Japan's Princess Kiko gave birth Wednesday in Tokyo to a baby boy whose arrival defuses a succession dilemma that spawned a fractious debate on whether to allow women on the throne. Eight women have served as emperor during the royal family's 1,500-year history, but mostly as placeholders in the absence of suitable male descendants. Since 1947, an imperial law has formalized their exclusion. The new prince, whose name will be announced next Tuesday, is the third in line to the throne after Crown Prince Naruhito and Kiko's husband, Prince Akishino, the last royal male heir born in Japan, in 1965.
Last-chance talks aimed at heading off UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear defiance were postponed Wednesday by what a senior Iranian envoy called a "procedural matter" with six European Union nations. Talks were to be held in Vienna with EU members that are trying to persuade Iran to limit its nuclear program. Iran ignored an Aug. 31 UN deadline, set by the Security Council, to freeze uranium enrichment.
Two days of talks about improving security cooperation along the Afghan-Pakistan border began Wednesday with the arrival of Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in Kabul for meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The neighboring countries have recently questioned whether the other is doing enough to crack down on terrorists who operate along their mountainous 1,470-mile frontier, where Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding. The Pakistan military said it would capture bin Laden if he's found in Pakistan, despite the government's recent peace deal with militants.
Despite pressure from the European Union, Turkey said Wednesday it has no intention to open up its seaports and airports to Cyprus, an EU member. The EU makes granting such access a requirement of membership.
Aviation security experts began discussions Wednesday at an EU meeting in Brussels focused on beefing up antiterror measures. Conferees are considering an EU-wide ban on carry-on liquids, something Britain and the US have adopted since British authorities foiled a terrorist plot last month to blow up jetliners with liquid explosives.
Sean Hoey, the alleged perpetrator of Northern Ireland's deadliest terrorist bombing, went on trial in Belfast Wednesday after a three-year wait in prison. Hoey is charged with 29 counts of murder for the 1998 Irish Republican Army car blast that killed many women and children in Omagh, a religiously mixed town 60 miles west of Belfast. The trial is expected to last three months.
In talks Wednesday in Beijing with US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, China urged a "cool-headed" diplomatic approach to dealing with North Korea, which is believed to be preparing to conductits first-ever nuclear test. Pyongyang's defiance could delay six-nation talks that China, North Korea's main ally, has tried to organize in order to head off a crisis.
A US military spokesman said Wednesday that the arrest of Al Qaeda's second in command in Iraq took place in June, even though it was only announced days ago. The apprehension of Hamid Juma Faris al-Saeedi was initially kept quiet for intelligence reasons, according to Maj. Gen. William Caldwell.
While visiting Turkey Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who completes his term at the end of this year, repeatedly referred to his successor as "she" and said he hoped a woman would be considered for the job.