Residents of NATO countries "need to understand" that the alliance isn't engaged in a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Rice said Wednesday. She told a news conference in London that NATO is in a long, difficult fight against Taliban and Al Qaeda extremists. Rice is seeking to repair a rift among NATO allies whose participation in Afghanistan has been unequal. The US and Britain supply more than half of the 42,000 NATO troops there.Skip to next paragraph
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Angry opposition leaders in Kenya threatened new protests to block a meeting of African foreign ministers because it could be seen as official approval of President Mwai Kibaki's disputed reelection. The opposition complained that it hadn't been consulted about the gathering, although ex-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, mediating talks between Kibaki and challenger Raila Odinga, had pledged that no such meeting would take place until all sides were notified.
Using temporary supplies of electricity, millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year Wednesday, and many others finally found transportation home after more than a week of the worst winter storms in 50 years. Almost 90 deaths were blamed on the weather, and the loss to the economy was put at $11 billion. Above, Beijing residents in heavy coats walk among rows of New Year's lanterns.
Parliament in Italy was dissolved Wednesday by President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Romano Prodi (l.), and the latter's cabinet scheduled an election for April 13-14 to choose a new government. Prodi's 20-month term was the second shortest in recent Italian history, and opinion polls suggest that his predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi, would win reelection by as many as 16 points if the new vote were held today.