The following are the day's top general news stories:
1. South Korea Resists China's Call for Six-Party Talks as Naval Drills Begin 2. Arab Leaders Urged U.S. to Stop Iran, New York Times Says WikiLeaks Shows 3. McCain Says China Not Behaving Responsibly on Restraining Ally North Korea 4. Egypt's Ruling Party Set to Prevail in Vote Amid Crackdown on Opposition 5. Federer `Saves Best for Last' With ATP Finals Win Over Top-Ranked Nadal
1. South Korea Resists China's Call for Six-Party Talks as Naval Drills Begin
South Korea resisted China´s call to resume six-party talks with North Korea, as its navy began maneuvers with U.S. warships amid threats of a "merciless" response by Kim Jong Il´s regime. "Emergency" discussions involving the Koreas, China, the U.S., Russia and Japan should be held next month in Beijing to address increasing military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Wu Dawei, China´s top envoy for the negotiations, told reporters in Beijing yesterday. The time isn´t right for such a meeting, South Korean President Lee Myung Bak told visiting Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo yesterday in Seoul, Yonhap News said. South Korea will consider China´s proposal "very cautiously," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Seoul said in a commentary posted later on its website. North Korea "will deal a merciless military counter-attack at any provocative act of intruding into its territorial waters," according to a Rodong newspaper commentary carried yesterday by the North´s official Korean Central News Agency. U.S. and South Korean warships led by the aircraft carrier USS George Washington have begun four days of drills in the region.
2. Arab Leaders Urged U.S. to Stop Iran, New York Times Says WikiLeaks Shows
Saudi Arabia and other Arab governments sided with Israel in urging the U.S. to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, according to a New York Times account of 250,000 classified U.S. embassy cables released by WikiLeaks, the non-profit website. In the documents, American officials say that Iran obtained 19 advanced missiles from North Korea, potentially giving the Islamic Republic the capability to attack Moscow and cities in Western Europe, the newspaper said in articles published online today. At the request of the Obama Administration, the New York Times agreed not to publish the text of the Feb. 24 cable that reported the Korean missile deal with Iran. U.S. officials denounced the release as jeopardizing the nation´s ties with foreign governments and endangering individuals. WikiLeaks plans to publish the actual cables on its Web site in stages, with the first batch set to go online today, the New York Times reported. "I can´t provide veracity of anything WikiLeaks has released to the media," Nicole Thompson, a State Department spokeswoman, said in an interview, adding the agency´s policy is to refrain from commenting on specific leaked materials. "It´s reprehensible for any person to leak classified information because of the risk that it puts to so many individuals, so many international relationships," she said.
3. McCain Says China Not Behaving Responsibly on Restraining Ally North Korea
U.S. Senator John McCain said China´s response to North Korea´s deadly shelling last week shows that the Beijing government isn´t taking on the responsibilities of a world power. China is not doing enough to restrain its ally North Korea following the Nov. 23 artillery attack on the island of Yeonpyeong that killed four South Koreans, McCain, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said today on CNN´s State of the Union. China is North Korea´s biggest trading partner. "We have to understand that China is not behaving in a responsible fashion as a world power," McCain said. "We have to make adjustments to our policies regarding China." Until now, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has pushed for stability without ascribing any blame to North Korea for the shelling, which also wounded 20 South Koreans, mostly soldiers. China today called for emergency talks during December among the six countries that have been discussing relations in the region: the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S.
4. Egypt's Ruling Party Set to Prevail in Vote Amid Crackdown on Opposition
Egypt´s ruling party is set to tighten its grip on power after today´s parliamentary election, dealing a blow to its main Islamist rival whose candidates accused authorities of rigging the vote. Groups including Human Rights Watch have accused President Hosni Mubarak´s National Democratic Party of undermining free elections by cracking down on other candidates including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the country´s biggest opposition group. The NDP, which fielded more than six times as many candidates as its rival, has denied charges of any fraud. Analysts, including Amr El-Shobaki at the Cairo-based Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, say the government wants to drive the Brotherhood out of politics ahead of next year´s presidential election that could see the first change of leadership in three decades. "The NDP brings whoever it wants to power," Ibrahim Sabri, a 46-year-old mechanic, said in an interview outside a polling station in central Cairo. "There is nothing that makes me want to vote."
5. Federer `Saves Best for Last' With ATP Finals Win Over Top-Ranked Nadal
Roger Federer, who lost his No. 1 tennis ranking to Rafael Nadal in June, said his victory yesterday over the Spaniard in the year-end ATP World Tour Finals was "extra special." The second-ranked Swiss beat Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 at the O2 arena in London and joined Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras as the only men to have won the event five times. "I´m just really happy the way I was able to finish the season in style, playing some of my best tennis, really saving the best for last," Federer told a news conference. "Obviously beating Rafa in the finals makes it extra special because of the year he had." Nadal, 24, pushed the 29-year-old winner of a men´s record 16 Grand Slam singles tennis titles off the top spot when he took his fifth French Open championship in June. That prevented Federer from tying Sampras´ record of 286 weeks at No. 1. The Spanish left-hander went on to win Wimbledon and in September became the youngest man since tennis turned professional to win all four tennis majors with his first U.S. Open title.
-0- Nov/29/2010 00:35 GMT