Thai, Cambodian armies agree to ease border tensions

thailandBangkok- Army officers representing Thailand and Cambodia on Friday agreed to ease border tensions around the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, the site of a clash that claimed three lives earlier this month, state news reports said.

The tentative agreement between the two militaries was reached at the Thai-Cambodian Regional Border Committee (RBC) meeting held in the Cambodian northwestern province of Siem Reap, reported the Thai News Agency (TNA).

Some 400 Iraqi Christians flee to Syria

Iraq MapBaghdad - After a series of atrocities against Iraqi Christians in Mosul, around 400 Christians arrived in Syria to escape the harsh conditions of home, according to a statement by a Syrian refugee assistance organization Friday.

In the last few days, some 20 Christian families arrived in the city of Qamhley, which is close to the Syrian-Iraqi border, said Lauren Gul, a representative of the refugee assistance group.

Many industrial nations heading for recession, OECD says

OECDParis  - It will take some time to recover from the current economic slowdown, and many industrial nations will eventually plunge into recession, chief OECD economist Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel said in an interview made public on Friday.

"Our base scenario is built on the premise that the current freeze in short-term financial markets will be resolved in a relatively short time span, but that bank deleveraging and recapitalisation, as well as re-building of trust in the markets, will take much more time," Schmidt-Hebbel said.

Weakened Czech premier cancels US trip owing to domestic politics

Prague, CzechPrague - Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has cancelled next week's four-day US trip, including a White House visit with President George W Bush, to focus on domestic politics, his spokeswoman said Friday.

Topolanek, one of the most pro-US leaders in Eastern Europe, is fighting for his political survival after his senior ruling Civic Democrats were trounced in a regional election last week.

The premier decided to stay in Prague between October 29 and November 1 to both deal with domestic political troubles and back Czech-US missile defence treaties that parliament could take up next week, his spokeswoman Jana Bartosova said.

Austrian authorities to reinvestigate Kampusch abduction case

Austrians vote in early parliamentary electionsVienna- Austrian authorities said Friday they would soon start a new probe into the abduction and eight years of incarceration of Natascha Kampusch, in order to investigate whether her abductor had accomplices.

The decision came after an independent commission installed by the interior ministry found flaws in the investigations in July.

EU, Asia to press Myanmar for political tolerance

ChinaBeijing - Asian and European leaders plan to urge Myanmar's military rulers to be more tolerant toward opposition political parties and release political prisoners, according to a draft summit statement seen Friday.

The leaders attending the biennial Asia-Europe Meeting would urge Myanmar to "engage all stakeholders in an inclusive political process in order to achieve national reconciliation and economic and social development."