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Daily Archives: 10/30/2010

Russia-ASEAN summit adopts joint statement

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (6th L) holds hands with (L-R) Malaysia's deputy Foreign Minister Richard Riot Jaem, Myanmar's Prime Minister Thein Sein, the Philippine's President Benigno Aquino, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Laos' Prime Minister Bouasone Buphavanh and ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsawan as they pose for a group photo before the ASEAN-Russia summit at the sidelines of the 17th ASEAN Summit of the in Hanoi October 30, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS / Hoang Dinh Nam/Pool )

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HANOI, October 30 (KATAKAMI / Itar-Tass) — The leaders attending the Russia-ASEAN forum have adopted a joint statement, in which they recorded common approaches to problems of security and economic development in the Asia-Pacific Region, as well as to the deepening of dialogue partnership. President Dmitry Medvedev took part in the summit.

“Russia and ASEAN will closely cooperate in the creation of regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific Region,” the statement said. “ASEAN welcomes Russia’s contribution to the Financial Fund of Dialogue Partnership, created at the first Russia-ASEAN summit, of annual donations for financing joint projects.”

“ASEAN expresses full support for the Russian-American START Treaty. With this in view we reiterate our allegiance to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament,” the leaders stressed.

“Russia and ASEAN proceed from the assumption that present-day challenges to international security in the nuclear sphere should be removed on the basis of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The creation of a nuclear-free zone in South-East Asia will be a contribution to full global nuclear disarmament.”

The leaders reiterated their desire to jointly fight terrorism and agreed to step up contacts between law enforcement agencies.

The leaders pointed to “the growing topicality of the formation in the region of the partner network of multilateral associations and forums. Both Russia and ASEAN will take action for the development of cooperation between ASEAN and Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as their anti-terrorist structures.” So far as economic cooperation is concerned, “Russia is going to render assistance to ASEAN in the implementation of the plan of the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community for the development of business in the region.” “We shall analyse a possibility of the expansion of cooperation in industry, of the development of small and medium business and of the exchange of scientific and technological finds in the sphere of energy,” the joint statement said.

 

(MS)

Attack against Jewish target has double effect, says Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon

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October 30, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon addressed the terror plot against Jewish facilities in the United States on Saturday and said, “International terror groups are increasingly motivated to try and disrupt life and impose their ideology on the Middle East and Western countries.”

Ayalon further added, “As far as these groups are concerned attacking a Jewish site is a ‘double attack’ – hurting Jews as well as the sovereignty of a Western nation.”

 

(MS)

Photostream : Russian PM Putin & Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin takes part in an expedition to Ubsunur Hollow Biosphere Preserve

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R), Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) and former Government Chief of Staff and newly-appointed Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin take part in an expedition to Ubsunur Hollow Biosphere Preserve to inspect the snow leopard's habitat in Tyva Republic in the Siberian Federal District in this undated photo.

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L, front) and former Government Chief of Staff and newly-appointed Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin (R, front) take part in an expedition to Ubsunur Hollow Biosphere Preserve to inspect the snow leopard's habitat in Tyva Republic in the Siberian Federal District in this undated photo. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Ria Novosti/Pool/Alexei Druzhinin )

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rides a horse as he takes part in an expedition to Ubsunur Hollow Biosphere Preserve to inspect the snow leopard's habitat in Tyva Republic in the Siberian Federal District in this undated photo. (Getty Images / REUTERS / Ria Novosti / Pool/Alexei Druzhinin )

Photostream : ASEAN Summit in Hanoi

Myanmar's Prime Minister Thein Sein (L) walks on as other ASEAN and East Asian leaders wait for their group photo session during the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi October 30, 2010. (L-R) South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, China's Premier Wen Jiabao, Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnam's President Nguyen Minh Triet, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Na Son Nguyen/Pool )

Asian and visiting leaders pose for a group photo during the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi October 30, 2010. (L-R) ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, China's Premier Wen Jiabao, Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnam's President Nguyen Minh Triet, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Laos' Prime Minister Bouasone Buphavanh, Myanmar's Prime Minister Thein Sein, Philippine's President Benigno Aquino, Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (GETTY IMAGES / REUTERS/Damir Sagolj )

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (6L) joins hands with (L-R) Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Myanmar's prime minister Thein Sein, Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodian Prime Minister Hunsen, Lao Prime Minister Bouasone Buphavanh and the ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsawan at the begining of the ASEAN-UN Summit held on the sidelines of the 17th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Hanoi on October 29, 2010. (HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

