- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2005


Militant ‘chatter’ suggests new attacks

JAKARTA — Indonesian police announced yesterday there had been an increase in communication among militants hunted for a string of deadly attacks, including the Bali bombings of October 2002, indicating they plan new strikes.

“We can say to the public that there has been an increase in the intensity of their communication. Intelligence agencies are working hard to monitor them,” Gen. Da’i Bachtiar, the national police chief, told reporters. He said the militants are believed to be in Indonesia but are in contact with others overseas.

“It’s hard to arrest them because the country is so large and there are always people who help them hide,” the police chief said, and there will be heightened security at embassies and other places until the threat subsides.


Solo sailor saved on mid-ocean reef

WELLINGTON — A solo Japanese sailor whose boat ran aground on a remote reef in the Pacific Ocean was rescued yesterday by the crew of a yacht taking part in a race from New Zealand to Fiji, said yachting officials here.

Shunki Kawano was rescued after his 26-foot vessel “Getten” ran aground on north Minerva Reef — a regular trap for the unwary — about 310 miles southeast of Fiji.

Help was unusually close at hand, as 22 boats were taking part in the Astrolabe Rally from the Bay of Islands to Fiji. Usually it would take much longer to rescue someone in that part of the ocean, said Island Cruising Association spokesman Brian Hepburn.

Jim Lott, New Zealand Maritime Safety Authority manager for recreational boating, said the “Getten” could not be saved but that Mr. Kawano is expected to arrive in Fiji with his rescuers Sunday.


Whale-hunt plans rest on few votes

CANBERRA — Australia’s bid to block Japan’s plan to expand whale hunting rests with just one or two votes, Environment Minister Ian Campbell said yesterday after a whirlwind campaign to lobby nations from Europe to the Pacific.

The International Whaling Commission is expected to vote on Japan’s whale-hunt plans at a June 20 meeting in South Korea. Tokyo wants to increase its annual catch of minke whales to 935 from 440 and expand its hunt to include 10 fin whales a year for the next two years. By 2007-08, it hopes to hunt 40 fin whales and 50 humpbacks.

Australia wants to establish a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary, arguing that populations of some species are dangerously low and sanctuaries, plus a permanent end to commercial whaling, are vital to their survival.

Weekly notes

A Chinese diplomat who claims he was part of a 1,000-member spy network in Australia is in no danger of being sent home, an Australian government minister said yesterday. Chen Yonglin, a consul for political affairs at China’s consulate-general in Sydney, approached immigration officials May 26, handing them a letter in which he said he would rather die than return home and hinting he could turn over sensitive Chinese documents. Australia, which counts China as its third-largest trading partner, rejected his request for asylum and he is now seeking a temporary visa usually granted to boat people fleeing persecution. … Two New People’s Army communist rebels were killed and two others captured yesterday in a clash with security forces in the northern Philippines, the military said. An army patrol clashed with the rebels near Nueva Era, 223 miles north of Manila, said military spokesman Lt. Col. Buenaventura Pascual.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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