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U.S. starts super-radar in Japan

Published September 29, 2006

TOKYO - The U.S. military has activated a high-powered radar outpost in northern Japan that will enable it to track ballistic missiles in the region amid concerns about North Korea.

The so-called X-Band radar is so powerful it can identify baseball-sized objects from thousands of miles away and is designed to differentiate between decoys and real missile warheads.

U.S. Army Japan press officer Maj. Martha Brooks said Thursday that U.S. Brig. Gen. John E. Seward hosted a ceremony Tuesday to activate the X-Band unit.

Elsewhere ...

MEXICO SAYS FENCE WILL HURT RELATIONS: Mexico warned Thursday that the U.S. proposal to build miles of border fence, which is working its way through the Senate, will damage relations between the two countries. The Foreign Relations Department said it was "deeply worried" about the proposal, adding it will "increase tension in border communities."

COLOMBIAN REBELS PLEAD GUILTY TO DRUG CHARGES: Two members of Colombia's largest rebel group pleaded guilty Thursday to federal drug conspiracy charges, the first of the organization known as FARC to be convicted of narcotics trafficking in the United States, prosecutors said. Cesar Augusto Perez-Parra, 43, and Farouk Shaikh-Reyes, 41, pleaded guilty to charges that they plotted to smuggle more than 4,400 pounds of cocaine once a month from Colombia to Miami.

AND THE THAI PRIME MINISTER WILL BE: Surayud Chulanont, a former army commander and a close adviser to Thailand's powerful monarch, has been chosen as the country's interim prime minister, the auditor general said Thursday night. His appointment is expected to be officially announced this weekend or Monday after it receives approval from the king. Meanwhile, the United States suspended $24-million in military assistance on Thursday, invoking laws that bar certain aid programs to governments that have taken power by force.

Typhoon batters Philippines: The death toll from a powerful typhoon that cut across the northern Philippines rose to 17 on Friday as offices in Manila remained closed for a second day.

[Last modified September 29, 2006, 01:14:18]

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