"US to Join Iran, Syria in Talks on Iraq
The Bush administration has announced it will take part in talks with Iran and Syria at two international meetings on Iraq. This would mark the highest-level contact with Iranian officials in more than two years. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice confirmed the plans during testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"Meanwhile in Iraq, the Pentagon has admitted to botching a controlled explosion in Ramadi. Flying shrapnel and glass injured thirty-one people, including several children. The announcement followed an unconfirmed report more than a dozen children were killed in a large explosion. In Baghdad, Iraqi police say they recovered least thirty-bodies on Tuesday. The Pentagon also announced the deaths of five more US troops."* amy:
"The Bush administration has announced it will reject any Italian extradition request for CIA agents indicted in the kidnapping of the Egyptian cleric Abu Omar. Twenty-six Americans have been ordered to stand trial for Omar’s abduction on the streets of Milan more than three years ago. Omar was flown to Egypt where he says he was tortured."* amy:
"McConnell Names Chavez in Global Threat Hearing
Back on Capital Hill, newly appointed Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Speaking in a hearing on global threats, McConnell singled out Venezeluan President Hugo Chavez.Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell: "In Venezuela, Chavez [referring to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez] is using his popularity to undercut the opposition and eliminate checks on his authority. He is among the most strident anti-American leaders anywhere in the world and will continue to try to undercut U.S. Influence in Latin America and Internationally."McConnell went on to strongly suggest he believes Cuban President Fidel Castro will not live to see next year."