- - Tuesday, August 2, 2011

CHINA

China lashes out at Manila over island claims

BEIJING — An official Chinese newspaper accused the Philippines on Tuesday of lacking a sincere desire to resolve South China Sea territorial disputes and warned of unspecified consequences if China’s concerns are ignored.

Recent construction work by Philippine troops on an island claimed by Manila violates the spirit of a preliminary agreement reached last month to resolve disputes in the South China Sea, the ruling Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily said.

That shows Manila had merely been putting on “a little show,” the paper said in a signed editorial. China won’t sit idly by while its territory is swallowed up by others, it said. China claims the South China Sea and all its islands as its territory.

“Were there to be a serious strategic miscalculation on this matter, the due consequences would have to be paid,” the newspaper said.

The agreement reached between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations last month sought to lower tensions that have spiked in recent months over territorial disputes in the potentially resource-rich South China Sea between the Philippines, China and Vietnam.

Manila and Hanoi complain that increasingly assertive Chinese ships have interfered with their oil-exploration efforts or bullied crews, something Beijing denies. Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have also laid claim to overlapping areas.

China has used force in the past to kick Vietnamese troops out of territory it claims, though recent disputes have largely been peaceful.

NORWAY

Right wing on defensive after attacks

OSLO — Warning voters about the danger of increasing Muslim influence in Norway, the Progress Party rode a wave of anti-immigrant feeling and took nearly a quarter of the seats in parliament in the country’s last election.

Now one of Europe’s most successful right-wing parties is on the defensive after one of its former members massacred 77 people in the name of fighting immigration.

The Progress Party has confirmed that Anders Behring Breivik, the confessed perpetrator of this month’s massacre, was a member between 1999 and 2006.

That has focused intense criticism on its platform of sharply cutting the immigration that is changing Norway’s once virtually homogenous population of white Christians.

“They have to change their tone,” said Magnus Takvam, a political commentator for Norwegian public broadcaster NRK. “They have to reconsider their vocabulary.”

PAKISTAN

Troops deployed after 34 killed in city

KARACHI — Authorities called in paramilitary soldiers and police to quell political and criminal violence in Pakistan’s largest city Tuesday after 34 people were killed here in less than two days, officials said.

Violence in Karachi, a sprawling port city of 18 million, has added to the political instability in the nuclear-armed, U.S.-allied nation and provided another distraction for the government as it fights a Taliban-led insurgent movement.

It also undercuts Pakistan’s struggling economy because Karachi serves as the country’s main commercial hub.

Police have found bodies scattered across different parts of the city since Monday morning, some riddled with bullets and others that showed signs of torture and were tied up in gunny sacks, said Sharufuddin Memon, the security adviser to the chief minister of Sindh province.

NIGERIA

Radical Muslim sect bombs checkpoint in northeast

MAIDUGURI — Suspected members of a radical Muslim sect bombed another checkpoint Tuesday, authorities said, as Nigeria’s government launched a high-powered team that will seek a nonmilitary solution to the violence that has rocked the country’s northeast.

Assailants from the Boko Haram sect set off a bomb at about 7 a.m. in the city of Maiduguri, but there were no casualties, a Joint Military Task Force spokesman said.

The task force, which includes police officers, soldiers and other security officers, was deployed in Maiduguri and surrounding areas about six weeks ago to put a stop to Boko Haram’s near-daily drive-by killings and bomb attacks. Some groups, however, have asked for their withdrawal after soldiers were accused of shooting and killing civilians caught in the fight against the Islamist sect.

From wire dispatches and staff reports