Top US Officer to Tour Indochina on MIA Issue

THE top US military officer in Asia will make his first inspection this week of units in Indochina trying to find out the fate of missing servicemen from the Vietnam War.

Adm. Richard Macke, commander in chief of the US Pacific Command, will hold talks with government officials and United States units in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, as well as Thailand, starting in Hanoi tomorrow, a US military spokesman said. It will be his first visit to the region since he took command in July.

Arrests follow Seoul bridge collapse

PROSECUTORS arrested five Seoul city officials and were investigating other senior administrators yesterday for possible negligence in Friday's bridge collapse that killed at least 32 people and injured 17.

The officials, who work in the city's construction office, were charged with failing to repair the bridge and concealing the amount of repair work needed, prosecutors said. Citing lack of funds, the city did not repair the bridge after engineers said the 17-year-old structure was dangerous, one of the arrested officials told police.

The arrests came as South Korean President Kim Young Sam was planning to reshuffle his Cabinet in response to public anger over the collapse, government sources said. The reorganization is expected to affect the premier, the construction minister, and many other officials. A large section of the Songsu Bridge collapsed during Seoul's heavy morning rush hour Friday, sending a packed city bus, a police minivan, and several cars plummeting into the Han River. Less than a day after the accident, President Kim fired Seoul mayor Lee Won Jong and ordered an investigation to see whether any officials neglected their duties.

Japan to give farmers $75 billion

JAPAN plans to spend more than 7.2 trillion yen ($75 billion) to help its politically powerful farmers cope when their long-protected home market partially opens to less expensive imports next year. Two big six-year spending packages agreed by the government over the weekend are designed to help Japanese agribusiness adjust to the effects of a major international trade agreement.

The fragile ruling coalition, which depends on the votes of rice farmers, is expected to formally approve the plan tomorrow.

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