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Briefly

- - Thursday, January 27, 2011

CHINA

Beijing: Stealth design not from U.S. plane

BEIJING | An official Chinese newspaper has dismissed a report that the country used technology taken from a downed U.S. airplane in its own stealth-fighter program.

Chinese officials this month staged the first-known test flight of the J-20 prototype stealth fighter that could one day challenge American air superiority.

The flight came during a rare visit to China by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and caught many defense analysts by surprise, seeming to indicate that China was acquiring cutting-edge technology more rapidly than previously thought.

China says the plane is based entirely on indigenous designs, and the Global Times on Tuesday quoted an unidentified Defense Ministry official as dismissing an Associated Press report citing Balkan military officials and other experts saying that China likely gleaned some of their technological know-how from a F-117 shot down over Serbia in 1999.

PAKISTAN

Police: U.S. official kills two gunmen

LAHORE | A U.S. consular employee fatally shot two gunmen as they approached his vehicle in a congested street in Pakistan on Thursday, police said. A pedestrian was also killed by a speeding American car trying to help, an officer said.

The U.S. Embassy said an American employee was involved in the incident in Lahore, but could not confirm details.

Police officer Umar Saeed said the men were suspected robbers, but provided no evidence to back up the statement.

MYANMAR

Myanmar faces flak over rights record

GENEVA | Myanmar came under pressure in the U.N. human rights council on Thursday to speed up genuine democratic reform, as Western nations blasted "alarming" abuse and some Asian neighbors sought more change.

"The human rights situation in Myanmar is alarming," Sweden said in a statement to the 47-nation assembly as the council held its first regular review of Myanmar's human rights record.

Western countries including Britain, France and the U.S. called on the military regime to free immediately more than 2,000 political prisoners, end impunity for abuse, and halt forced labor, arbitrary arrests and torture of critics.

SOUTH KOREA

S. Korea offers date for meeting with North

SEOUL | South Korea has proposed a date to North Korea for the rivals' first official contact since the North's deadly shelling of a South Korean island late last year.

The proposal for a preliminary meeting in two weeks on resuming high-level military talks came as a senior U.S. diplomat visited Seoul to show solidarity with a close U.S. ally and to talk about ways to deal with North Korea.

South Korea's defense minister sent a message to his North Korean counterpart proposing a Feb. 11 meeting at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the peninsula, the Defense Ministry said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports