IRAQ: Syria and Iraq have restored diplomatic relations after a nearly quarter-century break. Iraqi officials say ties were normalized today (Tuesday) during Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem's visit to Baghdad. A U.S. National Security Council spokesman (Gordan Johndroe) called on Syria to show it is committed to a constructive role and stop the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq. He added that the United States has always encouraged Iraq's neighbors to support the country. In other developments, Iraqi officials say President Jalal Talabani will meet in Tehran Saturday with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Officials denied reports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would join the talks.
BUSH ASIA: President Bush says he has not decided whether to raise or lower the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. Mr. Bush made the comment Monday during a brief visit to Indonesia, where thousands of protesters gathered to demonstrate against the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Bush said he viewed the protests against U.S. policy as a healthy indication of democracy and freedom in Indonesia.
INDIA CHINA: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says his country will work with China to boost two-way trade to 40 billion dollars by 2010. Mr. Singh made the announcement in New Delhi today (Tuesday), following a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The leaders also agreed to speed up talks on a decades-old border dispute. The two countries fought a border war in 1962 and still claim parts of each other's territory along India's northern border.
THAILAND POL: An anti-corruption agency appointed by Thailand's interim government has ordered the brother-in-law of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to pay nearly 15-million dollars in back taxes. The Assets Examination Committee said today (Tuesday) that Bhanapot Damapong owes the taxes on shares of telecom giant Shin Corporation he obtained in 1997. Shin Corp was founded by Mr. Thaksin. His family sold a controlling sake in the corporation in January, avoiding a 30-percent capital gains tax.
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