- - Tuesday, July 5, 2011

PHILIPPINES

Aquino to visit China despite tensions

MANILA — Philippine President Benigno Aquino will travel to China this year despite heightened tensions over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

“For me, it is important to talk to everyone, especially the other side,” Mr. Aquino told reporters Tuesday. “Maybe we can reach an agreement. After all, we cannot just ignore this matter when people’s lives may be at stake.”

The Philippines and China, along with Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan, each claim all or part of the South China Sea - particularly the Spratlys, a chain of islets that are believed to sit on vast mineral resources.

MEXICO

Rescuers search for 7 missing in capsizing

TIJUANA — Mexican rescuers were scouring the Gulf of California on Tuesday for seven U.S. tourists whose fishing boat capsized two days ago, saying they were extending their search because the missing tourists could still be alive in the warm, calm waters.

One American has been confirmed dead in the accident, which came after a sudden storm upended the boat before dawn Sunday, spilling dozens of tourists and crew members into the water. The identity of the dead man was not released.

By early Monday, 19 of the tourists and all 16 crew members had been picked up by the navy or fishing boats after having clung to coolers, rescue rings and life vests for more than 16 hours.

GREECE

Court orders release of U.S. Gaza boat captain

PIRAEUS — A Greek court on Tuesday released the U.S. captain of a boat aiming to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, four days after arresting him for trying to set sail from Greece without permission.

John Klusmire, captain of the Audacity of Hope, had attempted to leave a port near Piraeus on Friday in defiance of a Greek ban on the flotilla of boats leaving port.

He still faces trial at a later date.

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