International News Archive - February 22, 2006

By Achmad Sukarsono JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia is working to uproot militant Islamic ideas but officials and moderate clerics say they face a long struggle, while also coping with setbacks such as anger over cartoons that lampooned the Prophet Mohammad.

By Michael Perry SYDNEY (Reuters) - They were five lonely deaths and only discovered because of the stench of decomposing bodies, but the realisation that someone can die in their Sydney home unnoticed for months has shocked Australia's biggest city.

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's new chief nuclear envoy will soon travel to countries involved in talks on ending the North's atomic programmes in an intensifying effort to restart negotiations, its foreign minister said on Wednesday.

By Jon Herskovitz SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea, which has not executed anybody for about a decade, is considering ending capital punishment and instead jailing those offenders for life with no chance of parole, an official said on Wednesday.

By Takanori Isshiki MATSUE, Japan (Reuters) - Japan vowed on Wednesday to make cool-headed efforts to resolve a simmering territorial dispute with South Korea over two rocky islets midway between the Asian neighbours.

By Ben Blanchard BEIJING (Reuters) - The trial of a Chinese researcher charged with exposing state secrets while working for the New York Times is expected before the end of March, his lawyer said on Wednesday. Zhao Yan worked for the paper before his arrest in September 2004.

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (Reuters) - A Malaysian minister said on Wednesday seven people staying near the site of a bird flu outbreak were in hospital with respiratory problems, but test results would only be available after a day.

BEIJING (Reuters) - Japanese Trade and Economics Minister Toshihiro Nikai met his Chinese counterpart, Bo Xilai, on Wednesday, but there was no word of progress in efforts to soothe tension between the two nations.

By Manny Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine government and Islamic rebels will wrap up negotiations on ancestral rights for Muslims in the south next month, the final and most difficult stage in informal talks to end nearly 40 years of conflict.

BEIJING (Reuters) - Japanese Trade Minister Toshihiro Nikai and his Chinese counterpart Bo Xilai reached some minor agreements on Wednesday but made no progress on the crucial issue of a controversial Tokyo war shrine, Kyodo news agency said.