Friday, November 30, 2001

North Korea signs 2 anti-terror pacts
SEOUL North Korea, eager to get off a U.S. list of countries that sponsor terrorism, signed two U.N. treaties designed to stem terrorism, South Korean officials said yesterday.
North Korea’s representative to the United Nations, Ri Hyong Chol, signed the treaties on Nov. 12, said Kwon Sei-young of South Korea’s Foreign Ministry.
Soon after signing the treaties, Mr. Ri in an expected change was replaced by Park Kil Yon as the North’s U.N. mission chief.

Squatters win delay after Cambodia fire
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia The United States and Britain won a reprieve for some 20,000 homeless people yesterday as Cambodian officials cautioned that anybody caught spreading rumors over who started two huge fires that razed the people’s homes would be prosecuted.
Phnom Penh Gov. Chea Sophara agreed to the diplomatic requests, which were made at the behest of a human rights group, for a two- to three-week extension to relocate the people whose illegal shanties were burned to the ground, saying “we can’t do this in two or three days.”
He also moved to quash rumors that he was behind the two infernos.
Both sites housed the capital’s poorest mostly ethnic Vietnamese and had been earmarked for redevelopment, prompting speculation, even among diplomats, that the fires may not have been an accident. The governor pointed out that the land belongs to private companies.

Poll ranks countries for foreigners’ stress
SINGAPORE Indonesia, South Korea, and Vietnam are the most stressful Asian countries for expatriates to live in, while Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand offer the least pressure, a regional poll shows.
The Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) said its survey of more than 1,000 foreign workers in the region last June and July showed anxiety levels were already rising well before the September terror attacks on the United States.
Hong Kong-based PERC advises companies doing business in the region.

Weekly notes
Japan’s Crown Princess Masako, 37, whose first child is due any day, was declared in good health yesterday after a prenatal checkup at the Imperial Palace. She was driven in a motorcade to the palace hospital accompanied by Crown Prince Naruhito, 41. Television footage showed her smiling and waving to onlookers. Australian Prime Minister John Howard pledged yesterday to continue the government’s hard line against asylum seekers in the face of international condemnation and a day after Australia’s human rights watchdog announced a new inquiry into the detention of children in immigration camps. Meanwhile, neighboring New Zealand announced it has granted refugee status to 17 Afghan refugees, including 11 children, among the 433 rescued in August off the coast of Australia by a Norwegian freighter. Wellington had taken in 131 of the asylum seekers.

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