Leaders attending the 5th East Asia Summit (from L to R), Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, China's Premier Wen Jiabao, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key and Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono join hands on stage for a group photo in Hanoi October 30, 2010. (GETTY IMAGES / REUTERS / Christophe Archambault/Pool )

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, third from left, takes part in the group photo with other delegation members from left. , Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Cambodian Prime Minister Hunsen at the beginning of the second ASEAN-Russia summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. (GETTY IMAGES / AP Photo/Hoang Dinh Nam, Pool)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev moves on an elevator as he arrives to attend the second Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Russia summit at the venue of the 17th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Hanoi on October 30, 2010. (HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev attends the ASEAN-Russia Summit on the sidelines of the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Kham, Pool)

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (C) and other East Asia and ASEAN leaders attend the meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet on the sidelines of the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, October 30, 2010. (GETTY IMAGES / REUTERS / Na Son Nguyen/Pool )

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before their meeting on the sidelines of the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi October 30, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Kham )

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) talks to New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key during the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi October 30, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Na Son Nguyen/pool )

Leaders pose for a group photo before a gala dinner on the sides of the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi October 29, 2010. From left, those standing in the front row are: South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak, Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife Ani, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his wife Tran Thanh Kiem, Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her partner Tim Mathieson, China's Premier Wen Jiabao, and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) and his wife Gursharan Kaur (2nd R). From left, those standing in the back row are: an unidentified delegate, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor, Laos' Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh, Myanmar's Prime Minister Thein Sein, Philippines' President Benigno Aquino III, Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his wife Pimpen, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his wife Yoo Soon-taek, and ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan (R) and his wife Alisa (2nd R). (Getty Images / REUTERS/Barbara Walton/Pool )

(L-R) Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife Kristiani Yudhoyono, Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her partner Tim Mathieson attend a gala dinner as part of the 17th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Hanoi October 29, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Barbara Walton/Pool )

Chinese, Australian PMs promise to strengthen ties

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) meets with his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard in Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, Oct. 30, 2010, on the sidelines of a series of summits between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its partners. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)

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October 30, 2010 (KATAKAMI / PEOPLE’S DAILY ONLINE) — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard promised in Hanoi Saturday that they would make concerted efforts to further promote bilateral relations.

The two met on Saturday morning at the hotel where Wen is staying. They are both here to attend a series of summits between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its partners.

Wen said Australia is a big country in the Asia-Pacific region and the smooth development and promotion of bilateral ties between Australia and China benefit both countries and their peoples.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (1st R) meets with his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard (1st L) in Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, Oct. 30, 2010, on the sidelines of a series of summits between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its partners. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)

“I am very glad to take advantage of this opportunity to exchange views with you on bilateral relations and issues of common concern,” Wen said.

Gillard said that she was very delighted to meet with Premier Wen. She was content with the development of bilateral ties and would try to further promote this friendship.

Wen arrived here Thursday afternoon to attend the summits between ASEAN and its partners. On the sidelines of the meetings, Wen has met with leaders of some countries and exchanged views with them on bilateral relations.

Source:Xinhua

Hillary ‘excited’ about Australia trip

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) walks with Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the sidelines of the regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia summits in Hanoi on October 30, 2010. Clinton said that maritime rows should be settled by international law, in defiance of China's call to handle them directly with its neighbours. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)

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October 30, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE AGE.COM.AU ) — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told Prime Minister Julia Gillard she cannot wait to visit Australia next week.

Mrs Clinton met Ms Gillard on the sidelines of the 16-nation East Asia Summit in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi on Saturday.

The pair spoke briefly and posed for the cameras as they left a VIP lunch. 

Asked if she was looking forward to her visit to Australia, Mrs Clinton said: “Very much.

“I cannot wait to get there.

“I was just telling the prime minister how excited I am.”

Before parting ways, the pair shared a kiss and Mrs Clinton said: “It’ll be fun.”

“I will make it fun,” Ms Gillard replied.

Mrs Clinton and US Defence Secretary Robert Gates will be in Australia from November 6 to 8 for the 25th AUSMIN talks.

They will meet Ms Gillard, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Defence Minister Stephen Smith to discuss regional and global issues.

It will be Mrs Clinton’s first visit to Australia since she was appointed secretary of state in 2008.

