World and Nation

Shorts (left)

Trail Led to Macau as Focus of North Korean Corruption

For American law enforcement agencies the smuggling investigations were among their most elaborate, producing dozens of arrests and hard evidence that Chinese criminal gangs had smuggled counterfeit U.S. currency, cigarettes and drugs made in North Korea into the United States.

The investigations, concluded 20 months ago, also produced a money trail that led to the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau, where American investigators concluded that criminals linked to North Korea were laundering their earnings.

This effort produced the hard evidence for the United States to place financial sanctions against Banco Delta Asia, a small, family-owned bank in Macau, near Hong Kong. But those sanctions became a major sticking point in international efforts to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The investigations "were just incontrovertible proof of the role of Macau banks, Macau gangsters, North Koreans in Macau," said David Asher, an outspoken critic of North Korea who at the time of the investigation was one of the most senior State Department officials dealing with the country.

Turmoil Grows For Wolfowitz At World Bank

Paul D. Wolfowitz's tenure as president of the World Bank was thrown into turmoil on Thursday by the disclosure that he had helped arrange a pay raise for his companion at the time of her transfer from the bank to the State Department, where she remained on the bank payroll.

In a chaotic day of revelations and meetings at a normally staid institution, Wolfowitz apologized for his role in the raise and transfer of Shaha Riza, his companion, to a few hundred staff members assembled in the bank building atrium, only to be greeted by booing, catcalls and cries for his resignation.

Earlier, the bank's staff association had declared that it was "impossible for the institution to move forward with any sense of purpose under the present leadership." The association had helped spearhead an investigation into Riza's transfer and raise, details of which came into the open in the last 24 hours.

CDC Urges a Change In Antibiotics For Gonorrhea

The rates of drug-resistant gonorrhea in the United States have increased so greatly in the last five years that doctors should now treat the infection with a different class of antibiotics, the last line of defense for the sexually transmitted disease, officials said Thursday.

The percentage of drug-resistant gonorrhea cases among heterosexual men jumped, to 6.7 percent in 2006 compared with 0.6 percent in 2001, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Standard monitoring of gonorrhea cases is conducted among men who go to STD clinics. New data from such sites in 26 cities show that rates of drug-resistant gonorrhea among heterosexual men last year reached 26 percent in Philadelphia and more than 20 percent in Honolulu and four sites in California, Long Beach, Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco.