- Pyongyang, North Korea – Two Koreas to hold first summit in seven years
South Korea’s President Roh Moo-Hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il will meet in Pyongyang from August 28-30 — their first summit in seven years to promote lasting peace on the peninsula, divided for 60 years by minefields and barbed wire.
- Kabul, Afghanistan – Taliban offer women hostages for female Afghan prisoners
The Taliban said Tuesday they were willing to swap women among the 21 South Korean hostages for any female Afghan prisoners held in US military bases in Afghanistan on a one-to-one basis.
- Singapore – Four gay events banned
Singapore has banned a gay rights group, People Like Us, from holding a picnic and fun run at a popular park, saying politics were not welcome in the country’s green spaces. This comes after last week’s bans on a gay rights forum and an exhibition of photographs depicting same-sex kissing.
- India – Relief arrives in India as Asian flood toll rises
Relief helicopters in India have continued dropping aid to millions of stranded flood victims as the worst monsoon rains to hit south Asia in decades forced them to take refuge on rooftops and in treetops. Nearly 25 million people have been displaced and an estimated 1400 killed across the region by the deluges, which have left vast swaths of eastern India, Bangladesh and Nepal under water.
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Muslim Malaysia is not a secular or an Islamic state, PM says
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said that Muslim-dominated Malaysia is neither a secular nor a theocratic state in an apparent bid to soothe rattled nerves among the country’s Chinese and Indian minorities after his deputy declared that Malaysia was an Islamic state.
- Hanoi, Vietnam – World Bank chief praises Vietnam’s war on poverty
World Bank President Robert Zoellick on Monday praised Vietnam as a “tremendous success story” in fighting poverty but said institutional reforms were needed as it seeks middle-income country status.
Photo of the Putrajaya Mosque in Malaysia’s administrative capital from Killer App: Is Malaysia an Islamic state, or is it not? The recent debate has rattled the nation’s ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.