Later this month, the leaders of the two Koreas will hold a summit, only the second since World War II, their governments announced. The Aug. 28-30 talks will take place in Pyongyang, the North's capital. Neighboring nations applauded the news; critics, however, dismissed it as mostly for domestic political purposes. North Korea's Kim Jong Il met South Korean President Kim Dae Jung there in June 2000, although the discussions led to no breakthroughs. South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun said he expected the meeting would "provide fresh momentum to improve North Korea's international relations."
Twice in recent days, senior Chinese Communist Party officials have warned of retaliation against US efforts to force revaluation of the yuan, the (London) Telegraph reported.It quoted them as saying China "will be forced to sell dollars" if the yuan "appreciated dramatically." China holds $900 billion in US bonds, and analysts say a sell-off likely would cause a collapse of the American currency and could tip the economy into recession. The US Senate is expected to take up legislation this fall calling for trade tariffs against Chinese goods.
A week after authorizing the first joint peacekeeping force for Sudan's Darfur region, the UN is "very pleased" with the pledges of troops and police received, senior officials said. Nine African governments have offered infantry battalions or police to serve alongside a beleaguered African Union force. Some Asian nations also have promised to help. The composition of the final force must be decided by Aug. 30, with deployment to begin in September.
Four men and two women – all of them Russians – were freed by their captors in southern Nigeria Wednesday, more than two months after being seized at gunpoint. None had apparent injuries, and Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement it was "satisfied that the matter was resolved in a positive way." New President Umaru YarAdua has made a national priority of calming the region, where almost 200 foreigners have been kidnapped this year alone by militants and criminal gangs seeking a greater share of its oil wealth.
Announcing a new "energy security treaty," Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez pledged to guarantee the fuel needs of Argentina as it experiences a severe winter. He also said his government has bought a half-billion dollars' worth of Argentine bonds and plans another purchase of equal value to help "free it from Dracula" – a reference to the International Monetary Fund. Chávez, who's on a tour of Venezuela's leftist allies, said he intends to sign similar deals with Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Nicaragua.
Police raided one of the most luxurious houses in São Paulo, Brazil, and arrested Colombian cocaine cartel leader Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, reports said Wednesday. The government was considering a US request for his extradition as well as whether to lodge its own charges against him. Ramirez Abadia, who has undergone plastic surgeries to alter his appearance, is sought in the US for trafficking, racketeering, and ordering the murders of informants and police.
Tropical storm Pabuk was soaking eastern Asia with heavy rains, ending a three-month-long drought in the Philippines but also causing flooding, landslides, and widespread power outages there and elsewhere. In China, where 936 people have died as a result of summer storms, authorities ordered the evacuation of coastal areas and posted the highest possible alert level in densely populated Hong Kong. Behind Pabuk, a new storm named Wutip also was gathering strength off the Philippines, according to meteorologists.