- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 4, 2003

JAPAN
Families seek U.S. help on N. Korea abductions
TOKYO Relatives and supporters of Japanese abducted by North Korea arrived in Washington yesterday to try to persuade senior U.S. officials to help them deal with the reclusive communist state.
The four family members, accompanied by three lawmakers, two support-group members and a government official, plan to meet with senior U.S. government officials during their five-day visit, group spokesman Tsutomu Nishioka said.
North Korea said eight of 13 Japanese kidnapped during the Cold War had since died, but allowed the five survivors to return to Japan in October.

GREECE
Security strengthened for terror trial
ATHENS The reported masterminds and hit men of Greece's deadly November 17 terrorist cell went on trial yesterday in a courtroom guarded from every angle.
The trial of the 19 suspects is seen as a landmark under anti-terrorism laws toughened for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
The group is blamed for more than 100 bombings, a string of armed robberies and 23 murders since it first struck in 1975 with the slaying of Richard Welch, the CIA station chief in Athens.

CHINA
Probe in works for moon shot
BEIJING China is developing an unmanned space probe to fly to the moon and a mission could be ready to go within three years, the project's chief scientist was quoted as saying yesterday.
China's government, which is intent on launching a manned mission to orbit the Earth later this year, has yet to give approval to the moon shot, the state-controlled newspaper China Daily quoted Ouyang Ziyuan as saying.
"We will be able to embark on a maiden unmanned mission within 2 years if the government endorses the scheme now," the scientist said.
China has launched and recovered four unmanned spacecraft, most recently in early January. The next mission, that of the spaceship Shenzhou V, will be launched later this year, the official said.

SOUTH KOREA
Road tours to North suspended for March
SEOUL A tourism project at the center of South Korea's efforts to improve relations with North Korea has hit a snag, operators said yesterday.
Overland road tours to North Korea's Mount Kumgang resort were put on hold for March.
A Hyundai Asan spokeswoman said the North had cited railroad construction work as a reason for suspending the trips.
Several Western journalists who joined the overland tours to Mount Kumgang last month described stunning natural beauty, stark poverty, electricity shortages and strenuous efforts by North Korean guards to prevent contact with citizens of the North.

NIGERIA
30 passengers drown after canoe capsizes
LAGOS A large dugout canoe capsized on the Niger River, drowning at least 30 passengers, officials said yesterday.
The canoe was carrying more than 50 people, including survivors pulled from the water, said Sani Isgogo, a Ministry of Water Resources official.
Dugout canoes are a major means of transportation in communities along the river, and accidents are common.
The accident occurred Thursday, but news of it was slow to reach the southern commercial capital, Lagos, from the far-flung region.
The Niger River runs through Niger, Guinea and Mali before entering northwestern Nigeria. It empties into the Gulf of Guinea.

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