- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2007

NORTH KOREA

Draft deal reached on nuke disarmament

BEIJING — Negotiators at North Korea’s disarmament talks tentatively agreed yesterday to a draft plan on disabling the country’s nuclear facilities by the year’s end and recessed to consult with their governments.

China, the host, said talks may reconvene in 48 hours depending on what the six participating governments — China, the United States, Japan, Russia and North and South Korea — decide.

The draft “lays out an entire road map until the end of the year” for the North’s nuclear disarmament, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters. “We’re into the nuts and bolts now of implementing de-nuclearization.”

JAPAN

Tokyo area quake injures two

TOKYO — A moderate earthquake measuring a magnitude 4.9 jolted the Tokyo region early today, injuring two persons, officials said.

It struck on the start of the day that Japan was introducing a world-first early warning system for earthquakes, which gives public utilities and others advance notice that a tremor will strike.

There were no immediate reports of damage from the quake, which struck at 2:21 a.m. in Kanagawa prefecture, just south of the Japanese capital.

A 60-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man were injured in the quake, but neither was in a serious condition, according to a crisis management official at the Kanagawa prefectural government.

Some train services were temporarily disrupted, but they returned to normal.

IRAQ

Ramadan violence down 40 percent

BAGHDAD — Violence in Iraq during Ramadan has fallen by almost 40 percent from last year, the U.S. military said yesterday, despite a warning from al Qaeda that it would increase attacks during the Muslim holy month.

U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Mark Fox said a surge of 30,000 extra troops into Iraq and the movement of soldiers into small combat outposts helped bring down violence.

“We are substantially below last year’s level. As a matter of fact, in comparison to this time last year, about 38 percent lower in terms of Ramadan violence levels,” he said at a press conference.

ISRAEL

Olmert, Abbas to meet tomorrow

JERUSALEM — Israel said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and their negotiating teams will meet tomorrow to narrow differences before a U.S.-led conference on Palestinian statehood.

Israeli government spokesman David Baker said the meeting will be held at the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams will also hold their first formal meeting tomorrow. Mr. Baker said the teams will work on a “joint statement to be presented at the conclusion of the upcoming international meeting.”

BURMA

U.N. envoy meets opposition leader

RANGOON — A U.N. envoy yesterday failed to meet with Burma’s top two junta leaders but was allowed a highly orchestrated session with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The military government, meanwhile, flooded Rangoon with troops, swelling their numbers to about 20,000 to ensure that almost all demonstrators will remain off the streets, a diplomat said.

Scores of people were arrested overnight, further weakening the flagging uprising against 45 years of military dictatorship.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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