- The Washington Times - Friday, March 22, 2002

American sentenced to 5 years by China

BEIJING An American electrical engineer whose detention has drawn protests from Washington was sentenced by a Beijing court yesterday to five years in prison for obtaining state secrets and giving bribes.

Fong Fuming, 67, of West Orange, N.J., was accused of obtaining secret documents from a state power official and giving out $245,000 in bribes.

Mr. Fong was detained Feb. 28, 2000, as he was arriving in Beijing to meet an American power company bidding for a contract, according to his attorney. He was held under house arrest until Aug. 28, 2000.

Mr. Fong, who became a U.S. citizen in 1994, went on trial Oct. 22 after a weekend visit to China by President Bush. Another hearing was held Nov. 26.

Islamic law declared illegal in Nigeria

LAGOS, Nigeria The Nigerian government yesterday declared the strict Islamic law operating in 12 northern states to be in violation of the constitution after international outcry over the sentencing last year of a woman to death by stoning for adultery.

The declaration, which surprised the volatile African country and which has significant political implications, came in a letter, dated March 18, sent to the 12 states that have introduced Islamic law.

It is expected to cause considerable unease in northern Nigeria, where the mainly Muslim population generally supports the system, known as the Shariah, but Christian leaders oppose it.

Madagascancq president sets new election date

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar The government of Madagascar's president, Didier Ratsiraka, yesterday set a date for the second round of a presidential election that has been snubbed by a rival who has already declared himself the winner.

Mr. Ratsiraka's Cabinet set the election for April 28 during a meeting at the Iavoloha presidential palace, a few miles outside the capital, Anantanarivo, a government spokesman said.

Mr. Ratsiraka's challenger, Marc Ravalomanana, the popular mayor of Antananarivo, has refused to take part in a second-round vote, insisting that he won the first-round ballot outright.

He has rejected as flawed an official voting tally that gave him a slight lead over Mr. Ratsiraka in the Dec. 16 vote, but not an absolute majority.

Mass grave found in eastern Croatia

ZAGREB, Croatia Croatian forensic teams have found the remains of 14 persons in a mass grave believed to hold Croatian victims of the 1991-95 Serbo-Croatian war, the HINA news agency reported yesterday.

The remains of four persons have been exhumed and recovery work is continuing, said Ivan Grujic, the head of the Croatian commission for missing persons.

The grave was found in a cemetery in the village of Bogdanovci, near the eastern town of Vukovar, scene of one of the worst massacres of the war.

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