Sun, 03 Aug 2003

Festival celebrates Malay culture

INDONESIA: President Megawati Soekarnoputri is scheduled to open a festival on Malay culture and its promotion on Sunday in Pekanbaru, Riau.

Rampai Melayu -- A World Festival on Melayu Culture, to be held through Aug. 7, is intended to nurture and cultivate Malay culture, including among other countries with the same cultural roots, organizers said.

It is also aimed at spurring economic and cultural development, as well as information sharing, among countries sharing a Malay cultural foundation.

The exhibition will feature special cuisine, examples of the Malay literary tradition, arts performances, plays and games. There will also be seminars on traditional culture and an international seminar on the history of Riau.

Participating contingents are from four Indonesian provinces of Jakarta, West Java, Banten and South Kalimantan, and from overseas, including Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Madagascar, England, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

The festival is the fourth Malay culture festival held since 1990. -- JP

;AFP; ANPAi..u.. High-India-temple-mosque Indian opposition angry at PM's vow to build disputed Hindu templ JP/2/HIGH

Indian PM blasted for temple 'flip-flop'

INDIA: The main opposition Congress party slammed Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Saturday for being an "opportunist" by saying a Hindu temple would be built on India's most sensitive holy site, claimed by both Hindus and Muslims.

Analysts said Vajpayee, who heads the Hindu nationalist BJP party, seemed to be trying to secure his base ahead of assembly elections this year in five states and national polls due by October 2004.

Vajpayee said on Friday at the cremation of Hindu guru Ramchandra Paramhans that he would fulfill the 93-year-old priest's dying wish to build a temple in the northern city of Ayodhya at the reputed birthplace of the god Ram, where a mosque was built in the 16th century but torn down by zealots in 1992.

Congress party spokesman S. Jaipal Reddy called Vajpayee a "powermongering opportunist ... (he) likes to have his cake and eat it too. When he sees his position in the party getting weakened, he comes out with such statements ... The prime minister keeps making flip-flops all the time on vital issues ... we don't know which is true," Reddy said. -- AFP

;DPA; ANPAc..r.. High-Singapore-Hacking Singapore leads Southeast Asia in hacking activity JP/2/HIGH

;AP; ANPA ..r.. High-Thailand-Japan-Embassy Intrusion Asylum seekers said in good health JP/2/HIGH

Asylum seekers said in good health

THAILAND: Japan's embassy in Thailand said on Saturday that 10 North Koreans who have taken refuge there were in good health, but declined to reveal what is being done to resolve the situation.

Toshihisa Takata, the embassy's second-ranking diplomat, told reporters that the four men, four women and two children were still being interviewed by two Korean-speaking Japanese diplomats to determine what is to be done with them.

The North Koreans rushed past guards into the embassy on Thursday, in what is assumed to be a bid for political asylum and resettlement. Japanese officials have not said where the group wants to go, and the press has not been given access to them.

-- AP

;AP; ANPAc..u.. High-Iraq-Saddam's Sons Hussein brother buried in Tikrit JP/2/HIGH

Hussein brothers buried in Tikrit

IRAQ: The sons of Saddam Hussein, Odai and Qusai, were buried in the family cemetery in their hometown of Tikrit on Saturday morning, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society and the U.S. military said.

Buried with the brothers was 14-year-old Mustafa Hussein, Qusai's son, who also was believed killed in a fierce gun battle with U.S. troops on July 22 in Mosul. -- AP

;AFP; ANPAc..u.. High-Singapore-drugs S'pore sweep for drugs in clubs JP/SINGAPORE

S'pore sweep for drugs in clubs

SINGAPORE: Singapore narcotics authorities arrested 98 suspected drug abusers during a midnight-to-dawn sweep on Saturday through nightclubs and bars.

Ten nightspots along Orchard Road, Boat Quay and eight other areas were raided in the six-hour operation, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said in a statement.

"CNB will continue with its vigorous enforcement action against the abuse of synthetic drugs at entertainment outlets. We will seek out both traffickers and abusers alike so as to ensure that synthetic drugs do not gain a foothold in Singapore," it said. -- AFP

S'pore tops in SE Asia for hacking

SINGAPORE: Singapore leads Southeast Asia in hacking activity with computer break-ins ranking just behind North Asia and the United States, statistics gathered by showed on Saturday.

For the half year ending June 30, hackers based in the city- state were responsible for 9 percent of the activity monitored by the info-security services provider.

Hackers in North Asia, including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, accounted for 26 percent, and those in the U.S. 25 percent, according to the data published in The Business Times.

In the first half of this year, e-Cop recorded 76 million incidents in the Asia-Pacific region compared with 43 million in the corresponding period a year ago.

The company tracks hacking activities in the area and compiles a regional e-security index.

South Korea tied with Singapore for the third spot for attacks and intrusions in the Asia-Pacific, followed by Japan at 6 percent and Malaysia at 3 percent. -- DPA

;DPA; ANPAx..r.. High-Singapore-Muslims-Gays Moslem religious leaders in Singapore condemn homosexuality JP/2/HIGH

Muslim leaders decry gay rights

SINGAPORE: Muslim religious leaders in Singapore condemned homosexuality as a sin but urged the faithful not to humiliate or ostracize gays.

In Friday's sermon prepared by the Islamic Religious Council, Muslims were told to reach out and persuade gays to give up their lifestyle.

The position followed Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong's disclosure last month that the government was now openly employing gays in positions that includes sensitive jobs.

The Islamic Religious Council acknowledged that persuading gays to give up their lifestyle was a difficult, but not impossible task. -- DPA