- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 29, 2007

NORTH KOREA

IAEA team arrives to monitor shutdown

BEIJING — A second team of U.N. nuclear specialists arrived yesterday in North Korea to monitor the shutdown and sealing of the country’s sole plutonium-producing reactor.

The six specialists from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will replace the initial team that went to North Korea on July 12 to supervise the shutdown of the Yongbyon reactor, the key component of the North’s nuclear program.

The IAEA confirmed last week that North Korea shut down its sole functioning reactor at Yongbyon — the first tangible progress after years of negotiations between the communist regime and five other countries.

Officials said the team will put agency seals on parts of the complex that were closed and supervise the installation of surveillance cameras, whose recordings will be regularly downloaded and analyzed.

LEBANON

Troops kill 8 militants in refugee camp

BEIRUT — Lebanese troops stormed an Islamist militant hide-out yesterday in a Palestinian refugee camp, killing eight fighters, a state-run news agency reported. A Lebanese army commander said the final assault to crush the remaining Fatah Islam fighters there was “imminent.”

The army pounded Fatah Islam’s remaining positions with artillery, tank fire and rocket-propelled grenades, the National News Agency and witnesses said. The five-hour bombardment created plumes of heavy black smoke above the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon, witnesses reported.

AUSTRALIA

Freed Indian doctor flies home

BRISBANE — An Indian doctor flew home early today from Australia after prosecutors dropped a charge linking him to recent failed terrorist bombings in Britain.

Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said Mohamed Haneef, 27, was free to leave the country following his release from jail Friday, but his work visa remained canceled.

Australia’s chief prosecutor Damian Bugg said evidence did not support the charge that Dr. Haneef provided reckless support to a terrorist organization when he gave his cell phone SIM card to a relative in Britain a year ago, before leaving for a hospital job in Australia.

TIBET

China willing to talk with Dalai Lama

LHASA — China said yesterday that the door for talks with the Dalai Lama remains open, after another round of dialogue with the Tibetan spiritual leader’s envoys failed to produce a breakthrough.

But Nima Ciren, vice chairman of the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region, insisted the Dalai Lama first must recognize Tibet was part of China and abandon “splittist” activities.

Beijing and envoys of the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, have held a slow-motion dialogue since 1979. The sixth round of contacts since 2002 ended early this month without apparent progress.

INDIA

South Asia floods leave 22 dead

GUWAHATI — Floods have killed at least 22 persons in India and Bangladesh, while Indian children were forced to write exams by candlelight and beneath umbrellas as the infrastructure buckled, officials said yesterday.

Water spread around the outskirts of Dhaka, weather officials said, and the army was preparing for the possibility of flooding in the Bangladeshi capital’s eastern area where about 3 million people live.

In India’s northeastern state of Assam, eight members of a family, including three children, were crushed to death yesterday by a landslide, police said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports