US President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday less than a year after he took office with the jury hailing his “extraordinary” diplomatic efforts on the international stage. The President said he was “both surprised and humbled” by the Nobel Committee’s decision. The decision is seen as an encouregement towards peace efforts in his nine months office.
North Korea says it is prepared to return to six-party talks on its nuclear programme as long as the US agrees to bilateral meetings first to improve “hostile relations” between the two countries. The US says it wants to restart negotiations to convince North Korea to end its nuclear programme. A planned visit by special US negotiator Stephen Bosworth is expected this month.
Multilateral talks on Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme opened in Geneva on Thursday afternoon. Iranian representatives held discussions with representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – United States, Russia, China, Great Britain and France – along with Germany. This is the first time in three decades that US and Iranian meet.
Iran has agreed to negotiate with six world powers about nuclear issues, but according to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tehran will not negotiate over its right to possessing “peaceful nuclear technology”. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi also said that Tehran will not negotiate about its “undeniable nuclear rights”.
James Elder, an Australian national, was appointed spokesperson for the United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF) in July last year. He appeared regularly on television and radio news, as well as in print media, discussing the plight of children caught up in Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war. He has now been accused by the government of doing propaganda in support of the LTTE.
A spokesperson for Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission says votes from 447 polling stations have been annulled due to fraud. The cancelled ballot papers could amount to as many as 200,000 votes. Partial results released today give sitting President Hamid Karzai 48.6 percent of the vote while his closest rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, 31.7 percent.
More than 12,000 members of Slovakia’s ethnic Hungarian minority community have taken to the streets in protest at a new language law introduced on Tuesday. The new law limits the use of minority languages. Anyone speaking Hungarian in public buildings, for example, could be fined. More than half-a-million ethnic Hungarians live in Slovakia.
On Sunday, LDP party, in power since 1955, suffered a historic defeat in parliamentary elections. Japanese voters shifted to the left. According to the official results, the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan has won 308 out of a total of 480 seats in parliament. A record 54 women have won seats in the new Japanese parliament, where women generally are under-represented.
US State Department advisers have recommended the removal of former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya to be considered a coup. If the Secretary of State follows the advice, the step could cut off tens of millions of dollars. Foreign ministers agreed not to recognize the result of a presidential election set for November unless Mr Zelaya is first restored to power.
Crisis talks to end months of political instability in Madagascar have collapsed as the parties failed to agree who should hold key posts in a transitional government. Ousted president Marc Ravalomanana and his successor Andry Rajoelina remained deadlocked over who should occupy the presidency in the interim government, the African Union – which is brokering the talks – said.