- The Washington Times - Friday, November 13, 2009

PHILIPPINES

Freed priest speaks of ordeal

MANILA | A 79-year-old Irish priest said he hiked through jungles, survived raging seas and slept in a swamp under a tarpaulin before his captors released him Thursday after a month, apparently without getting the ransom they demanded.

The Rev. Michael Sinnott said he was never harmed but he complained about the uncertainty of being released amid arduous conditions and a monotonous diet of sandwiches and rice.

Irish leaders hailed his freedom as an answer to prayers of millions in both countries, while the leadership of a large Muslim rebel group took credit for persuading the kidnappers to free Father Sinnott.

Six gunmen abducted Father Sinnott, a longtime missionary in the southern Philippines, on Oct. 11 from his home in the Mindanao region, the base of several armed groups fighting for Muslim self-rule in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

AUSTRALIA

Nazi suspect to be extradited

ADELAIDE | The Australian government on Thursday approved the extradition of a man alleged to be a Nazi war criminal accused by Hungary of a World War II killing.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor said Australia takes war crimes seriously and will not be a haven for criminals.

Australian citizen Charles Zentai, 88, is accused by the Hungarian government of being one of three men who tortured and killed a Jewish teenager in Budapest in 1944 for failing to wear a star identifying him as a Jew.

Mr. Zentai, who emigrated to Australia in 1950, says he is innocent and was not even in Budapest at the time. He turned himself in to Australian police in the western city of Perth last month after exhausting his legal appeals.

JAPAN

Emperor greeted with ‘banzai’ cheers

TOKYO | Tens of thousands of well-wishers gathered outside Japan’s moat-ringed Imperial Palace - many shouting “banzai,” a traditional wish for long life - to mark Thursday’s 20th anniversary of Emperor Akihito’s coronation to the world’s oldest throne.

Parades, concerts and speeches by leading athletes, actors, businesspeople and politicians marked the festivities that lasted most of the day.

But in unusually somber comments of his own, Akihito appealed for future generations to learn from the war-marred reign of his father, the late Emperor Hirohito.

In a rare news conference before the anniversary, the 75-year-old monarch said he is concerned that Japanese will forget their past.

SRI LANKA

Top general quits; political bid rumored

COLOMBO | Sri Lanka’s top general, who led the battle to crush the Tamil Tiger rebels and ended the island’s 30-year civil war, resigned from his post Thursday but declined to discuss his plans.

Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s resignation comes amid growing media reports that he is planning to contest the next presidential election as an opposition candidate, challenging incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Gen. Fonseka, 59, said he tendered his resignation Thursday and would retire at the end of the month.

After performing religious rituals at a Buddhist temple near Colombo, Gen. Fonseka spoke to the reporters and noted that he had served in the army past the normal retirement age.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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