- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2000

Burmese junta hits Britain on interference

RANGOON, Burma Burma's ruling military hit out at its Western critics yesterday, accusing them of interfering in its internal affairs as it kept opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi locked up inside her home and cut off from the world.

Burma told Britain it may allow diplomatic access to Mrs. Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, within two weeks.

Mrs. Suu Kyi and other senior members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) have been padlocked inside their residences for four days after the military forcibly ended a nine-day roadside protest in the early hours of Saturday.

Diplomats who tried to visit them were turned away.

Sudan asked pope to convert to Islam

KHARTOUM, Sudan The former right-hand-man of Sudan's President Omar Bashir asked Pope John Paul II to convert to Islam during a 1994 papal visit to Sudan, Khartoum newspapers reported yesterday.

Mr. Bashir's ally-turned-rival Hassan Turabi told a political rally in east Sudan Monday that he had discussed similarities between Islam and Christianity with the pope, the independent Al-Ayam daily reported.

Mr. Turabi said he had also complained to John Paul II that separating religion from the state had led to a worldwide spread of corruption and suggested cooperating to "prevent materialism from prevailing over piety."

Milosevic rival vows to shield him

BELGRADE The main opposition candidate in Yugoslavia's presidential election has said that, if elected, he will not let the current president, Slobodan Milosevic, be sent to the U.N. war crimes tribunal, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

A press officer from Vojislav Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia confirmed this had been his response to a question on the local Vujic television station in the central Serbian town of Valjevo Monday evening.

Mr. Kostunica, who has a clear lead in opinion polls ahead of the Sept. 24 vote, also criticized the court.

50,000 in Bangladesh flooded out of homes

SANDWIP, Bangladesh At least 50,000 people are homeless after a tidal surge flooded Sandwip, an island at the mouth of the River Ganges, with up to eight feet of water last week, officials said yesterday.

Relief officials earlier reported the tidal flood killed at least six persons, including five children, when it inundated islands about 60 miles off the Bangladeshi mainland in the Bay of Bengal six days ago. Nearly 100 people were injured.

"No less than 50,000 people are homeless and they have no hope of resuming a normal life immediately," one official told a group of journalists who were taken to the island to view the devastation.

25 killed in clash near Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, Somalia At least 25 persons were killed and 18 wounded in a clash between heavily armed rival militias in Somalia, witnesses said yesterday.

The confrontation was the latest in a long-running feud between the Hawadleh and Galje'el clans near the town of Jowhar about 55 miles north of Mogadishu.

Witnesses said the Galje'el clan militia, apparently retaliating for an earlier attack, ambushed Hawadleh positions in the village on Monday, destroying most of the poorly built houses.

Pinochet's model urged for Suharto

JAKARTA, Indonesia A senior U.N. official has recommended that Indonesia deal with corruption charges against former President Suharto in the same way Britain handled the case against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The method Britain used to decide whether Gen. Pinochet was medically fit to be extradited to Spain could help resolve "whether Suharto is physically and/or mentally unfit to stand trial," Param Cumaraswamy, U.N. special envoy on judicial independence, said in a statement obtained yesterday.

The Chilean general was detained in London while recovering from surgery in October 1998. He spent 16 months in Britain before finally eluding a Spanish extradition request. He was sent home in March but faces possible prosecution in Chile for atrocities committed during his 1973-1990 dictatorship.

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