Only North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il appeared unenthusiastic about his summit with South Korea's president. In contrast to the cheering crowds that greeted Roh Moo-hyun on his arrival in Pyongyang, Kim showed little, if any, emotion as the two prepared for their formal discussions Wednesday. Reports said his only words to Roh were, "I'm glad to meet you." Roh (above, flanked at a welcoming dinner by his wife, Kwon Yang-sook, and North Korea's No. 2 leader, Kim Yong-nam) has said his goal in the talks is to promote mutual prosperity and peace.
Making his first visit to Iraq as prime minister of Britain, Gordon Brown said he anticipates withdrawing 500 more of his nation's troops by year's end – for a total of 1,000. Analysts saw the announcement as a new hint that Brown will call an early election, since the war is deeply unpopular in Britain and he enjoys a high approval rating in opinion polls. Of the four Iraqi provinces over which Britain had control, only Basra has yet to be handed back to government forces. Above, British Gen. Bill Rollo (in beret) briefs Brown en route to a meeting in Baghdad.
Only if there's general agreement with Israel on all major issues beforehand will the Palestinian Authority participate in next month's peace conference, the Jerusalem Post reported. But, citing authority sources, it said they believe enough time remains to concur on "the principles" of a final peace settlement before the conference. Among the key issues: the borders of a future Palestinian state, the so-called right of return for Palestinian refugees, and sharing the region's water supply. Negotiators for both sides are expected to accompany the Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders when they meet Wednesday in Jerusalem.
Israel freed 29 Palestinian prisoners from the Gaza Strip, a day later than those released to the West Bank. The moves fulfilled a promise to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last month, although it angered many Israelis because militants in Gaza still hold Pvt. Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped in June 2006.
Eighty-five opposition members of Pakistan's parliament quit Tuesday in protest against the reelection bid of President Pervez Musharraf. They were not, however, joined by legislators from former Prime Minister Benzair Bhutto's People's Party, although she has warned that they still might leave unless her demands for political reform are met. Bhutto is due to return from exile later this month. In anticipation, the government will drop corruption charges against her, sources said.
For the second time in less than a week, the Taliban claimed responsibility for bombing a bus in Afghanistan's capital. The attack killed 13 people. Last Friday, a Defense Ministry bus was bombed, resulting in 30 deaths. The Taliban vowed an offensive during Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, and have carried out six attacks so far. Ramadan ends in two weeks.
Two men of Bosnian citizenship were under arrest in Austria Tuesday after one of them was prevented from carrying a backpack laden with explosives into the US Embassy. Also in his possession was what appeared to be an Islamic prayer manual. Police said the suspects are acquaintances, although it wasn't clear whether either has ties to extremist groups. Last month, three Al Qaeda suspects were arrested after a video posted on an Internet site threatened attacks in Austria unless its military personnel were withdrawn from Afghanistan.
In a new bid to tame soaring inflation and a growing reliance on the black market, Zimbabwe's central bank announced it will lop more zeroes off the currency. It also raised interest rates on borrowed money from 650 percent to 800 percent. Zimbabwe's inflation rate, the highest in the world, is officially listed as 6,593 percent. The Central Bank also eliminated three zeroes from the currency in August.