- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 15, 2006

JAPAN

Koizumi visits Yasukuni shrine

TOKYO — Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the Yasukuni shrine today, a move bound to anger Asian neighbors, Japanese press reported.

His visit brought angry responses from China and South Korea, which see the shrine as a symbol of Japan’s militarist past.

But Mr. Koizumi brushed aside their criticism saying it was “appropriate” to mourn war dead.

GAZA STRIP

Fox News crew of two kidnapped

GAZA CITY — Masked Palestinian gunmen ambushed a car carrying a Fox News crew in Gaza City yesterday and kidnapped two journalists, according to witnesses and Fox.

“We can confirm that two of our people were taken against their will in Gaza,” Fox News said in a statement.

A Fox employee in Gaza, who declined to give his name because he was not authorized to release information about the incident, said reporter Steve Centanni, a U.S. citizen, and a cameraman from New Zealand were kidnapped.

The men and their bodyguard were parked near the headquarters of the Palestinian security services when two trucks filled with masked gunmen pulled up and boxed them in, the Fox employee said.

The gunmen took the two journalists from the sport utility vehicle, which was marked “TV,” and drove away, he said.

ISRAEL

Comatose Sharon’s condition deteriorates

JERUSALEM — Ariel Sharon’s condition has deteriorated, the hospital where the ailing former Israeli prime minister is being treated announced yesterday.

A new scan showed a deterioration in his brain function, his urine output has decreased significantly and a chest scan showed that he has a new infection in his lungs, according to Anat Dolev, spokeswoman for the Chaim Sheba Medical Center.

Mrs. Dolev wouldn’t say whether Mr. Sharon’s life was in danger, but that doctors were treating him with broad-spectrum antibiotics and steroids.

Mr. Sharon, 78, has been in a coma since suffering a massive stroke Jan. 4.

CHINA

Typhoon toll rises to 295 dead

BEIJING — Soldiers mobilized to help with the recovery from China’s strongest typhoon in five decades, while the death toll rose to 295 yesterday after scores more bodies were pulled from the sea.

Scores were still missing, raising the possibility that the death toll from Typhoon Saomai could climb much higher since it slammed into China’s crowded southeast Thursday.

Saomai, with winds up to 135 mph, destroyed more than 50,000 houses, sank more than 1,000 ships and tore down power lines, blacking out six cities. More than 1.6 million people were forced to flee their homes.

JAPAN

Tanker collision creates oil spill

TOKYO — About 4,500 tons of crude oil are believed to have spilled into the Indian Ocean from a tanker operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. after the tanker collided with a cargo vessel, the Japanese shipping company said today.

It may be the largest oil-spill accident ever involving a Japanese tanker.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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