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Nov 28, 2011

Clinton to weigh reforms in historic Myanmar visit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will test Myanmar’s tentative democratic reforms this week in a high-stakes visit that could mark the resource-rich Asian nation’s return to the world stage after more than 50 years of political isolation.

Clinton’s trip to Myanmar follows a decision by U.S. President Barack Obama this month to open the door to expanded ties, saying he saw “flickers of progress” in a country until recently seen as a reclusive dictatorship firmly aligned with its powerful northern neighbor, China.

Nov 28, 2011

World aid donors plot strategy amid economic crisis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Major global aid donors meet in South Korea this week hoping to coordinate the billions of dollars spent on development as rich nations tighten their belts and brash new funders such as China rewrite the rules of traditional foreign aid.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will attend Wednesday’s summit in Busan, held against a backdrop of economic crisis in the United States and Europe and the rich world’s repeated failure to meet its targets for helping the poorest nations.

Nov 19, 2011

Analysis: Obama gambles on Myanmar reforms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama is gambling that the United States can nudge Myanmar further toward true political reform, a bet that could bring major diplomatic and economic benefits for both countries after more than 50 years of estrangement.

Obama’s announcement that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Myanmar early next month marks a new stage of engagement with the country’s new civilian government, which has enacted a series of reforms since it took over from the military after an election last year.

Nov 15, 2011

Risks may blunt tough U.S. talk on China

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s sharp words on China may burnish a tough image as the United States heads into the 2012 election but they carry risks as both Washington and Beijing face a tricky period of political transition.

Obama used the Asia-Pacific summit in Hawaii to pile pressure on China, declaring it must play by global trade rules and act like a “grown up” — words bound to sting in Beijing, where the millennial sweep of Chinese history is a major point of cultural pride.

Nov 15, 2011

Analysis: Risks may blunt tough U.S. talk on China

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s sharp words on China may burnish a tough image as the United States heads into the 2012 election but they carry risks as both Washington and Beijing face a tricky period of political transition.

Obama used the Asia-Pacific summit in Hawaii to pile pressure on China, declaring it must play by global trade rules and act like a “grown up” — words bound to sting in Beijing, where the millennial sweep of Chinese history is a major point of cultural pride.

Nov 11, 2011

As U.S. battles fears of decline, some see hope

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington can still sustain its global power in the face of a growing challenge from China and other emerging nations, if it gets its political act together. But it has to happen soon.

U.S. political leaders and economists speaking at the Reuters Washington Summit this week voiced deep unease over the challenge of getting the growing U.S. debt under control, an effort that has entered critical phase as a congressional panel seeks to agree on sweeping deficit cuts by a November 23 deadline.

Nov 10, 2011

Ross exit fresh hit for Mideast policy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The flagging U.S. effort to broker new Middle East peace talks took a fresh hit on Thursday when presidential advisor Dennis Ross announced he was stepping down, leaving the White House without its chief Mideast strategist.

Ross, who served on the National Security Council as a special advisor to President Barack Obama, has been a key figure on the White House Mideast team and also an important voice in U.S. policy on Iran.

Nov 10, 2011

U.S. politics not broken, can cut debt: Moody’s

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – America’s political system remains sound enough to overcome the partisan gulf that has widened over how to fix the country’s fiscal mess, a top analyst from Moody’s Investors Service said on Wednesday.

Steven Hess, Moody’s lead analyst for the United States, said the battles in Washington over debt and deficits meant 2011 had not been “one of the better years.”

Nov 8, 2011

Clinton sets new U.S. global AIDS focus on treatment

WASHINGTON, Nov 8 (Reuters) – The United States set a new
direction for its global AIDS campaign on Tuesday, emphasizing
HIV-fighting drugs that can prevent new infections to bring the
goal of “an AIDS-free generation” within reach, U.S. Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton said.

Clinton, outlining new priorities for the U.S. global AIDS
program started in 2003, said drug treatments, combined with
new efforts to stop mother-to-child transmission of HIV and the
preventive effect of expanded voluntary male circumcision, had
changed the AIDS battle plan.

Nov 7, 2011

U.S. seeks to manage global economic shift to China

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States must develop new transpacific trade and investment agreements to channel China’s huge economic power into a “rules-based” international system that benefits all, a top State Department official said on Monday.

As President Barack Obama prepares for two Asia-Pacific summits next week, Undersecretary of State Robert Hormats said the global economic shift toward Asia had highlighted new challenges as Washington’s budget crunch prompts questions about U.S. economic and political strength.