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Junta lays down tough election rules
RANGOON | Burma on Thursday published stringent rules for November’s general election that demand candidates seek permission a week in advance to campaign, do not make speeches that “tarnish” the ruling military or shout slogans at processions.
The disbanded party of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, dissolved for declining to register with the authorities, meanwhile officially declared its boycott of the upcoming polls.
The 13-point list of campaigning regulations decreed by the state Election Commission would guarantee a “free and fair” vote, according to the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper, which published the rules a week after the Nov. 7 election date was set.
The vote will be the first in impoverished Burma in two decades. Mrs. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, which won the last election in 1990 but was barred from taking power, says the junta unfairly imposed rules for this year’s vote that restrict campaigning and bar the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and other political prisoners from participating.
North Korea walked away from six-nation nuclear talks last year in protest at an international condemnation of a long-range rocket launch. Prospects for restarting the talks were put into doubt after an international investigation in May blamed North Korea for torpedoing the South Korean warship Cheonan and killing 46 sailors. North Korea denies attacking the ship.
Chinese struggle to cope with storms
BEIJING | China struggled to cope with widespread storms that left dozens missing and presumed dead Thursday as rescuers cleaned up a mudslide-stricken town, while two passenger-train cars plunged into a river after crossing a flood-damaged bridge.
Rescue workers found four bodies in Puladi township of southwestern China’s Yunnan province a day after a wall of mud crashed through the mountain community, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Rains expected over the next few days likely would hamper efforts to find 88 people still listed as missing.
It was just the latest landslide to strike China in a summer that has been plagued by deadly rains and flooding. The worst recent landslide was on Aug. 8 in Zhouqu of Gansu province, where more than 1,300 were killed and about 400 people remain missing.
Taliban attack road crew in south
Also Thursday, the U.S. command said an American service member was killed the day before in fighting in the south, where Afghan and international forces were pushing into areas long held by Taliban insurgents. The death brought to at least 17 the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan this month. Sixty-six American troops died in July - the deadliest month for U.S. forces in the nearly nine-year-old war.
South blocks access to North’s Twitter feed
SEOUL | South Korea has blocked North Korea’s new Twitter account from being accessed in the South, saying the tweets contain “illegal information” under the country’s security laws, officials said Thursday.
The Twitter account gained more than 8,500 followers in a week, though it has posted just 30 tweets linking to reports that praise North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and lambast South Korea and the U.S. over their ongoing joint military drills.
North Korea, one of the world’s most secretive countries, blocks Internet access for all but the elite among its 24 million citizens but is believed to have a keen interest in information technology.
Scientists: Waves can power country
SINGAPORE | Waves crashing on to Australia’s southern shores each year contain enough energy to power the country three times over, scientists said this week in a study that underscores the scale of Australia’s green energy.
The research, in the latest issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, comes as the nation is struggling to wean itself of years of using cheap, polluting coal to power the economy and to put a price on carbon emissions.
Oceanographers Mark Hemer and David Griffin from the state-funded research body the CSIRO looked at how wave energy propagates across the continental shelf and how much is lost. The aim was to build a picture of the amount of energy on an annual basis and how reliable that source is.
The government has passed laws that mandate 20 percent renewable electricity generation by 2020 to curb carbon emissions, and wind power is likely to make up the bulk of the green-energy investment. Wave power is still in early development.
From wire dispatches and staff reports
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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