- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 30, 2003

INDONESIA

2 held in bombing warn of new attacks

JAKARTA — Two men arrested for a hotel bombing in Jakarta have acknowledged being part of a Jemaah Islamiyah cell and said it was planning more attacks, police said yesterday.

Tohir, alias Masrizal, and Ismail, alias Ricky Putranto, told police that the attacks are being coordinated by Azahari bin Husin, a top Jemaah Islamiyah leader from Malaysia who is wanted in the Aug. 5 bombing at Jakarta’s Marriott hotel and last year’s Bali bombings.

The suspects said the group had at least 11 pounds of explosives.

PHILIPPINES

Impeachment tiff roils 2004 elections

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is looking increasingly isolated as a row over the impeachment of the nation’s top judge threatens to spin out of control, giving more popular rivals a boost ahead of the 2004 elections.

Political analysts said yesterday that Mrs. Arroyo’s chances of winning a fresh mandate in May will be in serious doubt if she fails to defuse a crisis that has started to split the country along familiar lines.

A bid by legislators, some from Mrs. Arroyo’s own party, to remove Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide is seen by many as a power struggle.

SOUTH KOREA

State firm designs portable missile

SEOUL — The state news agency Yonhap reported yesterday that South Korea has developed a portable antiaircraft missile and will begin mass production of the Singung in months as a cost-saving measure.

“Singung will significantly enhance the military’s morale and air-defense system,” Lee Un-bong, head of the government arms agency’s missile project, was quoted as saying.

Weekly notes

Defense attorneys began final arguments yesterday in the 7 1/2-year trial of Japanese doomsday guru Shoko Asahara, 48, denying he ordered several poison gas attacks and more than a dozen other murders. Chief defense attorney Osamu Watanabe told the Tokyo District Court that disciples of the bearded, nearly blind founder of the Aum Shinrikyo sect had acted on their own and that Asahara had lost control of his followers. He is charged with masterminding the 1995 sarin gas attack on Tokyo’s subway system and ordering other killings resulting in the deaths of 27 persons in all. … Researchers in Taiwan said yesterday they have discovered two existing medicines that could be effective in fighting the SARS virus. The anti-psychotic drug Promazine, and Niclosamide, used to treat worm infections, might be able to fight the sometimes-deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome, the National Health Research Institutes said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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