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PARIS: France exploded its first Hydrogen Bomb at 18 GMT today [Aug 24] at its test centre on Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific, it was announced here.

President de Gaulle hailed the explosion as a “magnificent scientific, technical and industrial success achieved for the independence and security of France by an elite of her children”.

[Meanwhile, as reported by agencies in Saigon,] Communist guerrillas attacked more than 50 towns and military installations in South Viet-Nam yesterday [Aug 23] and President Nguyen Van Thieu last night dramatically appealed to North Viet-Nam to avoid another “futile blood bath”.

Bitter fighting followed several of the attacks by the Viet-Cong, who used rockets and mortars to hit targets mostly in the northern provinces.

Guerrillas tried to seize the radio station at Da Nang — the giant US military base in the north — and attacked parts of the city there with sniper fire. The former imperial capital of Hue was hit with mortar fire. A guerrilla battalion of about 400 men surrounded a militia camp at Duc Lap, in central Quang Duc province, after they poured in rocket and mortar shells.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2018