President Obama Attends NATO Summit; Bernanke Addresses China Imbalances

BY Francine Uenuma  November 19, 2010 at 8:20 AM EDT

Members of NATO convene Friday in Portugal to formulate a common strategy for the war in Afghanistan and negotiate missile defense in Europe. President Obama will attend a marathon of meetings, hoping to shore up U.S.-European cooperation.

Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, was also invited in attempt to win Russian cooperation on the missile defense issue. And, despite lagging public support within member nations, leaders at the summit are expected to affirm their commitment to the joint effort in Afghanistan, with the hope of relinquishing security responsibilities by 2014.

Bernanke Defense Fed Action, Criticizes China’s Currency Policies

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke defended the Fed’s $600 billion stimulus and said China’s “strategy of currency undervaluation” was detrimental to the global economy. Bernanke, who is in Frankfurt attending a conference at the European Central Bank, warned of trade imbalances that are pitting wealthier economies against rapidly emergeing economies like those of China and India.

New Zealand Miners Missing After Explosion

Twenty-seven miners are missing after a coal mine exploded in a remote part of the country. Rescuers have been unable to establish contact, and efforts to reach the miners have been hampered due to the possibility of further explosions. Prime Minister John Key said the government was prepared to assist the search in any way possible.

Cholera Protests Bring Turmoil to Port-au-Prince

Violent protests over Haiti’s cholera epidemic have spread to the capital, where cars have been overturned and U.N. peacekeepers have come under attack. Much of the anger stems from rumors that the dreaded disease originated from peacekeepers from Nepal.

The unrest comes as the nation is gearing up for its Nov. 28 election, in which Haitians will choose their next leader from a field of 19 candidates. The election comes during a chaotic year in Haiti, beginning with a massive earthquake in January, a hurricane and now the cholera epidemic.