- The Washington Times - Friday, January 24, 2003


FBI agents probe ambush near U.S. mine

JAKARTA FBI agents have arrived here to work with Indonesian police investigating the ambush deaths of two Americans in Papua province, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said yesterday.

"A small FBI team is in Indonesia at the invitation of the Indonesian government to work with the Indonesian police," the official told Agence France-Presse on the condition of anonymity. He said they arrived late Wednesday or early yesterday.

Unidentified gunmen fired more than 100 rounds Aug. 31 at a convoy carrying employees of the U.S.-owned Freeport copper and gold mine near Timika. Two American teachers and an Indonesian colleague died and 12 persons, most of them Americans, were wounded.

Papua's deputy police chief said in November that the Indonesian army's Kopassus special forces soldiers were the suspects in the attack. A Papua police spokesman denied yesterday that investigators had implicated the military.


Kuomintang to put businesses in trust

TAIPEI The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) announced this week that it is on the verge of sealing a deal that effectively would lead to the end of its involvement in business operations.

The party founded by Sun Yat-sen, who inspired the Wuchang Uprising that made China a republic on Jan. 1, 1912, soon will finalize a deal with Zurich-based Credit Suisse to put its largest holding company in trust, party chairman Lien Chan told the KMT's decision-making Central Standing Committee. The Kuomintang, which ruled Taiwan from 1949 until losing the 2000 elections to the Democratic Progressive Party, is reputed to be the world's richest political group, with assets last year valued at $1.44 billion.


Khmer Rouge trial expected this year

PHNOM PENH The government says it hopes to set up a special court by the end of this year to bring former Khmer Rouge leaders to justice for atrocities committed during their rule in the 1970s.

Senior Minister Sok An, returning to Cambodia midweek from a series of meetings in New York with senior U.N. officials, said that he is confident talks to be held in Phnom Penh next month will bear fruit.

"I am optimistic that if all respect the spirit of the United Nations resolutions adopted on Dec. 18 last year, then we could establish an extraordinary court to try the Khmer Rouge before the end of this year," Mr. Sok An told reporters Wednesday at Phnom Penh airport.

Weekly notes …

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who is facing a decline in popularity, yesterday shrugged off as "no big deal" his turnabout on major pledges, including much-touted reforms to pull his country out of recession. "As prime minister, I must think about bigger things," he told the lower-house budget committee during sharp exchanges with an opposition leader. "It is no big deal that I cannot keep promises of such a level." … Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has named the commander of the country's military in the volatile south as the next chief of staff of the armed forces. Lt. Gen. Narciso Abaya, a 1971 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, is to succeed Gen. Dionisio Santiago, who retires in April.

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