Newspaper sorry over Jesus picture
KUALA LUMPUR — A Malaysian newspaper has apologized to Kuala Lumpur’s Roman Catholic archbishop after publishing a front page picture of Jesus Christ clutching a cigarette, the paper’s manager said yesterday.
The Makkal Osai, a Tamil-language daily, printed the picture earlier in the week, provoking criticism from religious leaders and politicians in multicultural Malaysia.
S.M. Periasamy, general manager of the paper, said someone had downloaded the image from the Internet to illustrate an article and did not notice that Jesus appeared to be smoking.
Mining prohibited on sacred mounts
BEIJING — China has banned mining on mountains sacred to Buddhists after protests from monks that the exploitation was damaging ancient temples and violating holy sites, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The move was in response to complaints from monks in northern Shanxi Province’s Wutai mountain, a sacred peak, Xinhua said, but it also follows a riot among Tibetan Buddhists in the country’s southwest in an area that was being mined for lead and zinc.
China is desperate for energy, metals and other natural resources to supply its rapidly expanding economy, but the ruling Communist Party is also intent on maintaining social stability.
Activist’s wife hopes to accept award
BEIJING — The wife of an imprisoned activist said yesterday she hopes to fly to the Philippines to accept an award on his behalf, even though police have barred her from leaving.
Yuan Weijing said a friend had obtained a Philippine visa for her and she hoped to pick up her passport at Beijing airport today before catching a flight to Manila.
However, Mrs. Yuan said officers were blocking her from leaving the Beijing apartment where she has been staying with friends who are under house arrest.
Workers demand junta member resign
BANGKOK — Workers at TOT, Thailand’s biggest telecommunications firm, demanded yesterday a member of the ruling military junta immediately resign as chairman of the board, the union said.
Gen. Saprang Kalayanamitra, an outspoken member of the junta, took the top spot on the TOT board in the wake of the bloodless coup last year against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. He then named new members to the other 14 spots on the board.
The 18,000-strong TOT workers union said that under Gen. Saprang’s watch, the board has been riven by internal conflict that has resulted in falling revenue and dissatisfaction among the staff.
War defended after Bush speech
HANOI — Vietnam yesterday said its past war with the United States was “a just war of the people” after President Bush drew parallels between that conflict and the Iraq invasion.
“We all know that we conducted a war to protect our nation,” foreign ministry spokesman Le Dung told a regular media briefing in Hanoi, the capital. “This was a just war of the people of Vietnam.”
Mr. Bush, speaking to U.S. war veterans on Wednesday, warned that a hasty withdrawal from Iraq could have consequences similar to those seen in Southeast Asia after the U.S. defeat by communist forces and retreat from Vietnam.
From wire dispatches and staff reports