- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 15, 2003

HIV-positive children protest school rejection
TRIVANDRUM Two HIV-positive children held a sit-in outside a government office in southern Kerala demanding aid to live, relatives and officials said.
Bency Chandy, 5, and her 4-year-old brother, Benson, from Chathannoor, a small township some 62 miles from Trivandrum, the state capital, were orphaned when their parents died of AIDS. The children, accompanied by their grandfather, demanded Thursday that state government provide medical treatment and let them attend school.
"These children are outcasts in society. They have been refused admission to local schools and they are being treated like criminals," said their grandfather, Geevarghese Chandy.
"The government will ensure that both Bency and Benson are granted admission to a local school and we will also ensure that they are properly rehabilitated," said M.N. Gunavardhan, an official of Kerala's AIDS Control Society.

Burma urged to free 12 activists
BANGKOK The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development says it has written to Burma's military rulers urging them to release 12 pro-democracy activists arrested for anti-government activities.
The junta said the 12, most of them members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, would receive a fair trial.
The military announced their arrests on Monday saying some of them had been found with anti-government materials. The forum said it also had urged the junta to start dialogue with the opposition NLD and ethnic minorities to begin a process of national reconciliation.

Official denies poison being made
AKHMATI A Georgian official denied Thursday that makeshift laboratories producing the deadly chemical ricin existed in the country's lawless Pankisi Gorge bordering Chechnya.
"I am sure that there has been no chemical weapons production in Pankisi. It would have been impossible to hide," said Zakro Kinkladze, mayor of this local administrative center.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told a security conference in Munich last week that the Pankisi Gorge is a "well-known destination" for the training of "international chemical terrorists."

Weekly notes …
Indian air force chief S. Krishnaswamy is in Sri Lanka on a five-day official visit that ends tomorrow. He was to pay a courtesy call on President Chandrika Kumaratunga and visit air force bases in the island's north and northeast, officials said. Sri Lanka maintains close military contacts with India. Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Morshed Khan arrived in India Thursday for talks aimed at defusing a festering row over reputed illegal immigration from Bangaldesh into India. Soon after arrival, he left for a one-day visit to an ancient Islamic shrine in Rajasthan state, and was to hold formal talks with Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha.

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