- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 13, 2008

PAKISTAN

Clash kills nine during Mullen visit

PESHAWAR | A militant ambush and shootout Saturday killed at least six security forces and three insurgents in Pakistan’s northwest, police said.

The clash erupted as Adm. Michael G. Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Pakistan on a surprise, one-day trip. U.S. Embassy officials confirmed the visit but said they had no details on Adm. Mullen’s itinerary.

Adm. Mullen discussed with Pakistani officials an array of security issues, in particular his growing concern about the surge of insurgents across the border with Afghanistan, a spokesman said.

SOUTH KOREA

North blames Seoul for tourist’s death

SEOUL | A defiant North Korea blamed South Korea for the shooting death of a South Korean tourist in the communist nation and refused Saturday to cooperate in an investigation, jeopardizing a bid to improve relations between the countries.

While expressing regret that a North Korean soldier shot the woman Friday, the North demanded that Seoul apologize for its “intolerable insult” of suspending trips to a North Korean mountain resort and said it would not allow visitors until the South apologized.

TAIWAN

Ma says island needs U.S. weapons

TAIPEI | Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said Saturday that the island needs to secure defensive weapons from the United States, despite warming relations with China.

However, Mr. Ma acknowledged that different opinions in Washington were preventing arms sales to the island from proceeding.

The comments were the first direct response from the Taiwanese president after media reports last month that the U.S. had suspended weapons sales to the island to avoid the ire of Beijing.

ISRAEL

Aide insists Olmert never stole a shekel

JERUSALEM | An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insisted on Saturday that he has “never stolen a shekel,” after new police suspicions surfaced over the prime minister’s finances.

“The prime minister is neither a thief nor an imposter. He has never stolen a shekel or used public funds for family expenses,” said Rachael Risby Raz, who organized Mr. Olmert’s travels while he was trade and industry minister and is a key witness in the latest case against him.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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