 

(MS)

In Weekly Republican Address, Boehner Calls For “New Way Forward” Focused on Creating Jobs, Cutting Spending, & Reforming Congress

House Minority Leader John Boehner

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Washington (Oct 30) With Americans demanding a new way forward in Washington, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) uses the Weekly Republican Address to outline solutions for ending economic uncertainty, stopping government’s spending binge, and changing the way Congress does business.  In the address, Boehner notes that this is a new approach that hasn’t been tried in Washington – by either party – and it is at the core of the Pledge to America, a governing agenda Republicans built by listening to the people.

Leader Boehner recorded the weekly address earlier this week from Ohio, where he ran a small business and saw first-hand how Washington can make it harder for employers and entrepreneurs to meet a payroll and create jobs.  Following is a transcript of Boehner’s remarks.  Audio of the Weekly Republican Address is available now here. The video will be available here for viewing and here for downloading.

“Hello.  I’m John Boehner.

“Before I served in Congress, I ran a small business here in Ohio, and I saw first-hand how politicians in Washington can make it harder for small employers to meet a payroll and create jobs.

“In the final days of the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama promised to ‘change this country and change the world.’

“Well I don’t know about the world, but here at home, Americans haven’t experienced the change President Obama promised.  One in ten of our fellow citizens is out of work.  Our national debt has grown by $3 trillion  Trust in government has fallen to an all-time low.

“These problems didn’t start under President Obama.  But instead of fixing them, his policies have made them worse.  A ‘stimulus’ spending spree that created jobs in China and El Salvador, while millions of Americans lost their jobs here.  A job-killing national energy tax.  A government takeover of health care.

“All these things have combined to create massive uncertainty for small businesses, the engine of job creation in America, while our children face a future clouded by debt.

“Americans are demanding a new way forward in Washington – an approach that neither party has tried.

“It starts with cutting spending instead of increasing it; making government smaller and more accountable; and helping small businesses get back to creating jobs again.

“That’s what Republicans are offering with our Pledge to America, a governing agenda built by listening to the people.

“A generation of fiscal recklessness in Washington has pushed us to the brink.  Just to stay afloat, we’re now borrowing 41 cents of every dollars we spend from our kids and grandkids.

“This spending spree threatens our children’s future.  It’s also hurting our economy.  Americans know it has to stop, and our Pledge to America puts forth a plan to do just that.  We’re ready to cut spending to pre-‘stimulus,’ pre-bailout levels, saving taxpayers $100 billion almost immediately.  And we’re ready to put in place strict budget caps that limit spending from here on out, to ensure that Washington is no longer on this spending binge.

“We need to stop the coming tax hike.  We can’t balance the budget without cutting spending and achieving real economic growth – and we won’t have real economic growth if we raise taxes on small businesses and families.

“There’s a third thing we need to do to help our economy, and that’s change Congress itself.  The American people are in charge of this country, and they deserve a Congress that acts like it.  Americans should have three days to read all bills before Congress votes on them – something they didn’t get when the ‘stimulus’ was rushed into law.  We should put an end to so-called ‘comprehensive’ bills that make it easy to hide wasteful spending projects and job-killing policies.  Bills should be written by legislators in committee in plain public view – not written in the Speaker’s office, behind closed doors.

“Across our nation, Americans are looking at President Obama’s policies and asking – ‘where are the jobs?’  To help our economy get back on track, we have to stop all of the coming tax hikes and cut spending – and to cut spending, we need to change Congress itself.

“This is a new way forward that hasn’t been tried in Washington yet.  It’s a break from the direction in which President Obama has taken our country.  And frankly, it’s also a break from the direction in which Republicans were headed when Americans last entrusted us with the reins of government.  The American people are in charge, and they deserve nothing less.

“Together, we can do these things.  And in doing so, we can begin the drive for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government that honors our Constitution and respects the will of the people.

“These ideas are at the core of our Pledge to America.

“We’ve tried it President Obama’s way.  We’ve tried it Washington’s way.  It hasn’t worked.  It’s time to put the people back in charge.

“Thank you for your time and may God bless the United States of America.”

Medvedev in Vietnam

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (2nd R) hold hands with Philippine's President Benigno Aquino (L), Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (2nd L), Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (C) and Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung during the ASEAN-Russia Summit on the sidelines of the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi Oct 30, 2010. (GETTY IMAGES / REUTERS/Kham )

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October 30, 2010 HANOI (KATAKAMI / THE STRAITS TIMES) — PRESIDENT Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Vietnam on Saturday for a visit that will see Russia sign a multi-billion-euro nuclear power plant deal with the former Soviet-era Communist ally.

Mr Medvedev said he was expecting ‘serious results’ from the trip, which is aimed at establishing wider energy ties.

