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Briefly

- The Washington Times - Friday, August 10, 2007

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.

President Jose Ramos-Horta swore in a government headed by independence hero Xanana Gusmao on Wednesday following inconclusive polls in June.

Angry mobs torched buildings and went on the rampage in sporadic violence that began Monday with the announcement of Mr. Gusmao's new government.

More than 70 people have been arrested.

VIETNAM

Thousands 'facing hunger' after floods

HANOI — Rescue officials and soldiers rushed food to central Vietnam yesterday, where floods have killed at least 43 persons and thousands need urgent aid, the government and state-run television said.

"Thousands of people are facing hunger and need food aid in the two provinces of Ha Tinh and Quang Binh," the Vietnam Television (VTV) station said in a news bulletin.

But VTV said rescue efforts are hampered by serious damage to roads, with many sections washed away, making it tough to deliver aid.

Floods killed three persons in the neighboring province of Quang Binh and affected 200,000, of whom at least 7,500 were evacuated to higher ground.

From wire dispatches and staff reports