KOREAS: The naval clash between the two Koreas will not affect the US decision to send a diplomatic envoy to Pyongyang, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton said today at the APEC meeting in Singapore.
CHINA: China will meet or surpass the government’s goal of 8 percent economic growth for the full year, according to Chinese government officials. The slump in Chinese exports eased last month as industrial output and retail sales rose sharply.
SUDAN: A UN report is claiming that the decision by the Sudanese government to expel aid agencies working in Darfur has left many rape victims without key medical and psychological support.
SOUTH AFRICA: Scientists unveiled in South Africa on Wednesday what they are calling the discovery of a new dinosaur species. The discovery may help explain the evolution of dinosaurs into the large animals that we know today.
July 18th has official been declared Nelson Mandela day by the UN General Assembly. The honor was given to recognize the former South African President’s contribution to world freedom.
FRANCE: French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel commemorated soldiers who died in World War I, the first time in more than 90 years that the leaders of the two countries marked the event together.
GERMANY: The Russian-born German who was on trial for stabbing a pregnant Egyptian woman in Dresden in July has been sentenced to life in prison, and will not be eligible for early release.
RUSSIA AND CIS: Russia’s lower house of parliament has approved a law on energy efficiency, which would require the phasing out of all 100 Watt incandescent light bulbs by Jan. 1, 2011. The bill would also introduce state support, including tax breaks, to businesses that transfer to energy efficient technologies.
Russia’s emergency minister is on a South American tour. Today he arrived in Havana, Cuba, from Nicaragua, where he launched a mine-clearing project. The next stop: Venezuela, where he is expected to sign a series of agreements on cooperation in technology development, i.e. from robots to biochemistry.
A Russian mom, whose son died in Chechnya in 2000, is suing the Russian Federation for $1.5 million for financial and moral damage. Meanwhile, police operations in the southern republic continue. Five militants were killed today in an operation overseen by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.
KYRGYZSTAN: The death penalty is now one step closer to being reinstated in Kyrgyzstan, following a vote today by lawmakers against a UN protocol that would have banned capital punishment.
ARMENIA: Health officials are urging the public not to panic over the first swine flu cases reported in the country.
AZERBAIJAN: In a case that has generated significant internal and international pressure, two bloggers from Azerbaijan have been sentenced to two years in jail on hooliganism charges. One of the bloggers focused on social problems of young people, and distributed satirical videos critical of government policy.
BRAZIL: A widespread blackout left major Brazilian cities without power for several hours Tuesday night, drawing additional concern over the country’s preparedness to host the 2016 Olympic Games.
COLOMBIA: Authorities in Colombia say they have confiscated five times the amount of forged U.S. currency than last year.
EL SALVADOR: Authorities in El Salvador are still searching for bodies after landslides unleashed by late season storms left 152 dead, and 10,000 Salvadorans are in need of food aid.
PALESTINE: Thousands of Palestinians gathered Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat who led them for nearly four decades, pushing the struggle for an independent homeland onto the world stage.
YEMEN: Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that Iran is ready to cooperate with the government of Yemen to restore security. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia assistant Minister of Defense said Saudi military forces will continue their airstrikes against the Yemeni Houthi rebels.
ISRAEL: The White House expressed disappointment in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s recent visit to Washington.
IRAQ: Top executives at American security firm Blackwater approved secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials to “silence their criticism” after company guards killed 17 civilians in Baghdad in 2007.