- The Washington Times - Friday, February 7, 2003

PHILIPPINES
Communists admit 1980s purge, killings
MANILA Communists waging a decades-old Philippines insurgency admitted for the first time yesterday they tortured and killed a number of comrades in a 1980s purge, but said they have expelled the ringleaders.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said it made the announcement to contest accusations the purge had been ordered by its leadership. In a statement to news agencies, it said: "Cases of torture and execution of comrades suspected of being enemy infiltrators was hysteria in its extreme and a grave error."
The party Central Committee said it concluded "there was no solid basis to suspect and arrest the 55 comrades who were accused of being enemy infiltrators."

THAILAND
Envoy to return to Cambodia
BANGKOK Thailand said yesterday it would return an envoy to Phnom Penh and partially reopen its border with Cambodia in the next few days after the rupture in bilateral ties caused by last week's anti-Thai riots.
"Thailand will send our charge d'affaires on Monday to maintain the channel of relations," Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told a meeting of parliament. The envoy, Kosit Chatpaiboon, had served as minister-counsellor of the Thai mission.
Thailand downgraded diplomatic relations with Phnom Penh and recalled its ambassador.

AUSTRALIA
Nuclear waste dump imperils Japanese project
SYDNEY Japanese officials testing rockets in the Australian outback to build a supersonic jet say government plans to build a radioactive waste dump nearby could jeopardize their multimillion dollar project, it was reported.
The Australian government is close to approving a site adjacent to a missile-testing range at Woomera to dispose of low-level radioactive waste from cities across the country.
Kimio Sakata, project manager for Japan's National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), told the Australian newspaper the boundary of the proposed dump was six-tenths of a mile from where it plans to land its model jet.

Weekly notes …
A 7-year-old Vietnamese boy was killed and five children were hurt after a U.S.-made shell exploded in Quang Tri province while they were playing with it, state media said yesterday. The accident happened Monday, the army newspaper Quan Doi Nhan Dan reported. It raised this year's death toll from unexploded ordnance to at least eight. … Fiji islanders hit by last month's Cyclone Ami face food shortages that could be fatal if government delays in distributing farming equipment and seedlings persist, the Fiji Times reported yesterday. Last month's cyclone took 14 lives and put the existence of the islands' 8,000 residents in jeopardy after crops were wiped out. Yesterday, the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center issued an alert for the formation of a "significant tropical cyclone" system east of Samoa within six to 24 hours.

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