- The Washington Times - Friday, August 23, 2002

Aid staffer accused of raping refugee girl

CHIANG MAI, Thailand The family of a 12-year-old Burmese migrant girl said to have been raped by a worker for World Vision complains that the case has been ignored by police and the international aid agency.

The girl, living in a Muslim refugee slum in the Thai border town of Mae Sot, was assaulted Aug. 5 by a 47-year-old man who acted as a volunteer outreach worker, her parents said.

After consulting religious leaders, the parents reported the case to police the next day, despite fear that the complaint could lead to the family's deportation. The family and the accused are Muslim refugees from Burma.

Hun Sen receptive to new try at trials

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed yesterday to collaborate with the United Nations to resurrect international efforts to try surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge for crimes against humanity.

"Everything is already at a good point, but we have to try to join together not only Cambodia, but also the secretary-general and other countries that are involved," he told reporters.

On Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan achieved a breakthrough in a four-month impasse when he offered to reopen tribunal talks if he received a mandate from the U.N. Security Council or the General Assembly.

In February, the United Nations broke off four years of negotiations with Cambodia aimed at putting Khmer Rouge leaders on trial for the 1975-79 deaths of about 2 million people because Cambodia would not change its laws as desired by the United Nations.

Okinawa asks U.S. to halt F-15 flights

TOKYO The Okinawa prefectural government asked yesterday that the U.S. military suspend all F-15 fighter-jet flights until a probe could determine what caused one of the aircraft to crash into the Pacific Ocean this week.

"The latest accident did not pose immediate damage to our residents, but it could have been more serious. We find it extremely regrettable," Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine said in a statement to U.S. Forces, Japan.

"We urge you to make utmost efforts to improve safety measures, and suspend all flights of F-15s until the investigation is completed."

Weekly notes

An Aboriginal politician failed yesterday to gain confirmation as the first indigenous Australian to lead a mainstream political party. The 17-member executive committee of the Australian Democrats ignored party tradition under which Sen. Aden Ridgeway, the deputy party leader, would have become interim leader after the surprise resignation Wednesday of party chief Natasha Stott Despoja. Instead, it chose another of the party's seven senators, Brian Greig, to lead them pending party leadership elections in about five weeks. The Japanese Health Ministry said yesterday that tests reveal a fifth case of "mad cow" disease. Last September, Japan became the only Asian country known to harbor bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), triggering a health scare that sharply cut beef consumption and exports. Consumer confidence was shaken further as Japanese meat packers were found to have mislabeled beef to cheat a government buyback meant to help firms hurt by the mad cow scare.

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