- - Thursday, July 19, 2012

Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR — Prime Minister Najib Razak hit back Thursday at reform proponents, denouncing greater liberalism as a threat to the Muslim-majority country as it faces pivotal upcoming elections.

Speaking to more than 10,000 Islamic leaders just days before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins, Mr. Najib also said he supported human rights but “within the boundaries set by Islam,” according to local media.

“Pluralism, liberalism? All these ‘isms’ are against Islam, and it is compulsory for us to fight these,” said Mr. Najib, who must call for elections by early next year.

Myanmar

State TV airs ceremony for Suu Kyi’s father

YANGON — State television broadcast a memorial ceremony for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s father, a revered independence hero, for the first time in decades Thursday in the latest sign of change in the former pariah nation.

The day marked the 65th anniversary of the 1947 assassination of Gen. Aung San.

Myanmar’s former military junta played down the event for more than 20 years as part of efforts to stem the popularity of Mrs. Suu Kyi, who has led a pro-democracy movement since 1988 and was kept under house arrest for 15 years. The junta ceded power last year to a civilian government dominated by retired army officers, which has since embarked on a program of major political and financial reforms that have been lauded by the international community.

Japan

TEPCO chief vows to restore confidence

TOKYO — The new head of the company that operates Japan’s crippled nuclear plant has vowed Thursday to try to overcome deep public distrust in his company.

But Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose also said he is not ready to agree with a parliamentary panel’s conclusion that cozy ties between the government and industry were to blame for last year’s nuclear disaster.

Mr. Hirose told journalists that the company would re-examine the panel’s report. He said if the report differs sharply from TEPCO’s own findings, the company might investigate further.

Hirose acknowledged that TEPCO is accused of being secretive, and promised to “not receive that kind of criticism in the future.”

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