Israel – Lebanon: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is holding talks with Turkish officials today (Wednesday) in Ankara -- last stop on his Mideast tour to shore up the Israeli-Hezbollah ceasefire in Lebanon.
Turkey's parliament has just agreed (Tuesday) to send troops to join an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon. Turkey thus becomes the second Muslim country -- after Qatar -- to contribute troops to the U.N. truce team. Ankara will send about one thousand military personnel to patrol Mediterranean coastal waters near Lebanon, and train Lebanese troops.
Indonesia, the world's most populous predominantly-Muslim nation, intends to send up to one thousand peacekeepers to Lebanon, but has not yet finalized its plans.
Afghanistan: NATO's secretary-general says the alliance's forces will defeat Taleban fighters in Afghanistan.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer made the comment today (Wednesday) in Kabul, where he met with Afghan lawmakers and leaders.
Meanwhile, NATO says allied forces have killed more than 250 Taleban fighters in southern Afghanistan since launching a massive offensive Saturday.
Five Canadian soldiers also were killed during the offensive, one of them accidentally by U. S. warplanes. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Tuesday called it an unfortunate incident and phoned her Canadian counterpart Peter Mackay and promised an investigation.
China – EU: Chinese officials say during Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming trip to Europe, he will ask the European Union to lift its ban on weapons sales to China.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry official (Li Ruiyu) said today (Wednesday) that Mr. Wen would repeat a long-time call for the ban to be lifted during meetings in Finland, Britain and Germany.
The restrictions were imposed following China's 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. Beijing has long asked for the ban to be lifted.
The Chinese premier departs for Helsinki, Finland, Saturday to attend the annual Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). His European tour ends September 14th.
US – NoKor – China: A senior U.S. diplomat
visiting Beijing says his talks with senior Chinese officials included discussions about sending a clear message that North Korea must not conduct any nuclear tests.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for East Asia and the Pacific) Christopher Hill was speaking today (Wednesday) in Beijing, where he met with China's vice foreign minister, Wu Dawei.
Hill says they talked about the need to make clear to Pyongyang that testing a nuclear weapon ( -- in the American envoy's words -- ) "would be a very, very unwelcome development."
South Korean media have reported recently that intelligence agents detected unusual activity at a suspected North Korean nuclear test site.
Japan Imperial Birth: Japan's Princess Kiko has given birth to a boy, the first male heir born into the imperial family in more than 40 years.
Princess Kiko gave birth in a private Tokyo hospital this (Wednesday) morning by Caesarian section. Her chief physician (Masao Nakabayashi) says both the mother and baby are doing well.
The infant is now third in line to the Japanese throne after Crown Prince Naruhito and Kiko's husband, Prince Akishino. Akishino was the last male born to the royal family in 1965.
Last year, a government panel recommended revising imperial laws to allow a female to ascend the throne. But, the proposal was shelved when Kiko announced her pregnancy.
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