- - Wednesday, February 29, 2012


TAIPEI — Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday that an air force officer has been detained on suspicion of passing military secrets to China, the latest case involving the transmission of classified information from the democratic island to the communist mainland.

Taiwan and China split after a civil war in 1949, and, although their relations have improved significantly in recent years, they still mount extensive espionage operations against each other.

In the latest China espionage case, the Defense Ministry said the air force officer detained by the military worked at a ground command center in northern Taiwan. The officer was not identified.


Presidential election set for May

CAIRO — Egypt on Wednesday set May 23 and 24 for its first-ever free presidential election, a much-anticipated vote that would bring to an end the rocky transitional period that followed the ouster of Hosni Mubarak a year ago.

The ruling military has pledged to turn over power to civilians after the presidential election, and that would mean an end of six decades of authoritarian rule during which secretive generals pulled the strings of power from behind the scenes.

If no candidate wins 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two finishers would take place June 16 and 17.


Cocaine seizures drop as traffic moves

MEXICO CITY — Cocaine seizures have dropped in Mexico in recent years, and a top U.N. drug-control official said the trade appeared to be moving to Central America because of law enforcement pressure and infighting among cartels.

Mexican officials seized 53 tons of cocaine in 2007 and only 10 tons last year, according to a report Tuesday from the International Narcotics Control Board, which monitors global drug-control agreements.

Antonio Mazzitelli, a representative in Mexico of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, said traffickers are diverting their cocaine operations elsewhere, but he cautioned that seizures of drugs produced inside Mexico, such as methamphetamine and marijuana, remain stable.


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