005 by specially trained Metropolitan Police firearms officers, a day after the failed 21 July 2005 London suicide attacks.
The hearing is expected to last three months and will hear from some 75 witnesses, including 40 serving police officers, who have been granted anonymity, and Tube passengers.
Chris Walker in london is available for 2-ways.
|7874||South Africa To Nominate Replacement To President Mbeki||Gretchen Wilson||News||South Africa||22 September 2008 10:55 Mon||
South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) is to nominate a caretaker president today to replace Thabo Mbeki, who formally resigned on Sunday.
Mr Mbeki resigned in a televised address at the request of the ANC, following an emergency cabinet meeting. During his speech he defended his position and denied any role in a corruption case against his rival, ANC leader Jacob Zuma.
Last week a high court judge suggested that Mr Mbeki might have interfered in a corruption case against Mr Zuma, who won leadership of the ANC last year after bitterly contested elections. Mr Mbeki says he will leave his post as soon as a new president is chosen.
The ANC has stressed that it want ministers loyal to him to remain in their posts in the interests of stability.
Gretchen Wilson and Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg are covering this story.
|7875||Major US Banks To Become Holding Companies||Julie Walker||News||United States of America||22 September 2008 11:15 Mon||
The last two major investment banks in the US have changed their status to become bank holding companies, allowing them to take deposits from investors.
This should enable Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to raise more funds by opening commercial banks and will also give them access to Federal Reserve Support.
The move is part of a huge restructuring effort on Wall Street. There had been fears that in the wake of a series of crises, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs would not be able to survive as independent players.
The US government has announced a $700 billion package to tackle the financial crisis.
Julie Walker is reporting from Wall Street.
|7876||53,000 Chinese Children Ill From Contaminated Milk||Jamila Trindle||News||China||22 September 2008 11:19 Mon||
Chinese officials say 53,000 children have now been made ill from milk contaminated with the industrial chemical, melamine. Four children have died and about 13,000 - most of whom are under two - remain hospitalized.
Melamine is used in making plastics and is high in nitrogen. Health experts say ingesting small amounts does no harm, but sustained use can cause kidney stones and renal failure, especially among children.
New figures were announced by health officials earlier today who claimed the children were infected from milk powder from the Sanlu Group, the company where the contamination was first revealed two weeks ago.
At least 22 companies have become involved and milk products made by Yili, Mengniu and other groups have been recalled from supermarket shelves.
Jamila Trindle and Daniel Schearf in Beijing are following this story.
|7877||Japan||Liz Noh||News||Japan||22 September 2008 11:43 Mon||
Japan's ruling party has chosen conservative, Taro Aso, as their new leader, meaning he is almost certain to become the country's next prime minister.
Mr Aso, who is known for his straight-talking style and charisma, advocates greater public spending to promote the economy and an assertive foreign policy. Mr Aso overwhelmed his competitors in the battle for leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Kaoru Yosano, the minister for economic and fiscal policy, trailed in second place at 66 votes. Former defence minister Yuriko Koike, who hoped to become Japan's first female prime minister, placed third with 46 votes.
The LDP party is trying to overcome a long-term slump in public popularity. Its last two prime ministers have quit after serving just a year each and early general elections are now likely.
Mr Aso is almost certainly to be confirmed as the country's prime minister on Wednesday because of the party's majority in the lower house of parliament.
Liz Noh and LA Times correspondent Bruce Wallace in Tokyo are across this event.
|7909||School Shooting In Finland||Denisa Odroiu||News||Norway||23 September 2008 10:39 Tue||
Many people are believed to be wounded or dead in a shooting incident at a school in western Finland, the country's national broadcaster reports.
YLE quotes police sources as saying the incident at the vocational school in Kauhajoki is ongoing. At least 200 people have been evacuated from the school.
Last November, a student killed eight people at a school in Tuusula.
|7910||Israeli Soldiers Mowed Down||Annette Young||News||Israel||23 September 2008 10:40 Tue||
About a dozen soldiers have been wounded in an alleged "terror attack" in central Jerusalem, Israeli police say today.
Two of those injured are said to be in a serious condition. A Palestinian driver - Qassem al-Mughrabi, 19, - is believed to have driven his car into the group at a busy intersection just before 2300 (2000GMT), before being shot and killed.
The junction is close to the boundary between the Jewish and Arab areas of Jerusalem. The group of Israeli solders were wearing their uniforms.
