- The Washington Times - Friday, March 23, 2001

Wahid clings to power, cites fear of breakup

JAKARTA, Indonesia Indonesia's President Abdurrahman Wahid said yesterday he has no intention of resigning since to do so might trigger the breakup of Indonesia, a vast and sprawling archipelago.

Mr. Wahid's comments to CNN were underscored by fresh violence in the central province of Kalimantan, where at least 10 persons were reported killed in ethnic riots between indigenous Dayaks and settlers from the island of Madura earlier in the day.

Mr. Wahid's grip on power has become shaky since parliament censured him last month over two financial scandals, but he played down the problems facing him.

He told CNN in an interview that he had a constitutional duty to maintain Indonesia's territorial integrity and that five provinces had threatened to secede if he quit.

Mummified child found, mask hints tears

CAIRO Archaeologists have found 11 mummies in Egypt's Western Desert, including one of a child entombed with his parents and wearing a mask that shows him in tears.

The mummies are about 1,800 years old, Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities said in a statement. They belong to one family, are in good condition and were found near Bahariya Oasis, 215 miles southwest of Cairo.

"The most beautiful one is that of a 3-year-old child lying next to the mummies of his father and mother. It has a mask with the drawing of a child who appears to be crying," the head of the council, Gabballah Ali Gabballah, said in the statement.

India on high alert after defiled mosque

AMRITSAR, India Police commandos were posted in a northern Indian city to prevent religious clashes yesterday after Hindu nationalists desecrated a mosque and burned copies of the Koran.

Members of the All India Hindu Protection Committee entered the 200-year-old Kheruddin Mosque in Amritsar late Wednesday, burned copies of the Islamic holy book and threw pork, a meat forbidden to Muslims, into the main compound, mosque manager Mohammed Anwar said.

Students were attending Koranic classes at the time, Mr. Anwar said.

South Korean chief opens new airport

INCHON, South Korea President Kim Dae-jung officially opened South Korea's new international airport yesterday, saying the $5.5 billion facility will become an air traffic hub in Northeast Asia.

"We are making a proud start toward a new hopeful era in which our offspring in the 21st century will live on the center stage of the world," Mr. Kim said.

With the 30-minute ceremony, the Inchon International Airport, 37 miles west of Seoul, officially became operational, but it will not be open to flights until Thursday.

Ethiopia's Mengistu to stay in Zimbabwe

HARARE, Zimbabwe The government of Zimbabwe has granted permanent residence to former Ethiopian ruler Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam, who fled to the southern African country a decade ago, officials said yesterday.

The officials confirmed a report by the independent Financial Gazette newspaper yesterday that President Robert Mugabe's government had given Col. Mengistu and seven members of his clan permanent residence this week.

"The report is right, but I don't think it's right to discuss details," a government official said.

Guatemala rights trial struggles to open

GUATEMALA CITY Judges struggled yesterday to open the trial of five persons accused in the 1998 killing of a Guatemalan bishop and human rights advocate, amid courtroom outbursts, a no-show defendant and an attack on one judge's house.

Bishop Juan Gerardi was found bludgeoned to death April 26, 1998, in his Guatemala City residence shortly after releasing a report blaming the military for most of the 200,000 deaths during the Central American nation's 36-year civil war.

In the years since the murder, authorities have arrested, released and rearrested suspects, in a faltering investigation that raised questions as to whether the country could successfully administer justice in the prominent case.


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