- - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

INDIA

China’s focus irks India

NEW DELHI | India expressed concerns on Tuesday about China’s influence in the Indian Ocean, the latest sign of tension between the Asian giants who are competing for resources and geopolitical power in the region.

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna’s comments to the parliament follows a row between the two countries over China’s denial of a visa to an Indian army general that angered New Delhi and clouded their slowly improving military ties.

“The government of India has come to realize that China has been showing more than the normal interest in Indian Ocean affairs,” Mr. Krishna told lawmakers. “We are closely monitoring the Chinese intentions. We are closely monitoring the developments in the Indian Ocean.”

India worries that China’s military is seeking to extend influence over countries such as Sri Lanka that New Delhi traditionally has counted within its sphere of influence.

BRITAIN

Blair deeply regrets Iraqi war losses

LONDON | Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was “desperately sorry” over the deaths in the Iraq war, in extracts from his memoirs released Tuesday.

Mr. Blair said he was “sorry for the lives cut short,” but still maintained it was right to remove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power, according to “A Journey,” his account of his decade in office.

Mr. Blair said he still felt a sense of “anguish” for the relatives of those killed in the conflict.

“The anguish arises from a sense of sadness that goes beyond conventional description or the stab of compassion you feel on hearing tragic news,” he wrote.

Mr. Blair also had some cutting remarks for his successor, saying former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has “zero emotional intelligence” and was fated to lose the 2010 general election after 13 years of Labor Party rule.

JAPAN

Politics keeps base dispute in limbo

TOKYO | A deadline to resolve the fate of a U.S. air base in Japan came and went Tuesday with scant progress on the dispute, which has claimed one prime minister and spells a headache for another.

Washington and Tokyo started arguing over the Marine Corps base on Okinawa island after the center-left Democratic Party of Japan came to power a year ago, ending a half-century of nearly unbroken conservative rule.

The Futenma base now is located in an urban area of the island, where residents have long complained about aircraft noise and the risk of accidents, and is set to be relocated to a coastal location of Okinawa.

CONGO

Raping militias to face war crimes charges

UNITED NATIONS | Leaders of militias that carried out mass rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will face war crimes charges, a U.N. conflict envoy said Tuesday.

Margot Wallstrom, special representative on the prevention of sexual violence in conflict, made a direct warning to the heads of militias and armed groups in the African nation, where more widespread sexual attacks were reported in August.

Ms. Wallstrom called it a “horrific spree of rape, pillage and shooting.” The U.N. mission in Congo has said it is investigating to determine whether U.N. peacekeepers in the region could have done more to prevent the rapes.

The United Nations said on Aug. 23 that at least 179 women in Nord Kivu province, in eastern Congo, were the victims of mass rape between July 30 and Aug. 3. It blamed the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a Hutu rebel group, and Mai-Mai militia.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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