|Friday, September 15, 2000,
Curbs on Suu
Suharto fails to appear at trial
Supporters behind blast: police
UK protesters end picketing
Jakarta foils UN missions
most corrupt nation
Magazine apologises to Hurley
Curbs on Suu Kyi eased
YANGON, Sept 14 (Reuters) Myanmars military rulers lifted some of their tight controls on Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi today, allowing diplomats to see her for the first time since she was locked inside her house nearly two weeks ago.
The government said in a statement that senior members of Suu Kyis National League for Democracy (NLD), who were confined to their homes and cut off from the world since September 2, were now allowed to leave their residences.
Since noon today...senior NLD members are no longer required to stay at their respective residences, it said, adding they could resume their daily activities as usual.
Several diplomatic cars were seen entering Suu Kyis residence as word spread that visits would be allowed. Embassy officials who had tried to see her earlier this month were repeatedly turned away by security officials outside her house.
Ms Suu Kyi has not been heard from since she was forcibly returned to Yangon on September 2 after a nine-day vigil in her car south of the capital to protest against government restrictions on her freedom of movement.
Although she is not officially confined to Yangon, the police always stop her when she tries to leave.
The NLDs centre in Yangon, shut down by the government when it launched its crackdown, was also reopened.
Myanmars crackdown on the NLD provoked a barrage of international criticism, with several world leaders condemning Myanmar during the UN Millennium Summit in New York earlier this month. Myanmar accused its critics of meddling.
The row has also raised doubts over a planned meeting of foreign Ministers from ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) and the European Union in Laos in December.
The EU has until now boycotted ministerial-level meetings with ASEAN since Myanmar was controversially admitted in 1997.
The government has insisted her recent confinement was not house arrest, saying senior NLD members had merely been asked to stay at home while the authorities investigated whether NLD members had been involved in terrorist activity.
The government said Lieut-Gen Khin Nyunt, forest secretary of Myanmars ruling Military Council and head of military intelligence, had met today with NLD chairman U Aung Shwe.
The government expressed appreciation for the cooperation of the senior NLD members for staying at home as requested during the course of the investigation and its regret for the inconvenience caused to those involved, a statement said.
Khin Nyunt was quoted as
saying he very much appreciated the NLDs
understanding of the governments fundamental
obligation and responsibility to protect the rights of
all its citizens to a safe, secure and stable environment
and to safeguard national security during the
nations transition to democracy.
Suharto fails to appear at trial
JAKARTA, Sept 14 (Reuters) Indonesias former President Suharto failed to appear at the resumption of his graft trial today, as Jakarta remained on edge after a car bomb killed 15 persons the day before.
As with the opening of his landmark trial two weeks ago, Suhartos lawyers said their client was too ill to attend.
The police has said Wednesdays massive blast at the Jakarta stock exchange might be linked to the trial of the ailing 79-year-old, who was forced to step down in disgrace during social and economic chaos more than two years ago.
Officials had said the one-time despot, charged with misusing $ millions, must appear if he was well enough for todays session, which was convened to hear testimony from Suhartos doctors about his health.
Appearing at this trial under stressful conditions might trigger another stroke for our client, which could be fatal because he has suffered strokes before, the head of Suhartos medical team, Teguh Ranakusuma, told the court.
Suhartos doctors showed slides of his brain as they gave the court a lengthy history of their patients ailments. His lawyers have said Suharto suffered three strokes in the past year.
Indonesias criminal code makes no clear reference to a defendants refusal to attend court. But officials have said a presiding judge might be able to force a defendant to appear or ask the supreme court if the trial could be heard in absentia.
There are fears that attempts to force the former General to court could spark a violent backlash from his supporters, who clashed with students on Tuesday and have been accused of stoking unrest across the worlds fourth most populous country.
The police has clamped tight security around the venue of the makeshift court in the Department of Agriculture in Jakarta.
Hundreds of pro-Suharto supporters demonstrated near the court venue and his home in a leafy central Jakarta suburb. Some 100 students demanding the ex-leader be tried for graft and human rights abuses during his 32-year rule also protested.
There were no clashes.
