- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Burma's bloody day
Burmese activists will demonstrate outside the Burmese Embassy today on the eve of the anniversary of the bloody 1988 democracy demonstration that was crushed by the country's military government.
Former political prisoners, refugees and members of the government in exile will gather from 1 to 3 p.m. at the offices of the International Human Rights Law Group at 1200 18th St. NW to hear speeches by democracy advocates persecuted by Burma's leaders.
Later, they will rally outside the embassy at 2300 S St. NW to observe the eve of the anniversary of the Aug. 8, 1988, demonstration that was violently crushed by Burmese troops that killed as many as 10,000 people.
"Aug. 8, 1988, should have ushered in a new era of democracy for Burma," Burmese poet U Tin Moe said in a statement yesterday. "Instead, thousands were killed, and many are still in prison because of their beliefs."
The Burmese Embassy had no comment on the planned demonstration.
Burma has been internationally denounced for its dictatorial regime. The State Department's latest human rights report criticizes the government's "extremely poor human rights record and long-standing severe repression" of its citizens, who are subject to the "arbitrary and sometimes brutal dictates of the military."
In Burma yesterday, a U.N. envoy said the military junta will soon begin substantive talks with Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader who was released in May after 19 months under house arrest.
"There is a common effort to try to discuss the necessary political and constitutional issues" on the future political structure of the country, envoy Razali Ismail told Reuters news agency.

Jerusalem consulate
The United States is planning to move part of its consulate from the traditionally Arab section of east Jerusalem for security reasons, the State Department said yesterday.
No new site has been selected, but the move would affect the visa section, which primarily serves the Palestinian population in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The office that serves American citizens in Israel and the public-affairs bureau would also be relocated. The consul general's office and the others that deal infrequently with the public will stay at the current location.
"The move is solely intended to address significant security concerns, which we've been looking at for some time," State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said.
He said he had no information about a new location and could not say whether it would be moved from east Jerusalem.
"We've been talking about [a relocation] for several years, looking at options," Mr. Reeker added.
The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz said yesterday that the consular services will be moved into a Jewish neighborhood in west Jerusalem, which would make it more difficult for Palestinians to gain access to visa services.
The newspaper said "American representatives" have met with architects "in order to plan and construct the new facility as quickly as possible."
Palestinian leaders quickly criticized the plan to relocate the consulate from the part of the city they claim as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
"Any change of the status of the consulate of east Jerusalem will mean a change in the American position toward the status of east Jerusalem," Ziad Abu Zayyad, a Palestinian legislator, told the Associated Press.

Romanian adoptions
The U.S. ambassador to Romania is urging the country to reopen a program that allows foreigners to adopt Romanian orphans, and he is pushing for an end to the corruption that led to the suspension of the service last year.
"We understand the reason for the moratorium, but the solution is not to stop adoptions indefinitely, but to fix the problems which led to the ban on adoptions," Ambassador Michael Guest told the Romanian news agency, Rompres, last week.
The adoptions of about 3,500 children were halted by the ban, imposed after reports that officials were demanding bribes from prospective parents.
The Romanian legislature is working on a bill to prevent corruption in the country's adoption services.


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