- The Washington Times - Monday, October 19, 2009

THAILAND

Hitler billboard covered up

BANGKOK | A highway billboard using a saluting Adolf Hitler to advertise a Thai wax museum has been covered up after complaints from the Israeli and German ambassadors, the museum’s manager said Sunday.

“The idea came from a creative (advertising) agency, and we did not mean to cause any offense,” said Somporn Naksuetrong, the manager of Tussaud’s Waxworks in the seaside resort town of Pattaya.

The billboard, which in Thai language said, “Hitler is not dead,” had been up for several weeks on the main road from Bangkok to Pattaya and was meant to promote the museum’s planned opening next month.



The use of Nazi imagery does not stir the same emotional reaction in Asia as in the West, and Thailand has had past instances in which icons of the genocidal German regime have been used for advertising and entertainment.

SUDAN

Aid workers freed, captive since July

KHARTOUM | Two foreign aid workers seized at gunpoint more than three months ago in Sudan’s Darfur region were released Sunday, a Sudanese government official said.

The Irish and Ugandan women were in good health and were having medical checkups at a hospital in northern Darfur, said Abdel-Baqi al-Jailani, Sudan’s state minister for humanitarian affairs.

The two women were taken hostage July 3 in the western region of Sudan, where government forces have been battling rebels for more than six years. The Irish woman, Sharon Commins, 33, and her Ugandan colleague, Hilda Kuwuki, 42, were working for Irish humanitarian aid agency GOAL.

Shortly after they were seized, Mr. al-Jailani said the kidnappers were seeking a ransom and did not appear to have political motives, though he told the Associated Press no ransom was paid.

SAUDI ARABIA

Militants planned massive attack

RIYADH | The two al Qaeda militants killed in a recent shootout sneaked into Saudi Arabia from Yemen and were planning to carry out a massive attack, the Interior Ministry spokesman said Sunday.

Four explosive belts - three of them ready to use - were found in the car used by the militants in Tuesday’s shootout, which suggests that at least four people were going to take part in the attack, ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Mansour al-Turki told the Associated Press.

He said six Yemeni accomplices who were coordinating with the two militants - Youssef al-Shihri and Raed al-Harbi - were also arrested.

Al-Shihri and al-Harbi were disguised as women as they drove across the border Tuesday with a third militant, who was later arrested. The three were stopped at a checkpoint in the south of the country, near the border with Yemen.

SOUTH KOREA

Government eyes some aid to North

SEOUL | South Korea’s conservative government will consider giving limited aid to impoverished North Korea but has ruled out assistance on the large scale of previous liberal administrations, a senior official said Sunday.

It would be the first time that the administration of conservative President Lee Myung-bak has given aid to the reclusive communist regime. Mr. Lee has previously linked any aid to progress in efforts to rid the North of its nuclear programs.

For a decade, South Korea was one of the biggest donors to the North, shipping hundreds of thousands of tons of food across the militarized border every year. But aid stopped after Mr. Lee took office last year with a pledge to get tough on the North.

North Korea asked for humanitarian assistance at talks with the South on Friday - its first such request during Mr. Lee’s administration.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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