President Megawati Doesn't Concede

Despite Big Loss in Indonesian Vote

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A tearful President Megawati Sukarnoputri told Indonesians on Tuesday to accept the result of the country's landmark election, but did not explicitly concede to her former security chief.

The election commission on Monday declared Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono the winner of the Sept. 20 presidential runoff by 25 million votes. Official results showed he won with 60.6 percent in Indonesia's first direct presidential election.

"Whoever is chosen in a democratic election has to be accepted, because that is a victory for all of us," Megawati, choking back tears, said at a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the military's founding. Her team has threatened to challenge the vote count from some areas.

Yudhoyono, a former general who was also present at the ceremony, has refrained from making a victory speech as he tries to reach out to Megawati and her party, the second-biggest in parliament. He is to be inaugurated Oct. 20.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia's first open trial for democratic advocates was abruptly closed Monday by the judge in a decision that progressive Saudis described as a setback to reform efforts in the kingdom.

The three defendants are the last remaining detainees among 13 reformers arrested in March after openly criticizing the strict religious environment and slow pace of reform in the kingdom. Matrouk Faleh, Ali Dimeeni and Abdullah Hamed are charged with sowing dissent, creating political instability, printing political leaflets and using the media to incite people against the government.

A defense attorney presented an appeal for the men's freedom, but the defendants did not want it entered in a closed session and the judge would not allow it to be withdrawn, according to Ibrahim Basrawi, another lawyer.

Pro-reform Saudis wondered why the first hearing on Aug. 9, in which prosecutors presented the case against the men, was open and Monday's session was closed by the judge.

* ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey insisted it must be treated in the same way as any other candidate for the European Union, signaling growing unease over special conditions the E.U. wants to impose on its admission.

The incoming E.U. enlargement chief said Turkey should face tougher monitoring on human rights and possibly permanent safeguards against an influx of migrant labor.

The European Commission, the E.U.'s executive arm, will deliver its verdict Wednesday on whether Turkey meets the bloc's political and human rights criteria and is ready to begin what could be complex accession talks.

THE AMERICAS

* PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Supporters of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide wielded machetes and threatened to behead Haitian police officers and the interim prime minister during demonstrations in the capital, as the country was still reeling from the chaotic aftermath of Tropical Storm Jeanne.

No violence was reported Monday, but at least 14 people were killed in clashes Thursday and Friday, including three police officers who were shot and beheaded.

The death toll from the storm's devastating floods and mudslides rose to 1,870 with another 884 reported missing and most presumed dead. A civil defense spokesman said the victims included 233 who died of illness and injuries.

* SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- Costa Rica's president asked his predecessor, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, to resign as secretary general of the Organization of American States because of alleged payments from a government contractor.

"For the good name of Costa Rica and of the OAS itself, I ask that you immediately leave the post of secretary and return to the country" to face the allegations, President Abel Pacheco said in a letter to Rodriguez. He said Rodriguez has not adequately explained money that a former colleague said came from the French telecommunications company Alcatel as a "prize" for a $149 million contract in 2001.

Government prosecutors said last week they were investigating Rodriguez's role and were considering seeking removal of any immunity he might have. In remarks to local newspapers, Rodriguez has denied any wrongdoing, saying he had received only a personal loan from a friend.

ASIA

SEOUL -- An anti-communist rally drew about 100,000 South Koreans, some of whom clashed with police and burned North Korean flags as they denounced the North's government and suspected nuclear arms programs.

The rally at City Hall plaza in the heart of the capital drew mostly elderly people, including Korean War veterans and Christians critical of the policies of President Roh Moo Hyun toward the North.

-- From News Services