KOREAS RAILWAY: North and South Korea sent two trains across their heavily fortified border today, marking the first rail journey between the two sides since the Korean War. Firecrackers and white balloons filled the skies near the border as a five-car train from South Korea set off to cross the demilitarized zone into North Korea. Another train also ran from the North. Each carried 100 South and 50 North Koreans. It has taken the two Koreas more than half a century, and several high level talks, to agree to the one-time train tests along the restored tracks.
IRAN - US - IRAQ: Iranian Foreign Minister
Manouchehr Mottaki says Iranian and American officials are to meet May 28 to discuss Iraq's security and stability. Mottaki spoke today in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, where he is attending a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. He said "nothing but Iraq" is on the agenda for Iran-US talks, which are expected to be held at the ambassador level.
US - BRITAIN: British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush meet later today at the White House for a second day of talks as the British leader makes his final U.S. visit before stepping down. The talks are expected to include differences between the United States and Europe over global warming, which is expected to be a major topic at next month's Group of Eight summit in Germany. The two leaders will hold a joint news conference after their meeting. Mr. Blair steps down as prime minister on June 27th. Their mutual decision to topple former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power in 2002 has cost both leaders support in their home countries, especially Mr. Blair.
PRINCE HARRY - IRAQ: Britain's Prince Harry
will not be deployed to Iraq as previously planned due to specific threats against his life. In London Wednesday, General Richard Dannatt said the prince would not deploy as a troop commander with his squadron. The British Army Chief of Staff said the specific threats would have exposed Prince Harry and those around him to a degree of risk he considered unacceptable. In a statement, the prince's office said Prince Harry was disappointed he would not be able to go to Iraq with his troops as planned.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan officials say two roadside bomb blasts in the southern city of Kandahar have killed at least seven policemen and wounded several others. Officials say the first explosion today destroyed a vehicle carrying four Afghan police, killing the officers. As police arrived to carry away the bodies, a second bomb went off nearby, killing three more officers and wounding a journalist. Authorities say the bombs appear to have been detonated by remote control.
BURMA - PROTESTERS: Burma's military government is accusing
supporters of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi of using religion as a pretext to incite violence. At least 40 people were arrested in the past several days after marching to temples to pray for the Nobel Laureate's freedom. She is set to be released from house arrest May 27th, but Burmese authorities may extend her detention.
France's new President Nicolas Sarkozy has named Francois Fillon as the country's prime minister. As he assumed his new duties, Mr. Fillon pledged to put his country on the road to progress. Mr. Fillon has the reputation of a reformer. As France's social affairs minister in 2003, he pushed through a controversial pension reform bill.
ALGERIA - POL: Voting is underway in Algeria's parliamentary
elections amid fears of a resurgence of violence in the country. About 18-million registered voters are to elect 389 members of the lower house of parliament. More than 12-thousand candidates from some 25 political parties are contesting. But parties aligned with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika are likely to retain a majority. Official results are expected Friday. Authorities have imposed tight security ahead of the vote. Wednesday, one police officer was killed and two people were wounded in a bomb blast in the city of Constantine.
INDIA - MONKEYS: Indian lawmakers are demanding that the government do more to stop bands of marauding monkeys in the nation's capital. Opposition lawmaker K. Malaisamy told the upper house of parliament today that people in New Delhi need protection from the menacing monkeys. He said battalions of monkeys are taunting passers-by, snatching food from children, and invading government buildings and temples.
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