Iraq: Russian news media say a Russian diplomat has been killed and four embassy workers kidnapped in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. Russian news agencies quote an embassy official in Baghdad as confirming the attack.
Iraq's interior ministry says gunmen attacked the Russians today (Saturday) in Baghdad's Mansour neighborhood, not far from the Russian embassy.
Iraq - US Military: A U.S. military investigation has cleared U.S. troops in Iraq of intentionally killing civilians in the town of Ishaqi. Military spokesman Major-General William Caldwell categorically denied today (Saturday) reports that troops executed a family and then hid the alleged crime. He called the reports "absolutely false." General Caldwell said troops attempting to arrest an al-Qaida suspect in March came under fire, and possibly nine collateral deaths occurred during the military operation.
Iran Nuclear: Iran's foreign minister says the Islamic republic will examine a new proposal by the world's major powers aimed at easing the crisis over its nuclear program. Iran's official news agency IRNA, quotes Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana is expected to come to Tehran in the next several days to formally present the proposal.
Rumsfeld - Asia: U.S. Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld is urging China to be more open about its increased military spending. Speaking at an international security conference today (Saturday) in Singapore, Rumsfeld said that as China's stake in the global economy grows, it will be in Beijing's best interest to be transparent.
China says it spends around 30 billion dollars a year on defense. But the Pentagon estimates China's military budget this year at 90 billion dollars.
China - Japan: Japan's defense minister says his country wants to hold military exchanges with China as a way to improve relations between the two countries.
Defense Minister Fukushiro Nukaga made the comment today (Saturday) in Singapore at an international defense forum. Reuters News Agency quoted Nukaga as saying that the East Asian region's security requires mutual cooperation between Japan and China.
Indonesia Volcano: Officials in Indonesia say repeated bursts of lava and clouds of ash shot from Mount Merapi today (Saturday) as scientists warn the volcano may erupt at any time. The volcano is 35 kilometers north of the area hit by a deadly earthquake one week ago. Officials say the lava dome on the volcano has grown at an alarming rate since the quake.
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