Annette Young and Tim Butcher in Jerusalem are following this story.
|7911||Mbeki's Successor Named||Gretchen Wilson||News||South Africa||23 September 2008 10:41 Tue||
South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) has confirmed that deputy leader Kgalema Motlanthe, an ally of party leader Jacob Zuma, will takeover as caretaker president.
Mr Motlanthe will assume the presidency when Thabo Mbeki steps down on Thursday. Mr Mbeki is still challenging a Constitutional Court ruling that he meddled in Mr Zuma's corruption case - which led to the ANC recalling Mr Mbeki as president. Mr Mbeki says the judge's ruling was "unfair and unjust".
The ANC is urging for party unity and for cabinet ministers to remain in their posts following the resignation of deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, a staunch supporter of Mr Mbeki.
Gretchen Wilson, Sebastien Berger, Bill Corcoran in Johannesburg and Terry Fitzpatrick in Cape Town are covering this story.
|7912||World Leaders Prepare For UN Assembly||Julie Walker||News||United States of America||23 September 2008 10:43 Tue||
World leaders are preparing to address the annual United Nations General Assembly, amid an atmosphere of anxiety over the financial crisis.
Tensions between Russia and the West following the conflict in Georgia are expected to be addressed, but the main focus is expected to be on recent turbulent economic events. George W Bush, in his last speech as president, is likely to speak about the $700 billion rescue plan for US financial institutions.
French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who in an acceptance speech last night called for those responsible for the economic turmoil to be punished, and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are also scheduled to speak later today.
In other news, Markets in Asia and European shares edged lower today, amid uncertainty over the impact of the US financial bail-out plan.
UN correspondent Julie Walker, Philip Sherwell in New York are available for 2-ways.
|7913||Investigators In Finland Studying Possible Link Between Shootings||Denisa Udroiu||News||Finland||25 September 2008 10:36 Thu||
Investigators in Finland say they are studying a possible link between this week's shooting at a college and another one 12 months ago.
Investigators say that Matti Juhani Saari, who shot 10 people in Kauhajoki on Tuesday, possibly bought his gun from the same shop in Jokela as Pekka-Eric Auvinen, who last November shot eight people in Jokela. They could have also been in contact with each other.
"Their actions seem so similar that I would consider it a miracle if we did not find some connecting link," chief investigator Jari Neulaniemi was quoted as saying by Finland's STT news agency on Wednesday.
Both men posted threatening clips on YouTube before the attacks; both were fascinated by the 1999 Columbine school shooting in the US; both shot themselves in the head.
However, so far no direct link has been established. Finland's government is now considering tightening its gun laws - which are some of the most liberal in Europe.
Denisa Udroiu in Helsinki is following this story.
|7914||South Africa To Choose New President||Gretchen Wilson||News||South Africa||25 September 2008 10:39 Thu||
South Africa's parliament is to choose a new interim president to replace Thabo Mbeki, who is stepping down.
The new leader is expected to be Kgalema Motlanthe, the deputy leader of the ruling African National Congress, who is viewed as a calming figure. He will serve until elections next year when ANC leader Jacob Zuma is expected to assume the presidency.
Mr Mbeki announced his resignation last Sunday after he was accused of political interference in a corruption case against his rival, Mr Zuma. He denies the allegations, but said he was stepping down in the interests of party unity.
The main task of the interim president will be to heal divisions within the ANC and ensure a smooth political transition.
Gretchen Wilson, Sebastien Berger and Bill Corcoran in Johannesburg are covering this event.
|7915||Security Stepped Up At Airport In Pakistan||Graham Usher||News||Pakistan||25 September 2008 10:43 Thu||
Pakistan has stepped up security at the international airport in the capital, Islamabad, following fears that it is the target of a suicide bomber.
Flights are continuing as normal, although some airport complexes have been closed. Intelligence reports suggest that more suicide bombs have been smuggled into the city in trucks or cars.
British Airways has already suspended its flights to Islamabad indefinitely following Saturday's bomb attack on the Marriot Hotel, in which over 50 people died.
Foreign companies and diplomatic missions in Pakistan are also conducting urgent security reviews.
Graham Usher, Saeed Shar and Nadeem Sarwar in Islamabad are available for 2-ways.
|7916||India And Pakistan Resume Peace Talks||Julie Walker||News||United States of America||25 September 2008 10:47 Thu||
India and Pakistan will resume peace talks after months of tension between the two countries.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, say they will organise talks within three months.
This was Mr Singh's first meeting with Pakistan's new president since he replaced Pervez Musharraf earlier this month. The talks encompass eight topics, including the economy, border disputers, terrorism and the contentious issue of Kashmir.
