- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 2, 2009

NORTH KOREA

Reports: Kim’s son to be successor

SEOUL | North Korea told its diplomatic missions that Kim Jong-il’s youngest son, who reportedly enjoys skiing and studied English, German and French at a Swiss school, will be the nation’s next leader, a South Korean lawmaker and newspapers said Tuesday.

The secretive communist state sent the message about Kim Jong-un, 26, after the nation’s May 25 nuclear test, which along with a series of missile tests has greatly raised tensions in the region, the Hankook Ilbo newspaper reported.

The paper cited unnamed members of South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence committee briefed by the National Intelligence Service.

PAKISTAN

Army: Troops rescue 79 captives

ISLAMABAD | The army said its troops have rescued 79 people who were among a group abducted by Taliban militants in northwestern Pakistan.

Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said Tuesday that at least one person is missing.

The group consisted of students, teachers and others linked to a boys school in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Gen. Abbas said the militants planned to take the captives to South Waziristan, where there are rumors of a planned military offensive.

He said the group of 80 was being held in North Waziristan’s Goryam area.

NORTH KOREA

Advanced missile to be launched

SEOUL | North Korea is readying an advanced missile designed to reach the United States for a launch that could come within weeks, reports said Monday, ratcheting up tensions after its second underground nuclear test.

The reclusive communist country also reportedly bolstered its defenses and conducted amphibious assault exercises along its western shore, near disputed waters where deadly naval clashes with the South have occurred in the past decade.

Satellite images and other intelligence indicated that the North had transported its most advanced long-range missile to the new Dongchang-ni facility near China and could be ready to be fired in the next week or so, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

AFGHANISTAN

Protests continue; 4 NATO troops killed

HERAT | Dozens of people in northwestern Afghanistan protested on Monday against civilian deaths in fighting between government forces and insurgents, while roadside bombs killed four troops from the NATO-led force.

Residents of northwestern Badghis province’s Bala Murghab district said six civilians, including women and children, were killed during a firefight between Afghan and Taliban forces, but local authorities blamed elders for helping a Taliban ambush.

Local residents say they are not colluding with the Taliban for ideological reasons, but they are trapped between two sides and are trying to survive in a war zone.

A spokesman for the NATO-led troops said four of its soldiers were killed in eastern Afghanistan on Monday. The soldiers’ nationalities were not released.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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