IRAQ: Witnesses in Iraq say a barrage of rockets or mortar bombs has struck Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone, home to the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government headquarters. There were no immediate reports of any fatalities following the attack today (Monday). But recent intense militant attacks on the Green Zone have killed at least two Americans in the past week. Today's attack comes a day after Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his militant supporters to withdraw from deadly street battles against Iraqi government and coalition forces. A spokesman for the cleric (Hazem al-Aaraji) says Sadr issued the cease-fire order Sunday to stop the shedding of Iraqi blood.
U.S MIDEAST: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials today (Monday) in a final effort to push forward a peace deal before ending her latest trip to Jerusalem. Rice met early today with the chief negotiators for both sides, former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Following talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials (Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad) Sunday, Rice secured an Israeli agreement to ease some restrictions on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
BUSH-EUROPE: President Bush leaves today (Monday) for a European visit including a NATO summit in Romania and talks about U.S. missile-defense plans with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Bush's first stop will be in Ukraine. The president has said he believes NATO should open the membership process for Ukraine and Georgia, but Moscow has made clear it does not want NATO expanding to Russia's borders. Mr. Putin's successor, President-elect Dmitri Medvedev, says granting NATO membership to the two former Soviet states could threaten European security.
CHINA-OLYMPICS: Chinese President Hu Jintao officially launched the Olympic torch relay today (Monday) in a ceremony at Beijing's Tiananmen Square. The torch arrived amid tight security from Greece, where Tibetan exiles and human rights activists tried unsuccessfully to disrupt a handover ceremony Sunday. Protests that have disrupted the relay since it began last week are expected to continue as runners carry the torch to major cities across the globe in the run-up to the August Summer Games.
Audio in Lao.