NATO SUMMIT: The NATO summit in the Latvian capital of Riga has entered its second and final day, with the situation in Afghanistan expected to top the agenda. President Bush and the other leaders of the 26-member security alliance are expected to declaration their intention to continue the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, which has seen a resurgence of Taleban and al-Qaida forces. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says succeeding in the Muslim nation "is a just cause vital to our collective security and our shared values." NATO is pledging to continue its mission in Afghanistan, despite the presence of resurgent Taleban and al-Qaida forces and a dispute among its members over how and where troops will be deployed.
BUSH-MIDEAST: President Bush meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman today (Wednesday) to discuss ways to stem the spiraling violence in Iraq. Mr. Bush (who is traveling to Jordan after the NATO summit in Riga, Latvia) says al-Qaida terrorists are trying to foment sectarian violence in Iraq and that he wants to hear from Prime Minister Maliki about his plans to restore security.
pe Benedict has celebrated mass at a Christian shrine in western Turkey, as he continues his first official visit to a predominantly Muslim nation. Benedict led the service near the town of Ephesus at a shrine known as "Mary's House", where many Christians believe the mother of Jesus spent the final years of her life. Several hundred pilgrims attended the outdoor mass under tight security, many of them from Turkey's Christian minority.
BIRD FLU: China is banning imports of
South Korean poultry products in six provinces to prevent an outbreak of bird flu on the Korean peninsula from spreading into the mainland. China's Agriculture Ministry said today (Wednesday) that it was ordering provinces close to South Korea and along avian migratory routes to step up surveillance for possible bird flu outbreaks. (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Shandong and Zhejiang provinces) It said the provinces should also strengthen control over the transport of poultry products in border areas.
PHILIPPINES-STORM: A powerful typhoon is headed towards the eastern Philippines, where residents are bracing for possible floods and landslides. The Philippine weather bureau says Typhoon Durian has winds of up to 150 kilometers an hour and is expected to intensify before hitting coastal Luzon in the next couple of days. Officials have issued severe weather warnings to several provinces there.
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