- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 27, 2005

JAPAN

Deal struck with U.S. on Okinawa base

TOKYO — The United States yesterday struck a deal with Japan over the relocation of a Marine base in Okinawa and paving the way for broader realignment talks this weekend.

Under a Japanese proposal, the United States agreed to close the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in the crowded southern part of the island and move its functions to Camp Schwab in the north, officials said.

Both sides compromised on the major sticking point in the deal: construction of a heliport on reclaimed land off Okinawa, which Japanese environmentalists had argued would threaten a coral reef, according to Japanese press reports.

The agreement opens the way for high-level talks Saturday in Washington on the broader realignment of the 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan.

NORTH KOREA

Nuke talks could resume in November

The six parties involved in talks on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are making final arrangements to resume the talks during the week of Nov. 7, a Chinese negotiator said yesterday.

Speaking to reporters after holding talks with U.S. officials in Washington, the Chinese ambassador for Korean Peninsula affairs, Li Bin, was the first official from China to confirm the scheduling for the second week of November.

“I believe the week starting November 7 will be no problem for all six parties,” said Mr. Li, deputy chief delegate to the talks, after meeting with his counterpart, Joseph DeTrani, special U.S. envoy for the six-party talks; U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick; and other officials at the State Department.

The six parties are the U.S., China, the two Koreas, Japan and Russia.

IRAN

Bin Laden sons said to roam free

BERLIN — Iran is permitting around 25 high-ranking al Qaeda members to roam free in the country’s capital, including three sons of Osama bin Laden, a German monthly magazine reported yesterday.

Citing information from unnamed Western intelligence sources, the magazine Cicero said in a preview of an article appearing in its November edition that the individuals in question are from Egypt, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and Europe.

They stay in homes belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

SWITZERLAND

Millions pledged for earthquake aid

GENEVA — A half-billion dollars of new aid were promised to earthquake-stricken Pakistan yesterday after a new U.N. fundraising drive, but survivors were left guessing how much would reach them before the winter snows.

The United Nations recorded an initial $525 million in aid pledges by donor governments at a conference designed to get support for the millions left without food or shelter in the freezing Himalayas after the Oct. 8 quake.

Officials warned that only part of the new money was earmarked for emergency relief such as food, medicine and tents, with most being set aside for reconstruction efforts.

GERMANY

‘Nazi’ raccoons destroy vineyards

BERLIN — Thousands of marauding raccoons, descendents of animals released by Hermann Goering, have overrun vineyards in central Germany.

The nocturnal mammals descended on vineyards in the Brandenburg region, west of Berlin, ruining the harvest. Ripening grapes are a favorite snack of the rodents.

The animals were introduced by Nazi air force chief Hermann Goering in 1934 to “enrich” Germany’s fauna. With no natural predators, their numbers have mushroomed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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