The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 26, 1998 · Page 9
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 9

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Salina, Kansas
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Tuesday, May 26, 1998
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Page 9
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THE SALINA JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL TUESDAY, MAY 26, 1998 A9 T INDONESIA New president to call election iwo political prisoners 'feed as Habibie tries to re-establish order By ROBERT HORN « The Associated Press ;i JAKARTA, Indonesia — 'Breaking from a lengthy tradition of autocratic rule, Indone- isia's president promised Mon- iday to have elections that could ,^cost him his new job but move the country toward greater political stability. ; In other major concessions to * reformers, the government ~; granted freedom to two political -prisoners and said it would re- View its business dealings with "some companies owned by for. mer President Suharto and his family, who amassed great wealth during his 32-year rule. President B.J. Habibie had ''pledged to reform the corrupt '/ economic systems installed by Suharto, who resigned Thursday. Few believed, however, that " he had the will or the clout to ' carry it out. v ' Habibie had risked further un' rest and his own ouster if he at;' tempted to serve out Suharto's five-year term. Student protest' ers, democracy activists and some "Cabinet ministers had called on ' ' J liim to quit or set new elections. ''Meanwhile, military chief • Gen. Wiranto said he would seek a swift trial for 14 soldiers the "'' army named as suspects in the ir ! killing of six anti-Suharto '• demonstrators this month. The May 12 killings and anger over rising prices triggered riot;' ing that killed at least 500 people ; in Jakarta alone and ultimately led to Suharto's ouster. Officials said Monday that at least 56 peo- • 'pie remained missing. Compounding the govern- ment's woes, food shortages were reported in parts of the country, the business newspaper Neraca reported. Economists said the food supply is adequate, The Associated Press Jailed Indonesian Labor Leader Muchtar Pakpahan (left) and former legislator and professor Sri Bintang Pamungkas wave Monday to supporters from the balcony of Cipinang Prison after the government announced they would be freed. but the riots shattered distribution networks. After the first meeting of the president's new Cabinet, State Secretary Akbar Tanjung said Habibie would push for elections once new electoral laws and reforms are in place. "If we can make it in six months or earlier, that would be good," Akbar said. "But it might also take one year." Early parliamentary elections mean a new Parliament then can join an assembly of government appointees and select a new president. Many doubt Habibie, a longtime Suharto friend, will keep his job. Cabinet Minister Ginandjar Kartasasmita said the current administration "will usher Indonesia into a new era." Suharto had ruthlessly suppressed political critics. To quiet students and activists who don't trust him to oversee reforms, Habibie ordered the release of the two political prisoners. Justice Minister Muladi said he would free labor leader Muchtar Pakpahan and former legislator Sri Bintang Pa- mungkas when he visited Jakarta's Cipinang Prison. The pair made fist-waving speeches to a raucous crowd gathered outside the prison walls, but had not left by evening. Muladi said an unspecified number of the other 200 or so political prisoners would be released soon. An inmates' rights group called for all to be freed immediately. U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who is visiting Indonesia, said the releases would be a key element in Habibie's attempts to reform Indonesia's political system. Smith, chairman of a House subcommittee on human rights, planned to meet Wednesday with Habibie. Meanwhile, Indonesia's energy minister said he will review contracts between the state- owned oil company, Pertamina, and suppliers owned by the Suharto family. Jakarta's city government canceled contracts with two companies linked to Suharto and will attempt to recover money made under the deals. Corruption and nepotism flourished, during Suharto's reign. Critics say his family used state subsidies, monopolies and cartels to amass a fortune of about $40 billion. Suharto's oldest daughter, Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, denied rumors that some of her siblings had fled the country. T NAZI GOLD Panel finds Swiss accepted Jewish gold Committee traces 263 pounds of gold back to concentration camps By The Associated Press T MIDDLE EAST Gingrich angers Palestinians UvS. House speaker spars over placement of U.S. Embassy By Jhe Associated Press JERUSALEM — After a series of perceived provocations from the U;S1 House speaker, an aide to Yasser Arafat indicated Monday that the Palestinian leader might snub Newt Gingrich for siding with Israel. ' ^Gingrich, who is leading a congressional delegation to the Middle fiast, said he was looking forward to speaking with Arafat in the'Gaza Strip on Wednesday, but an aide said Palestinian officials had, not confirmed the meeting. ''^. Palestinian official traveling with Arafat in Saudi Arabia said a meeting was unlikely. Gingrich has angered the Palestinians by supporting Israel's ql'aim to sovereignty over all of Jerusalem. The Palestinians hope to establish a capital in east Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan in 