ASIA

Indonesian General May Lose Cabinet Job

JAKARTA, Indonesia--Indonesia's military has agreed to retire generals who hold cabinet posts, including former armed forces commander Gen. Wiranto, a senior military official said yesterday.

Cabinet ministers who are appointed while serving as members of the military are already required to resign from the armed forces, but the rule has not been implemented consistently.

The military's latest agreement comes amid mounting criticism of the armed forces and efforts to reduce its wide-ranging influence.

Lt. Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the military has submitted the proposal to President Abdurrahman Wahid but he refused to say whether Wahid had approved it.

Wiranto, the security minister, is accused of orchestrating violence in East Timor, which voted for independence last summer.

Marine Charged in Rape Attempt Freed

TOKYO--A U.S. Marine was released after the military reached an agreement with a Japanese woman who accused him of trying to rape her at a nightclub on the island of Okinawa, according to the Kyodo News agency.

Lance Cpl. Oswald McDonald, 29, was arrested Jan. 14 after the woman, whose name was not released, said he dragged her into a corner and tried to sexually assault her.

The woman dropped the charges yesterday after reaching a settlement with the U.S. military, Kyodo said, citing prosecutors.

Japan Boosts Security After Hacker Raids TOKYO--Computer hackers today raided Japanese government sites for the third time in a week, a day after an emergency meeting was called to deal with previous raids that linked one government site to a pornographic site and attacked Japan's war record on another.

The hacking came just days after a government meeting at which officials decided to bring Japan up to U.S. standards of computer security by 2003 and to draw up a plan to fight "cyber-terrorism" by the end of this year.

THE AMERICAS

Cuba Releases Opposition Figures

HAVANA--Cuban police freed at least four opposition figures yesterday after detaining them for almost 24 hours, warning them against trying to form a coordinated movement, according to one of the men.

Hector Palacios said the detentions seemed aimed at preventing a meeting of about 18 opposition figures at his house. He said they had planned to discuss how they might act on an opposition document that urged Cubans to work peacefully for greater civil, social and economic rights, including political pluralism and the right to own businesses.

AFRICA

Discrimination Outlawed in South Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa--Parliament passed a bill outlawing all forms of discrimination, as South Africa buries the legacy of more than four decades of white minority rule.

"The purpose of this bill is to prevent and prohibit unfair discrimination and harassment, to promote equality and to prevent and prohibit hate speech," Justice Minister Penuell Maduna told the National Assembly.

The bill creates equality courts and reverses in some cases the burden of proof. It also makes it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, color, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.

THE MIDDLE EAST

Saudi Arabia Frees 12 Filipinos

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates--Saudi Arabian authorities have freed 12 Filipinos who had been detained in Riyadh for attending a Bible-study session, a Filipino diplomat said.

Four Filipinos remain in prison under investigation on the same charge, said the diplomat, who asked not to be named.

Saudi Arabia, a conservative Muslim country, does not allow worship in any religion other than Islam. Preaching Christianity is punishable by up to a year in prison and deportation.

American Oil Worker Kidnapped in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen--A U.S. national working for an oil company has been kidnapped by tribesmen in Yemen, the third foreigner to be taken hostage in the Arab country this year, a Yemeni official said. The official said the tribesmen from the Fehaid tribe had kidnapped Kenneth White, an American who works Halliburton, a U.S. oil field services firm, late Tuesday.

EUROPE

Britain Delays Pinochet Decision

LONDON--Augusto Pinochet will have to wait at least until next week before the British government decides whether he can go home. The Home Office said yesterday there will be no final ruling on Pinochet's plea for release from house arrest on humanitarian grounds until Tuesday at the earliest.

A Home Office lawyer announced the latest delay at a High Court hearing. The Belgian government and six human rights groups went to court to challenge a report by independent doctors that Pinochet is too sick to stand trial. The 84-year-old Chilean has been charged with torture and conspiracy during the 17 years he ruled Chile at the head of the military junta. Oral arguments will continue today.

Russian Journalist Missing in Chechnya

MOSCOW--A Russian journalist who has criticized Moscow's military campaign in Chechnya has been missing since Jan. 15, when he last called in from the breakaway region, his wife said yesterday.

Andrei Babitsky's reports from Chechnya have angered Russian officials, and the Rosinformcenter government press service has accused the Radio Liberty correspondent of backing the rebels.

Secret service agents raided his Moscow apartment Jan. 8 and seized photographs he took of dead Russian soldiers, his wife Lyuda Babitskaya said. He last called her on Jan. 15 from the Chechen capital Grozny, and last filed for Radio Liberty on Jan. 14.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"It is said that 80 percent of the child pornography distributed in the world is made in Japan."

-- Mayumi Moriyama, who sponsored legislation targeting that country's child pornography business both at home and abroad --Page A24