- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2008

INDONESIA

Suharto acquitted; charity found guilty

JAKARTA — An Indonesian court yesterday acquitted the late former President Suharto in a civil corruption case, but ordered his charitable foundation to repay more than $100 million to the state.

Indonesia’s government had sought $1.4 billion in damages from Suharto and the charity he founded, believing that the former leader skimmed millions of dollars of state money.

The panel of judges said both Suharto and his Supersemar Foundation engaged in “actions that ran against the law,” but acquitted the former leader, saying he did so in his capacity as an executive of the charity.

They said Suharto, represented in the case by his six children, had not been proven guilty of direct involvement.

“The first defendant [Suharto] is acquitted, but the Supersemar Foundation, the second defendant, has to pay some of the damages [requested by the government],” said Judge Wahyono, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

TAIWAN

Missile parts not dismantled

TAIPEI — Taiwan’s defense minister yesterday said the island did not dismantle and examine nuclear missile parts mistakenly shipped by the United States, in an incident that has angered China and embarrassed Washington.

The U.S. military was supposed to ship helicopter batteries to Taiwan, but instead sent fuses used as part of the trigger mechanism on Minuteman missiles, the Pentagon said Tuesday. Taiwan returned the parts to the U.S. last week.

No nuclear material was shipped to Taiwan, Pentagon officials said.

Taiwan’s Defense Minister Tsai Ming-hsien was asked in parliament by Nationalist Party legislator Lin Yu-fang whether the parts had been inspected by the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, a weapon’s development body in Taiwan.

“As far as I know, no,” Mr. Tsai said.

UNITED NATIONS

Poverty reduction seen slowing in Asia

NEW DELHI — The rate at which poverty is falling across the Asia-Pacific region is slowing despite a burst of largely urban wealth creation, a United Nations report said yesterday, blaming the setback on a neglect of agriculture.

It argued that raising farm labor productivity and liberalizing global farm trade could lift more than 250 million Asians out of poverty.

Farming still supports almost 60 percent of population in the Asia-Pacific region, the report said, and generates a quarter of its gross domestic product. Unlike the case in the 1970s and 1980s, however, when the expansion of value-added agricultural activity played the largest role in poverty reduction in Asia, the beneficial impact of the sector is on the wane.

“Agriculture’s lethargy has broken agricultural growth’s historically strong contribution to reducing poverty,” the U.N.’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific said in its annual report.

Falling subsidies in some countries, rising input costs and pressure on land from industry have all contributed to the downturn, it said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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