Xi makes first presidential visit to Russia
President Xi Jinping visits Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin. In advance of his trip, Xi called Russia "our friendly neighbour", adding that his visit underscored the "great importance" China placed on relations. Both Syria and North Korea are expected to be a focus of the Xi-Putin talks, but commerce is expected to be at the forefront. In Moscow, the Kremlin said Putin and Xi would oversee the signing of a number of agreements but gave no details.
Hong Kong Sevens kicks off
The biggest game in town opens its doors as the 2013 Hong Kong Sevens tournament starts. This year 28 teams are taking part in the contest, separated into two separate competitions. This will see a 16-team main competition, involving the 15 core teams and Asian Sevens Series winners Hong Kong, played alongside a 12-team pre-qualification tournament. The festival also includes mini-rugby, youth games and the Hong Kong Women's Rugby Sevens contest.
EU faces hot debate on arming Syrian rebels
The European Union heads for a showdown over calls by Britain and France to arm Syria's rebels that are likely to run into resistance at two days of talks between the bloc's foreign ministers. Paris and London forced the issue on an EU summit only a week ago but found little to no support for their bid to tip the balance in favour of the Free Syrian Army. German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed "a number of concerns" and Austria warned that it would pull hundreds of its UN forces from the Golan Heights if the arms embargo were scrapped.
Co-operation theme of World Water Day
Around the world people celebrate World Water Day. The event, held annually since 1993, is intended to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate the sustainable management of freshwater resources. In 2013, in reflection of the International Year of Water Co-operation, World Water Day is also dedicated to the theme of co-operation around water.
Finnish retreat for European leaders
In Saariselka, Finland, European leaders convene for the Lapland Retreat 2013 hosted by Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen and Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb. The retreat brings representatives from Estonia, Latvia, The Netherlands, Denmark, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Ireland and Spain as well as the European Central Bank together for informal discussions on the future of Europe and the EU.
Bibliophiles flock to Paris Book Fair
The Paris Book Fair, the Salon du Livre, opens at the Paris Porte de Versailles. The four-day fair has nearly 1,100 exhibitors and attracts about 30,000 visitors including authors, booksellers and archivists. This year it focuses on authors from Romania and Barcelona.