A diplomatic row erupted on Wednesday between Afghanistan and Western aid partners after a Briton and Irishman working for the EU and the UN were ordered expelled for reportedly holding an illegal meeting with Taliban members. Western diplomats insisted it was just a "misunderstanding."

In Indonesia Wednesday, on the third anniversary of the devastating 2004 tsunami, coastal dwellers near Jakarta participated in a drill in which people walked about a mile inland after sirens sounded. More than $13 billion in international aid has gone to rebuild communities in 12 Indian Ocean countries. At a memorial service in the province of Aceh, where nearly half the 230,000 deaths occurred, provincial Gov. Irwandi Yusuf said, "I hope one day we can pay our debt to the world by becoming a donor to other countries hit by disasters."

Saying there is a need to relieve public suspicion, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun approved an independent probe Wednesday of his successor, president-elect Lee Myung-bak, over financial fraud allegations that have cast a cloud over his landslide election.

Violence tapered off Wednesday in eastern India the day after Hindu extremists chased people out of six Christian churches on Christmas Day and set the buildings ablaze. The unrest, in which one person was killed, grew out of a Christmas show that got out of hand.

Teenager Rachel Rosenfeld of Harrison, N.Y., spoke at a ceremony to open a school that bears her name in rural Cambodia. After reading a newspaper story, she was inspired to raise more than $52,000 to provide classrooms for poverty-stricken children in Srah Khvav village.

The Iraqi cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft law that will offer a general pardon to thousands of prisoners in US military and Iraqi custody, an Iraqi government spokesman said.

In a report on its energy plans, China issued mixed signals Wednesday, promising on one hand to give "top priority" to the development of renewable sources of energy but on the other indicating it intends to expand consumption of coal.

Blocked roads hampered rescue and recovery efforts in western Indonesia Wednesday as soldiers, police, and volunteers dug for survivors of a landslide triggered by torrential rains. Roughly 80 people were reported killed.

An unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft docked with the International Space Station Wednesday, delivering food, water, and equipment to the three crew members, US astronauts Peggy Whitson and Daniel Tani and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko.

Turkish warplanes hit suspected caves and other hideouts in northern Iraq Wednesday used by separatist rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, the military said. No deaths were immediately reported in the third reported airstrike since Dec. 16.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai arrived in Pakistan Wednesday for talks aimed at discussing bilateral economic ties and coordinating the fight against Taliban and Al Qaeda militants along the countries' shared border. Afghan officials have repeatedly said the militants use bases inside Pakistan to orchestrate attacks against Karzai's US-backed government.

At least 34 Nigerians were killed awhile trying to scoop fuel from a gushing leak in a ruptured gasoline pipeline that exploded near Lagos Tuesday. Despite the country's oil riches, the vast majority of Nigerians live in poverty.

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