- The Washington Times - Friday, July 12, 2002

Taiwan set to adopt romanization rules

TAIPEI, Taiwan Taiwan's education department yesterday adopted a local romanization system used to render Chinese words in the West European alphabet, replacing the Hanyu Pinyin system used in China.

Critics charged that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party would use the indigenous Tongyong Pinyin system to further distance Taiwan from the mainland.

But proponents of Tongyong Pinyin, which is about 85 percent similar to Hanyu Pinyin, said it was suitable for teaching dialects, such as Hakka, and that the decision was not political.

Pro-rebel bias ascribed to Geneva mediators

JAKARTA, Indonesia The government said the role of a Geneva-based humanitarian center in mediating peace talks with rebels in Aceh would be reviewed because of suggestions it was not impartial, the official Antara news agency reported yesterday.

Antara quoted Chief Security Minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, on a weeklong trip to the rebellious province, who said there were suggestions the Henry Dunant Center for Humanitarian Dialogue was taking the separatists' side.

Mr. Yudhoyono flew to Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra on Tuesday. The result of his trip will be used to set the government's new policies on Aceh province.

Singapore seizes elephant-tusk cargo

SINGAPORE The government said yesterday it seized 532 elephant tusks and more than 40,000 pieces of ivory from a shipping container en route from Africa to Japan.

Acting on a tip, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority found about six tons of raw tusks and cut ivory pieces, to be used for making personal seals (hanko) in a container on June 28.

Singapore is a signatory to international conventions banning trade in endangered species and prohibits the import and export of wildlife parts without permits. Traffickers face fines of up to U.S. $2,860 andyearlong jail sentences.

China to help restock Kabul's ravaged zoo

BEIJING China has promised to restock Kabul's war-ravaged zoo with animals including bears, peacocks, a wolf and two white pigs, an Afghan Embassy official said yesterday.

Beijing's latest goodwill gesture to Afghanistan comes as officials await paperwork to transfer two lions donated by China in March to replace Marjan a one-eyed, toothless big cat that in January.

"The two lions haven't left yet because the provision of transportation documents is not easy, especially for lions," said Afghan Charge d'Affaires Abdul Basir Hotak.

Weekly notes

The number of North Korean refugees defecting to South Korea after fleeing their famine-hit homeland has reached 573 this year, South Korea's National Intelligence Service said yesterday. Analysts expected the figure to hit 1,000 by the end of the year, up from 583 in 2001. The Philippines put police forces on high alert yesterday because of campaign violence that had claimed 28 lives. Elections on Monday are for officials in 42,000 "barangay" or districts across the Philippines. At least 13 officials, eight candidates and seven supporters have been killed in political violence since campaigning began May 31.

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