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G-8 Sets Anti-Climate Change Goal, Urges Wealthy Nations to Contribute Excess Food


G-8 SUMMIT: Leaders of the world's eight major industrialized nations have set a goal of cutting worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases in half by 2050. Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who is hosting the Group of Eight summit at a resort on the northern island of Hokkaido, announced the deal today. Mr. Fukuda says the accord allows each nation to set its own "aggressive" midterm goals toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.The top environmental advisor for U.S. President George Bush says it aligns with Mr. Bush's demand that growing economies such as India and China agree to take part in the reductions.

MALAYSIA - D8 SUMMIT: Leaders at a summit of eight developing Islamic nations say the rising costs of food and oil could have dire implications. Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, host of today's one-day summit in Kuala Lumpur, says soaring food prices, which he says have jumped 75-percent since 2000, threaten the world economy, and could lead to domestic political unrest. Mr. Abdullah urged the other participating nations to boost food production and cease using farm land for crops solely devoted to biofuels. He says the "zeal for energy security" has led to the global food shortage.

THAILAND - TRIAL: Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is standing trial today -- nearly two years after he was ousted in a bloodless military coup.Mr. Thaksin and his wife are due to appear in court to face charges of abuse of power and conflict of interest in a real estate purchase while he was in office. The couple denies the charges.The ousted prime minister returned to Thailand in February, after nearly 18 months of self-imposed exile.On Monday, thousands of people marched on in Bangkok to demand that police take action against supporters of Mr. Thaksin.

CAMBODIA - THAILAND: Cambodians are celebrating the decision by the U.N. cultural body to grant international status to an ancient temple along its border with Thailand.The streets of the capital of Phnom Penh were filled with residents singing, dancing and waving flags today after hearing the news that UNESCO (the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) had placed the disputed 11th-century Preah Vihear temple on its World Heritage List. Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a statement calling the designation "a new pride" for Cambodia and its people.Meanwhile, a high court in Thailand ruled today the government's previous endorsement of Cambodia's UNESCO bid as unconstitutional.

NOKOR - NUCLEAR: Talks to end North Korea's nuclear program will resume this week in Beijing after being stalled since late last year.A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, told reporters today that the talks will begin on Thursday and are scheduled to last for three days.He says the discussions could go on longer if progress is made, adding that participants hope to push the talks on to their next stage if possible.Talks are expected to focus largely on the work of verifying Pyongyang's recent declaration of its nuclear program.Last month, North Korea released documents detailing its nuclear program, and destroyed the cooling tower of its main nuclear complex.

RICE - EUROPE: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Russia's behavior towards Georgia is adding to tensions in the region. Rice noted today in Prague that the former Soviet republic of Georgia is now an independent state, and called on both Russia and Georgia to avoid "provocative" actions. U.S. officials have been dismayed by a series of steps that Moscow has taken towards Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The two regions declared independence from Georgia in the early 1990s, sparking fighting and the dispatch of Russian peacekeepers to the region.

NEPAL - TIBET: Nepal's Supreme Court has ordered the release of three Tibetan leaders who were jailed on accusations of leading anti-China protests in Kathmandu.The court ruled Monday in favor of the activists saying their detention was illegal.The three were arrested last month and were charged with anti-China activities.Last week, police in Nepal detained around 300 Tibetan exiles after some demonstrators tried to storm a Chinese embassy building in Kathmandu.Tibetan exiles have been holding demonstrations against China since March, when deadly clashes broke out between protesters and Chinese authorities in Tibet.

INDIA - NUCLEAR: India's communist parties say they are withdrawing their support for the government to protest against a nuclear energy deal with the United States.The energy deal will give India access to civilian nuclear technology, despite its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.India's communist parties say the deal will bind India too close to Washington, and could compromise India's national security.Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says the deal is needed to give India more energy alternatives to drive its economy.New Delhi and Washington want to seal the deal before the U.S. presidential election in November because its fate is not certain if it has to face the next U.S. administration.

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