UN correspondent Julie Walker in New York, Graham Usher in Islamabad and Randeep Ramesh in New Delhi are covering this story.
|7917||Middle East Quartet Accused Of Failure||Phillip Sherwell||News||United States of America||25 September 2008 10:49 Thu||
The Middle East Quartet has been accused of failure by several aid agencies and is being urged to increase the efforts of its mission to improve the daily lives of Palestinians.
The quartet, composed of Russia, the US, the EU and the UN, has 'failed to make progress on a number of fronts,' say the charities.
A report compiled by aid agencies, including Oxfam and Save the Children, said there was no change and even marked deterioration on several of the main objectives put in place by the Quartet to improve the lives of Palestinians.
The White House had wanted to bring together a peace deal between Israel and Palestine by the end of the year, but this is looking increasingly unlikely.
UN correspondent Julie Walker, Philip Sherwell in New York, Annette Young and Tim Butcher in Jerusalem are available for 2-ways.
|7918||Sudanese Forces Kill Kidnappers From Egypt||Peter Martell||News||Sudan||29 September 2008 11:29 Mon||
Sudanese officials say their forces have shot and killed six of the kidnappers who abducted a group of European tourists in Egypt last week.
The hostages - 11 tourists and eight Egyptian guides - were taken on 19 September and are said to be unharmed. They include five Germans, five Italians and a Romanian. Two other suspected kidnappers have been taken into custody, but the tourists themselves remain in captivity in the Tabbat Shajara region of Chad, an official confirmed.
A spokesman for Sudan's military said that the kidnappers had been killed following a high-speed desert chase near the Libyan border. He confirmed the vehicle had contained documents from the Sudan Liberation Movement "about how to distribute the ransom when received".
The shootings come as negotiations continue for the release of the hostages. The kidnappers have demanded that Germany take charge of payment of an $8.8m ransom. German officials have declined comment.
Peter Martell in Khartoum is covering this story.
|7919||Suspected Car Bomb Attack On Military Bus In Lebanon||Hugh Macleod||News||Lebanon||29 September 2008 11:33 Mon||
At least five people have been killed in a suspected car bomb attack on a military bus carrying soldiers in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.
Witnesses said the blast happened on the outskirts of the city during morning rush hour. Some 30 people are believed to be wounded.
Lebanese officials said the blast was caused by the detonation of a car packed with explosives parked by the roadside. It appeared to be targeting a military bus that was passing through the area at the time. However, civilians are believed to be among the casualties.
The town of Tripoli has been hit by sectarian fighting in recent months. At least 14 people were killed in a similar attack on a bus in the city last month.
Several of the victims were off-duty soldiers. The attacks are threatening the reconciliation effort - including an attempted deal earlier this month - to end the fighting between pro-government Sunni fighters and pro-Syrian gunmen.
LA Times correspondent Borzou Daragahi, Anna Fifield and Hugh Macleod in Beirut are reporting on this story.
|7920||Social Democrats Win Most Votes In Austria||David Hill||News||Austria||29 September 2008 11:36 Mon||
Austria's Social Democrats won the most votes in the country's early election, but far-right parties made significant gains, the interior ministry says.
Preliminary official results from Sunday's poll show Social Democrats with 29.7% of the vote. However, the country's two far-right parties made large gains, winning a total vote share of 29% between them.
The conservative People's Party, which had been in a faltering coalition with the Social Democrats, also won 25.6% of the vote. These elections saw the first time an EU country allowed 16 and 17-year-olds to vote.
This bloc represented about 200,000 of the 6.3 million-strong electorate.
The rise in support of the far right is seen as the result of anti-European Union sentiment, anti-immigrant positions and discontent with the two traditional centrist parties, who have suffered their worse results since World War II.
Final results will not be released until 6 October after absentee and postal ballots, making up about 10% of the votes, are counted.
David Hill, John Cummins and Katy Duke in Vienna are available for 2-ways.
|7921||New Constitution In Ecuador Increases Presidential Powers||Guy Hedgecoe||News||Ecuador||29 September 2008 11:39 Mon||
Ecuadorean voters have approved a constitution that increases presidential powers.
President Rafael Correa says the new constitution will help deal with instability and bring back a more just society in Ecuador.
Articles in the proposed constitution include plans to tighten control of industries such as oil and mining. There are also plans to give free healthcare to older citizens. Correa says he wants to give more control of the country to women, the poor and Ecuador's vast indigenous community. He wants to reduce the power of the land-owning elite which has always run the country.
