Nato's Rasmussen steps into firing line Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's monthly press conference in Brussels promises to be a a delicate matter, with defence alliance members divided over possible military attacks on Syria over alleged use of chemical weapons. While Rasmussen has stated that Nato will play no part in any military intervention, US President Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve some form of American action, with France willing to assist. Xi takes the long road to St Petersburg President Xi Jinping has a busy week ahead, with state visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan starting tomorrow, en route to the G20 summit in St Petersburg on Thursday and Friday. Xi and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will present a united front on global security issues to counterbalance the United States, observers say. Elton John to be honoured as pop icon Veteran pop star Elton John will be honoured with a special award, recognising his "lasting impact" on Britain's national culture. During a special concert in London, the 66-year-old singer, who has sold hundreds of millions of records around the world, will be the first artist to receive a Brit Icon Award in what is to become an annual honour to celebrate major figures in music. Hope for more positive factory figures Following encouraging figures from the mainland's National Bureau of Statistics showing significant expansion in factory activity, a separate purchasing managers' index survey sponsored by HSBC is set to be published today. This PMI survey, which will be keenly awaited by the business community, will focus on small- and medium-sized firms in the private sector. Back-to-school protest over teacher On the day the schools return following the summer break, protesters plan to hand in a letter to Pui Ling School of the Precious Blood in Fanling, complaining about the conduct of teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze, who swore at police during an incident in Mong Kok. India to roll out C-17 transport aircraft Indian Defence Minister A. K. Antony will formally induct the American-built Boeing C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft into service at Hindon Air Base, near New Delhi, boosting the air force's strategic airlift capabilities. The US Air Force will complete delivery of all 10 planes by the end of next year. Federer and Nadal on collision course Great tennis rivals Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal are on course for a first-ever meeting at the US Open in New York. The Swiss and the Spaniard have never played each other at the year's final grand slam tournament but will meet in the quarter-finals if they see off today's opponents.