The incumbent President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, announced at a Kabul press conference on October 20 that he had accepted the findings of the country's Independent Election Commission (IEC) — which had reduced his margin of victory to 49.67 percent of the vote — and has agreed to a runoff election. (Afghan law requires a runoff when no candidate passes the 50-percent mark.)
Adding to pressure mounting against the U.S. dollar, left-wing Latin American leaders gathered in Cochabamba, Bolivia, over the weekend for the seventh Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) summit and agreed to create a new regional currency in a bid to stop using American Federal Reserve Notes, according to foreign news reports.
According to Xinhua News, the Chinese government’s official press agency, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told visiting First Vice President of Iran Mohammad Reza Rahimi on October 15 that China will maintain economic cooperation with Tehran and foster "close coordination in international affairs” with the Middle East nation. Rahimi was visiting Beijing to attend a forum of Central Asian states.
After coming out with strong support for admitted child rapist Roman Polanski, French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand is once again in the spotlight — over stunning revelations in his autobiography that he admitted to paying for sex with young boys. And now he is refusing to step down.
A two-week-long series of UN climate-change talks in Bangkok attended by delegates from 180 countries ended on October 9, with their most notable result being a dispute between richer and poorer nations over whether to renew or abandon the Kyoto Protocol, the only existing global agreement that addresses so-called climate change. The next UN-sponsored climate talks will be held in Barcelona, which will be the last round of such talks before the summit in Copenhagen in December.