IRAQ: Insurgent attacks are continuing in Iraq today (Wednesday), following one of the bloodiest days in the country in weeks. In southern Iraq today, at three rounds of mortars were fired into a residential district of the city of Iskandariya, killing one woman. Also in Iskandariya, authorities found the strangled body of a policeman. In Baghdad, at least two people, one of them a policeman, were wounded in a roadside bomb blast in a commercial district.
US-MIDEAST: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is headed to Germany, after a tour of the Middle East aimed at rallying support for the new U.S. plan for Iraq. Rice is due to meet with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin later today (Wednesday). She left Kuwait City earlier in the day after talks with the emirate's Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Sabah. On Tuesday, Rice met with foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
NORTH KOREA: Senior U.S. and North Korean envoys are meeting in Berlin this week to lay the groundwork for another session of six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon says the envoys were to meet again today (Wednesday) after the talks began Tuesday. A U.S. spokesman (Tom Casey) says Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and North Korean envoy Kim Kye Gwan had a good exchange of views in their first meeting. But, no date was set for the next round of multilateral talks.
BIRD FLU: Hong Kong authorities have confirmed that a wild bird found dead in the city last week was infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus. It is the second time this month that a wild bird in Hong Kong has tested positive for the virus, which is potentially lethal to humans.
VIETNAM-SINGAPORE: Singapore's former prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, is in Hanoi for talks with Vietnamese leaders aimed at boosting economic cooperation between the two countries. Mr. Lee praised Vietnam's new political leadership following a meeting Tuesday with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who took office last year.
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