- - Thursday, May 31, 2012


BEIJING — Twenty-three years after China’s sweeping crackdown on the Tiananmen Square democracy demonstrations, fewer than a dozen people remain in prison, among them elderly and likely mentally ill prisoners, a rights group said Thursday.

The estimate by the Dui Hua Foundation sheds light on what for some Chinese remains an unresolved issue: the government’s lack of accounting for the military assault on June 3 and 4, 1989, that ended the protests centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and the nationwide clampdown that followed.

Of the more than 1,000 people believed convicted and sent to prison in the clampdown, most served out their sentences or were released on parole. The dwindling few still in prison are not students who led the protests but represent a hard core who committed arson or attacked martial-law troops, said John Kamm, Dui Hua’s executive director.


Flight recorder found from crashed Russian jet

JAKARTA — Villagers have found the flight data recorder from a Russian passenger jet that slammed into an Indonesian volcano three weeks ago and killed 45 people, officials said Thursday.

The device could help explain what caused the crash.

Another part of the Sukhoi Superjet 100’s “black box,” the cockpit voice recorder, was found about a week after the May 9 accident during a demonstration flight for potential buyers.

However, the flight data recorder - which logged data such as the jet’s altitude, speed and route - was buried in a landslide after the plane smashed into the side of Mount Salak, said Daryatmo, chief of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency.


Suu Kyi receives star treatment

BANGKOK — Aung San Suu Kyi was the star attraction at Thursday’s opening of the World Economic Forum, where the Myanmar opposition leader signed autographs and smiled politely for pictures with delegates from around the world.

Diplomats and businessmen in dark suits jostled to get in close, holding aloft their iPhones and BlackBerrys to get pictures of Mrs. Suu Kyi, who is on her first trip outside of Myanmar in 24 years.

Many in Myanmar refer to Mrs. Suu Kyi as “the Lady” as a gesture of respect but also because it was considered dangerous for years to utter her name aloud. The country’s former military rulers were so afraid of Mrs. Suu Kyi’s popularity that they locked her under house arrest for 15 out of 22 years, during which time she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

Mrs. Suu Kyi was freed after Myanmar held elections in 2010.


Filipino extremists stage more attacks

MANILA — Al Qaeda-linked militants in the Philippines have staged more attacks in the past four years despite many battlefield setbacks, a military report said Thursday, blaming a failure of authorities to isolate the terrorists from their supporters.

The Abu Sayyaf, which has long been blacklisted by Washington as a terror group, launched 74 attacks last year, 19 percent more than in 2010.

The report, which assesses the first year of the government’s new counterinsurgency program, says poverty and the large number of unlicensed firearms in the southern provinces of Sulu and Basilan, where the Abu Sayyaf has jungle strongholds, have allowed the militants to survive and continue to sow terror.

Attacks by the Abu Sayyaf, which has 381 armed fighters, have risen steadily since 2007, when it mounted 31 assaults, despite the capture and killing of many Abu Sayyaf commanders and fighters in U.S.-backed military offensives, the military said.

Last year’s attacks included 17 kidnappings for ransom, 18 armed assaults and 16 bombings, the military said.

A bomb strapped to a parked motorcycle exploded Thursday in Basilan’s capital city of Isabela, wounding a motorist, police said. The blast also damaged two passing vehicles, including one carrying the city’s vice mayor, who was not hurt.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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