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Japan pledges to write off bad loans

WASHINGTON -- Japan's finance chief, Masajuro Shiokawa, told journalists on Saturday that his country would move to clear bad loans to boost the Japanese economy.

Shiokawa came to Washington for the Group of Seven (G7) meeting here. This is his first foreign trip since Japan's new Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi appointed him on Thursday.

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Estrada arrested for 'economic plunder'

MANILA -- Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada became the first chief executive ever arrested in his country's history when he was detained on charges of economic plunder on Wednesday.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called the arrest an "historic moment" and presidential spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao said the action showed that "justice is working in the Philippines."

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Central Asia

Embattled Region"s Leaders
Retain High Economic
(Times of Central Asia)

Indo-Nepalese medical
team leaves for
(World Tibet News)

East Asia

CHINA: Strong reaction
if US proceeds
(Straits Times)

Koizumi names new
(Japan Times)

Pacific Islands

Saipan group supports
RP's call for
toxic waste cleanup
(Saipan Tribune)

Bai Kei Viti
eyes partnership

South Asia

No new World Bank
lending for Pakistan
last year

16 BSF personnel
killed by Bangladeshi
(Times of India)

Southeast Asia

Thaksin amnesty slammed
(Bangkok Post)

AFP, police on
red alert

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