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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

NEWSMAKERS


THE INTERROGATOR

IN AN INTERVIEW WITH Asiaweek's Dominic Faulder last week, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said it came as a "big surprise" to him that the chief interrogator of the murderous Khmer Rouge was still alive and had been living in northwestern Cambodia for the past 20 years. That man is Kaing Khek Iev. Better known by his revolutionary name Deuch, he oversaw the brutal interrogation of at least 17,000 Cambodians before their executions during Khmer Rouge rule from 1975 until January 1979. Although his fate was unknown to the outside world, according to the Far Eastern Economic Review, elements of the Cambodian military had known where Deuch lived for the last two years. The spindly one-time schoolteacher, now 56 and a convert to Christianity, admitted he had done "very bad things" for which he was ready to atone. Hun Sen indicated he would be brought to court; but it remains to be seen whether such notorious individuals as Deuch would be defendants or witnesses in the trial of key Khmer Rouge leaders. They include the group's chief ideologue Nuon Chea and head of state Khieu Samphan, both of whom gave themselves up to the Cambodian government last December. The authorities captured the one-legged Ta Mok, Pol Pot's bloodiest general, in March. Deuch's whereabouts are currently unknown.


SCANDAL OVER A MONK'S PROPERTY

PHRA DHAMMACHAYO, 55, ABBOT of Thailand's biggest and most controversial Buddhist shrine, Dhammakaya, has amassed thousands of hectares of land. He has also gained notoriety for persuading his middle-class devotees to part with billions of baht over the years to build his fabulous temple on the outskirts of Bangkok. The abbot's arguably "bad karma" prompted Thailand's Supreme Patriarch Somdej Phra Yanasangrorn to declare recently that monks who embezzle property commit a cardinal offense and should be banished from monasticism. Following the decree, the patriarch's temple was bombarded with threatening phone calls. The Religious Affairs Department is reluctant to defrock Dhammachayo, saying that is a task for the Buddhist Sangha Council. The scandal has plunged Thai Buddhism into its worst-ever crisis and drawn the government's ire. On May 4, the Thai cabinet called for the Supreme Patriarch's directive to be carried out. On the same day, the Dhammakaya shrine said its abbot was willing to negotiate the handover of his land - a step that could forestall his expulsion.


OF ITALIANS AND INDIANS

PRIYANKA VADRA, 27, DAUGHTER OF the Congress party's president and prime ministerial candidate Sonia Gandhi, 52, is known to have a talent for politics. So it is no wonder that Congress has decided to field her in the upcoming Indian general elections. But the party's critics say there is more to that move than meets the eye. Congress, they hold, fears Sonia's Italian ancestry is going to become a major poll issue. The Congress's main rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party, has already launched a campaign to try to discredit Sonia. A person of foreign origin, argues the BJP, should not be allowed to become PM. If that narrow appeal resonates among voters, Priyanka's presence during the campaign will be a distinct advantage to Congress. She is Indian by birth and bears a strong resemblance to her grandmother Indira Gandhi. The late premier has long been a cult figure and her reflection in Priyanka could sway many a voter.


This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home

AsiaNow


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TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

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ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

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


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