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North and South Korean officials sat down on Thursday for rare talks aimed at setting up a sustainable high-level dialogue that has constantly eluded the two rivals. The meeting at the border truce village of Panmunjom began shortly before 1:00pm (0400 GMT) and marked the first inter-governmental interaction since August when the two sides met to defuse a crisis that had pushed them to the brink of an armed conflict. A similar effort back in June 2013 saw both sides agree to hold what would have been the first high-level dialogue for six years -- only for Pyongyang to cancel a day before the scheduled meeting.
Russia said Thursday that it would reinforce control over Turkish food imports citing frequent violations of safety standards, as tensions surged with Ankara over the downing of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border. Some 15 percent of Turkish agricultural produce does not meet Russian standards with levels of pesticides, nitrates and nitrites considerably above safe limits, Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said. "Taking into account repeated violations by Turkish producers of Russian norms, the Russian government has tasked (the food safety agency) Rosselkhoznadzor with reinforcing control over supplies of agricultural produce and food from Turkey," Tkachev said.
By Philip Pullella and George Obulutsa NAIROBI (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Thursday in Kenya, which has seen a spate of attacks by Islamist militants, that dialogue between religions in Africa was essential to teach young people that violence in God's name was unjustified. Bridging divisions between Muslims and Christians is a main theme of his first tour of the continent that also takes him to Uganda, which like Kenya has seen a number of Islamist attacks, and the Central African Republic, riven by sectarian conflict. Starting his first full day in the Kenyan capital, Francis met Muslim and other religious leaders before saying an open-air Mass for tens of thousands of rain-drenched people who sang, danced and ululated as he arrived in an open popemobile.