- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2003

CHINA
President Hu backs Hong Kong's leader
BEIJING China's new leader, Hu Jintao, promised all-out support for Hong Kongs embattled Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa at a midweek meeting of the two men in Beijing, state media said.
The new Chinese government will "unswervingly observe the established policies and principles of the previous governments, and go all out to support the work of Tung and his government," Mr. Hu said, according to Xinhua news agency.
Mr. Tung has come under fire at home for his administration's handling of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's ailing economy and its management of the budget, which is estimated to be moving toward a deficit close to $9 billion.

VIETNAM
8 more hospitalized with mystery infection
HANOI Eight more patients with a mysterious respiratory illness have been hospitalized in Vietnam as officials announced yesterday that they had the outbreak under control.
Hoang Thuy Long, head of the Health Ministry's epidemiological institute, said no patients had been found in the population at large, though total cases rose to 63. Three new patients, all relatives of previous cases, were admitted to Hanoi's French hospital.
At least nine deaths two in Canada, five in Hong Kong and two in Vietnam have been blamed on severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), described as an atypical pneumonia. A French doctor who treated the first case of the respiratory illness diagnosed in Vietnam died Wednesday after contracting the virus, the French Embassy said.
Dr. Jean-Paul Derosier, a 65-year-old anaesthetist, had been in direct contact with a 48-year-old American who fell ill during a business trip to Hanoi and died at a hospital in Hong Kong. A Vietnamese nurse also involved in the treatment of the American died over the weekend.

Weekly notes …
Indonesia's attorney general has appointed five prosecutors for the trial of Amrozi, a key suspect in the Bali bombings that killed 202 persons last October. Amrozi, whose trial in the resort island will probably begin in late April, is accused of buying chemicals for a van bomb that exploded outside the Sari Club, causing most of the deaths. He faces the death penalty if convicted; 29 other suspects are in custody awaiting trial. … Australia announced the closure this week of a notorious center for unwanted asylum-seekers on Christmas Island in the northern Indian Ocean but confirmed plans to build a new detention camp on the same site. The closure followed the announcement last week that a detention center at Woomera in the South Australian desert will be shut by mid-April. Inmates, angered by long detentions and poor conditions, rioted at both camps in January.

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