CHINA EARTHQUAKE: Chinese state-run media say at least 400 people have been killed in a powerful earthquake that struck western China early Wednesday. The reports say 8,000 people were injured when the 6.9 magnitude quake and several aftershocks hit the province of Qinghai, which borders Tibet. Officials in the region say dozens of houses and schools in the Tibetan Yushu county have collapsed and many students are trapped in the rubble. Troops have been dispatched to the region to assist in the rescue efforts.<!-- IMAGE -->
NUCLEAR SUMMIT: U.S. President Barack Obama says 47 countries at a nuclear summit in
Washington have agreed to secure all nuclear materials within four
years, to fight the possibility of nuclear terrorism.
In a speech closing the two-day summit Tuesday, President Obama called
the event a "day of great progress" and part of a larger effort for a
world without nuclear weapons.
Participants signed a final communique that lays out steps countries
will take to reduce the chances terrorist groups will get access to
nuclear materials, information and technology.
KYRGYZSTAN: A senior U.S. diplomat has pledged U.S. cooperation with Kyrgyzstan's
interim government, which took power after the country's president was
ousted in violent protests that left at least 83 people dead. U.S.
Assistant Secretary of State
Robert Blake and interim leader Roza Otunbayeva spoke to reporters
after meeting Wednesday in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek.
Blake said the U.S. would support the interim government in its goal of
rewriting the constitution and holding parliamentary elections. The
interim leaders have said they want constitutional reform to diminish
the power of the presidency.
THAILAND PROTESTS: Anti-government protesters in Thailand have called off a planned march on an army base where Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has been staying during their weeks-long demonstration in Bangkok. Leaders of the so-called "Red Shirts" have also decided to gather all of their followers in one central location, an affluent shopping district in the capital city that is also home to several luxury hotels. Residents in Bangkok are enjoying a reprieve from the demonstrations as they celebrate the annual Thai New Year, or Songkran, with thousands of revelers filling the streets and dousing each other with water.<!-- IMAGE -->
INDIA - CYLONE: A cyclone in eastern India has killed at least 56 people and destroyed 50,000 homes. The storm hit late Tuesday in West Bengal and Bihar states, about 500 kilometers north of Kolkata. A top state official from West Bengal said the storm also destroyed power and telephone lines and uprooted trees. The Bay of Bengal region is frequently battered by storms and cyclones. In 2007, Cyclone Sidr killed more than 3,500 people in Bangladesh and displaced two million others. A year ago, Cyclone Nargis is estimated to have killed nearly 150,000 people in Burma.<!-- IMAGE -->
INDIA - HINDU FESTIVAL: Thousands of police are standing watch to maintain order as at least
eight million people converge on the banks of the Ganges River in
northern India for the final day of the massive Hindu religious
festival Kumbh Mela.
Police say two women have already died in the crush of pilgrims.
Wednesday marks the main "royal bathing" day of the 12-week long
festival, held every three years.
Organizers estimate as many as 40 million people have attended this year.
They come to bathe in the river -- a ritual believed to wash away sins.
MICHELLE OBAMA - MEXICO: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama has arrived in Mexico for a three-day visit aimed at advancing ties between the hemispheric neighbors. The wife of President Barack Obama will meet with Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala de Calderon to discuss education and economic advancement. The White House says she also will use her trip to engage with young people in Mexico, meeting with elementary school pupils and university students. The trip is Mrs. Obama's first official foreign visit without her husband. The first lady is scheduled to return to the United States Thursday.<!-- IMAGE -->
MEXICO - DRUG WAR: Nearly 23,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in
Mexico since 2006, the launch of a government crackdown on drug gangs.
Mexico's Interior Minister Fernando Gomez Montt confirmed the figure Tuesday in a news conference.
The report's death toll -- 22,743 -- was 7,000 higher than previous estimates.
The report said gang violence has surged in the first part of this year, claiming 3,365 victims between January and March.
The most deadly regions of Mexico were those near the U.S. border, where cross-border drug trafficking is common.
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