- The Washington Times - Friday, September 13, 2002

Korea accord OKs 2nd North-South link

PANMUNJOM North Korea and South Korea took another step yesterday toward opening railway lines closed a half-century ago as the U.N. Command (UNC) approved the project.

The U.S.-led military command and the North Korean army reached an accord for a second set of railway and road links across the heavily fortified border. Generals from both sides signed the agreement here at the truce village of Panmunjom after what UNC's Maj. Gen. James Soligan described as a very positive meeting.

The UNC has controlled the southern half of the demilitarized zone since the 1950-53 Korean War.


Xinjiang group branded as terrorist

BEIJING An Islamic separatist group based in China's western Xinjiang region and newly listed by the United Nations as a terrorist organization has killed 166 persons through its activities, China's Foreign Ministry said.

Police has confiscated about 4,500 hand grenades from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the ministry said. "The objective of the organization is to split China through terrorist activities and to establish an Islamic state in Xinjiang by combining government and religion," said spokesman Kong Quan.

He spoke on Wednesday hours after the U.N. Security Council listed the ETIM as a terrorist group in the wake of a proposal by Beijing that was backed by Washington, among others. China welcomed the move, saying it was a positive step toward combatting global terrorism.


Mindanao separatists said to train foreigners

MANILA The Philippines' main Muslim separatist group trained about 40 foreigners at a time in the use of firearms and explosives at camps in the south as late as last year, a senior police official said yesterday.

Roberto Delfin, head of national police intelligence, said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) trained foreign militants on Mindanao Island despite having entered a truce with the government. "They have four small camps that they used in training foreign nationals," Chief Superintendent Delfin said.

He described the training as including lessons on "basic firearms [and explosives], how to make and detonate them." MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu immediately rejected the charge and any implication that the group was linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.


Weekly notes

Wan Yanhai, an AIDS activist reported to have been detained by China's secret police, was named yesterday as the first recipient of a health award given by U.S. and Canadian groups. Mr. Wan, last seen Aug. 25 in Beijing, is being recognized for publicizing an unsanitary Chinese blood-buying industry that infected thousands of people with HIV, according to the award's sponsors. His wife, Su Zhaosheng, is to accept the Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights on his behalf in Montreal today, according to a statement by one of the sponsors, New York-based Human Rights Watch. Activists abroad, citing Chinese sources, said last week that Mr. Wan was detained on charges of "leaking state secrets" for distributing a government report on AIDS. The rest of the world could be forgiven for not being able to locate New Zealand on world maps at the bottom right-hand corner. But educators are worried after a study showed that two out of three 8- and 9-year-old New Zealanders can't locate their country on the globe.


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