AFP World News Agenda

What's happening around the world on Wednesday:


+ Cyprus party leaders meet to stave off bankruptcy

+ Obama begins visit to Israel, Palestinian territories

+ Warlord Ntaganda awaits transfer to war crimes court

NICOSIA/MOSCOW: Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades calls an emergency meeting of party leaders in a bid to save the island from bankruptcy, as a controversial bailout deal sealed with eurozone partners appears to be unravelling. Meeting expected to start at 0700 GMT. Picture. Video. Graphic. (CYPRUS-ECONOMY-EU-FINANCE)

-- MOSCOW: Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris, battling a banking crisis at home, meets his Russian counterpart Anton Siluanov in the hope of extending a 2.5-billion-euro loan Moscow issued to the island in 2011. No timing announced. Picture. (CYPRUS-RUSSIA-ECONOMY-EU-FINANCE)

TEL AVIV/JERUSALEM: US President Barack Obama arrives for a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, his first since taking the White House more than four years ago. Picture. Video (ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-US-OBAMA-DIPLOMACY)

-- Obama lands at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv at 1025 GMT, meets Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem at 1400 GMT, and holds a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at 1810 GMT.

KIGALI: Bosco Ntaganda, a Democratic Republic of Congo rebel leader wanted by the International Criminal Court who surrendered to the US Embassy in Rwanda, awaits transfer for trial in The Hague. (DRCONGO-UNREST-RWANDA-ICC)


BANGUI: A deadline given by Seleka rebels in Central African Republic, who have pledged to resume hostilities if demands agreed with the government in a peace deal in Libreville two months ago are not met, expires Wednesday. The rebels are holding five ministers who joined the country's unity government from Seleka's own rebel ranks. (CENTRAFRICA-UNREST-REBELS)

LONDON: Britain's finance minister George Osborne unveils his annual budget, which is likely to stick firmly to an austerity drive despite the economy coming close to another recession. Picture. Video. (BRITAIN-ECONOMY-BUDGET)

-- Up to 250,000 public sector workers set to strike over job losses, pay and pensions in action timed to coincide with the budget. Picture. (BRITAIN-ECONOMY-PUBLIC-STRIKE)

NEW DELHI: India's lower house passes a bill toughening punishment for sex offenders, including the death penalty if a victim dies, after the fatal gang-rape of a student that sparked national outrage. (INDIA-PARLIAMENT-RAPE-LAW)

ROME: Italian President Giorgio Napolitano begins formal negotiations on the formation of a new government nearly a month after inconclusive elections that have left Italy in limbo. (ITALY-POLITICS)

TOKYO: Monitoring situation at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant after engineers succeed in restarting three cooling systems following a power cut (JAPAN-DISASTER-ACCIDENT-NUCLEAR-ENERGY)

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis from 1000 GMT receives representatives of other Christian denominations, a day after his formal inauguration as leader of the Catholic world. Picture. (VATICAN-RELIGION-POPE)

WASHINGTON: The Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day Federal Open Market Committee monetary policy meeting, widely expected to maintain the central bank's ultra-loose monetary policy. Statement expected at 1800 GMT, followed by news conference with Chairman Ben Bernanke at 1830 GMT. (US-ECONOMY-BANK-RATE)