- - Sunday, April 29, 2012

YANGON — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived Sunday in Myanmar to see how the world body can help promote the country’s tentative steps toward democratic reform.

Mr. Ban will meet President Thein Sein and visit a U.N. drug-control project during the three-day visit. He also will pay his respects at the tomb of U Thant, a Myanmar diplomat who was U.N. secretary-general from 1961 to 1971.

His visit is the latest in a series by foreign dignitaries since Thein Sein’s reform campaign gathered steam by winning the endorsement of the leader of Myanmar’s democracy movement, formerly jailed Aung San Suu Kyi. Thein Sein came to power a year ago after a general election that left the military in firm control but signaled a desire for political reconciliation.

CUBA

Police free dissident arrested after papal visit

HAVANA — Police in Cuba on Sunday released Jose Daniel Ferrer, a political dissident arrested shortly after the visit to the communist-run island by Pope Benedict XVI.

“They released me around 1:00 p.m.,” Mr. Ferrer, 41, said by telephone from his home in the town of Palmarito de Cauto. “Physically, I don’t feel well, but my spirits are high.”

Mr. Ferrer, leader of the banned Patriotic Union of Cuba, was arrested April 2 along with 42 other activists in a crackdown on protesters in Santiago de Cuba after the pope visited the island. The group was arrested after protesting the detention of a dissident who chanted anti-government slogans during the late March visit.

Mr. Ferrer said that police told him he could wait at home for a trial on disorderly-conduct charges, although no date has been set. The police also warned that they would be monitoring him.

MEXICO

Race-yacht debris found; all 4 crew missing or dead

ENSENADA — A 37-foot racing yacht was reduced to debris that looked it “like it had gone through a blender,” a searcher said Sunday after the boat apparently collided with a larger vessel, killing three sailors and leaving a fourth missing.

The U.S. Coast Guard, the Mexican navy and civilian vessels scoured the waters off the shore of both countries for the missing sailor from the Aegean, which was taking part in a 124-mile race that began Friday from Newport Beach, Calif., to Ensenada, Mexico.

Race officials said they had few explanations for what may have happened to the Aegean other than it must have collided with ship like a freighter or tanker that did not see the smaller vessel.

The race goes through shipping lanes, and it’s possible for a large ship to hit a sailboat and not even know it, especially at night, said Rich Roberts, a spokesman for the Newport Ocean Sailing Association, the race organizer.

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