Biden touts U.S. economy in China
Vice President Joe Biden starts his weeklong tour of Asia today with a meeting with Chinese Vice President Xi Jingping, widely seen as the nation's future leader. Biden arrived in Beijing on Wednesday evening. The meeting comes weeks after the U.S. debt ceiling crisis and the subsequent downgrade of the nation's credit rating by Standard & Poor's. Chinese officials had warned in the weeks after the debt ceiling agreement that the United States needs to get its fiscal house in order.
Biden, in interviews with Chinese media, said the "fundamental strengths" of the American economy have allowed the nation to weather recent crises. Reflecting the concerns of America's top foreign creditor, Biden told Caijing magazine that the Obama administration "is deeply committed to maintaining the fundamentals of the U.S. economy that ensure the safety, liquidity and value of U.S. Treasury obligations for all of its investors."
U.S. police chief won't lead Scotland Yard
Britain's brief exploration of the possibility of appointing a former New York City police commissioner to the country's top police post has ended with the government settling on a short list of four senior police commanders — all of them British nationals. Ahead of the riots, Prime Minister David Cameron proposed that the post of commissioner at Scotland Yard to go to William J. Bratton, who gained a reputation as a formidable crime buster during his time as police commissioner in Boston and Los Angeles as well as New York City. But Home Secretary Theresa May protested, citing national security issues.
1000th person charged: London police said 1,000 people have now been charged in the four days of rioting.
Venezuela to recall $11B in gold reserves
President Hugo Chavez announced Wednesday that he is nationalizing Venezuela's gold mining industry and intends to bring home $11 billion in gold reserves currently held in U.S. and European banks. He said the recall of the gold reserves is intended to help protect this oil-producing country from the economic woes in the United States and Europe. It wasn't clear when the gold reserves are to be brought to Venezuela. The Central Bank says the country has about $17.9 billion in gold out of a total of more than $28.6 billion in international reserves.
Ex-president to be buried at home
Relatives of former Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez have agreed that he will be buried in Venezuela, ending a bitter family feud. A statement Wednesday by attorneys for both sides said Perez's remains will be returned to Venezuela from Miami for burial as soon as the proper arrangements are made. The parties agreed that it is in the best interests of the families and of Perez's legacy to end the monthslong litigation. The struggle began when Perez's estranged wife claimed she had the right to take his body home to Venezuela. Perez's longtime companion in Miami insisted he would never return with political arch-foe Hugo Chavez as president. Perez was Venezuela's president from 1974 to 1979 and 1989 to 1993 and died in Miami in December at age 88.