Put yourselves on trial before you put Suharto on trial, pro-Suharto supporters shouted outside the court venue.
Supporters behind blast: police
JAKARTA, Sept 14 (AFP) Investigations into the suspected car bombing of the Jakarta stock exchange tower, which killed at least 10 persons, got under way here today as speculation ran high that the blast was linked to the resumption of the trial of former president Suharto.
We are going full force. It is a joint team of the national police and the Jakarta police, Deputy Police spokesman Saleh Saaf told AFP of the probe into the bourse explosion.
He said the investigation was headed by Jakarta police chief Nurfaizi along with the heads of the citys detective bureau, the forensic bureau and the bomb division.
The Guardian adds: A big car bomb exploded yesterday afternoon in the underground car park of Indonesias main stock exchange, packed at the time with drivers waiting to take their bosses home. At least 11 persons were killed and more than 30 injured.
It was the latest in a series of explosions in Jakarta. Nobody has claimed responsibility but security forces believe supporters of the countrys former dictator Suharto are responsible.
A bus was blown up just before the opening of the corruption trial of General Suharto two weeks ago.
Police sources say the bomb, planted near the drivers cafeteria on the second basement level, probably contained up to 50 kg of explosive. It ignited a chain of explosions as petrol tanks blew up in surrounding cars. A huge fire sent black smoke billowing out of the complex, which consists of two skyscrapers.
There seems to have been little structural damage to the building, which also contains the offices of the World Bank, several foreign banks and accounting firms, and numerous stock brokerages.
It took firemen, most of them ill-equipped to tackle an incident of this scale, more than four hours to contain the fire. Dozens of people were trapped in the basement.
There were more
than 30 cars that were totally burned, completely
wrecked, police Sergeant Surwando said. And
then we started to notice the bodies. A couple had
clearly been very close to the bomb and died instantly
while others had tried to hide from the smoke in their
cars. He expected more dead to be
UK protesters end picketing
LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) Protesters blockading an oil refinery in northwest England said today they had ended their action and would allow fuel tankers to resume deliveries.
Brynle Williams, who led the protest at the Stanlow refinery for the past seven days, ended the protest by hauliers and farmers soon after 5 a.m. but said their demands remained the same.
What we are looking for is a reduction of the fuel tax first and we would like to meet with the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Agriculture as a matter of great urgency, Williams told sky news.
Stanlow was the first refinery in England to be blockaded as angry farmers and hauliers protested against the high cost of fuel.
Robert burns, a spokesman for protesters at the Grangemouth refinery in Scotland, told BBC television: We have won a moral victory.
He said protestors at Grangemouth would decide shortly whether to call off their protest as well. Im hoping that common sense will prevail here too, Burns said.
The British Army remained on Standby today to deliver petrol to emergency services hit by the countrys fuel crisis, the toughest test yet for Prime Minister Tony Blair in his three-year-rule.
Health services were on emergency footing, shop shelves in some towns are empty, schools faced closure and corpses were left unburied as chaos caused by protests over rising petrol prices spread from the forecourts of empty filling stations.
A beleaguered Blair addressed the nation for the second time in 24 hours on Wednesday, saying truckers and farmers protesting over high fuel prices outside depots and refineries from Scotland to southeast England were putting lives at risk.
There is a real danger now for the national health service and other essential services, he said. lives are at risk if these people cannot get to work.
The Ministry of Defence said 80 trucks and 160 men were being deployed to military bases, from where they would be able to deliver army oil reserves to public services as a last resort. Less than 10 per cent of normal fuel supplies were on the move late on Wednesday, despite government pressure on oil companies to get their trucks rolling.
In Britain tax accounts for around three quarters of the price of petrol and contributes to Britons paying the highest fuel costs in Europe. The vast majority of filling stations have run dry.
Traffic ground to a halt in central London and outside Manchester uniteds huge football stadium on Wednesday as lorries moving at snail-pace blocked lanes.
On Wednesday, Health Secretary Alan Milburn said health services were being hit hard.
