- - Thursday, September 6, 2012

Indonesia

JAKARTA — Six men associated with an Islamic school founded by a radical cleric plotted to set off bombs and shoot police to wage “holy war” in an Indonesian town, one of the suspects said in an interrogation video released by police Thursday.

Two suspected militants and a member of an elite anti-terrorism squad were killed Aug. 31 when police raided the group in Central Java. Bayu Setiono, 22, was arrested during the raid, another man was arrested Wednesday and two suspects are at large.

The group is accused of killing a police officer last week and attacking two police posts in mid-August as part of the plot in the town of Solo.

In the 10-minute video released at police headquarters, Setiono said, “We planned to kill policemen for the sake of upholding Islamic Shariah and the establishment of a caliphate in Indonesia.

“Our targets, since 2007 until now, are infidels and policemen.”

India

Kashmir rejects DNA on unidentified bodies

SRINAGAR — The government of Kashmir has rejected wide-scale DNA testing of bodies in thousands of unmarked graves, despite pleas by the families of those who disappeared during two decades of fighting in the restive region.

A report by the state’s home department obtained by the Associated Press insisted that all those buried in the graves were militants. The report added that if families wanted DNA tests, they would have to identify both the graveyard and the exact grave where they think the disappeared relative was buried.

The random collection of DNA from the graves would be an “academic exercise” that would “hurt the local sentiments,” the report said.

Khurram Parvez, an official with the local Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, criticized the report as “yet another attempt by the government to obfuscate the truth and sustain impunity.”

The report was a response to a three-year investigation by the state-run Human Rights Commission, confirming last year that 38 burial sites in the north of the Himalayan territory contained 2,156 unidentified bodies. The commission said 574 other bodies found in the graves were identified as local residents, and it urged widespread DNA testing.

North Korea

North claims U.N. sides with United States

SEOUL — North Korea this week accused the U.N. atomic agency of aggravating a dispute over its nuclear program by siding with the United States.

The International Atomic Energy Agency “aggravated the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula pursuant to the US hostile policy toward” North Korea, the communist country’s foreign ministry said.

The IAEA last week called the North Korea’s nuclear program a “serious concern” and noted significant progress in recent months in building a new light-water reactor. The North says the reactor is necessary to meet its energy needs.

The ministry also questioned the IAEA’s role in resolving a dispute over the North’s nuclear program. It also complained that the IAEA had not voiced concerns over any other nuclear states, indicating a bias toward North Korea.

North Korea has been developing nuclear weapons for decades. Its official position has been that it needs them for self-defense against a U.S. nuclear threat. In November 2010, North Korea disclosed an apparently operational uranium enrichment plant, in addition to its plutonium stockpile.

The Philippines

Oldest WWII vet dies at age 111

MANILA — The Philippines’ oldest World War II veteran has passed away at the age of 111, just a few months after finally receiving recognition for his wartime service, a veterans’ official said this week.

Alfonso Fabros, who fought with U.S. and Filipino forces against the Japanese in Bataan, died a little more than two weeks ago, reportedly from pneumonia, said government veterans’ affairs chief Ernesto Carolina.

“We gave him an award, a plaque of recognition, last April on veterans’ week. He was still healthy. He looked very old, and he could not hear any more, but he could still walk on his own,” Mr. Carolina said.

“In fact, he was the one who personally collected his pension every month.”

Mr. Fabros had been a private among the Philippine and American soldiers in the doomed defense of the Bataan peninsula against Japanese forces in 1942, he said.

An account in the Inquirer newspaper earlier this year, said Mr. Fabros, born in 1901, was recruited into the military at the age of 41.

“I was given a rifle and ammunition to help defend Bataan,” Mr. Fabros was quoted as saying.

He managed to escape the Japanese, as they overran Bataan and fought on as a guerrilla for three years until the Japanese surrendered, the report added.

Mr. Fabros went on to live a quiet life on a farm in the northern Philippines after the war, while receiving pensions from both the U.S. and Philippine governments, the newspaper said.

Sri Lanka

Man swallows diamond at gemstone exhibition

COLOMBO — A man visiting a gem exhibition in Sri Lanka’s capital swallowed a 1.5 carat diamond in front of the owner and was taken by police to a hospital, where an X-ray showed the $13,000 stone inside him.

Exhibitor Suresh Wijekoon said the man was behaving suspiciously at his stalls and when he reached closer to the suspect, the man suddenly swallowed the diamond he held in his hand before Mr. Suresh alerted police at the exhibition venue.

Chou Wan, a 32-year-old from China, is in custody pending further investigation, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said.

An X-ray proved the diamond was inside his body, said hospital director Dr. Anil Jasinghe at Colombo National, where the suspect was taken for the test.

Mr. Suresh, owner of Belgrade International Pvt. Ltd., said the diamond weighed about 1.5 carats. It is worth more than $13,000.

Sri Lanka does not mine diamonds but is renowned for other highly treasured gems. Facets Sri Lanka 2012 is the island nation’s annual largest gem and jewelry exhibition, and it attracts a large number of local and foreign buyers.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports