- The Washington Times - Friday, July 10, 2009

SOUTH KOREA

Hackers target Web sites again

SEOUL | The third wave of cyberattacks to hit South Korea caused little disruption Thursday, with six of seven affected Web sites quickly back up and running.

The attacks were the latest in a series that began Saturday in the United States and targeted high-profile Web sites including the White House and the office of South Korea’s president.

South Korean and U.S. officials have implicated North Korea in the attacks.

KYRGYZSTAN

Moscow seeks second air base

BISHKEK | Russia has asked Kyrgyzstan to allow the opening of a second Russian air base in the country, a Kyrgyz official said Thursday, just days after Bishkek agreed to keep a key U.S. base in operation.

The request was made on a secret high-level visit to Bishkek by Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, said the source in the Kyrgyz government, who asked not to be named. Russia already maintains the Kant air base outside Bishkek.

Kyrgyzstan’s president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, on Tuesday signed into law a new accord extending the United States’ use of the Manas air base outside the capital Bishkek, which is key to its operations in Afghanistan.

AFGHANISTAN

Government revises marriage law

KABUL | Afghanistan’s government has revised a marriage law that sparked an international outcry over sections that appeared to legalize marital rape, Justice Ministry officials said Thursday.

President Hamid Karzai signed the original law in March but quickly suspended enforcement after governments around the world condemned the legislation. Though the law would only apply to Afghanistan’s Shi’ite minority, many saw it as a return to Taliban-style oppression of women from a government that was supposed to be installing democracy and human rights.

The new legislation will need to be debated in parliament before it is signed into law, Justice Ministry spokesman Mohammad Reza Howeida said.

PAKISTAN

2 million refugees to return home soon

ISLAMABAD | Pakistan will allow about 2 million people who fled an army offensive against the Taliban in the Swat Valley to return home next week, the prime minister announced Thursday, saying the region was now secure and essential services had been restored.

The refugees have stayed in crowded camps and in homes just south of the northwestern region.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said people will be allowed to return starting July 13, adding that the army would remain in the valley to ensure the Taliban did not return.

SRI LANKA

Aid agencies told to cut operations

COLOMBO | Sri Lanka has asked aid agencies to scale down operations as the island nation’s “challenges are now different” with the end of a 25-year war, the minister of disaster management and human rights said Thursday.

The move comes amid increasing pressure from the international community to relax restrictions on aid agencies’ access to camps that have housed nearly 300,000 internally displaced people from one of Asia’s longest modern wars.

VIETNAM

Hanoi: Priest’s case must follow law

HANOI | Vietnam said Thursday that normal legal procedures must apply in the case of a Catholic priest found guilty of spreading anti-government propaganda, after U.S. senators called for his release.

The senators urged Vietnam’s president July 1 to immediately and unconditionally free the Rev. Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, and human rights groups said his imprisonment justified putting Hanoi on a U.S. religious freedom blacklist.

Father Ly was jailed for eight years in March 2007.

AUSTRALIA

Town bans bottled water

SYDNEY | Residents of a rural Australian town hoping to protect the earth and their wallets have voted to ban the sale of bottled water, the first community in the country - and possibly the world - to take such a drastic step in the growing backlash against the industry.

Residents of Bundanoon, a town of 2,500 about 100 miles south of Sydney, cheered after their near-unanimous approval of the measure at a town meeting Wednesday. It was the second blow to Australia’s beverage industry in one day: Hours earlier, the New South Wales state prime minister banned all state departments and agencies from buying bottled water, calling it a waste of money and natural resources.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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