New Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain is due at Camp David, Md., Sunday night for his first official talks with President Bush, the White House announced. Spokesman Tony Snow said they'd cover "a pretty broad agenda," to include Iraq, Iran, Darfur, Kosovo, and US plans to build an antimissile shield in eastern Europe. Analysts have suggested that the relationship will be cooler than the one Bush had with Brown's predecessor, Tony Blair.
Contradicting its builder, Russia's Foreign Minister said the first nuclear power plant in Iran would come on line early next year. The Russian contractor had claimed the launch couldn't take place before fall. In either case, the startup is considered likely to cause a strong objection by the US, which has argued that the Bushehr reactor is a cover for a weapons program. Iran has warned against stronger UN sanctions because of its nuclear program, and President Mahmoud Ahmad-inejad said Wednesday the Islamic republic "will never abandon [it]," adding: "Why should we?"
Citing "health problems," the Palestinian Authority's chief of security in the Gaza Strip resigned Thursday, six weeks after his forces were routed by Hamas militants in his absence. Mohammad Dahlan, who was outside Gaza at the time, later acknowledged making mistakes and told interviewers that he and others should respond accordingly.
Without saying so directly, Turk-ish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul suggested that he is back in the running for the nation's presidency. The post is filled by a vote of parliament, but that was thwarted in May when opposition parties boycotted, objecting to Gul's Islamist past and to his wife's wearing of a head scarf in public. Secularists still resist the idea of his becoming head of state. But the leader of the largest ultranationalist party said he and his colleagues would no longer skip the vote.
Almost certain defeat looms for Japan's ruling coalition partners in Sunday's election for a new upper house of parliament, according to late opinion polls. But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wants to stay in office "whatever the circumstances" to complete such changes as education reform and rewriting the pacifist Constitution. Polls showed Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, its partner, could win fewer than one-third of the seats contested. But their commanding majority in the lower house virtually ensures that they can withstand a defeat Sunday.
Struggling East Timor will continue to need international peacekeepers until at least the end of next year, new President Jose Ramos-Horta said Thursday. He told visiting Australian Prime Minister John Howard that Timorese police and defense forces would have difficulty assuming responsibility for security before then because "they've just started to modernize." The majority of the 3,000 peacekeepers there are Australian, and Howard said, "We will not turn our backs on ... East Timor."
Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen protested his innocence after being suspended and sent home by his own team for "violating internal rules." A spokesman linked the decision to "incorrect" information that the Danish rider had given after missing drug tests in May and June. The world's most famous bicycle race is due to end Sunday, but after the third drug-test revelation in less than a week some Paris newspapers were calling for its cancellation.
A tsunami warning was lifted by Indonesia's meteorological agency Thursday after a strong undersea earthquake jolted the Maluku Islands. Residents fled their homes and other buildings in panic, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the magnitude-7.0 quake.