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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

Week of December 8, 1995

NOT CRICKET

Investigators in India charged organizers of the India-New Zealand cricket match in Nagpur with the deaths of nine spectators. They were killed when a grandstand collapsed during the game. Police are also searching for the builders of the renovated stands. They gave way without warning: 100 people fell about 35 feet, 70 were seriously injured.


Week of December 1, 1995

POWERING UP

Negotiators for the Indian state of Maharashtra have reached a new agreement with U.S.based Enron Corp. for a $2.9 billion power project. The state cancelled the contract in August, citing high costs and environmental concerns. The 2,015 megawatt thermal power generator deal could be finally approved when the cabinet meets Dec. 10.


Week of November 24, 1995

Other news from India this week:

  • India: The BJP is not helping its election chances
  • Chicken: Two flies shut down the Colonel in Delhi

Week of November 17, 1995

KASHMIR COLLISION

Pakistan is pledging support to Kashmiris opposed to elections in Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state. Pakistan is calling for a U.N.-mandated plebiscite to decide the fate of the state instead. In adjoining Jammu, right-wing Hindus protested PM Narasimha Rao's offer to extend limited autonomy to the area.

Other news from India this week:


Week of November 10, 1995

ARMS RACE FEARS

India will boost its defense spending in response to the U.S. decision to ease military sanctions on archrival Pakistan, said India's foreign minister. He claimed that the waiver, which will allow Washington to deliver equipment that Islamabad bought for $368 million in 1990, could lead to a resumption of arms deals between the two countries.

Other news from India this week:

  • Rushdie: The author's satirical bite is as keen as ever

Week of November 3, 1995

ALLIES WANTED

India's general elections aren't expected until April, but the main parties are already wooing coalition partners. Infighting has sapped confidence that any can go it alone. The ruling Congress (I) party is courting a group that champions the cause of millions of low-caste Hindus and has made overtures to the governing party in Tamil Nadu.

Other news from India this week:

  • India: Thackeray's tirades rattle overseas investors
  • Enron: The fallout for foreign-funded power projects

Week of October 27, 1995

CONCERN FOR FOUR

Indian authorities expressed concern for the welfare of four West-erners held hostage in Kashmir by Muslim rebels. No contact had been made since Sept. 19 with the Al-Faran separatists holding the two Britons, an American and a German, a spokesman said in Srinagar. The rebels are demanding the release of 15 jailed colleagues.


Week of October 20, 1995

MYSTIC PROBED

An Indian panel probing the 1991 slaying of ex-premier Rajiv Gandhi ordered intelligence agencies to hand over their files on a Hindu mystic who numbers Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao among his disciples. Chief judge Mahesh Chandra Jain called for the files on Chandraswami after he evaded questions about his alleged criminal background.


Week of October 13, 1995

WRITER'S BLOCK

Customs officials in India seized copies of The Moor's Last Sigh by Indian-born writer Salman Rushdie, who faces death threats from Iran for "blasphemy." A character in the book bears an unflattering resemblance to Hindu politician Bal Thackeray. The book's distributors said they had stopped further orders, though 500 copies had been sold in New Delhi.


Week of October 6, 1995

CALLING THE TUNE

Would-be investors in India's telecommunications sector are worried that the government may be considering limiting the number of licenses it grants to any single bidder to two. New Delhi had accepted final bids in August, with no restriction on the number of service areas firms could bid for. If the rules are changed, that will further dampen investor confidence in India.

CLASH OF TITANS

The battle between chess titans Gary Kasparov of Russia and Indian Viswanathan Anand, 25, is hotting up. No sooner had Anand taken the lead 5-4 in the 20-game match at New York's World Trade Center in the U.S. - ending eight consecutive draws - than world champion Kasparov snatched the tenth Sept. 26. The winner will walk away with $1 million.


Week of September 29, 1995

NOT THE GURU

Federal police interrogated a spiritual guru, Chandraswami, over the Bombay bomb blasts that followed the 1992 destruction of the Ayodhya mosque. A day after ordering his arrest, India's Internal Security Minister Rajesh Pilot was moved in a cabinet reshuffle by the PM, who is known to be the guru's follower. Police say they found no incriminating evidence against the guru.

Other news from India this week

  • Plenty: For a change, India has more than enough

Week of September 22, 1995

LIVING IT UP

A lavish wedding,hosted by the chief minister of southern Tamil Nadu state Jayalalitha Jayaram and costing more than $30 million, has drawn flak across India. Critics in Madras called it a "fillip to the dowry system which in turn leads to bride burning," a practice rampant in the state. Two petitions accused her of misuse of official machinery and "brazen theft of power."

Other news from India this week

  • Cover: The Congress party's troubles could push Sonia Gandhi into a political role she has sternly resisted
  • India: Bal Thackeray explains why he longs to be a Hitler

Week of September 15, 1995

RED INK

India's state electricity boards continue to hemorrhage money: losses for fiscal 1995 were $2 billion, up from $1.9 billion in 1994. Officials blame the poor figures on faulty distribution, which claims 20% of all power generated. The losses spell more bad news for the Rao administration, which on Aug. 3 watched the axing of a $2.9 billion project by Maharashtra's state government.

Other news from India this week:

  • Kashmir: Why the world must address the issue

Week of September 8, 1995

THE LINES ARE OPEN

On Aug. 31, India's government began accepting bids from private companies to provide telephone services in all 25 states. At least 15 foreign companies, including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom and Telstra, and their local associates are expected to submit bids. Oppositionists want the move blocked, arguing that local resources should have been mobilized first.


