New Tibetan leader calls for talks with Chinese
NEW DELHI — Tibet's government-in-exile is willing to negotiate with Beijing "anytime, anywhere," its new prime minister said on Thursday, suggesting his leadership of the independence movement will not be radically different from that of the Dalai Lama.
Harvard law scholar Lobsang Sangay, who was elected last month as leader of the movement after the stepping down of the Dalai Lama from his political responsibilities, had been expected to take a harder line on relations with China.
"The stated policy of the Tibetan government-in-exile is genuine autonomy within China," he said. "Now after all the changes will be made as far as exile constitution is concerned, we will wait and see how the Chinese government reacts."
Ex-official gets death sentence in corruption case
BEIJING — A former vice mayor of China's wealthy resort city of Hangzhou has been sentenced to death on corruption charges, state media reported Thursday.
The Xinhua News Agency said Xu Maiyong, 52, was convicted of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power in one of the harshest sentences handed down to a high-level Chinese official in years. No details of the charges have been announced.
While graft is rife among Chinese officials and corruption cases are common, few result in death sentences unless linked to murder or other violent crimes.
Prime minister meets with Christian leaders
KUALA LUMPUR — Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday met with church leaders in a bid to ease religious tensions stirred by a report that minority Christians wanted to replace Islam as the official religion.
Church leaders have angrily denounced the report, which ran in the government-linked newspaper Utusan Malaysia last week, describing it as "baseless and highly irresponsible."
Bishop Thomas Tsen, president of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, said the meeting with Najib helped defuse tensions.
"We had a very good session and good exchange," he said. "It was a very good start."
Religion and language are sensitive issues in multiracial Malaysia, which was hit by deadly race riots in 1969.
Police arrest ethnic Hmong at religious ceremony
HANOI — Vietnam said Thursday it detained "extremists" after rare unrest involving thousands of ethnic Hmong belonging to a religious group that assembled to await the arrival of their God.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga's statement is Vietnam's first acknowledgment of arrests in the incident. The ministry did not say how many were detained or whether there were deaths or injuries as has been alleged by overseas Hmong groups.
Officials in northwest Dien Bien province have accused overseas groups of using the incident to influence some Hmong to call for an independent state.
Up to 5,000 Hmong had gathered in the district town to wait for God, who is expected to take them to the promised land on May 21.
Many anti-communist Hmong fighters were allied with the United States during the Vietnam War.
From wire dispatches and staff reports