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Vatican: There's No Evidence Pope Helped Junta

Allegations from Argentina dog Pope Francis

(Newser) - The Vatican today addressed the whispers that the new pope seemed to get along with Argentina's military dictatorship in the '70s. "There has never been a credible, concrete accusation against him," nor was he ever charged with anything, a Vatican spokesman said today, according to the... More »

Clinton Dangles Aid to Burma

Will meet with Aung San Suu Kyi today

(Newser) - Hillary Clinton had what she described as a “candid, productive” meeting with Burma President Thein Sein and other officials in Naypyitaw today, offering support for more aid to the country, and dangling the possibility that the US might lift sanctions and station an ambassador there for the first time... More »

Hillary Clinton Starts Historic Burma Visit

Landmark visit to be first in more than 50 years

(Newser) - Hillary Clinton arrived in Burma’s capital of Naypyidaw today, kicking off the first visit by a US secretary of state to the country in more than 50 years. Clinton says her goal is to see for herself how serious Burma’s junta is about its halting steps toward democratic... More »

Burma, Inc: Tycoons Rule as Junta's Puppets

Generals use elections, privatization to formalize oligarchs' power

(Newser) - Myanmar's ruling junta allowed the country's first elections in 20 years last week—so it could install a bunch of friendly oligarchs in the newly formed parliament, then give them first dibs in the government's firesale of state-owned entities. Unlike in China, privatization has not established an environment of open... More »

Burma Urged to Take US Citizen Out of Solitary

Diplomats want junta to return hunger striker to a normal cell

(Newser) - An American citizen jailed without charge in Burma since fall has been put in solitary confinement after ending a 12-day hunger strike this month, embassy officials say. Diplomats have requested that Kyaw Zaw Lwin be returned to a normal prison cell, the AP reports. Kyaw—whose mother and sister have... More »

Aung San Suu Kyi Meets US, Other Diplomats

Surprise permission may signal shift in Burmese junta

(Newser) - Burma's military rulers allowed Aung San Suu Kyi to meet with diplomats from the US, Britain and Australia today, an unexpected development that may reflect shifts in Western approaches to the regime. The hourlong meeting took place at a government guest house, after which she was returned to the home... More »

US Wades Into Chaos in Guinea

Clinton sends diplomat, accuses junta of 'criminality'

(Newser) - Hillary Clinton has stepped into the crisis in the junta-ruled nation of Guinea, calling for "appropriate actions" against the military government, which she said "cannot remain in power." Clinton took the unusual step of dispatching a senior diplomat, who pinned blame for the recent killings and rapes... More »

In Coup-Torn Guinea, Women Raped in Public

Cell phone images harden opposition to military junta

(Newser) - In the west African nation of Guinea, where a military junta seized power in 2008, 50,000 people attended a political demonstration in a stadium last week, where they were attacked by soldiers who shot and killed at least 157 unarmed people, according to human rights groups, and raped at... More »

Suu Kyi Loses Appeal, Will Sit Out Election

Burmese democracy leader fails to reverse newest term of house arrest

(Newser) - A Burmese court rejected Aung San Suu Kyi's appeal against her latest spell of house arrest today. The pro-democracy leader, who was convicted of violating her previous sentence after an American swam to her home, will remain confined through next year and will be ineligible for the upcoming election. A... More »

Webb Visits Suu Kyi, Wins American's Release

(Newser) - Sen. Jim Webb visited Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi today, in a rare meeting between a foreign official and the Nobel laureate, the AP reports. He also won the release of the American who swam uninvited to her home and caused her latest trouble. Suu Kyi, who was... More »

Buddhist Monks Are Key to Change in Burma

Diplomatic efforts to 'engage' generals won't lead to democracy

(Newser) - The extension of Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest today serves as the latest reminder of the injustice at the core of the Burmese government. Past US policy revolves around sanctions, which further isolate the country and drive it into China’s economic embrace. Some congressional figures have called... More »

Suu Kyi Supporters Soften Demands to Win Release

(Newser) - Aung San Suu Kyi’s supporters are reevaluating their tactics ahead of her expected conviction tomorrow, hoping they can come to some kind of agreement with Myanmar’s junta, the Wall Street Journal reports. Suu Kyi faces a five-year sentence for violating her government-imposed house arrest by allowing in an... More »

Suu Kyi Verdict Delayed, but Rumors Fly

(Newser) - The Burmese court trying Aung San Suu Kyi has postponed its verdict for two weeks, surprising her supporters and foreign observers who expected a finding of guilt today. Although the court said it needed more time to decide the case, one diplomat told the Times of London that the junta... More »

Zelaya Plans Honduras Return

(Newser) - Manuel Zelaya intends to cross from Nicaragua into Honduras today or tomorrow, a move that could land him in prison or worse, the Miami Herald reports. Honduras has stepped up its border security, with interim president Roberto Micheletti promising that the deposed leader will be arrested on sight and charged... More »

UN Chief Meets Junta Leader in Burma

Ban plans to press junta to release Suu Kyi and other political prisoners

(Newser) - Ban Ki-moon arrived in Burma today and is holding talks with the military junta to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the BBC reports. The UN secretary general told the Burmese generals that he wants "to contribute, to work together, for peace and prosperity"—but that... More »

OAS Issues Ultimatum to Honduras

President installed by coup says only invasion will depose him

(Newser) - If its deposed president isn’t reinstated within 72 hours, Honduras will be kicked out of the Organization of American States, the group’s secretary-general said today, in the latest sign of Manuel Zelaya’s overwhelming international support. Zelaya spoke before the UN yesterday, and the General Assembly voted by... More »

Secret Envoy Paves Way for Burma Visit by UN Chief

Ban to press for Aung San Suu Kyi release

(Newser) - A UN special envoy began a secret trip to Burma today to pave the way for a possible visit by Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general, that would be politically delicate because of the continuing trial of imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Human rights groups are urging Ban not... More »

Suu Kyi's Silence Troubles Followers

Nobel peace prize winner doing nothing as country slides further into squalor

(Newser) - Aung San Suu Kyi, who’s spent 20 years under house arrest, is an almost sainted symbol of democracy to the people of Burma, the Guardian writes. But since 2003, the Nobel Peace Prize winner has  offered no practical leadership for her party, the National League for Democracy, and has... More »

Secret Court Sentences Burmese Activists to 65 Years

(Newser) - A closed-door court in Burma has sentenced 14 members of a noted pro-democracy organization to 65 years each. Family members and defense lawyers were not permitted at the trial, and relatives only heard of the sentence from prison officials. The activists were members of 88 Generation Students, a group formed... More »

Young Burmese Monks Ready to Take Up Arms

Buddhist movement gets bolder; some suggest stockpiling weapons

(Newser) - After seeing nonviolent protesters killed or detained in last year’s protests against the ruling junta, younger segments of Burma’s Buddhist monks are becoming more radical, embracing armed resistance and overt dissent, the Christian Science Monitor reports. "We need weapons,” one young monk said. “That is... More »

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