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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?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

THE CLINTON CONNECTION


THE RIADYS ADMIT THAT they are not particularly close to Indonesian President Suharto. Eldest son James Riady, though, has strong links with another president - America's Bill Clinton. He was one of the few non-Americans invited to a Clinton economic summit shortly before the Arkansas governor's inauguration as president in 1992.

The connection? According to the conservative magazine The American Spectator, Lippo's Arkansas-based Worthen Bank and Trust decided to absorb, with the help of insurance, more than $52 million in losses in 1985. Bevill, Bresler & Schulman, a government securities broker that sold the bank short-term, high-risk repurchase agreement orders, had gone under. Worthen could have embarrassed Clinton by demanding repayment from the Arkansas state government, says the magazine. The governor's control was so tight, it argues, "that he would inevitably take some of the blame for any loss of state money whether or not he was actively involved." Claims the Spectator: "Clinton owes [the Riadys] big time."

"Rubbish," responds Lippo Group chairman Mochtar Riady. "It's absolutely not true," says his son James, who concedes that there were "mistakes" with the way he ran Worthen in the 1980s. Perhaps so, but Lippo's links with Clinton do not hurt. Last year Lippo signed a memorandum of agreement for a $1-billion deal to manage and expand a 1,200-megawatt power plant in China. Its partner? America's Entergy Corp, parent company of Arkansas Power & Light.

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SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


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