Afghanistan: Authorities in southern Afghanistan say a suicide bomber on a motorcycle has killed an Afghan employee of a U.S. security firm and wounded three others.
Police say the bomber detonated his explosives (today/Monday) as he passed a convoy of the American-based firm, U.S. Protection and Investigation (USPI), on a road in Kandahar province.
There has been no claim of responsibility. Authorities suspect the Taleban.
The suicide bombing is the second this month in Kandahar against the American security firm. The Taleban claimed responsibility for the April 15th attack targeting a USPI vehicle that killed four Afghan employees.
Meanwhile, British military officials say two-thousand NATO-led and Afghan troops have begun a new offensive (British-led "Operation Silicon") in southern Helmand province to clear the Taleban from the country's main opium growing region.
Earlier today (Monday), the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan said 136 Taleban militants have been killed in two separate battles in western Herat province in recent days.
Iraq: Iraqi officials say at least 11 people have been killed in a series of attacks around the country today (Monday).
In western Baghdad, a suicide car bomber struck an Iraqi police checkpoint, killing at least four people. In other parts of the city, a roadside bomb killed a civilian, and gunmen killed a former general in Saddam Hussein's army.
Elsewhere, insurgents attacked a police station in the northern city of Mosul, prompting a firefight that left four gunmen dead. A car bomb also exploded in the city, killing a policeman.
In another development, the U.S. military says American and Iraqi forces killed eight militants late Sunday in a joint raid on a Shi'ite district of Baghdad. One Iraqi soldier also was killed.
US – EU Summit: President Bush will host an annual economic summit with his European Union counterparts today (Monday) at the White House.
Reports say global climate change is likely to top the agenda, but no significant progress is expected.
President Bush has refused to commit the United States to limiting its production of greenhouse emissions. Mr. Bush says it would hurt the U.S. economy. The 27-nation EU agreed last month to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Europe by 20 percent by the year 2020.
Scientists say greenhouse emissions are a key factor in climate changes responsible for global warming.
NoKor – Nuclear:
South Korean and Japanese media are reporting that North Korea has started procedures to withdraw previously frozen funds from a Macau bank, an important step in a six-nation deal aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.
Seoul's Yonhap news agency reports today (Monday) that an official at Macau's Banco Delta Asia said Pyongyang asked Macau authorities last week for help in transferring the 25 million dollars. The official said the funds could be wired to North Korea this week and that they could be sent through institutions in Singapore, Vietnam or Mongolia.
Also today (Monday), Japan's "Mainichi" newspaper quotes Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei as saying North Korea has asked that the funds be redirected through financial institutions in Russia and Italy.
North Korea says it will not begin closing its nuclear facilities until its money is returned.
China - Olympics – Rights: The London-based human rights group Amnesty International says repression is getting worse in China despite Beijing's promises to improve ahead of hosting the Olympic next year.
The group released a report today (Monday) accusing China of failing to better its human rights record. The group is especially concerned about the treatment of people who were forcibly evicted from their homes in Beijing to make room for Olympic venues.
Amnesty International's China researcher (, Mark Allison,) tells VOA the group is also worried about the large number of dissidents who remain under house arrest.
He says the government's zeal to present an image of stability and cleanliness is resulting in abuses not only against high-profile political dissidents, but also against petty criminals.
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