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Myanmar, EU kick off task force meeting on democratic transition

Myanmar and the European Union started Thursday their first meeting of a bilateral task force to provide comprehensive support to the Asian country's transition to democracy. At the opening session in Yangon, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said, "I want to send a message to the people of Myanmar that we will stand with them and support them for as long as it takes to help this country reach what we believe it can be -- a beacon in this region and in the world for democracy, peace and prosperity."

Don't ignore Myanmar politics, Suu Kyi tells EU investors

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday told a European Union business forum that investors should not ignore the country's political challenges as it heads towards crucial 2015 elections. The veteran activist said constitutional amendment was imperative for the economic development of the nation, seen as a key regional developing market as it opens after decades of military rule.

Lost kingdom: Myanmar's forgotten royals

In a modest Yangon apartment, the granddaughter of Myanmar's last king lives poor and unrecognised by her neighbours -- a far cry from the power and riches of her ancestor. Princess Hteik Su Phaya Gyi said the childhood days when her family had a bevy of servants and retained some of its royal status were now a distant memory. The British colonial regime dethroned her grandfather King Thibaw in 1885 and later the military junta, which ruled the country for decades, kept the family out of the public eye.

Myanmar set to release dozens of political prisoners: panel member

By Aung Hla Tun YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar may release scores of political prisoners this month to fulfil a promise by its reformist president to free prisoners of conscience by the end of this year, a member of a state-appointed panel said on Wednesday. A 19-member committee set up by President Thein Sein to identify the political prisoners has recommended 63 people be freed and the move could be imminent, Nyan Win, a former prisoner and member of the panel, told Reuters.

Yoani Sanchez: "I'd like the Cuba of the future to wear skirts"

Washington, Oct 29 (EFE).- Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez spoke Tuesday about her wish that women would come to the fore in the future political and social life of Cuba. "I'd like the Cuba of the future to wear skirts, in the sense of political debate" and integration, Sanchez said during a Google+ Hangout on Challenges for Women Leaders. Sanchez, who is visiting Google headquarters in California, talked about the role of women in Cuba with the assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, Roberta S. Jacobson.

Aung San Suu Kyi collects Rome citizenship

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi finally became an honorary citizen of Rome Sunday, 19 years after the honour was awarded to her. The Nobel peace laureate was given the citizenship in 1994 but spent most of the past two decades under house arrest in Myanmar which meant she was unable to collect her award. Rome mayor Ignazio Marino said on his Twitter account that the city could "finally award it to a free woman".

British PM to make landmark visit to Sri Lanka's former warzone

Britain's David Cameron will become the first foreign leader to visit Sri Lanka's war-torn Tamil heartland during next month's Commonwealth summit when he will press Colombo on human rights. The British premier is under pressure at home and abroad to boycott the summit over the bloody end to Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict but he vowed in a meeting with Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to have some "very tough conversations" with President Mahinda Rajapakse's government.

Suu Kyi learns from Northern Ireland peace process

Aung San Suu Kyi said Northern Ireland's peace process could help reconciliation in Myanmar, as the Nobel peace laureate visited the British province on Thursday. The Myanmar opposition leader said she wanted to learn lessons about how Protestants and Catholics ended three decades of sectarian bloodshed and formed a power-sharing administration. Myanmar has recently been rocked by anti-Muslim bloodshed and is also trying to overcome the legacy of decades of rampant human rights violations and conflict between the government and various ethnic groups.

Myanmar president will not seek second term: party

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar President Thein Sein, who has steered a wave of reforms since the end of military rule, will not be seeking a second term at the next election in 2015, the leader of his party said on Thursday. Thein Sein has been lauded internationally for his economic policies, prisoner amnesties, and peace deals with ethnic minority rebels, but last year said a second term would depend on whether the people wanted him to stay and if he was physically able to do the job.

Britain's Cameron backs Suu Kyi push for Myanmar reforms

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday he would help build international pressure on Myanmar to meet the demands of visiting opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for further reforms. Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi says that changes to the constitution crafted by the former military regime are needed, notably those that would block her from becoming president after 2015 under a clause barring anyone whose spouses or children are foreign nationals. Her two sons are British nationals through their father, the late scholar Michael Aris.
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