Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia gave intelligence reports to the Bush administration suggesting that the government of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was preparing terrorist attacks in the US or against US targets overseas. \nBut officials at the US State Department expressed surprise, saying they knew of no such information from Russia, Reuters reported. \nPutin said Russia's intelligence services received and passed along the information after the Sept. 11 attacks and before the US-led invasion of Iraq in March last year. He gave no details of the nature of the intelligence or the type of attacks reportedly being prepared. \nPutin said Russian "special services" had received information about plans for terrorist attacks "more than once." He said that US President George W. Bush had "personally thanked the chief of one of the Russian special services for that information, which he considered very important." \nPutin added, however, that Russia had no information that anyone in Iraq carried out the plans for attacks. And he emphasized that the intelligence did not change Russia's opposition to Bush's decision to go to war, in part because of administration assertions of Iraq's support for terrorism. Putin said the criteria for resorting to military force were clearly defined and "were not observed" in the US-led war to overthrow Saddam. \n"It is one thing to have information that Saddam's regime is preparing terrorist attacks, but we did not have information that it was involved in any terrorist acts," Putin said in remarks from Kazakhstan that were carried by official news agencies and broadcast on state television. \nState Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters he did not know anything about the information that Putin said Russia passed on. No such information was communicated from Russia through the State Department, he said. \n"Everybody's scratching their heads," another State Department official said. \nPutin, who has cultivated a warm relationship with Bush des-pite differences over the war, made his remarks a day after the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported in Washington that there was no clear evidence that Iraq had a relationship with al-Qaeda. That called into question a central rationale to the war, although Bush disputed the finding. \nPutin's remarks could be interpreted as lending credence to the Bush administration's concerns over Iraq and whether it supported terrorism in the months before the war, but it was impossible to say how credible the Russian intelligence reports were. \nA Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, declined to elaborate on Putin's remarks, but said that intelligence reports alone could not justify the use of force against another country. \n"If we all start wars based on intelligence," Peskov said, "then it will be the end of the world."
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South