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Split remains on N. Korea resolution

The United States and Japan insisted that the Security Council vote today on a proposed resolution condemning North Korea’s missile tests, despite continued disagreement with China and Russia over the document.

In a day of negotiations that ran late into the evening on Friday, Japan circulated a new draft text that sought to bridge the differences with China. But Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya said the document was unacceptable and renewed a threat to veto it.

The split had to do with one issue: whether the council should act under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which allows for the use of military force to make sure the resolution is obeyed. Invoking Chapter 7 is unacceptable to China and to Russia, who have introduced a rival draft.

“I think I would be forced to vote in a way which means there would be no action by the council,” Wang said, when asked if China would veto a text with Chapter 7.

The council has struggled for days over how best to respond to North Korea’s flurry of missile launches on July 5.

St. Petersburg, Russia

First lady visits orphans with HIV

Laura Bush danced and played with HIV-infected orphans on Friday and said it is her wish to see a generation of children free of AIDS.

Laura Bush visited the orphanage on the outskirts of the city after arriving with President Bush for the Group of Eight summit. She held the children’s hands and joined them in the “chicken dance.”

The first lady told doctors at the Federal Pediatrics AIDS Center that she hoped to find out “what we can do to stop the transmission of AIDS to have a whole generation HIV-free, as well as be able to treat children so they can live a normal life.”

“We also need to reduce the stigma associated with HIV,” she said.

Many Russian parents abandon children with HIV because of social and economic pressure. The orphanage is home to about 40 children ranging in age from 1 to 8.

Mogadishu, Somalia

Government refuses to talk

Somalia’s nearly powerless government said Friday it would boycott peace talks with an Islamic militia that has seized control of most of the country’s south, noting the group wanted to topple the leadership and had massacred civilians.

The boycott was the latest setback in a swiftly deteriorating relationship between the internationally recognized government and the radical militia, which the United States accuses of harboring al-Qaida and wanting to impose a Taliban-style theocracy.

“The Islamic group has extreme views which cannot go with the world’s civilized and democratic system,” government minister Ismail Mohamud Hurreh told the Associated Press on the eve of today’s talks in Khartoum, Sudan, under the auspices of the Arab League.