World News Brief, Thursday January 22

What Obama did on his first day; Obama's key foreign policy positions; Bird flu kills three in China; Israelis investigate use of white phosphorous shells; and more

Top of the Agenda: Obama's First Day

Barack Obama acted swiftly on one high-profile issue after taking office yesterday. In his first major act as U.S. president, Obama requested a temporary suspension (BBC) of all military tribunals at the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The 120-day halt would stop the trials of twenty-one men, including five accused of helping plot the September 11 terrorist attacks, in order to give Obama's team a chance to review the process through which detainees are tried. Reuters reports military judges are expected to rule on the request today.

In his first full day in office, Obama is expected to meet with his senior economic and military advisers. The Washington Post's blog "The Fix" looks at Obama's schedule over the next few days. The president is expected to make his first trip abroad, to Canada, at some point during the days to come. The Los Angeles Times reports several executive orders are likely during Obama's first week in office.

Meanwhile, Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary is scheduled to appear today before Congress today. Despite recent concerns about Geithner having missed tax payments, the Wall Street Journal reports the hearings are likely to focus more on his approach to the economy and adds that the tax issue is unlikely to derail Geithner's nomination.


  • In a new article, CFR President Richard N. Haass says the excitement surrounding Obama is generally a good thing but also poses certain problems for the new president.
  •'s bio of Obama outlines his statements on pressing matters of foreign policy.
  • Also, for reference, here is a transcript of Obama's inaugural address.



PACIFIC RIM: China Bird Flu Scare

Xinhua reports Chinese leaders are scrambling to address a bird flu outbreak that has claimed three lives and infected over two hundred people.

The BBC reports Beijing censored some parts of Barack Obama's inauguration speech on websites and state television.

SOUTH KOREA: Yonhap reports the state-run Korea Development Bank dropped a deal to sell a controlling stake in the leading South Korean ship-builder, Daewoo, to another South Korean firm.

TIBET: Tibetans are leading a boycott (RFA) of the Chinese new year following last year's two crushed movements against Chinese involvement in the region.



This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on