- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2006

JAPAN

Abe seeks summits with China, S. Korea

TOKYO — The next likely prime minister of Japan, outspoken conservative Shinzo Abe, pressed for summits with China and South Korea yesterday after being tapped to head the country’s ruling party in a vote heralding a swing to the right.

Mr. Abe, who is expected to be elected prime minister next week, outlined plans for a government that would usher in a more assertive foreign policy, a stronger military and greater economic reform.

Improving relations with Japan’s neighbors will be key. Outgoing Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi enraged Beijing and Seoul by visiting a war shrine vilified by critics as glorifying Japan’s militaristic past.

ISRAEL

Olmert heckled by kin of war dead

JERUSALEM — Relatives of Israeli troops killed in the war in Lebanon and reservists heckled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday as he gave a speech to party loyalists on the eve of the Jewish New Year.

“Olmert, go home, resign,” chanted the protesters at the meeting of the prime minister’s Kadima party in the commercial capital, Tel Aviv, which was broadcast live on Israeli television.

BRITAIN

Official interrupted during speech

LONDON — Shouting protesters interrupted Britain’s top law official during a speech yesterday in which he urged Muslim parents to watch their children closely for signs of extremism.

Home Secretary John Reid was speaking to a Muslim audience in East London when a man began berating him as an “enemy of Islam and Muslims.”

“There is no nice way of saying this,” Mr. Reid said. “These fanatics are looking to groom and brainwash children, including your children, for suicide bombing. To kill themselves in order to murder many others.”

INDIA

Mystery disease strikes hybrid lions

NEW DELHI — Nearly two dozen lions are slowly dying in northern India from a mysterious disease afflicting the hybrid offspring of Asiatic and African cats paired in a discontinued experimental program.

Zookeepers are mournfully watching the results of the program, which began in the late 1980s at the Chhatbir Zoo and was ended in 2002 after many of the nearly 80 crossbred lions were struck by a mysterious disease linked to inbreeding and a weakened gene pool, said Kuldip Kumar, Punjab state’s conservator of forests and wildlife.

Wildlife officials had hoped the hybrid cats could be introduced into the wild in an effort to bolster India’s endangered wild lion population.

AFGHANISTAN

Grenade kills women at wedding party

KABUL — A grenade attack on an outdoor wedding celebration north of the Afghan capital killed five women and wounded 18, an official said.

Four suspects were detained after the blast Monday in the village of Sayadan, about 40 miles north of Kabul, said Abdul Jabar Takwa, the governor of Parwan province.

The women were celebrating in a garden when the assailants threw the grenade over a wall, Mr. Takwa said. The attack appeared to be linked to a private feud, he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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