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Nov. 17, 2009 at 8:16 AM
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Hu, Obama hold talks, no breakthrough

BEIJING, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama, while describing Tibet as part of China, Tuesday urged his Chinese hosts to resume talks with the Dalai Lama.

The visiting American leader, emerging from about two hours of talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing, said: "We did note that while we recognize that Tibet is part of the People's Republic of China, the United States supports the early resumption of dialogue" between China and representatives of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

Obama called for such talks to resolve any concerns or differences the two sides may have.

Hu said his talks with Obama were on an "equal footing" and stressed "under the current circumstances our two countries need to oppose and reject protectionism in all its manifestations in an even stronger stance."

The two spoke at a joint media session at which they read statements, but took no questions from reporters.

Their talks produced no breakthroughs.

Hu said the two stressed the need for concrete action to meet what he called common challenges.

Obama said bilateral cooperation has never been important than now and China's partnership is critical to ending global recession.


India says it won't launch Iran satellite

NEW DELHI, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Indian officials said they don't plan to launch a satellite for Iran, a sensitive issue for Western countries already concerned about Iran's missile program.

India's decision not to launch the satellite for Tehran was announced while Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was in India for two days of talks, the BBC reported Tuesday.

"We received a letter from the Iranians to launch a satellite for them some months ago. We don't plan to give them a response," a top Indian official said.

Iran launched its first domestically made satellite in February, maintaining its intentions were peaceful, the BBC said. However, Western governments expressed concerns the technology used could lead to ballistic missile development.

Officials of the two countries also discussed common concerns surrounding violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In October, 30 members of Iran's elite revolutionary guards were killed in the country's Sistan province, which borders Pakistan.

"The two sides also took the opportunity for a detailed exchange of views on important regional and international issues, including the threat of terrorism confronting the two countries," India's Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

While both sides have a "common perception" about events in Afghanistan, "we differ is on the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan. The Iranians see this as a big problem," Indian officials told the BBC.


Suicide bombing kills three

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- A suicide bomb attack at a police checkpoint killed three people in the latest in a series of terror attacks in Pakistan's Peshawar area, police said.

In Monday's bombing at the Badbher police station outside Peshawar, the attacker blew up his explosives-laden vehicle, Dawn reported.

The explosion wounded at least 43 people and destroyed a mosque, several shops and houses and a section of the police station and a nearby college, the report said.

There had been a number of threats about an attack prior to the incident, officials said.

Peshawar, capital of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, and surrounding areas have been the target of a number of deadly militant attacks in retaliation for the monthlong military offensive against terror groups in neighboring South Waziristan trial area. The attacks have killed more than 300 people including civilians.

Police official Khurshid Khan told Dawn all of those killed Monday were civilians. He said among the injured were eight schoolchildren.

The latest attack in the area was the seventh in as many days, the Voice of America reported. Two pro-government elders were attacked and one died Sunday near Peshawar.


S. Australia under 'catastrophic' alert

ADELAIDE, Australia, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The potential bushfire danger for northern South Australia was at the "catastrophic" level Tuesday, officials said.

Australia's Country Fire Service said Tuesday any fires in the province's North West Pastoral and Flinders districts would likely be uncontrollable, with a very high probability that people in their path would die, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Forecasters put the blame on a combination of extremely high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity in the districts -- the first time the new "catastrophic" rating has been used in Australia since a national warning system was established after Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires killed 173 people in February.

As part of the "catastrophic" warning, 11 schools and preschools in the two districts will be closed Wednesday, officials said.

"If you're not comfortable and if you don't have the equipment and if your property is not prepared, it's better to go and do something else like to go the beach or the shopping center than it is to take the risk of defending your property or escaping at the last minute," CFS strategic services manager Mick Ayre told the ABC.


Microsoft co-founder Allen has lymphoma

SEATTLE, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Billionaire investor Paul Allen, a co-founder of U.S. software giant Microsoft Corp., is undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a company e-mail said.

The e-mail was sent by Paul Allen's sister Jody Allen, who is chief executive officer of Vulcan Inc, Mr. Allen's investment firm.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The e-mail said Allen has "diffuse large B-cell lymphoma," The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The e-mail also says Allen is "optimistic he can beat" the disease. Twenty-five years ago, Allen won a battle with Hodgkin's disease. That diagnosis was made before he left Microsoft, the Journal said.

"Paul is feeling OK and remains upbeat. He continues to work and he has no plans to change his role at Vulcan. His health comes first, though, and we'll be sure that nothing intrudes on that," the e-mail from his sister reads.

In a statement, Microsoft's other co-founder Bill Gates said, "Paul is among my closest friends, and I know him to be a strong and resilient individual."

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