- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Military exchanges with India to intensify

BEIJING — China and India pledged yesterday to deepen military exchanges during a visit by Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the latest sign of warming relations between the neighbors and one-time foes.

Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan said China supported greater cooperation with India, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, after talks between the two. It did not give details.

The world’s most populous nations, China and India fought a border war in 1962, and New Delhi has been suspicious of Beijing’s traditionally close ties with South Asian rival Pakistan.


4 Palestinians slain in Israeli copter attack

GAZA CITY — Four Palestinians, including three militants from the radical Palestinian group Islamic Jihad, were killed yesterday in an Israeli helicopter attack in northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical and security officials said.

Nine Palestinians were wounded in the strike near Beit Lahiya, the sources said.

The Israeli army confirmed the attack and said an infantry unit had been engaged in combat with Islamic Jihad militants trying to launch rockets into Israel. It was the first time Israeli forces carried out an operation inside the Gaza Strip since the Israeli withdrawal from the territory in September.


Prodi’s bloc eyes big local wins

ROME — Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s center-left bloc, in its first test since narrowly winning a general election, looked set yesterday to sweep at least three major cities in mayoral races, according to projected results.

Mr. Prodi’s candidates had a clear advantage in Rome, Turin and Naples and may force an unexpected runoff in Milan, a center-right stronghold and the home turf of opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi, according to two pollsters.

Milan, Italy’s financial capital, has not had a center-left mayor since 1993.


Chen’s son-in-law questioned in probe

TAIPEI — Taiwanese prosecutors yesterday questioned leader Chen Shui-bian’s detained son-in-law for a second time as part of an investigation into a snowballing insider-trading scandal.

Chao Chien-ming, married to Mr. Chen’s daughter, is the first member of Taiwan’s first family to be held in custody in a scandal that has caused the leader’s popularity to sink to historic lows and sparked opposition calls for his resignation.

“Prosecutors questioned Chao to get more information on the insider trading case,” Taipei prosecutor Lin Ban-liang said, declining to give details.

Prosecutors first summoned Mr. Chao for questioning last week.


Fox’s record no help to party

XALAPA — President Vicente Fox’s record is not winning votes for the ruling party’s candidate to replace him, a senior aide said, with about a month to go before what is expected to be a close election.

Felipe Calderon, the candidate of Mr. Fox’s conservative National Action Party, has tried during the campaign to link himself to Mr. Fox’s more popular policies while promising better results if he is elected July 2.

But Juan Molinar, a senior policy adviser to Mr. Calderon, said the overall effect of Mr. Fox’s record in office on Mr. Calderon’s chances at the polls has been neutral, even though most people approve of the president.

An opinion poll yesterday showed Mr. Calderon losing his recent lead and in a dead heat with left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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