AFP World News Agenda

What's happening around the world Thursday:


+ South Korea and US forces raise alert status

+ Syria and North Korea crises dominate G8 talks

+ President Obama hosts UN chief Ban

SEOUL: Monitoring after South Korean and US forces raised their alert status before an expected North Korean missile test, with tensions high in the build-up to a key anniversary, and the Pentagon warning Pyongyang it is "skating very close to a dangerous line" (NKOREA-SKOREA-US-MILITARY)

LONDON: G8 foreign ministers including US Secretary of State John Kerry hold a second and final day of talks dominated by Syria and North Korea. British Foreign Secretary William Hague press conference at 1415 GMT. Picture. Video (G8-DIPLOMACY-SYRIA-NKOREA)

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama hosts United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the White House. Picture (US-DIPLOMACY-UN)


LONDON: British government expected to release further details about the ceremonial funeral on April 17 of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher (BRITAIN-POLITICS-THATCHER). Picture. Video

GAO, Mali: France, which has begun to withdraw troops from Mali, presses on with a military campaign, especially near the northern city of Gao where it launched a major operation against armed Islamists four days ago. Picture (MALI-CONFLICT-QAEDA-FRANCE)

BAGHDAD: Tracking an uptick in violence nine days before provincial elections, the first in Iraq since US forces completed their withdrawal from the country at the end of 2011. (IRAQ-UNREST)

PARIS: Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault meets with parliamentary party chiefs for talks on new government transparency and anti-tax fraud measures in the wake of the scandal over an ex-minister's secret bank account. Picture (FRANCE-POLITICS-TAX-FRAUD)

MOSCOW: The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks speaks to reporters at 1000 GMT after discussing Russia's ongoing crackdown on non-governmental organisations with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Picture (RUSSIA-EU-POLITICS-RIGHTS)

SHANGHAI: Monitoring as the number of human cases of bird flu in China rises to 33, with nine deaths, and the Chinese authorities crack down on people they say are spreading false rumours about the outbreak over the Internet (HEALTH-FLU-CHINA)

ROME: The leader of Italy's biggest trade union, Susanna Camusso, holds a press conference at 1000 GMT as the country endures its worst recession since World War II and political parties remain deadlocked over forming a new government (ITALY-POLITICS-SOCIAL).

PARIS: French President Francois Hollande meets with Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara. 1400 GMT. Picture (FRANCE-ICOAST-DIPLOMACY)

CAPE TOWN: Desmond Tutu addresses media from 0830 GMT on his recent award of the Templeton Prize, before a celebration in St George's Cathedral where he rallied against the apartheid state when archbishop of Cape Town. Picture. Video (SAFRICA-RELIGION-PEOPLE-TUTU)

BIR ZEIT, Palestinian Territories: Laying of the cornerstone of a new museum of Palestinian culture, history and society. 0700 GMT. Video (PALESTINIANS-CULTURE-MUSEUM)