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Global News Blog

International news roundup – Jan. 28

By Robert KilbornStaff writer / January 28, 2009

Plans by Russia’s military to station missiles along the border with eastern Europe have been suspended as a goodwill gesture to new US President Obama, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday. Citing an unidentified source, it said the fact that Obama so far has not pushed for deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic of the US antimissile system planned by his predecessor, President Bush, made the suspension possible. The Defense Ministry declined to confirm the report, however.

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Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe said he has decided to join a unity government with his bitter rival, President Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai, who’d take the new post of prime minister, said his Movement for Democratic Change and Mugabe’s representatives would meet Thursday to try to resolve their remaining differences, although an MDC spokesman warned that the party “cannot compromise beyond what it [already] has done.” Earlier this week, the MDC voiced disappointment at the results of a regional summit that set a Feb. 11 timetable for the swearing-in of such a government.

After a day of calm, tens of thousands of protesters returned to the streets of Madagascar’s capital, calling for the shutdown of schools and commerce and threatening another mass rally this weekend. The new protests were triggered by reports that as many as 37 looters from the earlier protest were found dead in a burned-out store and warehouse owned by President Marc Ravalomanana. Ravalomanana accused the capital’s mayor of inciting the unrest.

Premier Wen Jibao of China opened the annual World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, detailing the “big impact” of the global recession on his country. In particular, he cited “rising unemployment in urban areas.” Analysts said the outlook at this year’s forum is one of deep gloom and that, in contrast to previous gatherings, the discussions would be dominated by politicians rather than bankers and other financiers.

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