- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 15, 2010

CHINA

Government shuts dozens of blogs

BEIJING | Dozens of blogs by some of China’s most outspoken users have been shut down abruptly, while popular Twitter-like services appear to be the newest target in government efforts to control social networking.

More and more Chinese bloggers are using the newer microblogs as their primary publishing tool, using their brief, punchy message format to chat with one another and promote their longer blog posts.

However, one of the country’s top four microblog sites is down for maintenance, and the other three show a “beta” tag as if they are in testing, though they have been operating for months. The companies that run the websites aren’t saying why.

Chinese officials fear public opinion might spiral out of control as social networking - and social unrest - boom among China’s 420 million Internet users. China maintains the world’s most extensive Internet monitoring and filtering system, and it unplugged Twitter and Facebook last year.

BURMA

Former Suu Kyi aide released from jail

RANGOON | A former aide to Burma’s detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from prison Thursday after 14 years behind bars in the military-led country.

An official confirmed the release of Win Htein and said he will be brought from the prison in northern Burma to Rangoon, where his family lives. The official spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Win Htein, 68, had been serving a 14-year sentence on charges of providing false information to the foreign press, according to the U.S. Campaign for Burma, which lobbies against aid to the military regime.

Win Htein was released briefly in 2008 during an amnesty but was rearrested 17 hours later without explanation.

In that brief period of freedom, he gave an interview to the Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based shortwave radio station and website that is run by exiled Burmese dissidents.

INDIA

Thousands protest in Kashmir

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