President Bush meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin today (Thursday) in Slovakia -- the last stop on Mr. Bush's five-day European tour. U.S. officials say the talks in Bratislava are expected to focus on concerns over Russia's backing away from democratic reforms and its assistance to Iran in building a nuclear power plant. Earlier this week, Mr. Bush urged Russia to renew its commitment to democracy and the rule of law. But Mr. Bush has stressed that his talks with Mr. Putin would be cordial and that it is important to keep a constructive relationship with Moscow.
Officials in Iran say rescue teams are continuing to search for bodies and survivors in mountain villages flattened by Tuesday's powerful earthquake. The death toll from the 6.4 magnitude quake in Kerman province has topped 500. Officials say they expect the final toll to be much higher. Authorities estimate 8,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and thousands of residents were staying in tents amid freezing weather conditions. Some survivors complain that not enough is being done to help.
Senior U.N. Health officials have criticized the international community for not providing enough financial aid to help fight Asia's bird flu epidemic. The criticism came as delegates to a conference on bird flu went into closed door sessions in Vietnam today (Thursday) to discuss ways to combat the deadly disease.
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