SINGAPORE: Asia-Pacific nations pledged on Thursday to embrace more flexible exchange rates as they start to scale back their stimulus spending in the wake of easing of the global financial crisis.
NEPAL: Tens of thousands of Maoist demonstrators flooded the streets of Nepal’s capital on Thursday to call for the resignation of the government.
CHINA: Human Right Watch released a report on Thursday accusing China of running unlawful detention centers called “black jails” in which ordinary citizens can be kept for months.
SOMALIA: A judge well known for sending Islamic militants and pirates to prison was gunned down outside a mosque in Somalia’s Puntland region. Three people have been arrested in relation to the killing.
SUDAN: The Sudanese government has announced that the Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps that house millions of displaced Darfuris will be shut down beginning in 2010. The government says they have begun constructing housing units to relocate the IDPs. Rebel groups have criticized the move.
NIGERIA: A Nigerian group is demanding that traditional leaders follow in the footstep of Britain and the US and apologize for their complicity in the transatlantic slave trade.
FRANCE: France has begun vaccinating high-risk people as it launches its swine flu vaccination campaign, despite a recent poll which revealed 76% of the public does not want to be vaccinated.
UK: Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced plans to toughen immigration rules into the UK by restricting the number of professions that can recruit in countries outside of Europe.
NORWAY: A freelance journalist from Norway who was captured in Afghanistan with his interpreter has been freed, according to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.
RUSSIA AND CIS:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev presented his annual address to the nation today, emphasizing the need for Russia to refocus its economy on telecommunications, space and information technology.
Vladimir Putin has been named the third most powerful person of the year by Forbes Magazine, following Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President Barak Obama.
The legendary Russian goldsmith Faberge, known for the jeweled eggs it produced in the 1880s, is back in business. The House of Faberge is introducing a new line of jewels that will be sold on-line and at its single shop in Geneva.
A German court has dropped all charges against Dmitry Kovtun, who had been a suspect in the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London.
Estonia’s economy shows signs of improvement: the country’s economic decline slowed in the third quarter for the first time since 2007.
VENEZUELA: Venezuelan authorities have destroyed 30,000 illegal firearms in an effort to combat crime.
COLOMBIA: In its latest report, a human rights group in Colombia says that the use of torture is systematic and generalized.
AFGHANISTAN: The White House has said that US military commitment to Afghanistan is “not open-ended,” warning that the Afghan government must take steps to improve the way the country is run.
LEBANON: The leader of the Lebanese group Hezbollah has accused US President Barack Obama, of “absolute bias” in favor of Israel and of disregard for the dignity of Arabs and Muslims.
ISRAEL: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has signalled to French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Israel is willing to withdraw from the Golan Heights as part of a peace deal between Syria and Israel.
YEMEN: A Yemeni Houthi leader has called for a ceasefire and expressed his group’s willingness to engage in dialogue with Saudi Arabia amid reports that Saudi Arabia’s forces have penetrated inside Yemen.
PALESTINE: The Palestinian Election Commission has recommended the postponement of presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for January.