1967. ; Gingrich also got into a spat with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat over the speaker's support for moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Erekat warned that a show of sup- tSPAIN 12 on trial for kidnapping in 'dirty war' By The Associated Press -'MADRID, Spain — One of the bfggest political scandals of modern Spain reached the courts Monday when a former interior minister and 11 others went on trial, accused ofe involvement in a kidnapping linked to an alleged government "dirty war" on Basque separatists. Dozens of supporters applauded farmer Interior Minister Jose Barrionuevo and jeered a key witnesses against him, an ex-police officer, as they entered the Supreme Court. The trial centers on the 1983 abduction of a Spanish-born French businessman whom the kidnappers 5 : mistook for a Basque separatist hit man. The kidnapping was" the first action of the shadowy Anti-Terrorist Liberation Groups. The group killed 27 people between 1983 and 1987 in its pursuit of members or sympathizers of the armed Basque separatist organization ETA. Most of its victims — like businessman Segundo Marey -Plater proved to have no connection with the Basque guerrillas. The Associated Press U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt and House Speaker Newt Gingrich lay a wreath Monday at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial. port for moving the embassy could trigger violence. Gingrich interpreted this as a threat and demanded that Erekat be kept out of the meeting with Arafat. Erekat described Gingrich as "absolutely ignorant" about the complexities of Mideast peacemaking. "The man is a point-scorer. He is an absolutely unfair person. The man is not saying the truth," Erekat told CNN. Despite the latest controversy, Gingrich appeared to be trying to avoid trouble. During a bus tour of Jerusalem escorted by Mayor Ehud Olmert, Israel Television reported that Gingrich asked not to stop at Har Homa, a controversial Jewish housing project in east Jerusalem. The bus also passed by the proposed plot for the U.S. Embassy, but did not stop. Gingrich, sitting in a front seat with Olmert, did not turn his head to get a better look at the overgrown plot. Gingrich said he agreed to the bus tour to please Olmert: "I don't think you ever turn down the mayor of a city." Initially, the speaker had planned to lay a symbolic cornerstone at the plot, but called off the stop at the request of the White House. Later Monday, Gingrich and seven other members of Congress flew over the West Bank, with Israeli Cabinet hawk Ariel Sharon as a guide. "I tried ... to show them the very, very small size and depth we are keeping in our hands," said Sharon, who argues that Israel must keep large swaths of the West Bank in any final settlement with the Palestinians. MAURE WHEEL Auto - Home Insurance Phone 827-2906 115 East Iron ZURICH, Switzerland — At least 263 pounds of gold that Nazi Germany stashed in the Swiss central bank came from the melted watches and coins of concentration camp victims, an international panel of historians said Monday, supporting long-standing allegations by Jewish groups. The panel said it had no evidence that the Swiss National Bank knew of the source of the so- called "victim gold," which was shipped in standard bars — but faulted the bank for making no apparent effort to find out. The disclosure in a massive study by historians in Switzerland, the United States and Israel confirmed previous allegations that some of the Nazi gold accepted by Swiss banks came from individuals. The panel said it was able to trace 263 pounds of gold back to Jews and other concentration camp victims with the help of documents that surfaced in the United States last year. Victim gold, worth $1.2 million at today's prices, makes up only a small fraction of gold transactions from Germany's Reichsbank, which totaled $890 million during World War II. Much of that gold came from national treasuries in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Hungary and other occupied Nazi-occupied countries. The panel accused Swiss officials of following the path of "least effort" and said Swiss National Bank directors from 1941 were "increasingly aware that Jews WORLD WIDE WINDOWS, INC. REPUGEMENT WINDOWS MADE IN SAUNA Where windows are our business, not just a side line. FREE ESTIMATES] and other persecuted groups were being robbed. ' "In 1943 at the latest the SNB' had knowledge of the systematic' extermination of victims of the Nazi regime," it said. "Nonetheless, SNB decision-makers neglected taking measures to distinguish looted gold from the other gold holdings of the Reichsbank.'.' The victim gold was shipped by the Nazi's central bank to its de-' posit account in Switzerland, the study said. There may have been' other such shipments to Switzerland, but the panel said it could not determine where the victim gold went from the Swiss central bank. The gold was part of the inven-. tory overseen by SS Captain 1 Bruno Melmer, who was in charge' of valuables stolen from Nazi vie-' tims between 1942 and 1944. According to Melmer's meticulous records, gold objects taken by 1 the Nazis — watches, coins and' gold bars held by the victims -^ were turned over to the Reichs- bank, which sent it to Germany's Degussa smelting company to be 1 processed into bars. The panel said it could not determine whether some of the metal came 1 from gold dental fillings, as Jew-' ish groups have long said. BILLS 826-1701 1-8OO-783-1711 736 N. 9th. 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