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North Korea Lifts Curbs on Border With South Korea


KOREAS-RELATIONS: North Korea has lifted tough restrictions on cross-border traffic with South Korea, normalizing the flow of goods and personnel to and from a joint industrial park in the North. A South Korean Unification Ministry spokeswoman says the border will open 23 times a day to traffic to and from Kaesong, up from the current six times. The spokesman says the number of people and vehicles allowed to cross the border at one time will no longer be restricted. Kaesong is home to some 110 South Korean-run factories that employ about 40,000 North Korean workers. The opening of cross-border traffic is one of several recent gestures Pyongyang has recently made in an apparent bid to improve relations with Seoul. Relations between the two countries began to deteriorate early last year, when conservative President Lee Myung-bak took office.

CHINA-TAIWAN: Taiwan's ruling party says China has canceled or postponed several events following Taipei's decision to let Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, visit the island. Nationalist Party spokeswoman Chen Shu-rong says a senior Communist Party official from Shanghai and a party group from Nanjing have both canceled planned visits to Taiwan. Chen says it is not clear if the cancellations were due to the Dalai Lama's visit. But she says the ruling party was stepping up its communication with Beijing to lessen any possible impact. The Dalai Lama arrived in Taiwan Sunday on a visit to comfort victims of Typhoon Morakot, which lashed the island last month, leaving more than 700 people dead or missing.

BURMA UNREST: Chinese authorities began pulling down tent camps for Burmese refugees Tuesday, as thousands returned home after days of clashes between government forces and ethnic rebels was winding down.
At least 30,000 people fled northeastern Burma into China Saturday and Sunday to escape fighting in Kokang, a mainly ethnic Chinese region of Burma's Shan state. China did not officially declare the Chinese and Burmese who fled Kokang as refugees, but provided food, water and temporary housing to them.
Some of those returning home say they are afraid and do not trust the Burmese government's claims that fighting has stopped.

A U.S. Statement Department spokesman (Ian Kelly) said Monday that Washington is deeply concerned about the violence. He urged the military-run government to develop a dialogue with the groups, as well as with Burma's democratic opposition.

CAMBODIA-US CHILD SEX: Three U.S. men expelled from Cambodia have returned to California to face charges they had sex with Cambodian children.
The three arrived in Los Angeles Monday. They are the first to be charged under a U.S. program called "Operation Twisted Traveler," aimed at stopping Americans from visiting Cambodia to seek sex with minors. Cambodian police arrested the men -- Ronald Boyajian, Erik Peeters and Jack Sporich -- in February. Boyajian is accused of having sex with a 10-year-old girl, while Peeters allegedly paid three boys for sex.

AFGHANISTAN: Two U.S. troops were killed in separate bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan Monday, ending the deadliest month for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since the Taliban-led government was ousted in 2001.
At least 47 U.S. service members were killed in August. Forty-four were killed the previous month. The deaths came the same day as the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan said the situation in the country is serious, but the 8-year-old war can still be won. U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal delivered his much-anticipated review of the battle against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan (Monday). The general said the United States and its allies will need to change strategy and boost cooperation to turn around the war. McChrystal urged an expansion of Afghan security forces and a revamped counter-insurgency strategy.

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