Referring to close links between the Soviet Union and Vietnam in the 1980s, Mr Medvedev said he hoped their shared history would provide a firm foundation for a tight, modern-day economic and political partnership.

‘We were together with the heroic Vietnamese people during the years of its fight for independence and reunification, during the complicated period of reviving its national economy,’ he wrote in an article for the Vietnamese newspaper Nhan Dan, the text of which was released by the Kremlin.

The president is scheduled to meet top Vietnamese officials on Sunday and agree on the construction of Vietnam’s first nuclear power plant.

An official with Russian state nuclear conglomerate Rosatom told AFP the construction of the two-unit plant is estimated at over 4.0 billion euros (S$7.2 billion). — AFP

Photostream : Indonesia volcano belches hot ash in new eruption

Residents walk under raining ash at the Panti Nugroho hospital during an evacuation after a new violent explosion in Pakem on October 30, 2010. Indonesia's Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano erupted violently, sparking chaos as people tried to scramble to safety, fearful of a repeat of this week's deadly explosions. (ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman with a child walk under raining ash at the Panti Nugroho hospital during an evacuation after a new violent explosion in Pakem on October 30, 2010. Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano erupted violently, sparking chaos as people tried to scramble to safety, fearful of a repeat of this week's deadly explosions. AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY (Photo by ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

Residents pour water on a street covered with volcanic ash after an ash fall following the eruption of Mount Merapi in Pakem, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, early Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

An elderly woman is assisted by others upon arrival at a temporary shelter as she evacuated from her home following the eruption of Mount Merapi in Pakem, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Slamet Riyadi)

Motorists travelling on an ash-covered street are seen through a car window after the eruption of Mount Merapi volcano, in the ancient city of Yogyakarta, October 30, 2010. Indonesia's Mount Merapi erupted again on Saturday morning, spewing ash into the sky, and prompting authorities to extend the danger radius by two kilometers (1.24 miles). Getty Images / REUTERS/Dwi Oblo

Motorists travel on an ash-covered street after the eruption of Mount Merapi volcano, in the ancient city of Yogyakarta, October 30, 2010. Indonesia's Mount Merapi erupted again on Saturday morning, spewing ash into the sky, and prompting authorities to extend the danger radius by two kilometers (1.24 miles). (Getty Images / REUTERS/Dwi Oblo )

Eruption of Indonesia’s Merapi on Saturday Biggest Yet; More Predicted

A police officer and a volunteer walk from house to house to search for villagers to be evacuated during an ash fall following the eruption of Mount Merapi in Pakem, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, early Saturday. AP/Binsar Bakkara

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October 30, 2010 Yogyakarta (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA GLOBE) — Geologists have confirmed that Mount Merapi’s eruption early on Saturday morning was its biggest this week, spreading ashfall all the way to Yogyakarta, some 30 kilometers away.

Sri Sumarti, the Merapi section head at the Volcano Investigation and Technology Development Institution (BPPTK), said the eruption at about 1 a.m. was louder and stronger than the initial one on Tuesday, which left more than 30 people dead.

It lasted for 22 minutes and sent heat clouds flowing down into the Krasak and Boyong Rivers.

“Our officers at the observation stations reported hearing explosive eruptions twice,” she said. “The heat clouds shot 3.5 kilometers into the air, westward toward Magelang, much higher than the 1.5 kilometers on Tuesday,” she said.

The eruption caused panic on the ash-covered streets of Sleman district in Yogyakarta, well outside the immediate disaster zone. The situation calmed down by about 3 a.m. Yogyakarta’s Adisucipto Airport was temporarily closed from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.

But Surono, the head of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency (PVMBG), assured that the deadly superheated clouds would not reach the outer ring of the disaster zone.

No new casualties have been reported, though media reports say some residents from Magelang have been taken to the hospital due to shock.

More eruptions are predicted and geologists warned people to remain alert.

“We predict that Mount Merapi will erupt again because there is still a lot of magma that will push its way up to the crater,” said Subandrio, head of the Volcano Investigation and Technology Development Institution (BPPTK).

Surono called on all citizens of Yogyakarta to not panic. “Stay calm and wear a mask. Mount Merapi will cough again. Panicking would only could cause injuries,” he said.

 

(MS)

Medvedev to discuss energy security, natural disasters with ASEAN

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks during a meeting on ways to ease Moscow traffic jams in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, on October 28, 2010. (DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP/Getty Images)

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October 29, 2010 (KATAKAMI / RIA  NOVOSTI) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will discuss energy security and disaster response with Southeast Asian leaders at the Russia-ASEAN summit in Vietnam on Saturday, a presidential aide said.

