News Briefs: January 18, 2005

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 The following stories made international headlines Tuesday:

Rice details plans as head of U.S. State Dept.

At her confirmation hearings to be appointed the next U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice said she is committed to mending international relations and to continued troop support in Iraq.

Sources:USA Today, The London Times

Eight Chinese abducted in Iraq

Eight Chinese construction workers have been kidnapped. The kidnappers are demanding that the Chinese government reassure that it will not allow its citizens to work for Americans in Iraq. They have threatened to execute the hostages in 48 hours if China fails to comply. China has long objected to the last US-led Iraq war, which ended with the capture of Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi president.

Source:BBC News

Hajj attracts thousands of Muslims

Mina, Saudi Arabia, was witness to thousands of pilgrims in a hajj celebrating the life of the 7th century prophet Muhammad. They stopped in Mina before heading on to Mount Arafat as part of a five-day cycle of prayer. Government officials set up more than 40 thousand fire-proof tents in Mina to temporarily house the pilgrims.

Source:Associated Press

World's oldest mother gives birth to twins, one dies

In Bucharest, Romania, a 66-year-old woman who was impregnated via in vitro fertilization gave birth to a 1.4 kilogram (3.1 pound) baby girl through caesarean section. A twin died. Romania has no age limit on in vitro fertilization.

Source:Reuters