- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 16, 2004

THAILAND

Modified seeds taint papaya crop

BANGKOK — Experiments with genetically modified papaya have contaminated fruit in at least 10 provinces because of a scandal involving the sale of tainted seeds, critics said in a report published yesterday.

The government halted trials at three testing centers Wednesday after tainted fruit was found at a non-genetically modified farm, blamed on seeds sold by a nearby state-run genetically modified experimental farm in the country’s northeast. Environmentalists had warned for months that loose controls at the test center at Khon Kaen could cause environmental and health damage.

JAPAN

Volcano rains ash on Karuizawa resort

TOKYO — Mount Asama, one of Japan’s largest and most active volcanoes, erupted almost continuously for a third straight day yesterday, spewing molten rock and gray smoke into the air and setting off more than 1,000 small earthquakes.

The 8,474-foot mountain about 90 miles west of Tokyo rumbled throughout the day, propelling red-hot rocks nearly 1,000 feet into the air and sending columns of smoke nearly 4,000 feet above the volcanic crater, the Meteorological Agency said.

MALAYSIA

Police arrest 15 near UNHCR office

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysian police yesterday arrested 15 persons from Indonesia’s Aceh province and from Burma lacking travel documents outside the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Volker Turk, UNHCR chief in Malaysia, said the 15 are being held at a police station, and “we will meet them Friday to check on their status.”

“We have appealed to the police not to deport them until we conduct interviews with them,” he said, adding that some of those arrested could be seeking U.N. protection.

Weekly notes

North Korea said yesterday it will not join six-nation talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons program until rival South Korea fully discloses the details of its secret atomic experiments. A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman told the government news agency the North relayed its position when British Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell visited Pyongyang this week. … Canadian singer Shania Twain won approval yesterday to buy 62,000 acres of high-country New Zealand farmland near picturesque Lake Wanaka. The deal came with strings attached, which Finance Minister Michael Cullen said involved “public access and conservation values.” He would not reveal the sale price, but Miss Twain is reported to have paid close to the listed sale price of $13.9 million.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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