- The Washington Times - Friday, April 1, 2005

MONGOLIA

Japan to help open huge coal deposit

TOKYO — Trading house Mitsui & Co. announced this week it has begun feasibility studies on a project to develop a Mongolian coal mine believed to have one of the largest deposits in the world.

Mitsui will decide in June whether to participate in a joint development project with Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., which holds the right to develop the mine.

The mine is located some 90 miles north of the Chinese-Mongolian border and is estimated to contain 6 billion tons of high-quality coal.

PAKISTAN

Military test-fires short-range missile

ISLAMABAD — The military successfully test-fired a short-range, nuclear-capable missile two days ago as a minister said fine print was delaying a formal deal with India on giving prior notice of such tests.

The homegrown Hatf II, or Abdali missile, which can hit targets up to 110 miles away, was launched less than two weeks after Pakistan tested its longest-range missile. “All desired technical parameters were validated,” a military statement said, adding that the missile could carry all types of warheads.

SRI LANKA

Tourist board hopes more Chinese visit

COLOMBO — This tropical country hopes to attract more Chinese tourists to the tsunami-hit island with the introduction of direct air services to Beijing, a top official said Thursday.

Ceylon Tourist Board Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara said he hopes the number of Chinese vacationers visiting the island will triple the 9,088 who came last year. “With the introduction of direct flights from June, we will be able to get about 30,000 Chinese tourists this year,” he said.

Weekly notes

Japan will lend $10 million to India to help clean up the foul but holy Ganges River by building drains and toilets, an official said this week. The Indian government will use the money to construct or renovate three sewage-treatment facilities in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi, plus 227 toilets in slums and river-bathing areas, and 10 laundry sites to discourage people from washing clothes in the river. … Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing held talks with Nepal’s King Gyanendra on Thursday to boost ties with the Himalayan kingdom isolated since the monarch seized total power Feb. 1. A palace official said Mr. Li, the first senior foreign official to visit the capital since the royal coup drew global opprobrium, met the king at the Narayanhity palace hours after his arrival for a two-day stay. The official visit is seen as a signal that aid donor China views the king’s move as an “internal affair.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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