- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 25, 2005

NORWAY

Insurance skyrockets or maritime industry

OSLO — Maritime insurance for freighters is climbing sharply as pirates in Southeast Asia prey on big ships with rich cargoes, and ship owners are grousing.

Earlier this week, Malaysian authorities recovered a freighter, captured by 20 Chinese pirates, after a 17-hour pursuit through the Strait of Malacca. The piracy suspects were arrested.

Insurers are particularly worried that Islamist groups in Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia may take up piracy to finance terrorism.

JAPAN

Bird flu detected on another farm

TOKYO — Chickens at a farm in Ogawa in Ibaraki prefecture have tested positive for an antibody that indicates they were infected with a bird flu virus of the H5 strain in the past, said the farm ministry and the prefectural government.

Yesterday’s finding comes after the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said on Monday that another farm in the prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, has been infected with the virus of the H5 variety.

Because the poultry farm is enclosed, the ministry intends to exempt chickens there from being culled, if it does not find the farm infected with the bird flu virus. It also will allow eggs from there to be delivered.

JAPAN

N. Korea talks may resume next week

TOKYO — The six-way talks on North Korea’s nuclear programs may resume Sept. 2, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei indicated yesterday.

“My idea is the talks may resume on Sept. 2,” said Mr. Wu, who is also China’s chief delegate to the talks.

The six nations — China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States — failed to hammer out a joint document aimed at getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear programs during the latest round of talks, which began in late July in Beijing, primarily because of differences between Pyongyang and Washington. The parties decided to break for a three-week recess on Aug. 7.

JAPAN

U.S. public sees Tokyo as dependable ally

TOKYO — The ratio of Americans who see Japan as a dependable partner rose to a record high, but fewer Russians regard Japan as being so, while Mongolians see Japan as the most hopeful future partner, according to a set of polls the Japanese Foreign Ministry conducted in 2004 and 2005 that were released yesterday.

In a survey of the U.S. public from February to March, 72 percent of 1,500 respondents said they find Japan “a dependable ally,” up from 68 percent last year, while 48 percent said Japan is the most important partner for the United States in Asia, a figure that was unchanged.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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