CIA rethinks nuclear threat
The CIA has revised an earlier intelligence estimate and now believes North Korea has begun reprocessing spent nuclear-fuel rods into plutonium for weapons, The Washington Times reported yesterday. Citing unnamed US officials, the newspaper said reprocessing the 8,000 stored nuclear fuel rods would be a key indicator that Pyongyang has abandoned past commitments to freeze its nuclear-arms program. A review of intelligence on the nuclear-rod reprocessing began in April after North Korea's representative to nuclear talks with the US and China in Beijing stated that the reprocessing was nearly finished, the report said.
US fighter jets spotted
Indonesia's air force sent fighter planes to intercept what it said were five US F-18 jets flying in the country's airspace over the Java sea, an air force spokesman said yesterday. Captain Lubis said air force radar detected the F-18 Hornet planes maneuvering over Bawean Island off the eastern coast of Java island on Thursday. Lubis, who goes by a single name, said several F-16 fighter planes were deployed to intercept the planes. He declined to provide more details, saying the air force would hold a media conference later yesterday.
`Tommy' appeals sentence
The youngest son of ex-dictator Suharto has appealed his 15-year jail sentence for ordering the assassination of a judge, a court spokesman said yesterday. Andi Samsam Nganro said lawyers of Hutomo Mandala Putra, known as "Tommy," filed the appeal to the Supreme Court Wednesday. Nganro said he did not know the grounds for the appeal, which by law must contain new evidence. Tommy's lawyers could not be reached for comment. Tommy was found guilty in July last year of ordering the shooting of Syafiuddin Kartasasmita, who had earlier convicted him of corruption in a multimillion dollar land deal.
Floods threaten city
Emergency crews raced the clock yesterday to fortify defenses against the coming high tide as the fall-out from a building collapse caused by the cave-in of a subway tunnel continued, state media said yesterday. The building, located in the Bund district, collapsed Tuesday morning while work was being done on a tunnel being built 20m underground for a new subway line crossing the city's Huangpu River. The subsidence led to a break in a nearby dyke when a temporary flood wall built by hundreds of soldiers to hold back waters from the Huangpu River tumbled at noon Thursday, the China Daily said. The river is being kept at bay by another sandbag wall 5m high and nearly 100m long.
Urinating man electrocuted
A 27-year-old Thai man was electrocuted while urinating near a power utility pole during a monsoon downpour, news reports said yesterday. Witnesses said the victim, Pallop Thachao, got out of his car to relieve himself along a toll road in Bangkok's Prawet district on Wednesday night. Police said they believe Pallop was killed as a result of a shock from an exposed electric cable that was submerged by flooding during a heavy downpour. "There was also some water near the [electricity] poles," The Nation newspaper quoted Prawet police Captain Narongchai Sajjathai as saying. Police said Pallop had a prosthetic leg, which could have acted as a conductor for the electric shock.