Dolphin dies in explosion
Four fisherfolk have been arrested in Cambodia after they allegedly killed a rare Irrawaddy dolphin by tossing an explosive device into a river in northeastern Mondulkiri province, officials said yesterday. The 86kg freshwater dolphin was found dead Saturday in the Srepok River after people exploded the device to catch fish, Sam Samat, secretary of the provincial police chief said. "We never knew that there were Irrawaddy dolphins in Srepok River. The fishermen also did not know this kind of animal was in the river," he said, adding that three men and a woman were arrested. Fishing with explosives is common in Cambodia. Fewer than 100 of the famous pink dolphins are left in Asia's Mekong River; once there were thousands.
Activist's release urged
The US said it would push Beijing to release a prominent advocate of women's and minority rights ailing in a Chinese prison. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Randall Schriver said concerns over 58-year-old Rebiya Kadeer, among the most prominent members of the Uighur ethnic group in the largely Muslim Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, would be raised with the Chinese government. Kadeer was arrested while on her way to meet with a US Congressional delegation in August 1999, and charged a month after her arrest with "providing secret information to foreigners" and ordered jailed for eight years after a secret trial. The US envoy in Beijing was asked to visit Kadeer, who reportedly is suffering from heart and gall bladder ailments with one and a half years more to serve in her jail term.
Villagers protest land use
Villagers in northern Vietnam set fire to a government building and held a local official hostage in a dispute over land taken for an industrial park, officials said yesterday. About 500 people gathered Tuesday in Lai Yen village to protest the expropriation, and several ransacked the village government building before dousing it with gasoline and setting it on fire, said a village official who identified himself only as Hanh. The trouble started when 52 families demanded higher compensation for farmland taken to build an industrial park in the village. They clashed earlier in the day with police who were ordered to clear the site for construction, injuring two villagers and a police officer, he said. Dozens of villagers have been jailed in recent years in Vietnam for assaulting authorities in disputes over compensation for land taken for infrastructure and development projects.
Alleged separatist arrested
Malaysia confirmed the arrest of a man described by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as the mastermind behind an upsurge in Muslim separatist violence in southern Thailand but said he was a Malaysian citizen and could not be extradited. Deputy Internal Security Minister Noh Omar said the man was arrested on Jan. 5 and was being held under the Internal Security Act, which allows for indefinite detention without trial. He identified him as Abdul Rahman Ahmad, also known as Deraman Koteh. Thaksin named him as Doramae Kuteh, also known as Chae Kumae Kuteh, and said checks were being made on his nationality. Noh declined to say whether the man under arrest was suspected of being the leader of Muslim separatists accused of a resurgence of violence in mainly Buddhist Thailand which has left at least 570 people dead in the past year.