- The Washington Times - Friday, November 20, 2009

CHINA

Panel: Chinese spies stealing U.S. secrets

A U.S. congressional advisory panel said Thursday that Chinese spies are aggressively stealing American secrets to use in building Beijing’s military and economic strength.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission also said in its annual report to lawmakers that Beijing is building a navy that could block the U.S. military from getting to the region if fighting should break out between China and Taiwan, the self-governing island off China’s southeastern coast that China claims as its own.

The report follows President Obama’s visit this week to China, where he had extensive talks with President Hu Jintao. The commission tends to take a tougher stance on China than either Mr. Obama or his predecessor, George W. Bush.

The commission, set up by Congress in 2000 to advise, investigate and report on U.S.-China affairs, said U.S. officials think Chinese spying is “growing in scale, intensity and sophistication.”

PAKISTAN

Suicide bomber kills at least 19

PESHAWAR | A suicide bomber killed 19 people Thursday outside a courthouse in northwestern Pakistan, the latest attack in an onslaught by Islamist militants fighting back against an army offensive in the nearby Afghan border region.

The bombing was the seventh attack in less than two weeks in and around Peshawar, the largest city in the northwest. The attacks have killed more than 80 people.

The bomber, who arrived in a taxi, was being searched by police officers at the gate of the city’s lower court when he detonated explosives on his body, government official Sahibzada Anees said.

Dr. Saib Gul of the city’s Lady Reading Hospital said 19 people were killed in the attack and 51 had been wounded. At least three of the dead were police.

JAPAN

U.S. soldier sought in hit-and-run case

TOKYO | Japanese police said Thursday that a U.S. soldier is the prime suspect in a fatal-hit-and-run accident on the southern island of Okinawa and asked the U.S. Army to bring him in for further questioning.

The incident comes amid strains in U.S.-Japan relations as Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama reviews the U.S. military presence in the country. Some members of his administration have suggested they would like to see some U.S. bases moved off Okinawa, where more than half of the 47,000 U.S. troops in Japan are based.

Many residents there have complained about noise, pollution and crime tied to U.S. troops.

Investigators have linked the U.S. Army soldier, whose name and rank has not been disclosed, to a Nov. 7 accident in which a 66-year-old man was hit by a car and killed, said Okinawa police spokesman Takashi Shiradou.

AFGHANISTAN

Suicide strike kills two U.S. troops

KABUL | NATO said two U.S. service members have been killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan.

Lt. Col. Todd Vician says the two were killed by a bomb explosion in Zabul province late Thursday morning. He did not have any further details.

Jilani Farahe, deputy chief of police for the province, said a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives near the gate of a NATO base. He said no civilians had been hurt in the blast.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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