- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 5, 2003

INDONESIA

U.S. fighter planes confront Indonesians

JAKARTA — In a tense encounter above the Java sea, U.S. fighter planes locked their missiles on Indonesian warplanes deployed to intercept them, an Indonesian air force official said yesterday.

Rear Air Marshal Wresnowiro said air force radar detected the F-18 Hornet planes maneuvering over Bawean Island, off the northern coast of Java island, on Thursday. He didn’t say how many American planes there were.



Nationalist politicians and military officers have long complained about espionage flights or clandestine airdrops by foreign aircraft across Indonesia’s 13,000 islands, which sit strategically between the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

“President Megawati Sukarnoputri must strongly protest … the arrogant actions of U.S. pilots, which have insulted Indonesia’s sovereignty,” nationalist legislators said in a statement.

ITALY

Berlusconi says he didn’t apologize

ROME — Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi insisted yesterday that he had never apologized to Germany, saying he merely said he was sorry that his “joke” likening a German lawmaker to a Nazi prison guard had been misunderstood.

The Italian leader remained defiant in the face of demands from the European Parliament that he apologize and warnings by many that Italy’s stint as European Union president could be deeply damaged. Germany had declared its spat with Italy over after Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder spoke by phone Thursday with Mr. Berlusconi.

BRITAIN

Britons to face U.S. military trial

LONDON — Two Britons and an Australian in U.S. custody are among six terror suspects who are likely to face U.S. military trial, British and Australian officials said yesterday.

British officials said they would “vigorously” seek access to its citizens, Moazzam Begg, 35, and Feroz Abbasi, 23, who were among those designated by U.S. authorities as the first candidates for trial before a military tribunal.

Australian national David Hicks is also in the group, said Australia’s Federal Attorney General Daryl Williams. At least half the designated terror suspects are from countries that joined the war against Iraq.

BURMA

Witness says Suu Kyi was attacked by mob

BANGKOK — Screaming, “Die, die” a drunken mob of about 3,000 people, some dressed as monks, quickly surrounded Aung San Suu Kyi’s convoy, stripping the clothes off supporters and beating them mercilessly with bats, rods and spears, Burmese dissidents testified yesterday.

The testimony by witnesses Khin Zaw and Wunna Maung before a Thai Senate panel was the most comprehensive and detailed yet of the May 30 violence that led to the Nobel laureate’s arrest and the Burmese government’s crackdown on her pro-democracy party. Their statements also lend credibility to other opposition assertions that as many as 70 people were killed in an attack by supporters of the military government.

WEST BANK

Elections depend on Israeli withdrawal

GAZA CITY — Palestinian general elections could be held by October if Israel withdraws from West Bank towns within six weeks, the Palestinian foreign minister said yesterday, adding that Yasser Arafat will be the ruling Fatah party’s candidate for president.

The Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers, Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas, are to meet Tuesday to discuss such a troop pullback. Last week, Israeli forces withdrew from parts of Gaza and the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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