The United States has sent Undersecretary of State William Burns to Geneva for nuclear talks with Iran, angering some hard-line officials. “To the Iranians, it will send a sign of the political weakness of a [U.S.] administration in its last days and desperate for a deal,” said former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke to a crowd of 150,000 in Sydney for World Youth Day. He praised the Australian government for apologizing to the Aborigines and denounced “insatiable consumption” for threatening the environment.
Nelson Mandela is celebrating his 90th birthday today with a private party in his hometown. He called the rich to do more for South Africa’s poor: “There are many people in South Africa who are rich and who can share those riches with those not so fortunate who have not been able to conquer poverty.”
Belgian Prime Minsiter Yves Leterme will remain on the job, three day after offering his resignation. Belgian King Albert II called on him to meet with French and German-speaking leaders to resolve a dispute over devolving powers to the Flanders and Wallonia regions.
The U.S. and Iraqi governments have agreed to a “general time horizon” for reduction of U.S. troops in Iraq. “These are aspirational goals, not artificial timetables based on political expediency,” said a White House spokesman.
The District of Columbia was accepting applications for revolver ownership on Thursday for the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down its 32-year ban on handguns. Though police prepared for a large crowd, just two people tried to apply.
The FDA declared that tomatoes are once again safe to eat, clearing the fruit of any salmonella risk. The FDA is still trying to determine the source of the salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 1,200 people since April.