August 15, 2005 in Nation/World

Japan’s leader apologizes for war acts

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 

Tokyo Japan’s leader apologized for Tokyo’s wartime colonization and invasions on the 60th anniversary of the country’s surrender on Monday, after other Asian nations marked the event by honoring their dead and demanding compensation for their losses.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged that Japan would never forget the “terrible lessons” of the war and expressed his “deep reflections and heartfelt” sorrow for the damages.

The anniversary of Japan’s surrender – Aug. 15, 1945 – inspired commemorations across Asia on Sunday and Monday, including a rare joint event by North and South Korea.

Protesters in Hong Kong Sunday burned Japan’s flag and marched on Tokyo’s consulate chanting “Down with Japanese imperialism!”

In the Philippines, elderly women once forced to act as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers renewed demands for compensation and apologies. Former Australian prisoners of war returned to the Thai jungles where they labored under brutal conditions to build the notorious Death Railway.

China exhorted its citizens to remember Tokyo’s surrender on Aug. 15, 1945, with “a fresh wave of patriotism,” as state-run media whipped up memories of Japanese atrocities.

The outpouring of emotion revealed the unhealed wounds six decades after Japan’s Emperor Hirohito conceded defeat in a radio broadcast, just days after the United States incinerated the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs.

Koizumi, in a written statement marking his second apology for the war to Asian neighbors this year, recognized the suffering his nation inflicted. “Our country has caused great damages and pain to people in many countries, especially our Asian neighbors, through colonization and invasion.”

He added: “We will not forget the terrible lessons of the war, and will contribute to world peace and prosperity.”

Hurricane Irene turns away from East Coast

Miami Tropical Storm Irene strengthened into a hurricane Sunday, but turned away from the East Coast and posed no threat to land, forecasters said.

Hurricane Irene had top sustained winds of 80 mph, just above the 74 mph threshold to become a hurricane.

At 11 p.m. EDT, Irene was about 355 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and 325 miles northwest of Bermuda, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was moving north-northeast at 9 mph and was expected to turn northeast.

Engineers work on mountain after rock slides

Idaho Springs, Colo. Engineers and geologists were trying to stabilize the side of a mountain Sunday after three rock slides in less than 24 hours spilled onto an interstate.

The slides backed up traffic on Interstate 70 and forced a five-mile shutdown of the state’s main east-west highway for several hours.

Officials were able to divert vehicles to a frontage road to get around the area, and the eastbound lanes reopened, but the westbound lanes were expected to stay closed overnight Sunday and it wasn’t clear how soon they might reopen.

State Transportation Department spokeswoman Stacey Stegman said there were reports of a few cars sustaining minor damage from running into rocks, but no reports of injuries.

The three slides happened about 30 miles west of Denver. Stegman said the spot isn’t known to have problems, but heavy rains apparently loosened the rocks. More than 1,500 tons of rock had been cleared by late morning.

Vermont professor robbed, killed in Brazil

Sao Paulo, Brazil An American anthropology professor on a research trip to Brazil was killed Saturday while he was being robbed in a small rain forest town near the Amazon River, an U.S. Embassy spokesman said Sunday.

James Petersen, 51, a professor at the University of Vermont, was robbed at a restaurant in the town of Iranduba, said the spokesman, John Wilcock. Iranduba is about 1,650 miles northwest of Sao Paulo.

Three suspects were taken into custody, according to CBN radio. Wilcock said he could not confirm that information, and federal police in the area were not immediately available for comment.

John Bramley, provost of the university, said Petersen was with colleagues at the time of the robbery and was shot to death. Petersen, of Salisbury, Vt., chaired the university’s anthropology department, according to the university Web site.

Most Heathrow flights resume after labor walkout

London British Airways said it was operating 95 percent of scheduled flights from Heathrow Airport on Sunday, two days after the end of a ground-crew walkout that stranded more than 100,000 passengers during the peak of the summer season.

The airline said short-haul flights will be back to normal this morning, but that restoring long-distance services would take “a little longer.”

Only 600 passengers were still waiting Sunday at the airport or in hotels, and all travelers from canceled flights had received confirmed, new tickets. The backlog of stranded luggage dropped from 30,000 pieces to 10,000, the airline said.

Passengers whose travel was disrupted by the walkout, which ended Friday after more than 24 hours, were being rebooked onto flights, given refunds or offered the chance to travel on another airline. They were still being advised to check with the airline before turning up at Heathrow, and those boarding flights were being given packages of food and vouchers because of limited catering service.


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