- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 11, 2003

SRI LANKA
Negotiators agree on rights, but not arms
NAKHON PATHOM, Thailand Sri Lanka's warring parties announced deals on human rights and a breakthrough on foreign funding at the end of peace talks here Thursday but admitted they were deadlocked on military issues.
At the fourth round of Norwegian-backed negotiations, they invited the international Red Cross to help trace missing people and asked the World Bank to manage the millions of dollars they will receive to rebuild the war-ravaged island.
The two sides also agreed on a road map to quickly resettle hundreds of thousands of people displaced by decades of fighting in the island's northeast, but the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam refused to join the Subcommittee on De-escalation and Normalization after the government asked the rebels to first lay down their arms.

BURMA
China offers Rangoon $200 million in loans
BEIJING China said it will give Burma $200 million in preferential loans for economic development as the Rangoon junta's leader met Vice President Hu Jintao at midweek.
Senior Gen. Than Shwe, on his second trip to China, pledged closer ties with his giant neighbor to the east. "We place great importance on developing good relations with China," he said after meeting Mr. Hu.
President Jiang Zemin said China and Burma should continue to cooperate on regional and international issues, and within the framework of multilateral mechanisms such as the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Analysts say China has boosted its influence in Burma in a bid for strategic access to the Andaman Sea, where it is funding a seaport. They say it is also interested in offsetting India's growing links with the junta.

NEPAL
Royal family raises its public visibility
KATMANDU Thousands lined the streets of this capital Thursday to get a first glimpse of their new prince as the baby was driven in a horse-drawn carriage to a Hindu temple.
Prince Hridayendra, who is nearly 6 months old, was taken to the temple after a ceremony at the Narayanhiti Palace where he took his first bites of solid food. It was the first public appearance for the grandson of King Gyanendra. The prince is an heir to the throne. Traffic was blocked and a public holiday declared for the occasion.
Hindu tradition requires babies to be fed soft rice in the days before they reach their sixth month. Hridayendra, whose name means "king of hearts," was fed by his mother, Princess Himani, and father, Crown Prince Paras.
King Gyanendra assumed the throne after his brother and eight members of the royal family were killed in a June 1, 2000, palace massacre the government says was carried out by Crown Prince Dipendra, who shot himself and later died in the hospital.

Weekly notes …
India will soon grant dual citizenship to some foreigners of Indian origin in a move to reach out to long-lost generations across the world. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee announced the dual-citizenship plan two days ago. It would allow Indians from other countries to buy property in India, but they would not be allowed to vote or run for office. … Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah began a four-day visit to neighboring Iran on Thursday, saying he saw no contradiction in having friendly relations with Tehran and Washington. President Bush has dubbed Iran part of an "axis of evil" supporting global terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction. In contrast, Washington has been a strong backer of the government in Kabul, put in power to replace the former Taliban regime.

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