Administration welcomes China's currency change

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on Thursday welcomed China's decision to move to a more flexible currency system, calling it ''a good start.''

Treasury Secretary John Snow said the United States would monitor China's implementation of its new system, which will tie its currency to a marketbasket of currencies rather than linking it at a fixed rate to the U.S. dollar.

Rice upset by how Sudanese treated entourage

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Security forces in the Sudanese capital manhandled U.S. officials and reporters traveling with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, marring her round of meetings with leaders of the new unified government. Rice demanded an apology, and got it.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the Sudanese foreign minister responded to Rice's demand for an apology by telephoning her aboard a plane bound for the Darfur region to express regret for the incidents.

Protests leave 16 dead in Yemen

SAN'A, Yemen - Yemeni security forces opened fire on rioters angry over cuts in subsidies on oil products Thursday, leaving at least 16 people dead and more than 30 wounded in the Middle Eastern nation's worst civil strife in more than a decade.

The violence broke out Wednesday, when eight people were killed, a day after the government announced it was cutting subsidies on oil products by more than half, part of new belt-tightening reforms.

Government considers moving up Gaza pullout

JERUSALEM - The government is considering moving up its mid-August withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, senior government officials said Thursday, after a three-day protest against the pullout was thwarted but tied up thousands of security forces.

Vice Premier Ehud Olmert said he would favorably consider moving up the pullout date in light of the mass protest. Israel sent 20,000 police and soldiers to block demonstrators from marching to the Gaza settlements to reinforce the settlers there.

Algerian officials abducted in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Gunmen seized two Algerian diplomats Thursday - including the country's top envoy to Iraq - in the latest attacks aimed at scaring away Muslim diplomats and undermining the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

The abductions brought to five the number of key diplomats targeted in Baghdad in less than three weeks.

- From wire reports