- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2008


Monks pray for democracy

BANGKOK — Monks who helped lead last year’s protests against Burma’s junta urged the country to mark the traditional New Year yesterday with prayers for democracy.

The All Burma Monks Alliance, a coalition of activist monks in Burma, also denounced the country’s military leaders for having “mistreated and abused the religion and Buddhist monks” during its crackdown on peaceful protests.

In a statement, the alliance called on the devoutly Buddhist country to pray “for the success of the democratic movement and to pray that those who committed sins against the religion … face retribution.”

The alliance was instrumental in organizing September’s pro-democracy protests. Most of its leaders were arrested or are in hiding.


Study seeks origins of pygmy elephants

KUALA LUMPUR — Borneo’s pygmy elephants may be descendants of an extinct Javan elephant race, saved by chance by an 18th-century ruler, according to a study released yesterday.

The study suggests that a small number of opposite-sex elephants can produce a thriving progeny of thousands if left undisturbed on an island, giving fresh hope to conservationists trying to protect nearly extinct species of large mammals.

“If proven, this fascinating story would demonstrate that very small populations of large mammals can be saved from the brink of extinction [simply by] moving a few individuals, from a seemingly doomed population, to a different and safer habitat,” the study published in the Sarawak Museum Journal reads.

Study co-author Junaidi Payne said the sultan of Java in Indonesia in the 18th century likely sent some pygmy elephants as gifts to the sultan of Sulu in the Philippines.

The sultan of Sulu at some point apparently shipped them to Borneo and abandoned them there.


Tycoon jailed for tax evasion

SEOUL — Special prosecutors said yesterday that they indicted Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee on charges of tax evasion and breach of trust, although they cleared the conglomerate of allegations that it kept a slush fund used for bribery.

The announcement concludes a three-month probe into a slew of purported wrongdoing at South Korea’s biggest industrial conglo-merate.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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