Biden, in Moscow, turns to talk of trade
Vice President Biden told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday that he had been around Washington so long he actually knew Sen. Henry Jackson and Rep. Charles Vanik, authors of a 1974 trade restriction law that is still an irritant in U.S.-Russian relations. It is high time to get rid of it, he said.
At the meeting at Medvedev's country estate outside Moscow, Biden emphasized Washington's support for Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization. But at a meeting with Russian and U.S. business leaders earlier in the day at Skolkovo - the site that Medvedev hopes to turn into Russia's Silicon Valley - Biden also stressed that Russia must do more to shore up the rule of law and to tackle "endemic corruption."
Russia's business climate, he said, is particularly difficult for small- and medium-size enterprises.
Medvedev said the two countries had improved their political relationship over the past year but now need to work on economic issues. Investment and trade between the United States and Russia are both at relatively low levels.
As Biden looked on, Boeing and Aeroflot signed a $2 billion deal Wednesday under which the Russian airline will buy eight planes from the American manufacturer.
- Will Englund
Bomber kills dozens in northwestern city
A suicide bomber killed at least 36 people and injured dozens of others at a funeral being held Wednesday by an anti-Taliban militia in the suburbs of the northwestern city of Peshawar, police and government officials said.
The Pakistani Taliban, which regularly attacks tribal militias organized to combat insurgents, asserted responsibility for the attack.
The blast came during funeral prayers for the wife of a militia member, said Dilawar Khan, the group's leader. Pakistani media reported that the bomber was a teenager who pretended to be attending the funeral.
Khan's tribe, the Adezai, formed a "peace committee" three years ago with government encouragement, and police say his and other similar groups have helped slow violence in Peshawar.
But Khan and other militias complain that the government and police provide them with little support, leaving the militias, known as lashkars, vulnerable.
The Adezai lashkar voted last Thursday to abandon its efforts within a week if the government did not provide more assistance, Khan said. He added: "We are being killed, but the rulers are just paying lip service."