BUSH-ASIA: President Bush says the United States' unsuccessful war in Vietnam three decades ago can provide some valuable lessons to the American-led struggle in Iraq. Shortly after arriving in Hanoi today (Friday) for a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders, Mr. Bush told reporters that one lesson is that the task in Iraq is going to take some time, despite desires for instant success. Speaking after talks with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, President Bush said, over time, two countries engaged in war have the ability to reconcile, as did the U.S. and Vietnam.
APEC-CHINA: Chinese President Hu Jintao says his country plans to speed up economic reforms to counter its growing global trade imbalances. Addressing a business executives' meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam today (Friday), Mr. Hu said China would further deepen the reform of foreign-related economic sectors. Mr. Hu is in Vietnam to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. He is expected to meet with President Bush on Sunday.
IRAQ: U.S. and British forces have conducted raids in southern Iraq where five foreign contractors were abducted in a convoy ambush Thursday. Iraqi officials say the raids took place today (Friday) in an area of Safwan, some 60 kilometers south of the city of Basra. Officials say one Austrian and four American security guards were seized Thursday near Basra. Nine others who were traveling with the convoy, including men from India, Pakistan and the Philippines, have been released.
SUDAN-DARFUR: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says Sudan has agreed in principle to allow a joint United Nations and African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur. Mr. Annan says negotiations are still under way about the size of the force and a timetable for its implementation. Diplomats say Sudan also has concerns over who will command the force. Mr. Annan made the announcement late Thursday in Ethiopia following a meeting of senior officials from Sudan, the African Union, the European Union, the United States and the Arab League.
THAILAND-BOMBINGS: Police in Thailand's restive south say a series of bombs has killed one person and wounded nearly 30 others, including several soldiers. Authorities say a civilian was killed today (Friday) when two bombs exploded just minutes apart in Narathiwat province. At least 23 other people were wounded in those explosions. Also today, a roadside explosion in the same province wounded at least five soldiers.
TONGA RIOTS: Officials say five or six people may have been killed in Thursday's violent pro-democracy riots in Tonga. Calm was restored today (Friday) in the capital, Nuku' Alofa, a day after rioters rampaged through the city to protest the government's slow pace in implementing reform. Reports from Nuku' Alofa say groups of angry youths burned a down a building belonging to the state-owned power company (Shoreline). Local media say the rioters threw stones at several government buildings, including the prime minister's office, and overturned cars.
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