A few aid shipments had arrived in Burma's main city by Thursday, but the planeloads of supplies and heavy equipment needed to help millions of cyclone victims remain largely stranded outside the country. In a dramatic development, the ruling junta agreed to accept United States emergency aid after last weekend's cyclone.
Kenyan leaders were on Wednesday under pressure to resume talks on forming a coalition government in a bid to end a devastating political crisis, a day after hundreds demonstrated to demand a new Cabinet. The much-delayed unveiling of a national-unity government is a key step in implementing a power-sharing deal aimed at quelling deadly violence.
China admitted for the first time that security forces shot at Tibetan protesters, as the military on Friday pursued its crackdown on volatile areas amid fears of mass arrests. The admission comes with Beijing's Communist rulers trying to put the country's best face forward in the run-up to the Olympic Games in August.
The annual Davos gathering of the world's political and business elite opened on Wednesday with the fragile state of the world economy and stock-market turmoil casting a pall over the glitzy get-together. In recent years the annual meeting in the Swiss ski resort has been held against a backdrop of bumper corporate profits, strong economic growth and tame inflation.
African Union chief John Kufuor met Kenyan leaders on Wednesday to try to break a political deadlock following disputed presidential polls that sparked widespread violence and left at least 600 dead. President Mwai Kibaki, whose re-election 11 days ago triggered the unrest, denied there was any national crisis in his meeting with Kufuor.
Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes amid brutal post-election violence in Kenya that had claimed at least 300 lives by Wednesday and threatens to descend into full-scale tribal conflict. On Tuesday, at least 35 children and adults sheltering in a church near the western town of Eldoret were burnt alive by an angry mob.
Turkey on Thursday stepped up pressure on northern Iraq, imposing economic sanctions over the safe haven Kurdish rebels enjoy, as Washington said it was supplying Ankara with intelligence on the separatists' positions. "We have prepared a list of economic measures targeting the financial resources of the terrorist organisation," Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said.
The Turkish army pounded Kurdish rebels near the Iraqi border on Tuesday as Ankara warned that ties with Washington would suffer as long as the separatists enjoyed sanctuary in northern Iraq. Cobra helicopters fired missiles at rebel positions on the Cudi Mountains, which border Iraq, where fighting continued for a second day.
Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened on Friday in talks with United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to abandon a key nuclear-missile treaty, while also telling Washington to freeze plans for a European anti-missile shield. The Kremlin leader said the Cold War-era INF treaty limiting Russian and US short- and medium-range missiles was outmoded.
Russia expressed worry on Tuesday over the possibility of war with Iran as French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner pressed for tougher sanctions against the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov emphasised Russia's "concern" over "multiple reports that military action against Iran is being seriously considered.