SEARCH

Monday
Jan172011

Chinese President Hu to Meet With President Obama

Photo Courtesy - The White House/Pete Souza(BEIJING) --  When Chinese President Hu meets with President Obama this week, it will be the first time the leaders meet as representatives of the two largest economies in the world.

The balance of power has shifted in this relationship in the last few years, with China's growth surging in the double digits as the U.S. grapples with high unemployment, sluggish growth and an expensive war in Afghanistan.  The question is whether in light of this shift, China is growing more strident in dealing with the U.S. and in pursuing its national interests.

In the last two years, President Hu and President Obama have met no fewer than seven times and have developed a relationship that has been described by Ambassador Jon Huntsman as "friendly, cordial and confident."

Innumerable strategic dialogues have been set up to address issues binding the two countries, from trade to security, renewable energy, the economy and, more haltingly, military ties.

So what can we expect to see out of Hu's visit?  Of course the main bones of contention will inevitably arise.  Weapon sales to Taiwan remain by far the most troubling issue to China.

On the subject of North Korea, China will continue to insist that a return to six-party talks is the only way to deal with this situation and will strongly resist involving the UN Security Council in any way.

On currency, China will complain about the U.S.'s policy of quantitative easing and argue that the yuan should be allowed to appreciate at its own pace.  It will tout the projected $380 billion in trade between China and the U.S. this year.  Certainly many other issues will be raised too -- Iran's nuclear program and climate cooperation to name just a couple.

But from the Chinese perspective, these state visits are less about scoring policy victories than they are about reaffirming the importance of the relationship and of cooperation between both sides.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan172011

Former Dictator 'Baby Doc' Makes Surprise Return to Haiti

Photo Courtesy - Mario Tama/Getty Images(PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti) -- Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier landed in Haiti Sunday, marking the first time in 25 years that the former Haitian dictator has been in the country.

For most Haitians, Duvalier's return comes as a surprise.  The 59-year-old ex-dictator, who has been living in exile in France, came back at probably the most difficult time in Haitian political history.  Elections that just took place have been marred by fraud, causing a lot of political instability as the country's future leader remains up in the air.  There's even talk about an interim government being formed that will be a caretaker government for a year.

Duvalier ran Haiti from the late 1970s through the mid 1980s.  Under his reign, thousands of people disappeared or were killed, and many Haitians remember those days as a time of incredible terror.  But they also remember that time as Haiti's political and economic heyday when trains ran on time, streets were paved, kids went to school and there was a greater sense of order than there is today.

Duvalier has not explained the reasoning behind his return nor his intentions while he remains in the country. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Report: Worm Used Against Iran's Nuclear Program Tested In Israel

Photo Courtesy - ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- The computer virus that reportedly wiped out one-fifth of Iran's nuclear centrifuges was tested in Israel, according to a report in The New York Times.

Covert testing of the bug known as the Stuxnet worm took place at Israel's alleged nuclear weapons facility in Dimona, the Times reported, and was a joint project with the United States. Unnamed American sources say Israel built centrifuges nearly identical to those at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility and then tested the virus to make sure they malfunctioned.

Israeli officials are refusing to comment on the report.  

Iran's nuclear centrifuges have been plagued with breakdowns over the last few years. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently blamed malicious software for the problems. Sources told the Times that the Stuxnet worm appears to have been the biggest factor in setting back the country's nuclear program.

The worm -- which causes the nuclear centrifuges to spin wildly out of control -- is considered the most sophisticated cyber-weapon ever deployed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Roadside Bombs Kill Civilians in Afghanistan

Image Courtesy - ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- U.S. troops and other westerners were most likely the targets, but insurgents in Afghanistan have killed more than a dozen civilians with roadside bombs over a 24-hour period.

A child was among the nine people killed Sunday when a bomb exploded beneath the vehicle the group was riding to a wedding in Baghlan Province, north of Kabul.  The six women, two men and the child were all members of the same family.  Seventeen civilians were reported dead between Saturday and early Sunday.

Experts say the northern region of Afghanistan is growing ever more dangerous as the Taliban, feeling pressure from international forces, moves away from its more traditional stronghold in the south and east.

