- The Washington Times - Friday, May 15, 2009

CHINA

Tiananmen memoir on 20th anniversary

BEIJING | The memoir of a former Chinese leader who fell from power for sympathizing with 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrators has given intimate details of an event that the ruling Communist Party wants erased from history.

The 300-page book, based on nearly 30 hours of audio tapes that Zhao Ziyang managed to make while under tight surveillance, chronicles the events that led to the demonstrations and gives rare insight into the inner workings of the Communist Party during a critical time.

“Prisoner of the State” was originally scheduled for release worldwide - except in mainland China - on May 19. But several bookstores in Hong Kong have broken the embargo and have been selling it since April, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the military crackdown that ended the protests.



The book was crafted over four years from tapes recorded in secret by Mr. Zhao, who lived under house arrest for 15 years in a tree-lined street in Beijing before dying in 2005.

AUSTRALIA

Feral kangaroos safe for now

CANBERRA | A court Thursday suspended a government program to kill 7,000 kangaroos on federal land near the Australian capital, halting efforts to thin a mushrooming population of the beloved marsupials who authorities say are threatening endangered species.

Animal rights activists challenged the government’s contention that thousands of common eastern gray kangaroos must be urgently slaughtered on Canberra’s fringes to protect endangered plants, reptiles and insects that share the grassy habitat with an abundant population of kangaroos.

Killing off vast numbers of the animals - which are featured on the country’s coat of arms - is a divisive issue. Population control through vasectomies and oral contraceptives remain experimental alternatives.

INDIA

‘Slumdog’ star’s home destroyed

MUMBAI | City authorities demolished the shanty home of a “Slumdog Millionaire” child star on Thursday, forcing his family into the streets months after the Oscar-winning film shot him to global fame.

Azharuddin Ismail, 9, played the character of Salim as a child in the film, a rags-to-riches romance about a poor Indian boy competing for love and money on a television game show.

Azharuddin’s tarpaulin-covered home in a teeming slum was one of several shanties, illegally built along a drain, that were demolished by local authorities in Mumbai, India’s financial capital and entertainment hub.

Earlier this year, there was an outcry after pictures emerged of “Slumdog Millionaire” child stars living in squalor despite the movie’s box-office success and eight Academy Awards.

AFGHANISTAN

Police claim 11 dead militants

KABUL | Overnight fighting between Afghan police and insurgents in southern Afghanistan left 11 militants dead, officials said. A NATO pilot was injured after his jet crashed after takeoff in the same region.

Insurgents attacked the police post in Paktika province Wednesday evening and fighting raged for several hours, said Gen. Dawlat Khan, the provincial police chief. Eventually, international forces called in an air strike to help the officers.

Eleven militants but no police were killed in the fighting, Gen. Khan said.

In the southern Kandahar province, a British jet crashed on takeoff Thursday because of mechanical failure, said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Hall, a spokesman for the NATO-led force. The pilot was injured after ejecting from the aircraft in Kandahar airfield, he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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