- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 5, 2006


Typhoon toll rises to 59 dead, 7 missing

HANOI — The death toll in Vietnam from Typhoon Xangsane rose yesterday to 59 with seven persons missing, officials said.

The powerful storm also injured about 500 people in Vietnam and killed more than 200 in the Philippines.

Hundreds of thousands of houses were wrecked when the powerful storm slammed into central Vietnam on Sunday morning. The Vietnam News Agency said agencies, organizations and businesses have pledged aid money to help the region rebuild.

Several newspapers noted this week that local authorities sometimes ineffectively used money pledged after Typhoon Chanchu in May, which left 267 persons dead or missing.


Visits to mainland eased for bureaucrats

TAIPEI — Taiwan plans to further ease a decades-old ban on visits by government employees to mainland China, a senior official said yesterday, marking a significant step in the development of ties between “the two Chinas.”

“The opening is to meet the expectation of the social public,” Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu told a local radio station. “However, we hope the civil officials who are interested in making trips to the mainland cannot only abide by the rules and regulations of China, but also keep in mind not to violate Taiwan’s interests and not to be used by China,” Mr. Wu added.


Abe admits Japan’s past aggression

TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged yesterday the World War II responsibility of his grandfather, the late Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, and Japan’s other wartime leaders ahead of his fence-mending talks with the leaders of China and South Korea.

Mr. Abe, known for his conservative views on history, also committed himself to accept two official statements from the 1990s in which Japan apologized for its aggression and colonial rule, and for using Asian women as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers before and during the war.

Weekly notes …

A growing acrid haze from land-clearing fires in Indonesia’s countryside led to the closing of more schools yesterday, disrupted travel in Malaysia and drifted about 2,250 miles across the Pacific, officials said. The annual illegal burn-off in Indonesia usually affects Malaysia, Singapore and southern Thailand most, but the U.S.-administered Northern Mariana Islands said the Indonesian fires were the source of haze over its islands, too. … Two British women were found alive in dense New Zealand bush this week, two days after their car plunged 300 feet down a steep bank. Their cries were heard by tourists who stopped at the top to take photos of the scenery. Marion Hounsome, 40, and her mother, Glenys, 71, said they owed their survival to “hope, mandarin oranges and bottled water.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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