Briefly: Rebels say Myanmar army poised for major assault

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Wall erected to obscure slums during conference

MANILA — Delegates attending an international conference in the Philippines capital may not see what they came to discuss: abject poverty.

A makeshift, temporary wall has been erected across a bridge on a road from the airport to downtown Manila that hides a sprawling slum along a garbage-strewn creek.

Presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang defended the wall’s installation. “Any country will do a little fixing up before a guest comes,” he said Thursday

He expressed hope that this week’s annual meeting of Asian Development Bank board of governors, which includes finance ministers and senior officials from 67 member states, will show the Philippines is open for business.

The lending institution, which is headquartered in its own walled compound in Manila, aims to cut poverty in the Asia-Pacific region.


U.S. won’t pressure allies on cyberthreat companies

CANBERRA — Washington will not pressure its allies to avoid certain telecommunication companies because of cybersecurity concerns, a U.S. official said Thursday amid controversy over Australia’s banning of Chinese giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. from working on a national broadband network.

Beijing’s relations with Western governments have been strained by complaints about hacking traced to China that is aimed at oil, technology and other companies.

A U.S. congressional panel has said it will investigate whether allowing Huawei and other Chinese makers of telecom gear to expand in the United States might aid Chinese spying.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano visited Australia on Thursday to sign bilateral agreements, including ones on information sharing.

The U.S. and Australia announced plans in September to include cybersecurity in their 61-year-old defense alliance, the first time Washington has done that with a partner outside NATO.

Ms. Napolitano told the Associated Press she could not comment on media speculation that the U.S. had suggested Australia’s Huawei ban during President Obama’s visit to Australia in November.

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