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Google-China Talks to Resume

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Google Inc. representatives are scheduled to resume discussions in coming days with Chinese officials about the fate of Google’s China business, said people briefed on the matter.

The schedule and the status of the talks, which are being picked up after a break for the Chinese New Year holiday, are unclear. Among the range of Google officials handling the talks on the ground is Google policy executive, Ross LaJeunesse, said people familiar with the matter.

Any resolution to the matter of whether Google will be able to operate an unfiltered search engine in the country is likely to be at least weeks away, said one of the people

Original post here…

Original post credit: WSJ.com

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O’Brien: Rain, aftershocks compound misery in Haiti

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

We had not been in Port-au-Prince in a month, not since those horrible days following the earthquake when the city looked like wreckage.The city seemed so upbeat when we arrived Saturday morning on one of the first flights in since commercial airlines resumed service. Musicians wearing Western Union T-shirts greeted us near the hanger that now passes as baggage claim. Next to our hotel, street vendors peddled souvenirs outside a tent city surrounding the presidential palace.

But those optimistic signs were eclipsed Sunday night when a torrent of rain poured down on this wounded city where outdoor tent communities have sprouted up in every empty space.

Complete article here…

Original post credit: CNN

North Korea ‘may return to talks’

North Korea says it may be willing to return to six-party international talks on its nuclear weapons programme, state media has reported.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is said to have made the announcement to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who is currently visiting Pyongyang.

But Pyongyang said the return would be dependent on the progress of its planned bilateral talks with the US.

The US says it remains ready to engage with North Korea.

A US state department spokesman said the aim for Washington was to convince Pyongyang to take the path to complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

The spokesman said this remained the core objective, and that the multi-party process was the best mechanism for achieving that.

Original post credit: BBC News

Hurdles Remain on Climate Change Goals

Like most members of President Obama’s climate team, David Sandalow was one of President Bill Clinton’s negotiators in Kyoto. And he carries an indelible lesson from the experience of signing off on the international climate pact there 12 years ago: “Only agree abroad to what you can implement at home.”

He had been elated at the deal by more than 180 nations in December 1997. But within months, a television ad appeared, decrying the agreement for not including developing nations such as China and India. “It’s not global and it won’t work,” said the ad, which was sponsored by business groups including the American Association of Automobile Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute. It captured the growing discontent in the United States over the Clinton administration’s signing off on a package that did not force similar cuts by major developing countries.

Original post credit: The Washington Post

Al Qaeda’s Diminished Role Stirs Afghan Troop Debate

Since first invading Afghanistan nearly a decade ago, America set one primary goal: Eliminate al Qaeda’s safe haven.

Today, intelligence and military officials say they’ve severely constrained al Qaeda’s ability to operate there and in Pakistan — and that’s reshaping the debate over U.S. strategy in the region.

Hunted by U.S. drones, beset by money problems and finding it tougher to lure young Arabs to the bleak mountains of Pakistan, al Qaeda is seeing its role shrink there and in Afghanistan, according to intelligence reports and Pakistani and U.S. officials. Conversations intercepted by the U.S. show al Qaeda fighters complaining of shortages of weapons, clothing and, in some cases, food. The number of foreign fighters in Afghanistan appears to be declining, U.S. military officials say.

original post @ WSJ

HSBC chief fears a second downturn

Michael Geoghegan, chief executive of HSBC, is so convinced there will be a second downturn in the coming months that he plans to delay any rush to expand the bank.

“Is this a V recovery or a W?” Mr Geoghegan asked in an interview with the FT. “[I think] it’s the latter. [If I’m right], we have to be very careful we don’t grow the balance sheet so far before the recovery has come only to write it back into the impairment line later on. I’m cautious about growing too fast.”

At the same time, Nani Beccalli – head of GE International, who runs the conglomerate’s businesses outside the US –

original post @ FT.com

Rio to stage 2016 Olympic Games

Brazil will become the first South American country to host the Olympics after the city of Rio de Janeiro was chosen to stage the 2016 Games.

Rio won a majority of the 95 votes at the meeting in Copenhagen, eliminating Madrid in the final round. Tokyo and Chicago had already been knocked out.

“The world has recognised that the time has come for Brazil,” said President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Chicago’s early exit was a surprise, after bookmakers made them favourites.

US President Barack Obama had flown to Denmark on Friday morning to join his wife, Michelle, and make an emotional address to the International Olympic Committee delegates.

But the gesture – the first time a current US president had addressed the IOC in an attempt to win the Games – failed to persuade the voters as Chicago became the first city to see its dream of hosting the biggest sporting event in the world fall by the wayside.

original post @ BBC News