IRAN NUCLEAR: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says world powers have a common goal of getting Iran to resume talks about its controversial nuclear program and to halt its uranium enrichment activity. Speaking after talks with her European and Russian counterparts in Berlin, Rice said all parties are determined to use "available channels and the U.N. Security Council to try to achieve that goal." A U.N. nuclear agency report expected today (Thursday) is likely to confirm that Iran has expanded its uranium enrichment -- a finding which could lead to additional U.N. sanctions against Iran.
ASIA-US CHENEY: U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is heading to Australia, after wrapping up a three-day visit to Japan and a brief stop in the U.S. pacific island of Guam to bolster support for the war in Iraq. Australia tightened security ahead of Cheney's arrival today (Thursday), as hundreds of protesters in Sydney marched and demanded the withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq. Australia is one of Washington's closest allies in the Iraq war.
PHILIPPINES-KILLINGS: A Philippine presidential commission says top military commanders may be responsible for political killings in the country. The commission released a report today (Thursday) implicating the army's former counter-insurgency chief, General Jovito Palparan, and others in the deaths. It says they may have allowed, tolerated, or even encouraged the killings. The government released the report at the urging of U.N. envoy Philip Alston, who recently conducted an investigation into the violence.
INDONESIA FERRY: An Indonesian navy official says at least seven people are dead after a fire broke out on board a ferry in the Bay of Jakarta. The official says navy ships and aircraft are helping with rescue efforts, which have saved at least 211 people. The navy had said at least 350 people were on board when the ferry caught fire today (Thursday). However, a port spokesman (Hambar Wiyadi) says the ferry was carrying just 228 people when it left the capital, Jakarta, for Bangka island near Sumatra.
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