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Friday
Nov122010

Obama in Japan: Asian Markets Critical to Economic Growth, Job Creation 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(YOKAHAMA, Japan) -- On his last stop of his 10-day Asian tour, President Obama said that that America’s security and prosperity is “inextricably linked” to that of Asia and increasing U.S. exports will create American jobs.

“In today’s interconnected world, what happens in Japan or China or Indonesia also has a direct effect on the lives and fortunes of the American people,” he said at the APEC CEO summit in Yokahama, Japan.

The president said his goal of doubling U.S. exports in the next five years is directly related to job creation in America.

“With every $1 billion we sell in exports, five thousand jobs are supported at home,” he said. “And jobs supported by exports pay up to 18 percent higher than the national average.”

Yet the president failed to find support.  The president failed to convince the South Koreans to open their markets to American beef and cars - at stake $10 billion in exports and 70,000 American jobs. He failed to push Chinese President Hu Jintao to change policies that make it cheaper to manufacture in China by artificially building up the dollar and holding down Chinese currency.  And with a $227 billion dollar trade deficit with China, Mr Obama was unable to convince the other G20 leaders to agree to use stronger language on currency manipulation in the joint declaration or firm actions on trade imbalances.

Mr. Obama once again warned that nations with large trade surpluses cannot depend on exports to U.S. consumers, noting that the recent economic crisis taught a harsh lesson on the limits of that strategy.

“Going forward, countries with large surpluses must shift away from an unhealthy dependence on exports and take steps to boost domestic demand,” he said. “No nation should assume that their path to prosperity is simply paved with exports to America.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov122010

Rare Find Nets Family $69 Million

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LONDON) -- A once-forgotten porcelain vase has amassed $69 million at auction, the highest price for any Chinese artwork ever sold.

The discovery was made in London by a brother and sister who were cleaning out their parents' house. The pair found the 16-inch porcelain ornament and brought it to a local shop.

It turns out the piece was commissioned by the Chinese imperial family in the 1700s and made its way to England in the 1930s.

The sister was so shocked that she almost passed out during the auction.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov122010

G20 Summit Wraps Up; Leaders Pledge to End Imbalances

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(SEOUL, South Korea) -- The G20 summit has ended with a long statement by leaders, amounting to a promise for trade cooperation.

The leaders' declaration charts a future in which all the countries agree on the need for more growth and less imbalance.  While some countries make profits selling lots of exports, others struggle, unable to export as many goods. To combat this problem, finance ministers proposed coming up with an early warning system to spot these imbalances.

The declaration  states, "We hold ourselves accountable.  What we promise, we will deliver."  But there may be no way to enforce the pledge.

President Obama seconded the pledge, seeming to take aim at China, saying, "No nation should assume that their path to prosperity is paved simply with exports to the United States."

Obama's tone towards China at the G20 summit softened comparably until a few weeks ago, when he complained loudly that China's trade behavior is "a real problem" and is "unfair."  "They can sell stuff cheaper [in the U.S.]," the president fumed, "and our stuff, when we try to sell there, is more expensive."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Discussions Over Peace Treaty Between Israel, Palestine 'Friendly and Productive'

Photo Courtesy of US State Dept. (NEW YORK) -- In a joint statement Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they will continue direct negotiations to reach a final peace deal between Israel and Palestine.

The two sides called their marathon discussions on Thursday "friendly and productive," although it is not clear how much was accomplished in the way of stalled Middle East peace negotiations.

"The United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state," Clinton said in a statement.

The statement said that both teams plan to work closely in the coming days to move forward with a plan for peace that will satisfy both Israel and Palestine.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Caught on Tape: Did Afghan Warlord Sway Elections?

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images(AFGHANISTAN) -- In an audiotape that first aired on Afghan TV, an Afghan warlord is heard telling an election officer which candidates to declare as winners.

During October’s parliamentary election, Ismal Khan of Heart, the most notorious warlord in western Afghanistan, can be heard telling an Independent Election Commission worker who should win and who should lose.

The election worker, who sounded nervous, said he has already doctored votes but is not sure that he can deliver who Khan has chosen. ABC News can confidently report that some of Khan's favorite candidates did not win.

But the recording, if accurate, seems to call into question an election body that Western officials have lauded as more independent and vastly improved over last year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Cholera Cases in Haiti May be Grossly Underestimated

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images(HAITI) -- As medical units in north Haiti become inundated with cholera patients, some are concerned the number infected may be well beyond current figures.

Official statistics show the number infected just below 10,000, with the number of cholera-related deaths near 650. The Haiti Epidemic Advisory System, however, believes those numbers are grossly underestimated, likely by a factor of five.