Week of September 1, 1995

TRAGIC TOLL

Over 350 bodies were pulled from the wreckage of India's worst train accident in over a decade. Officials said a signalman early Aug. 20 allowed the Delhi-bound Purshottam express to run on the same track as the Kalindi express, which had stopped after running over a cow. The trains, carrying an estimated 2,200 passengers, collided near Ferozabad, north India.

Other news from India this week


Week of August 25, 1995

SUBURBAN SHRINE

The world's largest Hindu temple outside India will open this month in the London suburb of Neasden. Donations from Britain's Gujarati community largely funded the 15-year project. The shrine's white marble was quarried in Italy and carved in India. To atone for cutting down trees to make temple carvings, 2,000 oak trees were planted in Surrey, south England.

BLOOD-SOAKED STATE

PM P.V. Narasimha Rao, in his Independence Day speech, said Pakistan was "exporting terrorism" to the civil war-wracked Indian state of Kashmir. His comments came as a bomb injured ten Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir's Jammu region. Last week, separatists killed a captured Norwegian tourist and said four other hostages would die if Delhi did not free 15 jailed militants.


Week of August 18, 1995

ZIP LOCK

The Zipper Association of India wants the government to rescind an invitation to Japanese zipper giant YKK to establish a manufacturing beachhead on the subcontinent. "YKK will obliterate India's zipper industry with its predatory pricing and market tactics," alleges association head Gautam Nair. YKK plans to set up a production line run by a fully-owned subsidiary.

Other news from India this week:

  • India: Cancelling the nation's biggest foreign-funded project

Week of August 11, 1995

OUT OF POWER

Power outages the state of Maharashtra in western India and major parts of eastern India including West Bengal, Bihar and Assam. The Maharashtra outage comes at a time officials in that state are considering whether a $2.8 billion thermal power plant should be built by Enron Corp. of the U.S. The contract awarded to Enron is being reviewed because of allegations the company offered bribes in exchange for improved contract terms like a higher annual rate of return. An official of Bombay Electric Supply Corp., while refusing to comment on the cause of the outage, said, "The entire state is affected."

EMPOWERED

Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao was looking for a jump start of a different kind. He announced a $1.56 billion package targeted toward school children and the nation's poor. Analysts say the aid plan, which is to provide midday meals for 110 million children, partly is meant to burnish the image of Rao's ruling Congress Party in advance of next year's parliamentary elections.


Week of July 28, 1995

NO DEAL

India is still refusing to exchange 20 jailed Kashmiri separatists for five Westerners being held by an obscure group called the Al Faran. New Delhi insists they are Afghans who have been paid to join the war against Indian rule and it does not want to make deals with mercenaries. Earlier, India did swap some militants for the daughter of an official held by the separatists.


Week of July 21, 1995

OLD WOUNDS

The film Bombay is breaking the box office all over India, even though its theme couldn't be more daring. Directed by Mani Ratnam, it tells the story of the love of a Hindu man for a Muslim woman, set against the backdrop of Ayodhya and the Bombay riots. Some Muslims are unhappy because Ratnam gave Bombay's militant Hindu leader Bal Thackeray a preview.


Week of July 14, 1995

IN THE DARK

Water contaminated with radioactivity was allowed to leak out of a waste processing unit of the Tarapur nuclear power station near Bombay for 45 days before the leak was stopped and nearby residents warned. The accident was brought to light by a local newspaper. India has ten reactors, six of them are power plants; the other four are research facilities.

Other news from India this week


Week of July 07, 1995

DRIVING A WINNER

Indian auto makers are expecting a bumper year. Many analysts predict net profits for car makers will rise close to 40% in the next 12 months. An increasingly affluent middle class will drive strong demand, says an industry magazine, which predicts India's dominant car maker, a joint venture of the Indian government and Suzuki, will become more efficient as competition grows.

Other news from India this week


Week of June 30, 1995

TELECOM STRIKE

Unions claimed to have 90% participation in a nationwide telecommunications strike protesting government plans to privatize the sector in India. Roughly 450,000 people work for the country's Department of Telecommunications. Many major cities reported service disruptions. The government rejected union demands to slow privatization; few expect a quick end to the strike.

Other news from India this week


Week of June 23, 1995

SCORCHED

A heat wave torching northern India with temperatures approaching 125 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) was believed responsible for more than 210 deaths. The most oppressive heat in 50 years nearly touched off a water crisis in New Delhi. The city of 10 million scrambled to get water from neighboring states until monsoons, expected soon, alleviate the problems.

Other news from India this week

  • Cover: A cultural war is being fought over sexual openness throughout Asia
  • Numbers: Sex surveys from around the region

Week of June 16, 1995

CASTE PARTIES

An unusual political coalition of parties catering to widely divergent castes has emerged in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. A woman named only Mayawati, 38, is the first member of the Hindu lower castes to become the state's chief minister. Her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has alligned itself with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), popular among upper castes.

Other news from India this week

Business


Week of June 9, 1995

ELECTION DELAYED

Citing "difficulties" ina Kashmir rent by violence, Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao put off elections expected next month and extended federal government rule over the state until 1996. Rao said he remains committed to holding elections and ending direct federal rule, in effect in Kashmir since 1990. Separatists want complete independence and oppose elections.


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