The constitution allows Correa to run for two consecutive terms, which critics say may give him too much power. Foreign investors in Ecuador's oil industry are concerned that the new laws will reduce their profits and that the country won't pay off its foreign debts.
Exit polls released after the voting stopped indicated that from 66-70% supported the new constitution.
Guy Hedgecoe in Quito is available for 2-ways.
|7922||US Politicians Publish Deal To Rescue Financial System||James Gerstenzang||News||United States of America||29 September 2008 11:42 Mon||
US politicians have published a $700bn deal to rescue America's financial system and end the credit crunch.
The move, backed by both Republican and Democratic leaders, allows the Treasury to spend up to $700bn buying bad debts from ailing banks in the US. President George W Bush urged lawmakers to support the bill, which needs approval by both houses of Congress.
Some Republicans have voiced objections to massive state intervention in the financial sector. The deal was announced after days of high-level wrangling between Republicans and Democrats in Congress over the content of the bill.
If approved by the Senate and House in Congress, the revised plan will lead to the biggest intervention in the markets since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, said the agreement was "not a bailout of Wall Street", but designed to ensure pensions, savings and jobs would be safe.
Washington Post correspondent Ed O'Keefe, LA Times correspondent James Gerstenzang and Francine Uenuma in Washington and Julie Walker in New York are across this event.
|7948||US Attempts to Rescue North Korean Nuclear Deal||Jason Strother||News||Korea||01 October 2008 01:05 Wed||
Top US negotiator Christopher Hill has arrived in North Korea to try and rescue a nuclear deal, weeks after Pyongyang began to reinstate its plutonium programme.
Mr Hill is expected to offer a compromise after the initial deal fell apart amid wrangling over how much verification the North had to give. North Korea handed over documentation of its nuclear programme in June this year, but Washington demanded further verification of the claims before removing it from its list of states sponsoring terrorism.
Pyongyang refused and has now made moves to start reactivating its nuclear plant, Yongbyon. The visit comes amid rumours that North Korea's reclusive leader, Kim Jong-il, is seriously ill, which could complicate negotiations.
Jason Strother and Evan Ramstad in Seoul are following the visit.
|7949||US Senate To Vote On Revised Rescue Plan||Julie Walker||News||United States of America||01 October 2008 01:09 Wed||
Global shares have risen as hopes grow that a revised version of the $700 billion US banking rescue package will be approved by US politicians.
The US Senate is to vote later today on the revised plan, which is broadly similar to the first, but includes new measures to help gain Congress' backing.
The UK's FTSE 100 share index was up 1.6% in early trading, lifted also by the news that the Bank of England is to inject a further $30 billion into the money markets. Japan's Nikkei index ended up 1%, while Australia's main index closed up 4%.
To get it through the Senate, the bill will require the backing of 60 of the 100 senators. However, it will then have to return to the House of Representatives on Thursday, which rejected the first version of the plan on Monday.
Julie Walker in New York, LA Times correspondent Peter Nicholas and Chris Walker in London are across this story.
|7950||Police Make Arrests In Child Pornography Operation||Elizabeth Nash||News||Spain||01 October 2008 01:15 Wed||
Spanish police have arrested 121 people in what they called the country's largest ever operation against internet child pornography.
Police carried out 210 nationwide raids and seized millions of photographs and video files and uncovered a network spanning 75 countries. A further 96 people were charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Brazilian police are understood to have assisted the operation.
Elizabeth Nash and Antonio Sampaio in Madrid are covering this story.
|7951||Russia Begins To Pull Troops Out Of Georgia||Diana Petriashvili||News||Georgia||01 October 2008 01:19 Wed||
European Union observers have started to enter the buffer zone around South Ossetia to monitor the pull-out of Russian forces.
Two hundred monitors from 22 EU nations are in Georgia to oversee the ceasefire between Georgia and Russia. Moscow says it will complete its troops pullout from South Ossetia and Abkhazia by 10 October.
Russian troops have been there since ousting Georgian forces in August. Russia agreed to withdraw from the buffer zones under the terms of the peace plan, brokered by French President Nicholas Sarkozy. However, Moscow plans to keep nearly 8,000 troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which it has recognised as an independent state.
As EU monitors were deployed, it was confirmed that an international donors' conference to help repair Georgia's infrastructure and revive the economy will be held in Brussels next month.
Diana Petriashvili, Giorgi Lomsadze, William Dunbar and Kevin O'Flynn in Moscow are available for 2-ways.
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