Iraqi officials say assailants targeted the convoys of two Iraqi government ministers in separate attacks in Baghdad today (Tuesday). Neither official was hurt, but five other people were killed in the attacks. Police say a bomb exploded near a vehicle carrying Iraq's environment minister (Mishkat Moumin), killing four people. A group linked to Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it would not fail the next time.
A second attack targeting the convoy of the education minister (Sami Mudhafar) killed one of his bodyguards. Meanwhile, U.S. warplanes carried out overnight bombing raids in Najaf, as part of an ongoing operation against Shi'ite militiamen loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
Schools, businesses and financial markets in Taipei are closed as Typhoon Aere makes its way towards northern Taiwan. Forecasters say the storm is packing winds of 120 kilometers per hour, with gusts hitting 155 kilometers per hour. It is expected to slam into Taiwan's northeast coast later today (Tuesday), if it maintains its present course.
The World Bank plans to hold talks in Thailand next week on a controversial dam project in Laos. The bank says the August 31 meeting in Bangkok is one of a series of discussions on the planned Nam Theun 2 project. Similar talks are scheduled for Vientiane, Washington, Tokyo and Paris.
The project has been delayed due to a lack of international agreement over the dam's environmental and social impacts. The World Bank has not decided whether to grant a risk guarantee to the project, which would displace an estimated 5,700 people from the central Lao province of Khammouane.
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