- - Thursday, February 23, 2012

INDONESIA

Foreigners moved out of riot-hit prison

BALI | Indonesia started moving foreign inmates, women and children out of an overcrowded prison on Bali island Thursday after two days of rioting, officials said, as troops backed by water canons and armored vehicles surrounded the tense facility.

Schapelle Corby and several other Australians serving time for drug trafficking balked at the transfer because of the difficulty of adjusting to a new place, said Bambang Krisbanu, a security official at the justice ministry.

He said evacuations would be voluntary, but other officials later said the evacuations would apply to all those selected - about 60 foreigners, 120 women and 13 children.

The violence that erupted late Tuesday at the Kerobokan jail - which houses more than 1,000 drug traffickers, sex offenders and other violent criminals - was triggered by the stabbing of an inmate during a brawl a week ago.

The prisoners blamed lax security for allowing a knife into the prison.

By Wednesday night, the inmates had chased away all 13 guards and seized full control of the compound, said Beny Arjanto, the local police chief.

NORTH KOREA

U.S., N. Korea hold first talks since Kim Jong-il’s death

BEIJING | The United States and North Korea on Thursday resumed talks delayed by the death of North Korea’s longtime leader Kim Jong-il two months ago. The U.S. envoy said he and his counterpart covered U.S. food aid and other topics.

The discussions, the first since Mr. Kim’s death, are to continue Friday and could signal whether North Korea’s new government is ready to agree to steps demanded by Washington and Pyongyang’s neighbors to restart broader international disarmament talks.

“The talks today were substantive and serious, and we covered quite a number of issues,” U.S. envoy Glyn Davies told reporters after meeting his counterpart, Kim Kye Gwan, for almost six hours over two sessions, first at the North Korean Embassy and then at the U.S. Embassy.

JAPAN

Loans to Myanmar to resume after 25 years

TOKYO | Japan is moving to resume loans to Myanmar after a quarter of a century, a report said Thursday, the latest move by the world community to bring in the isolated country from the cold.

Tokyo hopes to reach an agreement with Myanmar on a conditional resumption of the loans, which are to be used for infrastructure projects such as ports and railways, at a summit in late April, the Nikkei newspaper said.

Japan has made no new official loans to Myanmar since a military coup and crackdown at the end of the 1980s, which came amid mounting fears in Tokyo over huge unpaid arrears the Southeast Asian nation already had built up.

Unlike major Western nations, Japan has maintained trade ties and dialogue with Myanmar, warning that a hard line on the ruling junta could push it closer to neighboring China, its main political supporter and commercial partner.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports


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