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G8 Summit Ends with Focus on Africa, Food Security


G-8 SUMMIT: Leaders of the world's richest countries have capped a three-day summit in L'Aquila, Italy Friday, by discussing food security with their counterparts from African nations. U.S. President Barak Obama and other Group of Eight leaders are expected to announce a $15 billion dollar pledge over three years to help poor countries fight hunger and develop their own agricultural sectors. Mr. Obama also held separate talks with South African officials. The U.S. leader next meets with Pope Benedict in Vatican City Friday.

OBAMA - GHANA: U.S. President Barack Obama is due to arrive in Ghana later Friday,onhis first trip to sub-Saharan Africa as president. The White House says Mr. Obama chose Ghana as his first destination in the region because of what he considers to be its strong democratic system. The country's justice minister, Betty Mould-Iddrissu, says Ghana is a "bastion of good governance" and she hopes the high profile visit will stregthen the hold of these values further. Mr. Obama's one-day visit is expected to generate large crowds eager to see the first U.S. president of African descent.

CHINA - XINJIANG: Authorities in the Chinese region of Xinjiang ordered Muslim mosques in Urumqi to stay closed Friday, the latest move to prevent a repeat of this week's deadly violence between the city's minority Uighur Muslims and majority Han Chinese. The mosques were ordered to close during the traditional Muslim day of prayer. But some of them opened as hundreds of the faithful gathered outside, ignoring the presence of security forces deployed on the streets.

CHINA - AUSTRALIA: China is accusing four Shanghai-based executives of Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto of bribing Chinese steelmakers to obtain information during negotiations over global iron ore prices. China's state security bureau revealed the charges to state-run newspapers Friday. The agency said the actions by the four executives damaged the country's economic security and interests. Authorities detained Stern Hu, an Australian of Chinese origin, and three Chinese nationals employed by Rio Tinto on suspicion that they stole government secrets.

BURMA - SUU KYI: The trial of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has resumed after another lengthy postponement. Security was tight at Insein prison in the main city of Rangoon, where the Nobel Peace laureate has been held since her arrest in May for allegedly violating the terms of her house arrest. The court is expected to hear testimony from a rare defense witness, Khin Moe Moe, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party. Khin Moe Moe was initially banned from testifying on her behalf, but a Burmese appeals court overturned a lower court's earlier decision.

IRAN: Iranian media say police and demonstrators clashed in Tehran Thursday when activists defied a government warning against demonstrations. Iranian state-run television says security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters, who gathered near Tehran University to mark the 10th anniversary of a student uprising. The station says hundreds of demonstrators gathered near the site, but other news agencies say thousands turned out for the protests. Witnesses say police fired shots into the air and also used batons and tear gas to hold back protesters.

HONDURAS: Honduras' political rivals ended the first day of mediation talks in Costa Rica without a deal on resolving the country's political crisis or even a face-to-face meeting to discuss the issue. Ousted President Manuel Zelaya and interim President Roberto Micheletti met separately during talks led by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias at his home in San Jose Thursday. The two rivals continued to maintain their unconditional right to lead the country and Mr. Arias failed to bring them together for a meeting as he had hoped.

INDIA - LIQUOR: Indian police say 21 more people have died after drinking homemade liquor in the western state of Gujarat, raising the death toll to 107. Police said at least 150 others were hospitalized after drinking the toxic liquor Sunday night. Authorities are working to shut down illegal distilleries in Gujarat state, where alcoholic drinks are banned. Media reports Thursday said police have taken hundreds of bootleggers (people who make and distribute illegal alcoholic drinks) into custody.

WORST TOURISTS: A new survey by Internet travel agency Expedia-dot-com says French tourists are the least liked of all visitors from around the world. The poll of 4,500 hotel owners from 27 countries ranked travelers on nine different criteria, from politeness to willingness to tip. The results found French travelers are viewed as impolite, poor communicators and extremely cheap. Expedia-dot-com's findings showed the French were the least open to new languages and tipped very poorly.

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