China-US: Chinese President Hu Jintao has arrived here in Washington for summit talks with President Bush at the White House, due to begin in a few hours. The president and Mrs. (Laura) Bush will formally welcome Mr. Hu and his wife (Liu Yongqing) to the U.S. capital (in a ceremony on the south lawn of the White House) before the two leaders begin their talks in the Oval Office on a series of urgent economic and foreign-policy issues.
Iraq: Iraq's prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, has asked his Shi'ite Alliance to decide whether he should step aside to break a deadlock in efforts to form a unity government. An Alliance spokesman (Jawad al-Maliki) read a statement today (Thursday) that quotes Mr. al-Jaafari as saying it is up to the coalition of Shi'ite groups to decide his political future. Shi'ite Alliance officials say the coalition could meet soon to consider Mr. al-Jaafari's request, and they asked for postponement of today's scheduled meeting of Parliament.
SOKOR-Japan: To kyo says it is briefly delaying plans to conduct an oceanographic survey near islands claimed by both Japan and South Korea as the nations work to prevent a diplomatic dispute from escalating. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso says the countries' vice ministers and ambassadors are holding talks about the contested islands.
Burma-Blasts: Security officials in Burma say five explosions have rattled the city of Rangoon. Witnesses say at least one of the blasts detonated outside a post office, shattering its windows. Other explosions occurred near electricity transformers in the center of the city around 2 A-M local time today
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