In another new sign of the growing warmth between China and Taiwan, the former offered $19 billion in loans for companies that do business on the mainland. The Beijing government also will consider any request for help during the global economic downturn, senior officials said. Taiwanese exports hit a three-year low last month. Last week, the two sides agreed to lift three-decade-old barriers to air and sea travel.Skip to next paragraph
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If ordered, Israeli forces could "conquer" the Gaza Strip, senior officers told the Jerusalem Post as Palestinian rockets fell on Ashkelon and the border town of Sderot. Israeli jets responded with a missile strike that took out a rocket launcher and killed one Palestinian. Tensions along the border have escalated rapidly since the cease-fire between Hamas and Israel ended last Friday.
In a defiant speech to his party's annual convention, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe said he'd never go to his "political death" by surrendering power. He also vowed not to allow a unity government to reverse his controversial policy of confiscating white-owned farms. Mugabe urged the ZANU-PF movement to prepare for a new national election if the stalled power-sharing negotiations collapse. Against that backdrop, the US no longer can support the power-sharing plan if it leaves Mugabe in office, senior envoy Jendayi Frazer said Sunday.
With invocations by both Hindu and Muslim clerics, two hotels in Mumbai, India, that were at the center of last month's terrorist attacks reopened partially Sunday. But guards at the Oberoi and Taj Mahal checked the identity papers of all arrivals, and they and their luggage had to pass by sniffer dogs and through metal detectors and X-ray scanners. The reopening was largely symbolic, since India's vital tourism industry already was experiencing a down year when the attacks occurred.