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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

NEWSMAKERS


DOTH HE PROTEST TOO MUCH?

ALLEGATIONS RAISED BY AMERICAN critic JEFFREY WINTERS made GINANDJAR KARTASASMITA, Indonesia's senior economic minister, so angry that he set the might of the government's judiciary against the Northwestern University academic. "The American political observer is banned from entering Indonesia until there is a formal settlement of the humiliation [of Ginandjar]," Justice Minister MULADI told The Jakarta Post. He later eased the pronouncement, saying Winters can return to the country but must face questioning. At an Oct. 12 press conference in Jakarta, Winters said some ministers in the government of former president SUHARTO whom he claimed had been involved in graft are now involved in efforts to clean up corruption. He likened that to "appointing the head of the Gambino crime family in the U.S. to eliminate the mafia." He cited Ginandjar, who, he alleges, while serving as minister of mining and energy, improperly profited from his relationship with the U.S. mining company PT Freeport Indonesia. After proclaiming his innocence, Ginandjar voluntarily went to the attorney general's office on Oct. 19 to refute the charges.


A NEW MILITARY BROOM . . .

NEWLY APPOINTED THAI ARMY chief SURAYUDH JULANOND, 55, is moving fast to clean up the military. Surayudh says his two aims are to steer the armed forces away from politics and corruption. To that end, the general has called for a crackdown on soldiers caught up in well-established criminal activities. To show he is serious, Surayudh assigned Maj.-Gen. BOONYOUNG BUCHA, a tough-minded military academy classmate, as the officer in charge of patroling gambling dens, brothels and nightclubs to make sure military men were not acting as bouncers or guards.


. . . AND OLD MILITARY DIRT

JAPAN'S UPPER HOUSE OF Parliament passed a censure motion against defense chief NUKAGA FUKUSHIRO over a growing military procurement scandal. Nukaga is unlikely to step down immediately because the ruling Liberal Democratic Party wants to avoid appearing to buckle under pressure from the opposition. But watch for him to leave in one or two months, after the government issues a final report on the affair. The kickback scheme allegedly involves the NEC Corp. and members of the defense agency. It has led to 11 arrests since September and the suicide of KOMINATO YUTAKA, 64. Found hanging a week ago from a tree in a forest outside Tokyo, Kominato was president of a wholly owned subsidiary of NEC-affiliate Toyo Communication Equipment, whose executives are among those arrested.


OLD HABITS DIE HARD

FORMER PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT FIDEL RAMOS still chomps an unlit cigar and reads newspaper clippings every morning. And he still holds what looks like a weekly cabinet meeting in his palatial home south of Manila. In attendance are former generals and members of his cabinet, nearly all of whom are . . . well, jobless. Ramos has yet to start a pet project - a think-tank dealing with his areas of expertise: security, governance, and economic and international relations. When that gets going, his mini-cabinet meetings might have more substantial matters to take up.


BIG SPENDER'S BILLS COME DUE

THE TRIAL OF ALLEGED Hong Kong crime kingpin CHEUNG TZE-KEUNG, 43, started Oct. 20. Security in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou was super-tight as Cheung, also known as Big Spender, and 35 suspected members of his gang were taken in four curtained vans to their closed-door trial. Heavily armed police in bullet-proof vests stood at every street corner surrounding the court. Arrested in Guangdong province, neighboring Hong Kong, in January, Cheung and his gang were charged in September with smuggling explosives and firearms, kidnapping and robbery. Cheung allegedly pocketed half of $206 million in ransom money after kidnapping two Hong Kong businessmen in 1996 and 1997. He faces the death penalty.


This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home

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SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


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