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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?

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The Dazed Lion in Winter
Post-election, the inadequacies of Habibie's administration come out
From this week's ASIAWEEK - on sale November 19
also:
WORLD BANK: Stiglitz, we hardly knew you
PAKISTAN: He's lucky they didn't have call forwarding


November 17, 1999
Web posted at 10:05 p.m. Hong Kong time, 9:05 a.m. EDT


    INTELLIGENCE
Into the Year of the Dragon
What's Ahead for China
by David Hsieh
- Wednesday, Nov. 17, 1999

Ascendant Zhu?
With WTO agreement, Zhu Rongji on the comeback trail
- Monday, Nov. 15, 1999

'Just Be Yourself, Dear'
Hong Kong has to find its own techno-identity
- Friday, Nov. 12, 1999

How Rais Missed Being No. 1
Indonesia's first contender never made the final cut
- Thursday, Nov. 11, 1999

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  ALSO IN ASIAWEEK
Daily Briefing
Today's headlines from across the region

Assif Online
Senior correspondent Assif Shameen on the business of Asia

  TIME ASIA
Asia Buzz
Daily commentary from the editors of TIME Asia

Market Q&A
Each business evening with analysts around the region

Here is an insider's look at the presidency of B.J. Habibie, from a friend and informal adviser who was not a member of his administration. The former Indonesian president was, and remains, incredibly naive and out of touch with the harsh workings of political life, and has little time even for magazines or newspapers to keep him informed. During the complex presidential selection process of October and November, Habibie was oblivious to the maneuvering swirling around him led by Muslim cleric Abdurrahman Wahid and his own Golkar colleagues. Nor did he anticipate the objections in East Timor or from Western governments to his call for Army chief Wiranto to be his vice presidential running mate. The source says amateurism was the hallmark of the Habibie presidency: When the president engaged in long talks with U.N. Sec.-Gen. Kofi Annan on East Timor no aides were taking notes or even attempting to record the complex discussions for future reference. When the president wanted to get his message out to the press, the palace had only an outdated list of local and foreign media contacts. While more open to the press than his predecessors, Habibie was an unsophisticated operator despite having PR-savvy Dewi Fortuna Anwar as his adviser. For an important interview with CNN, the source reckons, Habibie was poorly prepared. After the taping, when he reconsidered his reply on the prosecution of his successor Suharto for corruption, he wondered if he could simply call up CNN and retape the segment, but was finally convinced not to try. Now out of office, Habibie is mulling writing a book focusing on the Suharto years and his own 17 months at the head of the world's fourth most-populous nation.  

Stiglitz, We Hardly Knew You
Says one senior IMF official of the World Bank's controversial senior vice president and chief economist Joseph Stiglitz: "Mr. Stiglitz is damn wrong. It's surprising that with insight on how [Asia's] problems have been rapidly resolved thanks to our prescriptions, he has reiterated comments he made at the beginning [of the Crisis] when it was normal to have different views. The facts don't validate his analysis." Stiglitz's recent praise in Singapore, at a World Economic Forum meeting, for Malaysia's apparent success despite flying in the face of IMF wisdom might have been the final nail in the coffin of his World Bank career. For months Stiglitz has been saying that the Crisis not only pointed to the need for better market regulation, but also that the nature of of the IMF's shutting down credit to bring economies into line was "deleterious." His IMF counterparts are seething and the talk in Washington is that his days are numbered.  

He's Lucky They Didn't Have Call Forwarding
The Pakistan military is sure of its case against deposed PM Nawaz Sharif. They haven't revealed it yet, but they have recordings of him using his personal cellphone on Oct. 12 to give orders to Karachi's airport control tower not to allow the PIA Airbus 300 carrying army chief Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf to land, even though it was running low on fuel. On board the commercial flight from Colombo were 200 other passengers.

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