Jakarta foils UN missions Timor visit
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 14 (Reuters) Indonesia has, in effect, blocked UN plans to send a Security Council mission next week to investigate an upsurge of violence in east and west Timor by suggesting postponement of the visit without offering a new date, diplomats said.
Plans for a mission was announced last Friday when the Security Council adopted a unanimous resolution demanding that Jakarta immediately disarm and disband militias blamed for killing three UN refugee workers in Indonesias west Timor a week ago.
Jakartas opposition to receiving a council mission was confirmed by Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab, who said, in a speech, in Washington yesterday that sending one now risked creating a domestic uproar against foreign intervention.
It might also lead Indonesians to think their government was incapable of handling domestic affairs, he said in an address to the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
A (Security Council) mission now would be counter-productive, he said.
The council delegation had been expected to visit Indonesia and east Timor, now under UN administration pending independence, to press for the disbanding of the militia and other demands spelled out in the council resolution.
They include ensuring
safety and security in west Timor refugee camps, where
more than 100,000 east Timorese remain under threat from
pro-Jakarta militia opposed to east Timors
independence from Indonesia.
Monks not poll monitors: EC
COLOMBO, Sept 14 (UNI) The Election Commission has rejected the plea by Buddhist monks to function as election monitors during the October 10 parliamentary polls.
No Buddhist monks or representatives of election monitoring organisations will be allowed to enter polling booths to monitor the general election without prior permission obtained from the commissioner, an Election Commission official said.
A leading monk Ananda Thera said the Election Commissioner has not yet given them permission to function as election monitors despite their readiness. He asked us to monitor the election from outside the polling booths. But there is no need for his permission to monitor the election from outside (the polling booth) because any one is free to do that.
Another prelate said the Election Commissioner had indirectly turned down their request by asking them to monitor the election from outside. We did not seek his permission for that, he said.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has made arrangements to bring 66 foreign election monitors from the European Union, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Asian Election Authority.
Nigeria most corrupt nation
BERLIN, Sept 13 (AFP) Finland was judged the least corrupt country and Nigeria the most in a 90-nation corruption ranking by the non-governmental organisation Transparency International (TI), released in Berlin today.
Our index is a vital reminder to the international community that far more must urgently be done to fight bribery, TI Chairman Peter Eigen said in presenting the survey to reporters.
Denmark was the second cleanest country, followed by New Zealand tied with Sweden and then Canada.
The USA was ranked 14th and France 21st.
Second from Nigeria on the bottom was Yugoslavia. Other countries in the bottom half of the listing were China and Egypt, tied at 63rd, and Kenya and Russia, tied for 82nd.
Magazine apologises to Hurley
LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) Model Liz Hurley, who won an apology over an article claiming she said former lover Hugh Grant was inadequate in bed, said she still truly loved the actor, media reported today.
US Magazine Jane unreservedly apologised to Hurley after she complained about an article which wrongly claimed she said sex with Grant was less than adequate and she did not miss it.
British media reported that Hurley sent a letter to Jane outlining her reasons for complaining and reiterating her continuing love for the floppy-haired star.
I have spoken about Hugh hundreds, if not thousands of times in the press over the years. I have never said anything mean about him and never would because I truly love him, Hurley said in an extract from the letter printed in the daily Mail Tabloid.
Jane initially stood by its July article, saying the journalist who interviewed Hurley had taped her comments about her sex life with Grant.
The magazine later apologised after transcripts revealed the tape contains no derogatory statements by Ms Hurley about Mr Grant or her relationship with him.
Hurley said she was astonished and angry that a reputable magazine could allow a journalist to act so irresponsibly.
Hugh and I are bitterly disappointed. Journalism has reached a new low.
Hurley and Grant reigned as Britains most glamorous celebrity couple until they announced the end of their 13-year relationship in May.
Lee freed after accepting terms
WHITE ROCK (New Mexico), Sept 14 (AFP) Chinese-American scientist Wen Ho Lee has returned home to a heros welcome after 278 days in jail on charges of mishandling classified information on nuclear weapons.
Lee was freed after he agreed to plead guilty to one of the 59 charges, accept a jail term equal to time already served and cooperate with investigators for up to a year.
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