- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SOUTH KOREA

Envoy to be recalled in island dispute

SEOUL | South Korea said Monday it will recall its ambassador from Japan over a rekindled debate about disputed islands between the countries, as the new Seoul government seeks to lift its sagging popularity at home with an appeal to nationalism.

Japan announced its intention Monday to recommend in a government teaching manual that students learn about Tokyo’s claims to the nearly uninhabitable islets, known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, that are currently under South Korean control. The dispute has been a long-standing thorn in relations between the Asian neighbors. Japan’s Chief Cabinet secretary Nobutaka Machimura said Seoul was informed of the plan.

FRANCE

Betancourt receives Legion of Honor

PARIS | Former hostage Ingrid Betancourt has been presented with France’s highest award, the Legion of Honor.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who presented the award Monday at France’s traditional Bastille Day garden party, says the award is a way of saying “we love you” and acknowledging Mrs. Betancourt as a symbol of hope.

Mrs. Betancourt, who holds dual Colombian-French nationality, spent six years in the hands of Colombian rebel group FARC. Colombian agents freed her and 14 other hostages in a daring operation July 2.

GREECE

Bishop bans scenic weddings

ATHENS | A Greek Catholic bishop on Monday said tourists could no longer be married in some of Greece’s top Aegean island destinations including Santorini and Crete in reaction to a growing trade in “wedding with a view” packages offered by travel agents.

“We have taken the decision to bar [all weddings] to protect the sacrament’s holiness … and to prevent its commercialization,” Bishop Frangiskos of Syros, Santorini and Crete told private Flash Radio.

In the last two years, hundreds of couples from the United States, Britain, Australia and even China have tied the knot on Greek islands renowned for scenic beauty and stunning sunsets, Eleftheros Typos daily reported.

CHINA

Migrant workers attack station

BEIJING | Hundreds of migrant workers attacked a police station in eastern China after one was purportedly beaten while trying to get a residence permit, highlighting enduring tensions between temporary workers and authorities.

The three days of unrest in coastal Zhejiang province began Thursday when a crowd gathered in front of the Kanmen town police station to protest the treatment of the beaten worker, with some demonstrators throwing rocks at officers, the official Xinhua News Agency said Monday.

AUSTRALIA

‘Oldest blogger’ dies at 108

SYDNEY | A 108-year-old Australian woman who was promoted as the world’s oldest blogger has died, two weeks after making her last post about “singing a happy song,” her great-grand son and her online forum said.

Olive Riley wrote 74 entries in her blogs, first www.allaboutolive.com.au and later http://worldsoldestblogger.blogspot.com. A friend introduced Mrs. Riley to blogging early in 2007, and she was hooked.

Mrs. Riley, who was born in the remote mining town of Broken Hill in 1899, entered a nursing home in Woy Woy, 50 miles north of Sydney, last month, from where she blogged about having a bad cough and feeling weak.

RUSSIA

Scientists quit melting ice floe

MOSCOW | Russian scientists are evacuating a research station built on an Arctic ice floe because global warming has melted the ice to a fraction of its original size, a spokesman said.

The North Pole-35 station, where 21 researchers and two dogs live in huts, will be taken off the floe in the western Arctic Ocean this week instead of in late August as originally planned, said Sergei Balyasnikov of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St. Petersburg.

ITALY

Gay driver given disabled license

ROME | The Italian government was ordered to pay $160,000 to a gay man who received a driver’s license for the disabled after he volunteered information on his sexual orientation to military authorities, the man and a gay rights group said Monday.

Danilo Giuffrida, 27, said he told officials about his homosexuality when he took a physical after being called up in 2000 for Italy’s mandatory year of military service, which has since been abolished.

Mr. Giuffrida’s lawyer said a military official sent his client’s paperwork to motor-vehicle officials in Catania, who changed his standard driver’s license to one for the disabled. Mr. Giuffrida said the disabled license must be renewed every year instead of every 10 years, as is the case for standard licenses.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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