- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 16, 2010

PHILIPPINES

Officials, police face hostage-crisis raps

MANILA | The Philippine justice chief said Thursday she’ll recommend criminal and administrative charges against about 10 officials, police officers and journalists over last month’s killing of eight Hong Kong tourists in a botched hostage rescue that outraged China.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the identities of those to be charged, details on the charges and other information about the Aug. 23 standoff in which the hostage-taker, a fired policeman, also died, will be included in a report to be submitted to President Benigno Aquino III on Friday.

The Philippine authorities’ bungled handling of the standoff, which was beamed for hours on live TV, outraged China and the Chinese territory of Hong Kong, straining ties with Manila. It delivered Mr. Aquino’s first major crisis, less than two months into his presidency.

CHINA

Dissident: Obstinacy beat travel ban

BERLIN | Chinese dissident author Liao Yiwu, in Berlin after Chinese authorities allowed him to travel abroad, said Thursday his sheer determination allowed him to beat the ban.

“I’m a stupid farmer, obstinate as a mule,” he told a press conference here, adding that if he had not succeeded on his 15th attempt to obtain permission to leave the country, he would have insisted a 16th time.

Last year, the author, also known as Lao Wei, was prevented from attending the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest, and in March this year was banned from traveling to another German festival in Cologne.

In February, Mr. Liao, who has served time in prison, appealed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for help in a letter posted on the Human Rights in China group’s website, according to advocates.

BURMA

Ethnic leaders barred from election

RANGOON | Election authorities in army-ruled Burma have rejected the candidacy of a dozen former leaders of a major ethnic group, sources said Thursday, raising doubts about ethnic participation in the upcoming vote.

The Union Election Commission gave no explanation why the politicians from Kachin state, which borders China, were barred from running as independent candidates in the Nov. 7 ballot for seats in regional and national assemblies.

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