Bush – Iraq: President Bush is meeting at the White House today (Thursday) with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss the situation in Iraq, after a bi-partisan group of experts said the current U.S. policy there is "not working" The Iraq Study Group recommended that the U.S. military change its primary mission in Iraq from combat to support and pull out most U.S. combat troops by early 2008.
The panel's co-chairman Lee Hamilton, who presented the recommendations Wednesday (in Washington), described the situation in Iraq as "grave and deteriorating," after four years of war and the deaths of more than 29-hundred U.S. troops.
The group's other co-chairman, former Secretary of State James Baker, said the panel is calling for a five-fold increase in U.S. forces training Iraqi forces.
Iraq: The U.S. military says 10 U.S. service personnel were killed in four separate incidents in Iraq Wednesday.
The military released few details on how the troops died.
The deaths are among the highest toll for U.S. troops in Iraq in recent months, and occurred on the same day that a bipartisan U.S. panel recommended that the U.S. military change its main mission in Iraq from combat to support.
Sectarian violence continued Wednesday in Iraq. Some 70 people were killed or found dead in the country. In Baghdad, police found nearly 50 bodies shot dead execution-style.
US – Gates Nomination: The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Bush's nominee to become the next Secretary of Defense.
The Senate approved Robert Gates to succeed Donald Rumsfeld by a vote of 92 to two Wednesday. He is expected to be sworn into office this month.
On Tuesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously approved Gates after lawmakers on the panel put him through a full day of questioning, almost exclusively about the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Gates says he is open to new ideas about Iraq. He warned that if Iraq is not stabilized in the next year or two, the situation could lead to a regional conflict.
Fiji – Coup: Fiji's new caretaker prime minister is warning that elections following this week's military coup might not take place for another two years.
Jona Senilagakali says the military will decide when new elections will be held.
The military picked the army physician Wednesday to head the government, two days after carrying out Fiji's fourth coup in 20 years.
Mr. Senilagakali says the takeover was illegal, but necessary to clean up corruption. He told Australian radio today (Thursday) Fiji does not need a Western-style democracy, like the one in neighboring New Zealand or Australia.
The caretaker prime minister said Fiji's military chief, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, ordered him to accept the new position, although he has no political experience.
Indonesia – Playboy: The editor of the Indonesian version of Playboy magazine is on trial on charges of publishing indecent material.
A prosecutor told the South Jakarta district court today (Thursday) that editor Erin Arnada oversaw the development and publication of indecent material featuring models with partially exposed breasts.
If convicted, Arnada could face up to 32 months in jail.
A toned-down version of the U.S. magazine was launched in April, featuring pictures of scantily clad women but no nudity.
Islamic hard-liners spoke out against the magazine's publication in the world's most populous Muslim nation.
Burma – India – HRW: New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch has accused India of offering military aid to Burma that could be used against Burmese civilians as the army fights ethnic insurgents.
In a statement released today (Thursday), the group says India's air force chief, Marshal S.P. Tyagi, offered a multimillion dollar aid package to Burma's military rulers during a visit to Burma last month.
Published reports say Tyagi proposed strengthening Burma's air force by providing it with combat helicopters and upgrading Burmese fighter planes with the latest technology.
Human Rights Watch's Asia director (Brad Adams) says it is "shocking" that India would offer aid to a Burmese regime that is likely to use new weapons against its civilian population.
Listen to our World News for deails.