Lebanese security officials say Syria has completed the first phase of its troop withdrawal from Lebanon. Details of the Syrian pullback were not immediately available.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice says Washington will support Afghanistan as it prepares for parliamentary elections later this year. Ms. Rice spoke in Kabul after talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who announced that the elections scheduled for May will instead be held in September.
Japan has banned poultry imports from North Korea because of a reported outbreak of bird flu in Pyongyang. Earlier this week South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that several thousand chickens died of bird flu in North Korea's capital.
World oil prices climbed even higher Thursday, hitting a record 56 dollars and 69 cents a barrel during Asian trading. The Asian markets were following the trend set in New York and London Wednesday, after a U.S. government report showed inventories of gasoline in the United States declined more than expected.
President Bush says he will nominate Paul Wolfowitz to be the new head of the World Bank. Mr. Wolfowitz is currently deputy secretary of defense and played a key role in planning the Iraq war. The former college professor has wide government experience and once served as U.S. ambassador to Indonesia.
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