SOUTH KOREA: President Barack Obama delivered a stern message on Thursday to North Korea and Iran telling them to halt their nuclear ambitions to avoid facing further sanctions and isolation.
BANGLADESH: Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld death sentences on the five ex-army officers convicted of killing the country’s first president in a coup 34 years ago.
SOUTH AFRICA: South African leader Jacob Zuma vowed to make the fight against corruption a top priority for his government.
Runner Castor Semenaya, whose gender was questioned, will keep her World Championship medal.
GUINEA: An African Union human rights representative says he was denied entry into Guinea, where he planned to investigate alleged mass killings and rapes by the country’s military.
EU leaders are meeting today in Brussels to decide who will be the new EU President. France and Germany are likely to support the Belgian Prime Minister, Herman van Rompuy.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development doubled its 2010 growth forecast for developed economies, which is largely due to accelerated growth in Asian economies.
France beat Ireland in a contentious win in its World Cup Soccer qualifying match Wednesday night, on a play that many believe included an illegal “handball” from French player Thierry Henry.
RUSSIA and CIS:
Russia’s Constitutional Court has extended a moratorium on the death penalty, which was imposed after it joined the Council of Europe in 1996. The Court chairman said the ban has set in place an “irreversible process to abolish capital punishment” in Russia.
Speaking at the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, President Medvedev spoke out against the 3,500 deaths caused daily by accidents on the road. Russia is one of six countries that will receive part of a $125 million donation from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to promote road safety.
Kyrgyzstan has deported a human rights activist who was investigating abuses against Muslims. The activist, Bakhrom Khamroyev, who worked for the human rights group Memorial, was detained and deported to Russia. Actisits say political freedoms in Kyrgyzstan have been declining since Kurmanbek Bakiev came to power in 2005.
Opposition activists in Moscow have obtained a copy of of a high-level police memo ordering officers to disrupt a series of lawful protests.
The Russian Foreign Ministry is expressing concern about the declining status of the Russian language in former Soviet Republics, particularly in the Baltics and in Ukraine, where Russian has no official status and where there reportedly is pressure on Russian-language education. In Kyrgyzstan, the country’s main political party has adopted draft legislation making Kyrgyz the official language for diplomats and diplomatic record-keeping.
MEXICO: Mexico’s abortion debate is headed to the federal level after a 17th state in the country passed a law declaring life begins at conception.
CUBA: Experts in Cuba say 70 percent of the soil on the island is threatened by erosion.
YEMEN: The Yemeni army said that it has succeeded in pushing back an attack by Houthi rebels on the northern Yemeni city of Saada.
AFGHANISTAN: In a ceremony in the capital Kabul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai was sworn in for a second five-year term.
PAKISTAN:At least 19 people have been killed and dozens injured in a suicide bomb blast in Peshawar, Pakistan.
PALESTINE: Israeli jets bombed a weapons-manufacturing facility and two smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip today. The airstrikes came in response to recent rocket attacks on Israel. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an interview with Egyptian television denied that Israel, or the US has asked him to remain in office.
IRAN: US President Barack Obama warned of “consequences” if Iran does not accept the IAEA-backed proposal on a nuclear fuel deal.
ISRAEL: China criticized the Israeli government’s decision to build 900 more units in the part of Jerusalem claimed by Palestinians, saying it poses new obstacles to the Middle East peace process.
A group was formed to restore Jewish presence to the Joseph’s tomb compound in Nablus nine years after the Israel Defense Forces withdrew from the area.