Wen Jiabao in NKorea

PYONGYANG: China's premier met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on Sunday at the start of a state visit, amid signs the North may be willing to restart talks over its nuclear weapons programs. Kim greeted Premier Wen Jiabao earlier in the day at Pyongyang's airport, a rare honor for a non-head of state and an indication that Kim remains firmly in charge despite recent reports of failing health. The two men embraced on a red carpet laid out on the tarmac. Wen's three-day visit is being scrutinized for any further indication that North Korea is willing to re-engage with its negotiating partners after boycotting talks for months while threatening nuclear war and conducting nuclear and missile tests. — AP

Kudos for Indian

New York: An Indian student in New York has been named to the ‘President’s List’ at the prestigious Berkeley College of the US in recognition of his outstanding academic achievement. Atit Kothari, hailing from Mumbai and studying at Westchester Campus in White Plains in New York, has been named to the President’s List of Berkeley for the spring 2009 quarter, a statement from the institute said. “Berkeley College is proud to recognise Atit for outstanding academic achievement,” said Berkeley College President Dario A Cortes. “Students who reflect this level of dedication become our future leaders,” he said.—Agencies

Oz promises security

Melbourne: A day after an Indian student was attacked in Melbourne, Victoria’s acting premier Rob Hulls on Saturday asserted that his government was firmly committed to prevent any violence against the Indian community since the state wanted “to remain as the most peaceful and diverse place in the world”. “We keep standing firm against any ignorance or violence that might undermine the diversity, therefore strength of our community,” Hulls spoke before lighting lamps at ‘Diwali’ celebration in front of a huge gathering. Commenting on the recent trip of Victorian premier John Brumby to India, Hulls said, “He (Brumby) was there to deliver the simple message that our relationship with India and with Indian community in Victoria is strong and will not be and never be undermined.” — Agencies

Swine flu warning

GENEVA: Poor countries face "explosive outbreaks" of the global swine flu pandemic and need speedy financial assistance to access vaccines, UN officials warned on Sunday. "What we see now is that the A(H1N1) virus is beginning to penetrate into some of the poorest communities in the world," said Julie Hall, an expert from the World Health Organisation. — AFP