- The Washington Times - Friday, January 18, 2002

Hong Kong bishop asks aid for Bible smuggler

HONG KONG A Roman Catholic leader here called on the government yesterday to do more to help a businessman who faces a possible death sentence for shipping Bibles to the rest of China.

"I think something can be done to remind Chinese authorities that normally for such a 'crime,' people will not understand a death penalty," Bishop Joseph Zen, the No. 2 Catholic cleric in Hong Kong, said

Hong Kong businessman Li Guangqiang, 38, is charged with "using an evil [sect] to undermine the enforcement of law." He was arrested last May for shipping Bibles to a Christian group.

N.Korea said resuming work on border tracks

SEOUL North Korea has resumed preparations for reconnecting a cross-border railway, one of the most symbolic initiatives of the deadlocked inter-Korean peace process, President Kim Dae-jung said yesterday.

"I had a report yesterday on signs of North Koreans resuming work to link the railway," the South Korean leader told a meeting of government officials.

Reconnecting the railway was agreed after a June 2000 summit between the president and the North's supreme leader, Kim Jong-il. The South has almost finished work on its side of the border, but the North never began.

Vietnamese shop owner jailed over porn films

HANOI A court in southern Vietnam has jailed a shopkeeper for showing pornographic videos to customers at her coffee shop in Ho Chi Minh City.

Nguyen Thi Buc, 44, was sentenced to four years by the Ho Chi Minh City court after she was found guilty of showing sex movies in her shop last year, the official Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper said yesterday.

Tougher sentences set in West Timor killings

JAKARTA, Indonesia The Supreme Court has imposed tougher sentences on three men for the brutal killing of three foreign U.N. aid workers in West Timor, according to court documents obtained by Reuters yesterday.

The three were among six defendants jailed for 10 to 20 months last year for the killings in September 2000. The aid workers were stabbed and their bodies dragged into the street and burned after a mob attacked their office in the West Timor border town of Atambua.

Weekly notes

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's special envoy on Afghan assistance said yesterday that Japan should lead the way in rebuilding the devastated country. Sadako Ogata, formerly U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, met Mr. Koizumi and told him she hoped Japan which is hosting a two-day Afghan-reconstruction conference next week will provide "a significant amount" of assistance. Indonesia and Thailand agreed yesterday to strengthen intelligence cooperation to fight terrorism. Speaking in Jakarta after talks with visiting Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, President Megawati Sukarnoputri said Southeast Asia should make concerted efforts to combat terrorism in the region.

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