- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2006


Firing on Tibetans called ‘self-defense’

BEIJING — Chinese troops fired on about 70 people near the country’s mountain border with Nepal, and one of them died, state press reported yesterday, partly confirming earlier reports.

The official Xinhua news agency said the people were attempting to cross illegally from Tibet into Nepal on Sept. 30 when a squad of Chinese border guards tried to persuade them to return home. They “refused and attacked the soldiers,” the report said.

“The frontier soldiers were forced to defend themselves and injured two,” the report said, citing an unnamed Chinese official.

Three mountain climbers from Britain and Australia said Tuesday that they watched Chinese border guards aim their guns at a group of about 20 or 30 people as they prepared to cross an icy pass from Chinese territory into Nepal.


Mindanao explosions kill 7, wound dozens

MANILA — The Philippines raised alert levels on the troubled southern island of Mindanao yesterday after a series of explosions in three towns that killed seven persons and wounded more than 30 early this week.

Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr., the military’s chief of staff, said tighter security, including random checkpoints, would be imposed in a half-dozen areas on Mindanao thought to be potential targets of attacks by Islamic militants.


High winds, heat sear southern areas

SYDNEY — Australia’s southern states were in the grip of a bush-fire crisis yesterday as high winds and temperatures caused hundreds of blazes across the tinder-dry countryside.

Firefighters battled blazes in four states, with homes threatened in New South Wales and the island state of Tasmania, where officers said they faced “near-record fire danger.” In Tasmania, where the temperature was 92 degrees, billowing smoke turned traffic into chaos, and 11 of 18 fires across the state remained out of control.

Unseasonably high temperatures for October and the country’s worst drought on record have sparked devastating fires.

Weekly notes …

Nepal’s Maoists and government officials held brief talks yesterday, but the two sides could not overcome differences on power sharing and what the rebels should do with their weapons. Officials said the two-hour meeting ended with the seven-party coalition government asking for more time to prepare its position. Further negotiations are scheduled for Sunday. … Indonesians and foreign visitors on Bali marked the fourth anniversary yesterday of deadly bombings by Islamic extremists with emotional ceremonies and rituals on the resort island. The Oct. 12, 2002, bombings at two nightclubs killed 202 persons, mostly tourists, including 88 from Australia, and were blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah, an al Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian terrorist network.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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