■ South Korea
Roh quitting ruling party
President Roh Moo-hyun was expected to quit South Korea's ruling party yesterday, his office said, in a move widely expected after a group of lawmakers loyal to him broke away to form a new party because of internal feuding.The presidential Blue House did not mention whether Roh would join the new party. "It has been made after a judgment that there is no need for the issue to be a target of argument any longer when the president's membership in a party has already become a target of exhausting political attacks," Roh's office said in a statement, referring to his decision to quit the Millennium Democratic Party. The break-up of the ruling party on Sept. 20 followed months of feuding between lawmakers loyal to Roh and others loyal to the party's founder, former president Kim Dae-jung.
Court rules for Chinese
In a landmark ruling, a Japanese court yesterday awarded US$1.7 million in damages to Chinese people whose relatives were killed or who themselves were injured from 1974 to 1995 by chemical weapons dumped by the defeated Japanese Imperial Army. The ruling at the Tokyo District Court for total damages of ¥190 million, came as China is urging Japan to speed up the disposal of abandoned weapons after one man died and more than 30 were injured last month by mustard gas dumped by Japan in northeast China. The 13 plaintiffs, who brought action in December 1996, had been demanding ¥20 million each in damages. They argued the Japanese military dumped massive quantities of poison gas such as mustard gas and lewisite in China as they withdrew in 1945, destroying all records of the stockpiles.
Cambodian beggers airlifted
Thailand yesterday began flying home 621 illegal Cambodian migrants who were rounded up during the past week in a drive to clear beggars from Bangkok before it hosts a summit of APEC leaders next month, officials said. Three C-130 cargo plans were making two flights each to fly the detainees to Phnom Pehn in Thailand's first such mass deportation of illegal migrants by air, an official said. City officials plan to remove some 10,000 beggars, prostitutes and homeless people from the streets ahead of the Oct. 20-21 meeting. A Thai army general at the airport told reporters that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was upset at Thailand for publicizing the deportations.
■ Hong Kong
Youth don't feel Chinese
Six years after Hong Kong was returned to Chinese sovereignty, young people in the former British colony say they prefer to think of themselves as Hong Kongers rather than Chinese. A survey of more than 4,500 secondary-school students released yesterday found the majority of students considered Chinese people as "mainlanders" and liked to call themselves Hong Kongers. Students also said they believed Hong Kongers had better civil qualities than their counterparts in China. Forty percent said they did not care about news from China and 80 percent said they were in favor of democracy, freedom and equality.
World's oldest man dies
The world's oldest man, Yukichi Chuganji, has died at 114 in southern Japan.
Bike bomb kills 11 people
A remote-controlled bomb killed 11 people and wounded at least 40 in southern Colombia on Sunday when it ripped through a crowded street lined with restaurants and discos, authorities said. The government blamed the blast on leftist rebels. The bomb, weighing about 5kg bomb and attached to a motorcycle, exploded at about 3am in Florencia, 335km south of Bogota, as revelers were leaving bars to go home. A 12-year-old boy who sold candies on the street and two patrolling police officers were among the dead. A 15-year-old girl had a leg amputated in hospital, doctors and military officials said.