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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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SOUTH KOREA

Officials crack down on fake diplomas

SEOUL — Prosecutors yesterday began an unprecedented crackdown on South Koreans who secure positions with fake diplomas or certificates, officials said.

The Supreme Prosecutor’s Office ordered prosecutors nationwide to identify and punish offenders following a series of highly publicized scandals.

“Crackdowns on counterfeit goods are common but this is the first-ever campaign against counterfeit diplomas or certificates,” a spokesman for the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office told AFP.

Last month a top Korean curator and university professor, Shin Jeong-Ah, was found to have forged undergraduate and master’s degree certificates from the University of Kansas and Yale University.

JAPAN

Abe rejects calls for party election

TOKYO — Beleaguered Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday rejected calls for a party leadership election, despite increasing pressure over his refusal to step down after a string of scandals.

The conservative prime minister refused to quit after his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lost control of the upper house of parliament for the first time ever in an election last month.

“It is natural that you hear a variety of opinions, including severe ones, from party members,” Mr. Abe told reporters.

Asked if he intends to hold a party election, he said, “No, I don’t.”

EAST TIMOR

Homes torched in anti-government stir

DILI — More than 100 houses were torched overnight in central East Timor, police said yesterday, with dozens arrested in violence sparked by the announcement of a new government this week.

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