- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 29, 2005

CHINA

Key leaders pay respects to Zhao

BEIJING — China’s fourth-ranking Communist Party leader, Jia Qinglin, and several other senior officials, attended the funeral of purged party chief Zhao Ziyang on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency said.

“On behalf of the leaders of the central authorities, Jia Qinglin and other senior officials were at the cemetery to bid farewell to the remains of Comrade Zhao and expressed condolences to his families,” Xinhua said in its first report on the funeral.

The report, in English, was not repeated in Chinese, indicating it was aimed at a foreign audience. Hundreds of mourners filed past the body at a low-key funeral held for Mr. Zhao, purged for sympathizing with protests for democracy in 1989.

TAIWAN

China jetliners start service to Taiwan

BEIJING — Chinese jetliners carrying Taiwanese took off today on the first flights to rival Taiwan by mainland carriers since the two sides split amid civil war in 1949.

An Air China Boeing 737, carrying about 300 passengers, was the first to take off, leaving Beijing’s Capital Airport at 8 a.m. Minutes later, a Hainan Airlines plane took off from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

In Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, a jetliner flying for the island’s largest carrier, China Airlines, took off with about 300 passengers bound for Beijing.

VENEZUELA

Row over capture of rebel settled

CARACAS — Venezuela and Colombia announced a settlement yesterday in a bitter dispute over the capture of a Colombian rebel on Venezuelan soil, easing the worst diplomatic crisis between the South American countries in decades.

The conflict began nearly seven weeks ago, when the prominent Colombian rebel Rodrigo Granda stepped outside a cafe onto the streets of Caracas and bounty hunters seized him, pushed him into a sport utility vehicle and drove him to Colombia to claim their reward.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s office said in a statement last night that “the incident has been resolved.” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez told the state-run Bolivarian News Agency he was pleased to have finalized the matter.

IRELAND

Man convicted in bombing freed

DUBLIN — The only man convicted in connection with Northern Ireland’s deadliest bombing walked free from prison yesterday after winning an appeal and posting bail of $65,000.

Three years ago, Colm Murphy, 52, received a 14-year sentence for purportedly supplying two cell phones to Irish Republican Army dissidents who detonated a car bomb in the town of Omagh in 1998, killing 29 persons.

But last week, appellate judges threw out his conviction after finding that two detectives who interrogated Murphy in 1999 rewrote their interview notes and denied doing this under oath. Murphy’s retrial, if it happens at all, isn’t expected to begin until after the two accused detectives stand trial on perjury charges.

CHILE

Pinochet police chief gets 12-year term

SANTIAGO — The chief of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s feared secret police was sent to prison yesterday to serve a 12-year sentence for the kidnapping and disappearance of a leftist rebel.

Nine police cars and 25 agents escorted the 75-year-old Manuel Contreras, ex-head of the DINA secret police. It marked the first time a Chilean official was imprisoned for the disappearance of opponents. Rights groups hope it will set a precedent for dozens of cases from Mr. Pinochet’s 1973-1990 rule.

SUDAN

Darfur air raid kills scores

CAIRO — A Sudanese air force bombardment of villagers in Darfur this week killed or wounded almost 100 people, a U.N. spokeswoman said yesterday, calling the bombing a major violation of a fragile cease-fire in the conflict-torn region.

The bombardment of the village of Shangil Tobaya, which took place Wednesday, forced “thousands” of people to flee, spokeswoman Radhia Achouri said in a phone interview from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

The U.N. mission in Khartoum contacted Sudan’s Foreign Ministry about the bombardment, but has received no reply.

Relief workers based in Shangil Tobaya reported witnessing bombs exploding on the ground and an air force Antonov circling overhead on Wednesday afternoon. Later in the day, the African Union, which has 1,400 cease-fire monitors and protection troops in Darfur, confirmed there was an aerial bombardment.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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