- The Washington Times - Monday, January 15, 2007

PHILIPPINES

Chinese leader to visit Japan

CEBU — Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will make an ice-breaking visit to Japan in April, Japanese officials said yesterday, while China warned the two countries’ wartime past could still derail efforts to heal ties.

Mr. Wen and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used a regional summit in the central Philippines to narrow down a time for the first top-level Chinese trip to Japan in more than six years.

But Mr. Wen pointedly warned Mr. Abe “that appropriately handling historical problems” such as Japan’s aggression before and during World War II “is crucially important” to healthy relations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

IRAN

U.S., Britain, Israel called ‘axis of evil’

TEHRAN — The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said yesterday the United States, Britain and Israel were an “axis of evil” trying to drive a wedge between Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims.

President Bush originally used the term to describe Iran, North Korea and Iraq.

Turning that on its head, Guards Commander in Chief Yahya Rahim Safavi was quoted as saying: “America, Britain and the Zionist regime are an axis of evil against the Islamic world and the whole of humanity.”

VATICAN

Migrants called a human resource

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI urged immigrants yesterday to respect the social values of their new countries and said laws are needed to protect their dignity.

Addressing pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square, Benedict said migration should be seen as a resource, not a problem. Without naming any country or nationality, he lamented the “painful” conditions refugees, exiles, the homeless and the persecuted often endure.

“I hope that soon there will be a balanced management of migratory flows and of human mobility in general, so benefits can reach the entire human family, beginning with concrete measures which favor legal emigration and the reuniting of families,” the pontiff added.

IRAQ

Refinery corruption seen funding terrorism

BAGHDAD — Iraqi militants are taking most of the $1.5 billion a year that is stolen from Iraq’s main oil refinery through smuggling and corruption, the government told parliament yesterday.

Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said crime was behind a crisis in the oil industry, which is struggling to meet Iraq’s own fuel needs despite having the world’s third-biggest reserves.

“We are losing $1.5 billion at Baiji refinery alone, and most of this money is channeled to terrorists, who are using it to target us and target our nation,” Mr. Salih said.

AFGHANISTAN

Clinton delegation visits Karzai

KABUL — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton met President Hamid Karzai and talked to a group of women during a one-day visit to Afghanistan yesterday, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said.

Mrs. Clinton, part of a three-member U.S. delegation, was among a group of prominent American women who first raised concern in the West over rights issues in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover in the late 1990s.

The senator and her delegation later flew into Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore and met with President Pervez Musharraf.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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