CHINA - QUAKE: Chinese officials say nearly 400 dams and reservoirs near the epicenter of Monday's deadly earthquake were damaged, triggering new worries as the military steps up its rescue and recovery efforts. The official Xinhua news agency says troops have been sent to repair cracks in the Zipingpu Dam in southwestern Sichuan province. China's water resources ministry says the dam has been emptied of its waters to relieve pressure and ensure the safety of Dujiangyan city, located downstream.
BURMA: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is sending his humanitarian chief to Burma to address the growing crisis created by Cyclone Nargis. Mr. Ban told reporters in New York Wednesday the U.N.'s John Holmes would travel to Burma in the coming days on a World Food Program airplane packed with humanitarian aid. It is unclear if Burma's reclusive military government will approve Holmes' visit. Burma's leaders have declined most offers of foreign aid workers. They also have been slow to accept shipments of food, water and supplies.
BURMA - POLITICS: Burma's ruling military government says its new draft constitution was overwhelmingly approved in last week's referendum. State-run media outlets announced today the new charter was approved by more than 92-percent of voters during Saturday's balloting. The reports say more than 99-percent of Burma's 22-million eligible voters cast their ballots. The new constitution paves the way for general elections are slated to be held in 2010, but critics say the new charter only strengthens the military's control over the country.
DALAI LAMA - GERMANY: The Dalai Lama called for real autonomy for Tibet as he arrived in Germany today on the first leg of a visit to several Western countries. The Tibetan spiritual leader will give lectures and meet with politicians while in Germany. But he will not meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in Latin America. Beijing insists Tibet is a part of China. A meeting between the Dalai Lama and Chancellor Merkel in Berlin last September strained relations between the two countries and led to Beijing canceling high-level contacts with German officials.
VIETNAM - DRUG BUST: Authorities in Vietnam have seized nearly nine tons of marijuana being shipped from Pakistan to Canada via China. The drugs were discovered earlier this week mixed in with a shipment of denim jeans near the Vietnamese border with China. Authorities say the drugs had a street value of 90 million dollars, making it the biggest drug seizure in Vietnam. Five people carrying Indonesian and Chinese passports have been arrested in connection with the drugs. Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug trafficking laws, some of which include the death penalty.
IRAQ: Iraqi troops have carried out house-to-house searches in the northern city of Mosul, as a new crackdown against al-Qaida in Iraq entered its second day today. It is unclear how many arrests took place. Iraqi officials also eased some restrictions on movement that had been in force in Mosul. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is overseeing the new offensive against al-Qaida militants in Mosul, their last Iraqi stronghold. Iraqi officials say more than 500 suspected insurgents have been arrested in and around Mosul since the operation began earlier this week.
BUSH - MIDEAST: U.S. President George Bush will warn that letting Iran obtain nuclear weapons would be -- in his words -- an "unforgivable betrayal of future generations." In remarks prepared for delivery today to Israel's parliament, Mr. Bush says for the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. He calls Iran the world's leading sponsor of terror. President Bush also says the United States and Israel have an "unbreakable" alliance. He rejects the argument that if Washington breaks ties with the Jewish state, then all of its problems in the Middle East will go away.
INDIA - BLASTS: Indian police say a little-known militant group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's blasts that killed up to 80 people and wounded 200 others in the tourist city of Jaipur. Police say the group, called the Indian Mujahideen, e-mailed video clips to Indian media of a bicycle it said was packed with explosives. Many of the eight bombs that exploded within minutes of each were planted on bicycles. Most of the bombs went off near Hindu temples and markets On Wednesday, police arrested two suspects and released the sketch of another.
AUSTRALIA - FIJI: Australia's government says its chief diplomat to the South Pacific nation of Fiji has received a second death threat in a week. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith revealed the threats today during remarks before parliament. The second threat against High Commissioner James Batley was delivered via mail today at the Australian mission in Suva. The first threat was delivered last week by taxi. Canberra has asked Fiji for permission to send more Australian police guards to protect the mission and its personnel.
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