Six civilians died Saturday in a roadside bombing in Helmand Province and two others died in Uruzgan Province when an improvised explosive device, or IED, went off.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Australia: Cleanup Underway After Devastating Floods

Photo Courtesy - TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images(QUEENSLAND, Australia) -- The cleanup from massive flooding in some areas of Australia's storm-battered northeast is beginning even as some communities remain isolated by high water.

At least 27 people have died during three weeks of flooding. Fourteen remain unaccounted for.

Dealing with all the mud left behind is expected to take months. Reconstruction could take years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Iran Says Spy Planes It Claims to Have Downed Were US Aircraft

File photo. Photo Courtesy - United States Navy(TEHRAN) -- Iran's Revolutionary Guard claims to have in its custody two U.S. spy planes that earlier this month Iran said it had shot down.  Iranian officials say they will display the aircraft.

When the claims were first made, Iran offered no proof, but the country now says it can do so "at an appropriate time."  Iran said the high-tech, pilotless planes had violated its airspace.  At the time, the U.S. Navy said it had no record of any missing planes.

It is possible that if two U.S. aircraft were shot down, Iran would delay talking about it to avoid increasing tension with the United States.

The U.S. and other western countries are in a long-running dispute with Tehran over Iran's nuclear program.  Iran claims it is for energy production, not war, but other countries are skeptical.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Plans for New Apartments in Disputed East Jerusalem

Israeli Settlement in E. Jerusalem. Photo Courtesy - Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Israeli officials are defending plans for 1,400 new apartments in the settlement of Gilo, part of disputed East Jerusalem which Israel seized from Jordan during the Six-Day War in 1967.  Palestinians reacted with outrage to the plan, which could scuttle the rocky U.S.-sponsored peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the site of their future capital and say Israel would be in violation of international law in building the apartments.  But Jerusalem Councilman Elisha Peleg told Voice of America that Israel has every right to do what it wants in that part of the city.

"The Jews have the right to build in all parts of Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem," he said.

Some Israeli politicians disagree.  The left wing Peace Now movement's Hagit Ofran told VOA that Israel would destroy the peace process through such moves.  The Palestinians refuse to return to the negotiations until Israel halts all construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The apartment plan could be approved as soon as next week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Investigators Looking Into India Temple Stampede, 104 Dead

Image Courtesy - ABC News(NEW DELHI) -- Investigators are looking in to what caused a stampede that left at least 104 people dead and 60 injured at a shrine in India.  Authorities deny claims of inadequate security at the Hindu shrine of Sabarimala, in the southern province of Kerala.

The stampede happened Friday at the end of a two-month-long ritual, where officials estimate 200,000 people were gathered.  Initial reports show a vehicle ran out of control and into the crowd, starting the panic.

In 1999, 50 people died in a similar panic at the same festival.  Inadequate security was found to be the cause then, but state and local authorities deny that is the case now.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Queen Offers Prince William, Kate Middleton Keys to Buckingham Palace

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- Queen Elizabeth has reportedly offered to share Buckingham Palace with Prince William and Kate Middleton after they are married. But will they take her up on the offer?

Think of it as a type of house share. Grandma and grandpa will use the palace from Monday to Thursday, and – though space is of no concern in the 775 room complex – William and Kate would have the whole place to themselves on weekends.

“They will have the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as their neighbor,” said Katie Nicholl, author of William and Harry. “Perhaps as a married couple that’s not what they want.”

At least for their first year of marriage, the couple will reside in a secluded Wales cottage.

“My bet [for William and Kate's more permanent residence] is on Kensington Palace,” Nicholl said, where Diana lived with William and Harry after separating from Prince Charles.

The Prince says the couple wants to live as normal a lifestyle as possible – no servants and no butlers – so they can enjoy a closer, more intimate relationship.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan152011

Brazil Flooding: Death Toll Continues to Rise

Photo Courtesy - Vanderlei Almeida/ AFP/Getty Images(TERESOPOLIS, Brazil) -- Heavy rains have triggered flooding and mudslides in Brazil, killing hundreds of people in the southeastern part of the country.

At least 600 have died and many more are missing.

Rescue crews continue to search for survivors, but Rio de Janeiro Deputy-Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao said this week that greater resources would be needed in the region.

More rain was forecast to fall through the weekend.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio