updated 8/19/2008 12:48:32 PM ET 2008-08-19T16:48:32

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, confronted with sudden array of global troubles, has dropped plans to attend the closing ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing this weekend.

She will be replaced by Labor Secretary Elaine Chao as leader of the U.S. delegation for Sunday’s finale.

National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the change was made “because of ongoing events around the world.”

Rice was in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday for a NATO meeting dealing with Russia’s invasion of Georgia. The U.S. also lost an ally in the war on terror with the resignation of Pakistan’s president, Pervez Musharraf.

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