Turkey OKs possible strike against Kurds

ANKARA, Turkey - Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a possible cross-border offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, although the government appears willing to give diplomatic pressure on the U.S.-backed Iraqi administration more time to work.

Lawmakers voted 507-19 in favor of empowering the government to order the military to cross into Iraq during a one-year period, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan said. They then burst into applause.

Bush praises Dalai Lama

WASHINGTON - President Bush, raising Beijing's ire, presented the Dalai Lama on Wednesday with Congress' highest civilian honor and urged Chinese leaders to welcome the monk to Beijing.

The exiled spiritual head of Tibet's Buddhists by his side, Bush praised a man he called a 'universal symbol of peace and tolerance, a shepherd of the faithful and a keeper of the flame for his people.'

Aide: Iraqi leader wants Blackwater out even sooner

BAGHDAD - Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has pressed U.S. Embassy officials in recent meetings to pull the Blackwater USA security firm out of Iraq even before the six-month deadline he initially set, a top aide to the Iraqi leader said Wednesday.

The aide said the Americans responded that they cannot give al-Maliki an answer until the FBI finishes its inquiry into the incident in which Iraqi officials say Blackwater personnel killed 17 Iraqis.

Somali forces raid U.N. compound

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Dozens of heavily armed government security forces stormed a United Nations compound Wednesday and spirited away the official overseeing emergency food aid for Somalia's war-ruined capital, prompting the agency to suspend distributions.

The World Food Program called for the immediate release of Idris Osman, a Somali in charge of the agency's efforts to help feed tens of thousands of people in Mogadishu.

Standoff between activists, loggers in Amazon ends

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Eight Greenpeace members prevented from leaving an Amazon town for more than 24 hours by loggers and angry residents were escorted away peacefully Wednesday by authorities.

The activists, however, were unable to depart with the scorched tree trunk they wanted to take with them for an exhibit on global warming in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, said campaigner Andre Muggiati.

The standoff began Tuesday when loggers and residents used trucks to prevent the activists from leaving with the fallen tree trunk, Muggiati said.