- The Washington Times - Friday, July 25, 2008


More talks set on border dispute

PHNOM PENH | Cambodia has agreed to meet Monday with Thailand to discuss a stretch of disputed land near a historic temple, rather than take the matter to the United Nations, officials from both countries said Thursday.

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said he talked to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and the two leaders decided to schedule a foreign ministers’ meeting in the Cambodian city of Siem Reap on Monday.

They plan to discuss how best to end the crisis over land near the 11th century temple of Preah Vihear that led both countries to deploy soldiers near the site.

Monday’s meeting follows failed efforts earlier this week to resolve the crisis, which prompted Cambodia to take the issue to the U.N. Security Council.

Military tensions between the two countries over 1.8 square miles of land intensified earlier this month after UNESCO approved a Cambodian application to have the temple designated a World Heritage Site.


27 hurt in blast aboard bus

MANILA | A homemade bomb ripped through a commuter bus in the southern Philippines on Thursday, wounding 27 people, police said.

The military initially reported three people were killed, but police and army officials later corrected themselves and said there were no deaths.

The bus had stopped at a Digos city terminal on the way to the regional center of Davao. Moments after the driver returned and started the engine, the blast shattered the windows and some of the seats, police said.

The owner of the bus company, who is also the mayor of a nearby town, had complained of extortion demands purportedly coming from communist rebels, police said.

The notorious extortion syndicate Al Khobar, which authorities say has ties to Muslim militants, has been terrorizing bus companies and has been blamed for planting several bus bombs in the region.


More than 100 hurt by earthquake

TOKYO | A powerful earthquake rattled parts of northern Japan early Thursday, injuring more than 100 people, triggering landslides and cutting power to thousands of people, officials said.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency said there was no danger of a tsunami from the temblor, which had a preliminary magnitude of 6.8. It struck shortly after midnight about 65 miles underground and centered just off the coast of Iwate, 280 miles northeast of Tokyo.

The earthquake caused strong shaking of up to 40 seconds in large parts of northern Japan, official said. The quake caused a blackout at more than 8,000 homes.


Pilot charged with causing crash

SLEMAN | The pilot of a Garuda Indonesia aircraft that crashed at Yogyakarta airport last year killing 21 people was charged on Thursday with negligence and deliberately causing an accident.

Prosecutor Mudim Aristo told a five-judge panel that Capt. Marwoto Komar deliberately ignored warning signals from an onboard warning system and his co-pilot, force-landing the Boeing 737, which skidded off the runway and burst into flames.

The plane had 140 people on board. Both pilots survived the crash.

The prosecutor said Capt. Komar ignored 15 Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) warnings as well as his co-pilot’s warning and brought the plane into the sharp dive, causing it to drop suddenly by 1,600 feet per minute compared with a normal 1,000 feet per minute and to overshoot the runway.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, has suffered a string of airline disasters in recent years, raising concerns about safety standards and prompting the European Union to ban all Indonesian airlines from its airspace.

The Garuda crash happened less than three months after an Adam Air aircraft disappeared with 102 passengers and crew on board off Sulawesi island.


Plan will include Aborigines in statute

CANBERRA | Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has won applause for apologizing to Aborigines for past wrongs, has revived plans for a constitutional revision to recognize the country’s indigenous people.

Mr. Rudd was visiting a remote Outback Aboriginal community Wednesday when he raised the issue of recognizing Aborigines in Australia’s 107-year-old constitution.

But leaders from the opposition Liberal Party warned Thursday against giving Aborigines any special privileges under a revised constitution.

Australia’s constitution does not mention Aborigines. A referendum in 1999 that proposed adding a preamble to the constitution that recognized indigenous people as the first Australians sparked bitter debate about its wording and ended in defeat.

Australia was colonized in 1788, but the nation’s highest court did not recognize until 1992 that Aborigines had been the legal owners of the land when British settlers arrived.

Mr. Rudd, whose Labor Party won elections in November, led Parliament in February to apologize to Aborigines for past racist policies and mistreatment.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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