Sergei Prikhodko said on Friday that discussions at the meeting in Hanoi would also cover trade and space cooperation.

Medvedev is due in Vietnam on an official visit at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Minh Triet.

“The forthcoming summit will be an important step in solving the task… of strengthening our country’s presence in the Asia-Pacific region and increasing participation in the regional integration process in order to boost modernization and innovative development of the national economy,” Prikhodko said.

Russia holds partner status in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a regional grouping of 10 Southeast Asian states. Next year marks 15 years of the Russia-ASEAN partnership.

“Among the priorities of Russian-ASEAN cooperation are increased trade and economic ties, cooperation in regional energy security, modern technologies, space exploration, medicine, information technologies and machine-building,” Prikhodko said.

In the run-up to the summit, Russia and ASEAN adopted an energy cooperation program encompassing both nonrenewable and renewable energy sources, as well as environmentally-friendly technologies.

“Particular attention will be paid to building up cooperation in disaster response,” the Kremlin aide said.

ASEAN was established in August 1967 and comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. The United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the EU, South Korea, India, China and Russia hold a partner status in the organization. Papua New Guinea has a special observer status.

The organization’s goal is contributing to the development of member countries’ social, economic and cultural cooperation, as well as to the consolidation of peace and stability in Southeast Asia.

With a total population of 580 million people, GDP of $1.5 trillion, stable economic growth and foreign trade turnover of $1.7 trillion, ASEAN remains one of the world’s largest regional bodies, playing an important role in shaping security and cooperation in Asia-Pacific.

MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti)

Russian poll: Medvedev almost as popular as Putin

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev aims a Kalashnikov assault rifle at a shooting range during a visit to a military unit in Solnechnogorsk, 70 km (44 miles) northwest of Moscow, on October 28, 2010, with Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov (R) attending. (DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP/Getty Images)

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October 29, 2010 MOSCOW (KATAKAMI / OMAHA.COM /AP) – A new poll shows the approval ratings of President Dmitry Medvedev edging closer to those of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has been highly popular among Russians since first coming to power more than a decade ago.

The poll by the respected Levada Center gives Medvedev an approval rating of 76 percent, just below Putin’s rating of 77 percent. This is the closest the two of them have been in the monthly survey, though for much of this year their ratings have fallen within the margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Although technically now Russia’s No. 2, Putin is still seen as the more powerful leader more than two years after handing over the presidency. The prime minister is eligible to return to the presidency in 2012, and he and Medvedev have said they will decide between themselves which one of them will run.

The newspaper Vedomosti on Friday cited Levada Center sociologist Alexei Grazhdankin as saying that the rise in Medvedev’s approval rating may reflect the popularity of some of his recent actions, including his firing of the Moscow mayor and efforts to reform the police.

But Grazhdankin cautioned that it was too early to say that polls for Medvedev and Putin had now evened out.

He said if the country remained relatively stable, Russians would be content with Medvedev, who has made modernization his main focus. But if Russia were hit with another wave of terror attacks or armed conflict, people would look to Putin, who is seen as a strong defender of the Russian state.

The poll of 1,600 Russians, conducted Oct. 22-25, was released Thursday.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu insists Rachel’s Tomb is heritage site

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends an award ceremony for outstanding new immigrant scientists at Tel Aviv University on October 26, 2010. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)


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October 29, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects UNESCO’s call to remove Rachel’s Tomb, Cave of Patriarchs from list of Israel’s heritage sites, dubs organization’s decision political, ‘absurd attempt to cut Israel off from its heritage’.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to a UNESCO decision by which Rachel’s Tomb is located on the grounds of a mosque and that Israel should remove it, as well as the Cave of Patriarchs, from its list of heritage sites.

“The attempt to disconnect between Israel and its heritage is absurd,” said a statement released by Netanyahu’s office. “If the locations in which the mothers and fathers of the Hebrew people: Abraham, Yitzhak, Sarah, Rivkah, Leah, and Rachel were buried 4,000 years ago are not part of Jewish heritage, then what is?”

Netanyahu added, “It is unfortunate that an organization established in order to promote historic heritage sites around the world is trying, for political reasons, to uproot the connection between Israel and its heritage.”

The prime minister also stressed in his message the difference between Israel and its neighbors. “The State of Israel, in contrast to its neighbors, will continue to maintain freedom of worship for all religions at these sites, as well as their preservation for posterity,” the statement said.