They believe that there are around 50,000 active cases in Haiti, which means that there are about 150,000-200,000 carriers.

Reports on the ground depict a shortage of supplies to treat an overwhelming number of patients. Meanwhile, the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh will send a team to Haiti to assist with cholera treatment and control.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Google Nearly Starts a War

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MOUNTAINVIEW, Calif.) -- Errors by Google Maps have in the past week reignited a territorial dispute in North Africa and nearly caused a war in Central America.

In the latter instance, Nicaraguan forces crossed a disputed border last week and raised their flag in territory that was long considered part of Costa Rica after the military commander on the scene looked up the area on Google Maps to determine how far he could deploy his troops.

Costa Rica has responded with heavily armed police (the country abolished its army decades ago), and its president has called the move an invasion. Nicaragua so far has refused to withdraw its soldiers.

The Organization of American States has been called in to mediate, and the regional body will consider a proposed solution whereby Nicaragua removes its forces and the two sides sit down to map out the border. Both sides have so far rejected the plan.

In a separate incident this week, Google Maps mistakenly attributed to Morocco a tiny island (more of a large rock) a few hundred yards off its coast and then changed it, again erroneously, to Spain. The problem is the uninhabited island (save for a few goats), which Spain calls Isla de Perejil (“Parsley Island”) and Morocco calls Leila (“Night”), has been a disputed territory for years and the two countries nearly fought over it in 2002.

Google has acknowledged its errors and promised to fix them, pledging to remain neutral in the Morocco/Spain dispute and fix the border line in the Nicaragua/Costa Rica one.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Hot or Not? Accounting Firm Men Rated Female Employees

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

(GREAT BRITAIN) – Male workers at an accounting firm in the United Kingdom are accused of circulating a crude e-mail chain that rated whether new female recruits were hot or not.

PricewaterhouseCoopers is investigating reports that the men sent e-mails with the photos of new female workers and a rank of their attractiveness. The women included were all new hires and recent college graduates, according to PWC spokesman Johanna Dehaene.

The global accounting firm, which is one of the largest in Great Britain, found out about the rating system Tuesday evening after The Irish Independent newspaper obtained a copy of the e-mail.

One e-mail chain seen by ABC News was started by senior associate Stephen Tully and then forwarded on by two other senior associates. Tully's subject line read: "This would be my shortlist for the top 10." Other colleagues wrote: "Great work.. have reservations about the last one getting in" and "FYI. New clunge." "Clunge" is a British slang word for vagina.

PWC has launched an investigation and would not comment on what the consequences for the men will be. In all, 17 names were on the e-mail circulation list.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Iraq Gets Closer to Establishing New Government with Deal

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto/ Academy for Educational Development(BAGHDAD) -- The longest awaited election result in history appears to be at an exhausting, and not entirely, unexpected end.

Just over eight months since the March 7 national elections, Iraqi political parties finally agreed to a power-sharing deal, paving the way for the formation of a new government.  Kamal Al Saidi, member of the National Alliance Party, called the deal "a new era for Iraq” adding “Iraq will be safer despite expected attacks from Al-Qaeda in Iraq."

More than 3,300 Iraqis have died in violence across the country since the March elections and thousands more were injured as insurgents have tested the weak government combined with the drawdown of U.S. combat forces.

Under the terms of the deal, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will keep his job, but is expected to make broad concessions to Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya coalition.   Allawi, whose party bested Maliki’s in the March elections but could never get muster the seats to put himself in the prime minister’s job, could take a brand new position as head of the National Council of Supreme Policy, which is expected to have wide ranging power in security and other matters.  Though, it’s still not clear what the mandate of this organization will be and from where its power will be derived.  It’s equally unclear whether Allawi himself will take the job or appoint someone of his choosing.

The mainly ceremonial post of president will remain with Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, while the powerful Parliamentary Speaker’s job will go to a Sunni as will the position of Foreign Minister.  That position is currently held by the Kurd Hoshayar Zebari.

Though the deal is widely expected, it could still take a month or more before a government is officially in place.  Once the deal is announced, Maliki will have up to 45 days to name his ministers and form his entire government.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Hillary Clinton to Meet with Israeli Prime Minister

Photo Courtesy - U.S. State Department(NEW YORK) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu in New York Thursday.

The meeting comes just days after Israel announced it would build over 1,300 new housing units in east Jerusalem.  On Wednesday, Clinton voiced criticism over the plan, calling it counterproductive.

Netanyahu's office has said in an official statement that he'll discuss with Clinton the need to formulate a broad U.S.-Israeli consensus on Israel's long term security needs under any peace agreement.

Political sources in Jerusalem say behind that general description, Netanyahu is specifically negotiating a 10-year security agreement with the U.S. in exchange for a new building freeze.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio