Taliban resumes hostage talks
KABUL — Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents and South Korean officials began a new round of talks yesterday to secure the release of 19 Korean church volunteers, the first since two hostages were freed this week.
The Taliban on Monday freed two female hostages, the first since they seized 23 Koreans last month from a bus in Ghazni province on the main road south of the capital, Kabul. They have killed two male hostages.
The insurgents said they freed the two women because they were seriously ill, and also as a gesture of good will, to encourage the Afghan government to free rebel prisoners in exchange for the remaining captives, 16 of them women.
Judge quits genocide tribunal
PHNOM PENH — The United Nations yesterday voiced concern about a Cambodian judge’s resignation from the country’s genocide trials, which could delay efforts to try former Khmer Rouge leaders.
You Bunleng, one of the court’s investigating judges, was appointed head of Cambodia’s Appeals Court last week, forcing him to quit the U.N.-backed tribunal intended to prosecute one of the 20th century’s worst atrocities.
He had been seen as key to determining which suspects will go to trial. His is departing at a crucial time, as he and his international counterpart, Marcel Lemonde of France, were investigating the first cases filed by prosecutors.
Suharto son denies graft
JAKARTA — The son of former Indonesian President Suharto denied yesterday that he had misused central bank funds in a $18.6 million graft case involving the lucrative clove trade to manufacture cigarettes.
Hutomo “Tommy” Mandala Putra, youngest son of the former autocratic leader, was questioned at the attorney general’s office about the suspected misuse of bank assistance to a clove monopoly agency he chaired in the 1990s.
Mr. Putra, recently named a suspect in the case, suggested that the attorney general’s move to implicate him was linked to a government effort to seize millions of dollars he deposited in Guernsey.