IRAQ: A senior Iranian diplomat in Baghdad has been abducted by gunmen appearing to be Iraqi army troops. A spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry says it holds U.S. responsible for the safety of its diplomat, who was seized in Baghdad's Karradah district late Sunday. The Iranian spokesman said the kidnappers were linked to Iraq's Defense Ministry "which worked under the supervision of American forces."
U.S BUDGET: Congress begins its scrutiny of President Bush's 2008 budget proposal today (Tuesday), just hours after White House officials released details of the two-point-nine-trillion-dollar spending plan. The Senate Armed Services Committee will open a hearing (shortly / in a few hours) on the defense portion of Mr. Bush's spending request. The budget lists 235 billion dollars for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to nearly 500 billion dollars for other Defense Department costs.
INDONESIA FLOODS: Indonesian authorities say huge areas of the capital remain submerged in water today (Tuesday), with officials warning of waterborne diseases. The death toll from five days of floods in Jakarta and surrounding areas has reached 36, with some 340-thousand people homeless. Officials say flooding in some parts of Jakarta has receded, but much of the city is still inundated. There are reports (by the Associated Press) that some people have been able to return to their homes.
BIRD FLU: Egyptian officials say a teenage girl has died from the H5N1 bird flu, the country's 12th death from the disease since it was first detected there a year ago. The Middle East News Agency (MENA) identified the victim as a 17-year-old from Fayoum, south of Cairo. Elsewhere, Hong Kong and South Korea have joined a list of countries imposing bans on British poultry following the country's first outbreak of the deadly strain.
THAILAND-AIRPORT: Thailand's government has agreed to reopen Bangkok's old Don Muang airport for international and domestic flights after a series of problems at the capital's new airport. Interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said today (Tuesday) the Cabinet decided to reopen the airport in order to make repairs at the city's multi-billion-dollar Suvarnabhumi [pron: soo-WAH-NAH-poom] airport. The old airport is expected to reopen in 45 days, with international flights to be divided between the two airports.
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