- The Washington Times - Monday, September 8, 2003

TAIWAN

Pro-China marchers stage a counterrally

TAIPEI — At least 3,000 people marched in Taipei yesterday to protest moves to change Taiwan’s official name, countering a mass demonstration Saturday in support of changing the island’s name to Taiwan from Republic of China.

A name change would be seen by China as a step toward independence. China responded to Saturday’s demonstration by saying Taiwan’s independence forces were doomed to fail.

BRITAIN

Blair loses ground in poll

LONDON — More voters think Prime Minister Tony Blair should quit than back him, according to a poll published yesterday.

The survey in the Mail on Sunday newspaper showed 43 percent of those polled believed Mr. Blair should resign over the suicide of a weapons specialist. Forty-two percent believed he should stay in office, according to the YouGov poll — the first to indicate more voters are against Mr. Blair than for him.

But an opinion poll in today’s Times newspaper said Mr. Blair and his ruling Labor Party have risen in popularity despite the problems in Iraq and the inquiry into David Kelly’s apparent suicide.

ITALY

Al Qaeda link seen to human trafficking

ROME — Italy’s secret services say they see increasing evidence that militant groups such as al Qaeda are moving into the smuggling of illegal immigrants, a billion-dollar trade they can use to fund other activities.

An intelligence report compiled by Cesis, which coordinates the work of Italy’s secret services, said “terror networks” and groups that traffic in illegal immigrants share a natural overlap, often relying on false documents and intricate logistics, transportation and communication setups.

ISRAEL

Restrictions are seen hurting Palestinians

JERUSALEM — Restrictions imposed by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have had a disastrous effect on the lives of Palestinians and crippled their economy, a report by Amnesty International said today.

“Unemployment and poverty has spiraled, malnutrition has emerged, anemia and other health problems have increased and education has been negatively affected,” the report by the London-based rights group said. “Some 60 percent of Palestinians now live below the poverty line of two U.S. dollars per day and most are forced to depend on aid,” it said.

INDIA

U.S. troops practice in Himalayan region

NEW DELHI — Indian and U.S. commandos are training together in the rugged Himalayan mountain region near India’s borders with China and Pakistan, a U.S. Embassy official said yesterday. The three-week exercises in the Ladakh region of Jammu-Kashmir state will conclude later this month.

NORTH KOREA

Long-range missile may go on display

SEOUL — North Korea may display a new long-range ballistic missile at a military parade tomorrow, a South Korean newspaper reported today.

Tomorrow is the 55th anniversary of the founding of communist North Korea, and defense analysts and South Korean media say there is likely to be a military display in central Pyongyang, possibly presided over by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Chosun Ilbo, one of South Korea’s leading newspapers, said North Korea finished developing a new ballistic missile last year. It was not clear whether the missile was part of North Korea’s declared efforts to enhance its nuclear deterrent.

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