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World Scene

- - Tuesday, August 9, 2011

JAPAN

U.S. sends envoy to atomic-bomb service

TOKYO | The United States sent a representative for the first time Tuesday to the annual memorial service for victims of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, one of two nuclear attacks that led Japan to surrender in World War II.

The U.S. bombing of Nagasaki 66 years ago killed some 80,000 people. Three days earlier, the United States had dropped another atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing up to 140,000. President Truman ordered the bombings to save the lives of an estimated 1 million troops who could have been killed in a land invasion of Japan.

U.S. Charge d'Affaires James P. Zumwalt, the first American representative to attend the Nagasaki memorial service, said in a statement that President Obama hoped to work with Japan toward his goal "of realizing a world without nuclear weapons."

PHILIPPINES

Government bars Arroyo from foreign travel

MANILA | The government on Tuesday barred former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from traveling abroad because of pending corruption cases against her.

Mrs. Arroyo, now a member of Congress, is facing plunder charges, alleging she illegally used tens of millions of dollars in government funds partly to fund her election campaign. She has denied the charges.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima ordered Mrs. Arroyo included on the immigration "watch list" for 60 days unless it is extended.

UZBEKISTAN

8 Americans expelled for preaching Christianity

TASHKENT | The secular Muslim state of Uzbekistan has expelled eight U.S. nationals on charges of attempting to convert local Uzbeks to Christianity, a state-run website said on Tuesday.

Posing as businessmen or English language teachers, the Americans "carried out unlawful missionary activity to attract Uzbek students to Protestant dogma," the Russian-language gorizont.uz website said.

"Notably, the foreigners were fluent in Uzbek and called themselves with Uzbek names such as Jahongir, Husan, Jasur, Farhod," the report said.

The U.S. Embassy in Tashkent declined to comment citing privacy issues.

INDIA

Anti-corruption protests disrupt parliament

NEW DELHI | Thousands of opposition activists marched on the Indian parliament on Tuesday demanding the resignation of a prominent ruling Congress politician over corruption, the latest move to pressure the beleaguered government to act.

A series of high-profile scandals has eroded trust and stymied policymaking in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's administration in recent months.

The opposition also staged a protest inside parliament forcing its closure at a time when it is slated to introduce reform legislation including one on easier land acquisitions.

BRAZIL

Police arrest 33 at Tourism Ministry

BRASILIA | Police arrested 33 people at Brazil's Tourism Ministry on allegations of corruption Tuesday and sought at least five more officials.

Among those arrested was the ministry's No. 2 official, Frederico Silva da Costa.

Paulo de Tarso Teixeira, director of Brazil's federal police, said the alleged corruption involved a $1.85 million scheme of paying the Sao Paulo-based Ibrasi institute to train 1,900 people in tourism.

Instead of being used for training, the money was kicked back to officials at the Tourism Ministry, Ibrasi and other companies, Mr. Teixeira said.

A series of corruption scandals has hit the young government of President Dilma Rousseff.

AUSTRIA

Stogie-chomping Arnie riles anti-smoking activists

VIENNA | Was it lit, or was it cold? The status of a cigar in Arnold Schwarzenegger's mouth at an Austrian airport could decide whether or not he faces legal action.

Smoking at airports is banned in Austria, and an anti-smoking lobby said Tuesday it plans to launch a suit against the former California governor for puffing on a stogie after arriving in June at Salzburg Airport.

But officials suggest the affair will go up in smoke.

Salzburg municipal legal expert Josef Goldberger told state broadcaster ORF that the Austrian-born Schwarzenegger can ignore any requests from authorities to respond because the charge is not covered by treaties.