- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 3, 2005


Sam Rainsy flees after immunity is lifted

PHNOM PENH — Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy left the country and one of his deputies was arrested after parliament stripped them of immunity from prosecution in a vote that drew swift U.S. condemnation.

Sam Rainsy, who faces defamation suits including one from Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party for accusing the premier of plotting to kill him, was seen boarding a flight to Singapore shortly after noon, but his final destination was not known.

His deputy Cheam Channy was arrested about six hours later and taken to a military court.


Bird flu spreads as Tet travel nears

HANOI — Vietnam said yesterday that it has appealed for international help to battle a rapidly spreading outbreak of bird flu, which has killed 13 persons in the past month and may have crossed into Cambodia.

The World Health Organization fears the H5N1 virus will mutate into a form that could pass between humans, trigger a global pandemic and kill millions. The organization said Vietnam is at a critical juncture, with the Tet Lunar New Year looming.


New charter to lose U.S.-drafted preamble

TOKYO — A subcommittee of the dominant Liberal Democratic Party panel drafting a new constitution yesterday agreed to seek a complete rewriting of its preamble to reflect Japanese culture and traditions.

The subcommittee also agreed in principle to seek a new preamble written in more clear and concise language, to stipulate in it Japan’s vision as a country, and to include common values and ideas that Japanese people should hold.

Weekly notes

Chinese President Hu Jintao underscored Communist Party support yesterday for a boy Beijing recognizes as Tibet’s second-most important religious figure despite a different choice by the Dalai Lama. On the eve of his 15th birthday, the boy accepted by China as the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama met Mr. Hu in Beijing. … The life of a South Korean Buddhist nun hung in the balance yesterday, the 100th day of her fast against plans to blast a tunnel through the habitat of a rare salamander on a southern mountain. Venerable Jiyul Sunim, 48, opposes the plan to carve a tunnel through Mount Chunsung to link the country’s bullet-train network to Pusan, the No. 2 city. An attempt by Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan to visit her yesterday failed after supporters turned him away.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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