BUSH-LATAM: President Bush and his Brazilian counterpart will hold talks today (Friday) in Sao Paulo on a bilateral deal to produce biofuels. Mr. Bush and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will sign an accord to expand production of sugar cane-based ethanol fuel in Central America and the Caribbean. The two nations produce about 75 percent of the world's ethanol, but Brazil is the largest exporter. The two leaders are also expected to discuss the stalled talks on a new global trade deal.
IRAN - IRAQ - MEETING: A top American diplomat says the United States is prepared to raise concerns about Iraq directly with Iranian and Syrian counterparts at a Baghdad conference Saturday. Ambassador David Satterfield spoke (Thursday) before flying to Iraq for the conference, which will include officials from Iraq's neighbors and the permanent member countries of the U.N. Security Council (the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China.) Satterfield said the conference is intended to focus on ways to make Iraq more stable and secure.
JAPAN - HIROHITO: A Japanese paper (Asahi Shimbun) has published excerpts from a diary that indicates Japan's late emperor, Hirohito, expressed regret at having invaded China. The diary of a former aide (Kuraji Ogura) quotes Hirohito as saying that Japan underestimated China's military strength and that Japanese military specialists incorrectly predicted how the war would turn out. The comments are likely to raise new questions about Hirohito's responsibility for Japan's involvement in World War Two.
VIETNAM - BIRD FLU: Vietnamese veterinary officials say bird flu has killed 100 ducks in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho. It is the fifth outbreak of the virus in Vietnam since February. Officials say the ducks were not vaccinated against the often-fatal H5N1 virus. Authorities say about 400 other ducks in the area were destroyed to try to stop the virus from spreading. Can Tho is in the southern Vietnamese province of the same name, bordering (Vinh Long,) a province where the virus was reported in late February. A bird flu outbreak was found earlier this week in northern Vietnam (in Ha Tay province) near Hanoi.
BILLIONAIRES: Forbes magazine has published its annual list of billionaires, with Microsoft founder Bill Gates leading the list for the 13th year in a row. The magazine says Gates is worth 56 billion dollars, followed by his friend, investment guru Warren Buffett whose fortune climbed to 52 billion dollars. The number three spot went to Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu. The list includes 946 people, worth a combined three-point-five trillion dollars. Forbes attributed the increase in billionaires to real estate and commodities gains among other factors.
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