Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has summoned parliament to a special session that will declare the province's independence from Serbia. Lawmakers are expected to proclaim independence this afternoon (Sunday, at about 1400 UTC / 3 p.m. local) in the special assembly session. Mr. Thaci, has said today is a peaceful and historic day for the violence-scarred territory. He will deliver an address this evening from the main square in Kosovo's capital, Pristina. Later there will be an outdoor concert (featuring the European anthem, "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony) and fireworks. Speaking today (Sunday) during a visit to Tanzania, President Bush said the United States will continue to work with its allies to make sure there is no violence in the territory. He added that he is heartened by the Kosovo government's proclaimed willingness to support Serbian rights.
AFGHANISTAN: An Afghan provincial governor says 80 people have been killed and many others wounded by a suicide bomber in the southern city of Kandahar, in what has been called one of the deadliest attacks since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. The governor of Kandahar province, Assadullah Khalid, says the bomber set off the explosives today (Sunday) at a dogfighting competition attended by hundreds of people. He blamed the attack on the Taliban, but so far no one has claimed responsibility for the blast.
BUSH-AFRICA: President Bush has met with Tanzania's president in Dar es Salaam and signed a nearly 700 million-dollar grant to help stimulate economic growth in the east African nation. The grant is the largest-ever from the Bush administration's Millennium Challenge Corporation, which ties assistance to good governance, rule of law and free-market economics. At a news conference today (Sunday) with Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete, Mr. Bush urged the U.S. Congress to renew his global AIDS program. President Bush wants to double the size of the program, from the 15 billion dollars already spent to 30 billion over the next five years.
Pakistani authorities say the death toll from a bomb blast near the border with Afghanistan, two days before national elections, has risen to 46. The explosion late Saturday came two days before voters head to the polls for long-awaited parliamentary elections. A security official told the French news agency today (Sunday) that the initial body count of about 37 was not accurate because bodies were so badly damaged in the attack. He also said some victims from the blast in the tribal town of Parachinar died later in the hospital. Nearly 90 people were wounded.
INDONESIA-BIRD FLU: Health officials in Indonesia say a three-year-old boy from Jakarta has died of bird flu. Authorities also said Saturday that tests confirmed a 16-year-old boy who died last week in the central Java city of Solo had bird flu. The latest deaths bring Indonesia's death toll from the illness to 105. The World Health Organization says more than 225 people around the world have died from bird flu since 2003. Most of the world's cases have occurred in Indonesia.
Audio in Lao.