- The Washington Times - Friday, June 13, 2008

NEPAL

Ex-rebels pull out of government

KATMANDU | Nepal’s former communist rebels quit the country’s interim government Thursday in an effort to force the current prime minister out and allow them to form a new administration.

The former Maoist rebels won the most seats in an election in April to create a government to replace the interim administration that has run Nepal since 2006, when the country’s king restored democracy and the insurgents began peace talks.

While they don’t have a clear majority in the newly elected Constituent Assembly, they do have enough support from other political parties to form a coalition government.

But Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala of the rival Nepali Congress party has refused to step down and make way for a new government.

On Thursday, Women and Social Welfare Minister Pampha Bhusal, a leading Maoist, said all five ministers from the party had resigned.

INDIA

Strike hits tourism, tea in Darjeeling

CALCUTTA | Protesters clashed with police in India’s rolling Darjeeling hills on Thursday as a strike over demands for a separate state hit the region’s tea and tourism industries, police and officials said.

Gorkhas, who are ethnic Nepalese, demand a separate “Gorkhaland” be carved out of the eastern state of West Bengal to protect their culture and heritage.

Supporters of the Gorkha People’s Liberation Front urged tourists to leave the hills, a popular destination as temperatures soar on the plains below, to avoid getting caught up in the protests. They have eased a ban on tourist buses for two days.

In the foothills to the south near the town of Siliguri, supporters of the ruling communist government of West Bengal called a parallel strike, blocked roads heading north and ransacked Nepalese homes, reports said.

CHINA

Official denies hacking into U.S. computers

BEIJING | China denied accusations by two U.S. lawmakers that it hacked into congressional computers, saying Thursday that as a developing country it wasn’t capable of sophisticated cybercrime.

“Is there any evidence? … Do we have such advanced technology? Even I don’t believe it,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

Republican Reps. Frank R. Wolf of Virginia and Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey said Wednesday that their office computers were hacked into by people in China. Both lawmakers, longtime critics of China’s human rights record, said the compromised computers had information regarding political dissidents.

MALAYSIA

Woman slits wrist at U.S. Embassy

KUALA LUMPUR | A woman thought to be from China slashed her wrist in front of the U.S. Embassy in the Malaysian capital Thursday in a bid for asylum.

State news agency Bernama said the woman, with blood dripping from her hand, surprised people lining up outside the main gate of the embassy in Kuala Lumpur to apply for visas to the United States.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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