- - Thursday, July 7, 2011

CHINA

State media dismiss reports of Jiang’s death

BEIJINGChina on Thursday dismissed as rumor reports that retired President Jiang Zemin, who led the country through massive changes after the crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement, has died.

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted what it called authoritative sources as saying the reports were “pure rumor.” The one-sentence dispatch in English wasn’t carried by the Chinese-language service of the state-run agency, indicating it was meant for overseas audiences.

The need to comment underscores the difficulties the secretive, authoritarian government faces in controlling information. While state media are under tight control, foreign reports seep into China via the Internet, giving Chinese access to news — and rumors — the leadership dislikes.

An official from the Cabinet’s information office said only, “It’s a rumor,” when asked about Mr. Jiang’s death.

AFGHANISTAN

Canada ends combat mission; 8 Afghan police killed

KABUL — Canada formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan on Thursday after years of being on the front lines of the fight against Taliban insurgents in the south.

The withdrawal of 2,850 Canadian combat troops comes at a time when the Taliban continue to show their resilience, peace talks are in their infancy, and governance and development are lagging security gains on the battlefield.

Underscoring the persistent dangers, a roadside bomb killed eight Afghan policemen on a patrol in the northern district of Fayz Abad.

The police chief of the surrounding Jawzjan province, Abdul Aziz Ghyrat, said six policemen, including the unit’s commander, were killed instantly and two died later at a hospital.

Since 2002, 157 Canadian troops have been killed in Afghanistan.

SOUTH KOREA

Work begins on N. Korean refugee camp

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