- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2011

NORTH KOREA

Foreign ministry considering family reunions

SEOUL — North Korea says it is considering allowing Korean-Americans to be reunited with their separated families in the North.

A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday that the United States recently proposed discussing the issue through the Red Cross and other channels.

The unidentified spokesman said such an exchange would help boost confidence between the countries and help resolve other problems in the future.

He did not elaborate, but a senior North Korean diplomat recently met with U.S. officials in New York to talk about ways to restart long-stalled nuclear disarmament talks.

Millions of Koreans were separated during the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

INDIA

Three face execution for Gandhi assassination

NEW DELHIIndia’s president has rejected the mercy petitions of three men sentenced to death for the 1991 assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the presidential office said Thursday.

Mr. Gandhi was killed by a suicide bomber belonging to Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers while campaigning for his Congress Party in southern India. The rebel group killed Mr. Gandhi in revenge for his decision to send Indian peacekeepers to intervene in the conflict.

A total of 26 defendants were sentenced to death in 1998 after a six-year trial. However, an appeals court commuted the sentences of 22 defendants to life imprisonment and another had her clemency plea accepted.

President Pratibha Patil’s office said that she had rejected the final three convicts’ clemency pleas last week.

The Gandhi family, no relation to independence leader Mohandas Gandhi, has been India’s main political dynasty since Jawaharlal Nehru became the country’s first prime minister.

Rajiv Gandhi’s widow, Sonia Gandhi, is the current leader of the ruling Congress Party, and his son, Rahul, is seen as next in line to be prime minister.

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