China issues first anti-graft white paper, pledges firmer actions
Statistics from a new government white-paper on anti-corruption indicate that more than 4 out of 5 people here in China think the government is starting to get a handle on government graft.
The white paper, released by the State Council, suggests that just under 84-percent of people surveyed say they think that corruption has been reduced "to some extent" this year.
Seven years ago, the number of people who said they thought corruption was being reduced here in China was around 70-percent.
The white paper also notes that the development of the internet in China has played a positive role in supervising and rooting-out cases of graft.
Regional bloc gives Cote d'Ivoire's Gbagbo another chance
Three West African leaders are set to return to Cote d'Ivoire next week for more negotiations to end the impasse over last month's disputed elections.
The announcement comes a day after the presidents of Sierra Leone, Cape Verde and Benin failed on their first visit to persuade defeated President Laurent Gbagbo to stand down.
Meantime, the UN's chief of Peacekeeping operations in Cote d'Ivoire, Alan Leroy, is accusing the state-run television station, currently controled by Gbagbo's supporters, of fostering hatred toward the United Nations.
S. Korea Calls for New Six-Party Talks with N. Korea
South Korea's President is calling for a new round six-party talks with North Korea.
Lee Myung-bak says there is no choice but to try to dismantle North Korea's nuclear program through diplomacy.
Meanwhile, a commentary in North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper says the North has "the legitimate right" to develop its nuclear capability for peaceful purposes.
It also blamed the United States for "contemplating stronger pressure and sanctions against North Korea" and for failing to abide by the 1994 agreement on the construction of light-water reactors in the country.
US revokes Venezuela ambassador's visa amid envoy row
The United States has revoked the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador to the US, amid a diplomatic dispute between the two countries over President Barack Obama's choice of ambassador to Caracas, Larry Palmer.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had been angered by comments Palmer made about the country this year.
Washington's move effectively expels Venezuela's envoy, Bernardo Alvarez Herrera.
Colombian President confirms death of drug lord
Columbia's President has confirmed the death of one of the country's most notorious drug lords.
Juan Manuel Santos says that Pedro Oliveiro Guerrero, dubbed the "murderer of murderers" and "the knife" has been killed in a sting operation by Columbian police.
Santos says that Guerrero was found dead carrying a gold and diamond-plated pistol and a knife that he -- quote -- "used to behead his victims."
Beijing opens five new metro lines to ease traffic woes
Beijing is opening five new suburban subway and light rail lines todaym bringing the total number of lines in the city to 14.
The new lines will start receiving passengers at 2 p.m.
With a combined length of 108 kilometers, the five new lines bring the total metro length to 336 km in the capital city.
Beijing's metro network carries some 5 million passengers per day.
China braces for Lunar New Year travel season
Chinese authorities are bracing themselves for the annual surge in Spring Festival travel rush on public transport.
The National Development and Reform Commission is now predicting that 2.85-billion journeys will be made by bus, train, boat and air from the 19th of January and for 40-days thereafter.
According to the NDRC, travel over the holiday season is likely to be up by 12 percent year on year, as more and more people use the holiday to visit family and friends.
China mulls tougher capital rules for big banks
Tougher capital rules may be required for China's biggest lenders that are systemically important.
The China Securities Journal quoted Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission as saying that higher capital adequacy ratio targets for big banks are also required to build up counter-cyclical capital buffers in the banking system.
He said the banking regulator is currently studying new regulations for financial institutions that are considered "too big to fail."
Ariane 5 lifts off two telecom satellites in French Guiana
After an earlier delay, the Ariane 5 has now lifted off from French Guiana.
The rocket is transporting two telecommunication satellites for Spainish and Korean broadcasting use.
The earlier launch of Ariane 5 on Tuesday had to be put off because of windy conditions in French Guiana.
Australia's Jetstar passenger aircraft targeted in laser attack
A powerful laser tracked an Australian passenger aircraft for about 10 kilometers as it was going to land in Newcastle, in New South Wales.
Australian Associated Press says the green laser tracked the Airbus A320 as it was flying north over Lake Macquarie.
But the plane landed safely a short time later at its intended destination.
Police have launched an investigation, saying the incident was dangerous as the laser could distract pilots.
It is a criminal offense in New South Wales to use a laser pointer in a public place without reasonable excuse.