- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2002

Shooting death of consul 'accidental'

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan Interior Minister Bakirdin Subanbekov said a Chinese diplomat who was gunned down in Bishkek last weekend was an accidental victim in a commercial dispute and that his driver was the true target of the attack.

The Chinese consul and his driver were killed last Saturday in an attack initially linked by local officials to Muslim separatists from China's Xinjiang region.

But Mr. Subanbekov said the shooting probably centered on "a criminal dispute for commercial reasons." Police now believe the driver of the car, an ethnic Uighur businessman and Chinese citizen, was the real target.

Nepal's king moves to dynastic home

KATMANDU, Nepal After a year of mourning, Nepal's King Gyanendra moved into the palace where his elder brother was assassinated in a royal-family massacre in June 2001, officials said this week.

King Gyanendra assumed the throne after his brother and eight members of the royal family were killed by Crown Prince Dipendra, according to the official account that some Nepalis doubt.

On Wednesday, the king, Queen Komal and their daughter, Princess Prerana, moved into the Narayanhiti Palace, traditional home of the current dynasty. It is guarded by more than 3,000 soldiers of the Royal Nepalese Army.

The king and his family had been living in their mansion in Katmandu, where Crown Prince Paras will continue to reside.

Premier promises Sri Lanka's recovery

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called for patience this week as he outlined his government's plans to lead the country toward economic recovery.

In a televised address to the nation Thursday about the recession-hit economy, Mr. Wickremesinghe said the government would begin an economic development campaign to increase national productivity and efficiency.

He said total debt servicing for the year is $3.4 billion, which exceeds the total state revenue of $2.8 billion. "This is the most difficult year. The next year will be better due to crash programs to resurrect the economy," he said.

Weekly notes

The family of Afghanistan's former king, Mohammed Zahir Shah, received a warm welcome on arrival in Kandahar Thursday to attend a memorial service for the former queen, Homaira, 86, who died of a heart attack in Italy last month. She was buried at the family's mausoleum in Kabul on Sunday, but the "fateha" service was held in Kandahar, a monarchist stronghold before the shah was ousted in a palace coup in 1973. A team of Katmandu-based European Union ambassadors have returned after a day's visit at midweek to refugee camps at Jhapa, 241 miles southeast of the Nepalese capital. More than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees of Nepalese descent have been sheltered in the camps run by the U.N. refugee agency since they left Bhutan in 1990, citing an anti-Hindu intimidation campaign. Nepal wants the refugees to return to Bhutan, but the latter says most of the refugees have left voluntarily.

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