Washington : US President George W. Bush has announced a partial pullback of about 30,000 troops from Iraq by next summer, while warning a full withdrawal could endanger the Iraqi government's survival.
"Because of the measure of success we are seeing in Iraq, we can begin seeing troops come home," Bush said Thursday in a prime-time televised address to the nation.
The president said 2,200 Marines are coming home immediately and will not be replaced, and an Army brigade of 3,500 will be out of Iraq by Christmas.
By Prasun Sonwalkar, IANS
London : We all know that politics is the art of the impossible, but who could have predicted that one fine sunny afternoon a Labour prime minister would exert to welcome and usher Margaret Thatcher through the famous doors of 10, Downing Street?
It actually happened Thursday, and many Labour supporters are still rubbing their eyes in disbelief. For the Labour party, Thatcher and Thatcherism have been the building blocks of electoral success for over a decade, but now times have changed, and how.
Washington : For four months, Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari fought off despair in solitary confinement in an Iranian jail. Yet does not "bear any grudges" toward her captors and continues to advocate US talks with the Iranian regime.
At most, Esfandiari expressed "disappointment" that she had not been able to convince Iran of the good intentions of think tanks such as the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, of which she is the Middle East director.
London : British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who recently expressed admiration for the politics of Margaret Thatcher, Thursday invited the "Iron Lady" for a meeting in Downing Street and a tour of her former offices.
Thatcher, 81, in a bright fuchsia dress, was greeted with a warm handshake by Brown on the steps of Downing Street, before both disappeared behind the famous door of Number 10.
Brown recently surprised political observers by heaping lavish praise on Thatcher, hailing her as a "conviction politician" who saw the need for change.
Beijing : A Beijing university student has sued Microsoft for infringing upon his privacy, demanding 1,350 yuan ($180) in compensation and an apology published in a national newspaper.
Peking University student Lu Feng said he installed Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage software according to prompts from the Windows XP operating system on his laptop only to find the programme enabled Microsoft to gather information about his computer and him, rather than solely checking whether or not the installed Windows XP system was genuine.
Colombo : Sri Lanka's air force bombed a Tamil rebel camp in the north-eastern region of the island, causing extensive damage, a military spokesman said.
The bombing took place in Pudukuduirippu, in Mullaitivu, 380 kilometres north-east of the capital.
Tamil rebels said the bombs fell on civilian areas, and children who were on their way to school were forced to run to save their lives.
Tokyo : Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) decided Thursday to hold a presidential election on Sep 23 to pick a new party president to replace Shinzo Abe, who Wednesday expressed his intention to resign, Japanese media reported.
The LDP made the decision on a general assembly of lawmakers from the party. Abe himself originally wanted to appear on the assembly to explain reasons of his resignation, but refrained from doing so on doctor's advice.
Manila, Sep 13 (Xinhua) Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday said the government is close to signing a peace agreement with the anti-government Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Arroyo expressed optimism in a speech that the issue of ancestral domain, a major point of contention in the peace negotiations with the MILF, may soon be resolved, paving the way for a formal peace agreement, Philippine GMA TV reported.
Tokyo, Sep 13 (Xinhua) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was admitted into a Tokyo hospital Thursday noon for functional gastrointestinal disorder, a day after announcing his decision to resign.
Doctors said Abe was "extremely weak" and needs to be hospitalised for at least three to four days, according to a hospital official at a press conference.
The prime minister went to see doctors at Keio University Hospital after he felt sick. He received a physical check up in the morning.
Washington, Sep 13 (RIA Novosti) State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has denied that Germany is opposed to a stepped-up sanctions regime against Iran, or that Washington has as a result despaired of a diplomatic solution to the standoff with Tehran.
A Tuesday report on the conservative FOX television channel claimed that Washington was preparing to bomb Iran within the next eight or nine months because of Germany's refusal to support additional sanctions against the Iranian regime over its nuclear programme.
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