Korean leader forced to retire by family history
TOKYO -- The powerful chairman of South Korea's ruling Uri Party, Shin Ki Nam, resigned Thursday in the wake of revelations that his father was a collaborator during Japan's occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945. Shin's resignation underscored just how strong recollections remain in Asia of Japan's early 20th century quest for military domination. It is a chapter in history that is still very alive in the minds of Japan's neighbors and that in recent months has again become the flashpoint for a number of anti-Japanese incidents in China and South Korea.
Sharon, Arafat defy demands from backers
JERUSALEM -- Embattled leaders Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat rebuffed demands from their backers Thursday, holding steadfast to positions posing great political risk: Sharon insisted he will press on with efforts to pull out of Gaza despite a stinging rebuke from his party, while Arafat refused to sign reform legislation. The internal power struggles foreshadowed difficulties for Sharon's plan to evacuate all 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank, as well as hopes for meaningful reform of the corruption-plagued Palestinian administration and its security forces. The political struggles played out against a backdrop of violence. Israeli soldiers shot and killed an 18-year-old Palestinian in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, witnesses and hospital officials said.
Man tied to N.J. governor claims conspiracy effort
JERUSALEM -- The Israeli man at the center of New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey's resignation scandal on Thursday denied media reports that he had an affair with another man. McGreevey announced his resignation last week after acknowledging that he is gay and had an affair with a man. Sources close to McGreevey have identified the man as Golan Cipel, a former adviser to the governor, and said the Israeli had demanded millions of dollars to stay quiet. Cipel says he is straight and was subject to humiliating sexual harassment by McGreevey. But in a potential setback for Cipel, a New Jersey doctor, Michael David Miller, told Thursday's New York Post that he too had an affair with the Israeli. Cipel, who returned to Israel this week, denied the report, claiming he was the victim of a powerful conspiracy.
Pakistan hunts for Libyan with link to bin Laden
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Security forces here are hunting a Libyan al-Qaida leader whom senior Pakistani intelligence officials see as a possible key to finding Osama bin Laden and others in the terrorist network's inner circle. Captured al-Qaida suspects have consistently named a Libyan, Abu Faraj Farj, as the man who gave them instructions for attacks, including two attempts to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf late last year, two senior intelligence officials said Thursday. The suspects also say they believe the Libyan is in direct contact with bin Laden and his chief lieutenant, Ayman Zawahiri, said the intelligence sources, who spoke on condition that they not be identified. Suspecting Farj's hand in numerous terrorist plots, Pakistani investigators think that if they can capture the Libyan, he may lead them to bin Laden, the sources said.
U.N. recalls colleagues killed in Iraq attack
GENEVA -- The bombing that wrecked U.N. offices in Baghdad and snatched away 22 colleagues a year ago was agony for the United Nations but terrorist threats won't deter it from helping the victims of conflict, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday at a memorial. "I lost 22 wonderful, talented friends and colleagues whom I had sent to Iraq," Annan said of the Aug. 19, 2003, attack that stunned U.N. employees and set off wrangling within the United Nations over its security failings.
-- From wire reports