BRICS Leaders Gather in Russia for Economic Summit
Representatives of the five BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa - are gathering in the Russian city of Ufa Thursday for their annual summit, amid tight security.
The group is to begin this month operating a $100 billion currency pool seen as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund.
The BRICS New Development Bank is expected to start financing infrastructure projects in the five BRICS nations next year. Representatives from the five nations finalized their plans and contributions at a pre-summit meeting on Tuesday.
The BRICS nations have in common the fact that they are relatively newly industrialized nations with fast-growing economies and considerable clout on the international stage.
Attending the summit are Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and South African President Jacob Zuma.
Pope Francis Continues South American Tour in Bolivia
Pope Francis was greeted by Bolivian President Evo Morales when he arrived Wednesday on the second leg of his three-nation tour of his home continent of South America.
The pontiff told a crowd of thousands who gathered at the airport in the capital of La Paz that Bolivia "is making important steps towards including broad sectors in the country's economic, social and political life."
Mr. Morales said the visit of the Argentinean-born pope represents support for the "liberation" of the Bolivian people. Relations between Bolivia's Catholic Church and the Bolivian government became strained after Mr. Morales, the country's first indigenous leader, first took office in 2006, but have improved since Francis's election in 2013.
The pope later traveled into La Paz for talks with Mr. Morales and other political and civic leaders. During the trip, Francis stopped his motorcade at the spot where the body of Jesuit priest Luis Espinal was found in 1980 after he was arrested and tortured by Bolivian paramilitary squads.