- The Washington Times - Friday, January 20, 2006

PAKISTAN

Quake-hit clinics are being replaced

MUZAFFARABAD — Pakistan has begun rebuilding clinics destroyed by October’s huge earthquake as harsh winter weather prompts fears of disease outbreaks.

Authorities in Pakistani-administered Kashmir said the new clinics, which offer free treatment, would nearly double the number of beds that were available before the disaster.

“We have started rebuilding 61 basic health units and seven rural health centers with prefabricated materials in Muzaffarabad and the Neelum valley,” said local health chief Sardar Mahmood Ahmed Khan, referring to the capital of Pakistani Kashmir and a valley leading out of the city.

INDIA

U.S. seeks to relax nuclear accord

NEW DELHI — Officials from India and the United States held talks this week on a deal that would give India access to previously forbidden civilian nuclear technology.

Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran met U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns in New Delhi on Thursday to discuss the proposal, which includes fuel and reactors.

The dialogue follows a written accord between the two countries last July requiring India to separate civilian and military nuclear programs in exchange for advanced civilian nuclear technology. Now, the Bush administration would ask Congress to amend laws to allow India access to technology normally reserved for nations that have signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

BURMA

Military rulers tell ASEAN to wait

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia — Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said this week he has yet to secure a date from Burma’s military rulers for his planned visit to press for democratic reforms.

“Not yet,” he told reporters when asked if he had fixed a date. He did not elaborate. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations signaled its impatience with Burma at its annual meeting in December.

Weekly notes …

Nepal’s royalist government rounded up 107 activists on Thursday and cut mobile-phone services in an attempt to thwart a planned mass rally against the king. Neighboring India, the European Union and Japan voiced concern at the moves, which come just under a year after King Gyanendra threw out the elected government. … Afghanistan wants to lay down a five-year blueprint for its security and development at an upcoming conference in London, including an international commitment to its stability, Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said Thursday. The London parley Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 is a follow-up to the December 2001 U.N.-led meeting in Bonn that set Kabul’s political course after U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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