■ South Korea
Protesters duel over statue
South Korean activists rallied yesterday in a renewed campaign to demolish a statue of late US war hero Douglas MacArthur, as their opponents hurled eggs at them. Some 2,000 anti-US activists demanded the bronze statue of MacArthur be pulled down, describing the late general as "the chief of occupation forces" during the 1950-1953 Korean War. A few meters away 1,000 pro-MacArthur activists, including aged war veterans in uniform, hurled eggs and litter at the protesters whom they termed "pro-North Korean" forces. Some angry conservatives burned North Korean flags and blew whistles in protest at the anti-US rally but no serious violence erupted.
Manned space flight planned
China plans to launch its second manned space mission after the National Day holiday next month, a state-run newspaper said yesterday. The Beijing News, one of the most popular newspapers in the Chinese capital, said the launch will occur after the Oct. 1-7 holiday. It did not cite a source for its report. The spacecraft Shenzhou VI will be launched from the Jiuquan Space Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province, using a Long March 2F rocket, the report said. The space flight will involve two astronauts, as previously reported, and will last 119 hours or five days, the newspaper said.
Terror expert deported
A Singapore-based terrorism expert has been deported from Indonesia for conducting research in the troubled province of Maluku without a proper visa, a police spokesman said yesterday. Rohan Gunaratna, an associate professor at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore, was detained and questioned by police in the provincial capital Ambon on Sept. 2 after arriving from Seram Island where he had been conducting research, Colonel Saud Usman Nasution said. Gunaratna, a Sri Lankan national and author of Inside al-Qaeda: Global Network of Terror, told Singapore's Straits Times that he was studying Seram because it had become "one of the hubs of jihad" in Southeast Asia.
Police deny that rebels met
Malaysian police have denied claims by the Thai defense minister that Islamic separatist rebels met on a resort island to plot attacks in Thailand's troubled south, a report said yesterday. "I want to categorically deny the allegation as there are no such activities on [Langkawi] island," Kedah state police chief Mohamed Zuber Shariff was quoted as saying by the Sunday Star newspaper. Thailand's Defense Minister General Thammarak Issarangkura Na Ayutthaya was quoted on Saturday as saying that "key" militants had met on Langkawi and that Thai intelligence would closely monitor activities in the area.
Quake panics Aceh residents
A strong earthquake rocked Indonesia's tsunami-battered Aceh Province, causing residents to flee their homes in panic, seismologists said yesterday. The magnitude-5.8 earthquake was centered under the Indian Ocean, about 34km northwest of the provincial capital Banda Aceh, said Sutiono, an official at the Jakarta office of the Meteorological and Geophysical Agency. The tremor occurred at 11:57pm at a depth of 33km beneath the Earth's surface, Sutiono added. Officials at the local geophysical office in Banda Aceh said the quake lasted about one minute.
Hundreds protest elections