Fri, Jul 29, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Japan
Former spy saw abductees

A former North Korean spy told Japanese lawmakers yesterday that he was aware of about 15 Japanese who had been kidnapped and were living in the communist country. An Myong-jin defected to South Korea in 1993. North Korea has admitted to kidnapping 13 Japanese, but many in Japan suspect the number of victims is higher and some may still be living in the reclusive state. "I have firsthand information, including my own eyes, of 15 Japanese alive in North Korea," An told a special committee on the abductions in parliament. An also said that the total number could be as high as 30.

■ China

Great Hall conserves energy

China's top leaders could face a torrid time this summer at meetings with foreign dignitaries at Beijing's Great Hall of the People. With the nation sweltering in a seemingly endless heatwave, and soaring electricity demand threatening widespread power cuts, authorities decided to set an example by reducing consumption. They decreed that air conditioners in meeting rooms at the cavernous hall on Tiananmen Square should be set at 25?C and go on 30 minutes at most before a function. Lights go on five minutes beforehand.

■ Indonesia

EU to lead Aceh mission

The EU will lead a peace monitoring mission to Indonesia's Aceh province to oversee a deal to end three decades of conflict between rebels and the government. The 200-strong team could move into place as early as Aug. 16, a day after a peace deal is to be signed. Cristina Gallach, spokeswoman for the EU's foreign policy chief, said, "All the monitors will be civilians. It's not a military mission."

■ China
Silk Road antiquities at risk

As much as 90 percent of the cultural relics along the ancient Silk Road in northwest China have been defaced or seriously damaged by environmental elements. Wind and rain erosion as well as desertification have led to serious damage of frescoes, Xinhua said. Air pollution has also led to erosion and even collapse of ancient buildings, grottoes and tombs at many of China's World Heritage sites in the heavily polluted area. Insufficient maintenance and human activities, especially tourism, are also blamed for the damage.

■ Philippines

Most want Arroyo to resign

About 73 percent of Filipinos want embattled Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo out of office, a nationwide poll showed yesterday. The percentage of those who do not want Arroyo to continue as president increased from 61 percent last month, when vote-rigging allegations against her sparked calls for her resignation. The poll also showed that 22 percent believe that Arroyo's holding on to power until her term ends in 2010 was "most inimical/destructive" to the country. Of those who want Arroyo out of office, 34 percent said her resignation or impeachment and the subsequent holding of snap elections "is best for the country".

■ Japan

Disputed textbooks approved

A disputed history textbook accused of glorifying Japan's militaristic past was approved for use in 26 Tokyo schools. Students will begin studying the controversial history text published by Fusosha Publishing Inc at the start of the new Japanese school year next spring, Tokyo school board official Michiyo Kura said. Many say both textbooks gloss over the Japanese Imperial Army's atrocities such as the massacre of civilians in Nanking, China, in the 1930s, and the use of Asian women as sex slaves by Japanese soldiers during World War II. The textbooks fail to mention sexual slavery, and relegate the Nanking killings to a footnote.

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