- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 28, 2011


Domestic politics fuel Thai-Cambodian dispute

BANGKOK | Thailand and Cambodia waged deadly artillery duels for a week across a disputed jungle frontier dotted with ancient temples. But the bloodiest clashes to hit the two nations in years probably were more about domestic politics than territory, analysts say.

Both sides agreed Thursday to a tentative cease-fire, a deal many hope will hold after seven days of fighting that killed 15 people and displaced 50,000. Similar accords in the past have failed to secure an end to the conflict, and many think it’s not over yet.

“Key constituencies in both nations are benefiting too much from the border dispute to allow it to die out completely,” wrote Joshua Kurlantzick, a Southeast Asia fellow at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, on the organization’s website.

Among them: a coup-prone Thai military that could be asserting itself as the country heads toward contentious elections, and a Cambodian strongman bolstered by an upsurge in nationalism who wants to see an ally in power in Bangkok instead of an adversary.


Sri Lankans wary after U.N. report

COLOMBO | A United Nations report that gives credence to allegations of human rights abuses during the bloody end of Sri Lanka’s civil war has given some victims’ families hope for justice, while others say the U.N. action comes too late.

The three-member panel of experts says there are credible reports that serious human rights violations - including possible war crimes and crimes against humanity - were committed by both the government and Tamil Tiger rebels in the last months of the decades-long war.

Tens of thousands of ethnic Tamil civilians perished simply from being caught in the fighting, says the report, released Tuesday. It urges U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to investigate the claims immediately.

The government strongly denounced the content as unverified and biased and the report itself as a personal initiative by Mr. Ban and not an official U.N. document.


Census: Population is more urban, older

BEIJING | China’s population is aging rapidly, the government said Thursday, though its leaders are refusing to relax strict family-planning controls that are part of the cause.

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