- The Washington Times - Friday, June 29, 2007

BURMA

Regime releases democracy activists

RANGOON — Burma’s military regime has released dozens of activists detained last month after marching in processions to pray for the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition confirmed yesterday.

At least 47 of the 52 who were arrested in separate incidents in May were freed Wednesday night, said Myint Thein, a spokesman for Mrs. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, in a telephone interview.

Mrs. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who is under house arrest, has been held since May 30, 2003, when a pro-junta mob attacked her motorcade during a political tour of northern Burma.

PHILIPPINES

Military accused of ‘dirty war’

MANILA — A leading human rights group yesterday accused the Philippine military of waging “a dirty war” against left-wing activists and said the government has not prosecuted a single soldier for the killings or forced disappearances.

In a new report highlighting what it called years of abuse, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said it had conducted more than 50 interviews with witnesses and relatives of victims of political killings, who blamed government security forces.

Two preliminary reports from a government commission and a U.N. human rights specialist earlier this year also implicated soldiers.

TAIWAN

Lu plans trip to preserve ties

TAIPEI — Taiwanese Vice President Annette Lu will visit three Latin American allies on a damage-control trip next month after former ally Costa Rica switched allegiance to Beijing, her office said yesterday.

Mrs. Lu will leave for the Dominican Republic on Monday, with an overnight stop in San Francisco. The nine-day tour will also take her to Paraguay and Guatemala. She is expected to meet with leaders of the three states and to stop briefly in Los Angeles on her return.

The U.S. stops are bound to irk China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory and opposes overseas visit by high-ranking Taiwanese officials.

AUSTRALIA

Census shows more Asians Down Under

SYDNEY — Australians are becoming more Asian and less Christian, according to the results of the latest census released this week.

While Australia’s 21 million citizens are still overwhelmingly English-speaking and Christian, the five-yearly census found that migration from Asia has brought significant changes on the nation’s identity.

While the proportion of foreign-born people remained at 22 percent, more migrants were coming from China and India, and fewer from Italy and Greece, demographers said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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