the Context

US diplomat Richard Holbrooke says the US has a transition plan for Afghanistan, not an exit strategy, and that there will be some drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan next year but the U.S. combat mission will not end there until 2014.

BHP Billiton abandons its US$39 billion takeover bid for Canadian fertiliser maker Potash Corp.

Mining giant BHP Billiton Monday abandoned its 39 billion US dollar takeover bid for fertiliser-maker Potash Corp after it was rejected by Canada, acknowledging its second major failure in recent weeks.

Fire destroys a high-rise apartment building in Shanghai, China, killing at least 42 people, injuring more than 90 and forcing some residents to jump from windows to escape.

Chinese state media report that unlicensed welders accidentally started a fire in a high-rise apartment building in Shanghai that has so far left 53 dead.

At least 42 people die after a building collapses in eastern New Delhi, India with at least twenty people trapped in the rubble.

The United States will provide an additional US$500-million aid to Pakistan to help rebuild the country after devastating floods caused the worst natural disaster in Pakistan's history.

Iran arrests five human rights lawyers for security-related offences, the latest in a series of arrests of Iranian human rights' activists since last year's disputed presidential election.

Recently freed democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi criticizes the recent elections in Burma, but calls for dialogue with Myanmar government and pledges to keep working toward restoring democracy and improving human rights in Myanmar. [http:--edition.cnn.com-2010-WORLD-asiapcf-11-15-myanmar.suu.kyi- (CNN)] [http:--www.theaustralian.com.au-news-world-aung-san-suu-kyi-vows-to-probe-burmese-election-rorts-story-e6frg6so-1225954027125 ("The Australian") ]

A. Raja resigns as the Indian Telecommunications Minister over claims that licenses had been improperly given to mobile phone companies.

Violence occurs in Guinea as both candidates declare victory ahead of the Guinean presidential election.

Deadly violence flares in Guinea hours ahead of results of its first democratic presidential election since independence from France over 50 years ago.

Scientists exhume the remains of 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe in Prague to try to solve the mystery of his sudden death.

The 16th Century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe is being exhumed in Prague to clarify the cause of his death, after previous tests showed high levels of mercury in his hair.