- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2007


Taliban resumes hostage talks

KABUL — Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents and South Korean officials began a new round of talks yesterday to secure the release of 19 Korean church volunteers, the first since two hostages were freed this week.

The Taliban on Monday freed two female hostages, the first since they seized 23 Koreans last month from a bus in Ghazni province on the main road south of the capital, Kabul. They have killed two male hostages.

The insurgents said they freed the two women because they were seriously ill, and also as a gesture of good will, to encourage the Afghan government to free rebel prisoners in exchange for the remaining captives, 16 of them women.


Judge quits genocide tribunal

PHNOM PENH — The United Nations yesterday voiced concern about a Cambodian judge’s resignation from the country’s genocide trials, which could delay efforts to try former Khmer Rouge leaders.

You Bunleng, one of the court’s investigating judges, was appointed head of Cambodia’s Appeals Court last week, forcing him to quit the U.N.-backed tribunal intended to prosecute one of the 20th century’s worst atrocities.

He had been seen as key to determining which suspects will go to trial. His is departing at a crucial time, as he and his international counterpart, Marcel Lemonde of France, were investigating the first cases filed by prosecutors.


Suharto son denies graft

JAKARTA — The son of former Indonesian President Suharto denied yesterday that he had misused central bank funds in a $18.6 million graft case involving the lucrative clove trade to manufacture cigarettes.

Hutomo “Tommy” Mandala Putra, youngest son of the former autocratic leader, was questioned at the attorney general’s office about the suspected misuse of bank assistance to a clove monopoly agency he chaired in the 1990s.

Mr. Putra, recently named a suspect in the case, suggested that the attorney general’s move to implicate him was linked to a government effort to seize millions of dollars he deposited in Guernsey.


Record heat wave blamed in deaths

TOKYO — Japan sizzled through its hottest day on record as a heat wave killed at least nine yesterday and threatened power supplies strained by a recent earthquake, authorities and press reports said.

The mercury hit 105.6 degrees in the western city of Tajimi in the afternoon, breaking a national record of 105.4 degrees set in 1933, the Meteorological Agency said. In the Hachioji region of Tokyo, temperatures reached 101.7 degrees, breaking the record of 101.3 degrees for August.

Nine persons died from heatstroke, including an 84-year-old man and a teenage boy who was taken to a hospital two days ago in Tokyo, Kyodo News agency reported. Three others died from heatstroke Wednesday, it said. Many others were hospitalized.


Outbreaks prompt ban of pork imports

PHNOM PENH — Cambodia yesterday banned the import of live pigs and pork products, citing fears that outbreaks of pork-borne diseases in other countries could devastate farms here.

The move was made as China battles an outbreak of blue ear disease that led to a mass cull of pigs.

In neighboring Vietnam, 26 persons were admitted to a Hanoi hospital with a bacterial infection from diseased pigs, leading to two confirmed deaths.

Twenty others were treated this year in southern Vietnam for the same illness.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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