- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 22, 2007

TAIWAN

Parliament leader plans China visit

TAIPEI — Legislative leader Wang Jin-pyng, a former vice chairman of the island’s opposition Nationalist Party, will visit China next month, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Mr. Wang, who has been mentioned as a candidate in Taiwan’s presidential election next year, will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and make some public speeches, the Chinese-language China Times quoted unidentified sources as saying.

The report was issued a week after a Taiwan prosecutor filed corruption charges against opposition leader Ma Ying-jeou, prompting Mr. Ma to quit his post as Nationalist Party chairman. Mr. Ma and his party, known as the Kuomintang, are considered relatively sympathetic to Beijing.

EAST TIMOR

U.N. peacekeepers to stay year more

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council voted yesterday to keep peacekeepers in East Timor for another 12 months as the newest nation in the Asia-Pacific region struggles to overcome an east-west divide and gang violence.

The 15-member council unanimously agreed to extend the U.N. mission of more than 1,000 police until Feb. 26, 2008, after it was recommended by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and urged by East Timorese Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta.

The council authorized an additional 140 police to be sent to the tiny nation before the April 9 presidential election and parliamentary elections due by June.

EAST TIMOR

Ramos-Horta plans run for presidency

SINGAPORE — Jose Ramos-Horta, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who took over as East Timor’s prime minister last year, said yesterday he will run for president in April, Al Jazeera English reported.

“After a lot of hesitation, I have decided to run for the presidency,” Mr. Ramos-Horta told the Qatar-based broadcaster in an interview. “Many people have come to me, barefoot, illiterate, from around the country, [and] began collecting signatures for me,” he said.

President Xanana Gusmao said this month that the tiny Asia-Pacific nation will vote for a new leader on April 9.

Weekly notes …

China has firmly grasped the challenge of fighting AIDS with an array of programs to tackle HIV infection at the source and change political thinking, says a paper published in the Lancet. The lengthy paper — authored by five Chinese and Western public-health specialists — points to Beijng’s needle-exchange and methadone initiatives for drug users, safe-sex awareness campaigns among homosexuals and free drugs for people infected with the AIDS virus. … Opposition to a Malaysian plan to restrict the movement of foreign workers mounted yesterday as rights groups and an Islamic opposition party called for it to be scrapped.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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