- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 3, 2005

KOREA

Images indicate nuke-test preparation

SEOUL — U.S. spy satellites have captured the movement of heavy equipment in North Korea that could mean an underground nuclear test is being prepared, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper said yesterday.

“U.S. intelligence authorities believe the images and other information point to preparations for a possible underground nuclear test,” the newspaper quoted a government source as saying.

But South Korean Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung said before a Cabinet meeting yesterday there was no unusual activity in the area.

AFGHANISTAN

3 women found dead with warning note

KABUL — Authorities have found the bodies of three Afghan women, one of whom worked for an aid group, who were raped, strangled and dumped with a note warning women not to work for such groups, an official said yesterday.

Aid workers in Afghanistan have been the target of Taliban insurgents, especially in the insurgency-plagued south and east of the country, but the three women were found in the northern province of Baghlan, where Taliban rebels are not active.

“This is retribution for those women who are working in NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] and those who are involved in whoredom,” a Western security official quoted from the warning note.

SRAELPalestinians raze officials’ homes

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A Palestinian bulldozer yesterday demolished the seaside homes of three senior officers who built illegally on public land in Gaza, the start of what the Palestinian government promises will be a relentless campaign against corruption.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was elected, in part, on a pledge to reform the government and security services.

One bulldozer guarded by seven jeeps and 30 Palestinian officers entered the Sudania area on the coast of northern Gaza yesterday morning to crush the three homes.

GERMANY

Pope’s old car sets EBay record

BERLIN — Interest in Pope Benedict XVI’s old Volkswagen, currently being offered on EBay Germany, has smashed all records for the Internet auction site with nearly 4 million visits, the company said yesterday.

The bidding for the metallic gray 1999 Golf IV in mint condition started at $12,863, and by yesterday had reached $80,528. The auction is not scheduled to end until Thursday — Ascension Day — and EBay expects the price to continue to rise.

The Golf is being offered by Benjamin Halbe, 21, who bought it in January from a used-car dealer having no idea that its previous owner, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, would become pope.

VIETNAM

Cuba helped widen Ho Chi Minh Trail

HAVANA — Cuba has disclosed that its military engineers took part in the widening of the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail in the midst of Vietnam’s war with the United States, according to an interview with a Cuban participant in the official paper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth).

Retired Cuban Col. Roberto Leon opened up about an episode touted as “one of the greatest secrets” of the 1965-1975 war, when he led a team of 23 Cuban military engineers and about 50 Vietnamese nationals in work on the trail over seven months.

He said construction on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a network of roads and tunnels stretching thousands of kilometers largely through jungle, started in 1959 and lasted 15 years.

It was during Cuban President Fidel Castro’s September 1973 visit that authorities asked for technical help, he said.

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