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Obituaries

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Soe WinBurmese Prime Minister

Prime Minister Soe Win, 59, reviled for his role in a bloody attack on Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her followers in 2003, died Oct. 12 in Yangon, Burma, after a long illness, relatives and state media said. He was said to have had leukemia.

The fourth-ranking member of the military junta, Gen. Soe Win was nicknamed "the Butcher of Depayin" for his role in the 2003 attack on Suu Kyi and her followers in that northern town. Gen. Soe Win was seen as masterminding the attack, according to diplomats, rights groups and government critics.

He first achieved notoriety as one of the officers who brutally suppressed a 1988 pro-democracy uprising, commanding troops around Rangoon University, a center for demonstrations, and giving orders to open fire on a crowd of protesters in front of Rangoon General Hospital. Rangoon is the old name for Yangon, Burma's largest city.

Sri ChinmoySpiritual Leader

Sri Chinmoy, 76, a spiritual leader who spread his message of world peace and harmony at concerts and road races and once led meditation groups at the United Nations, died of a heart attack Oct. 11 at his home in Queens, N.Y.

Mr. Chinmoy -- who performed on flute at more than 800 peace concerts in such venues as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, wrote more than 1,600 books of prose and poetry and composed more than 20,000 pieces of music -- counted several famous musicians among his followers. British jazz-rock fusion guitarist John McLaughlin used Mr. Chinmoy and other Indian musicians in his 1970s Mahavishnu Orchestra. Guitarist Carlos Santana was introduced to the guru by McLaughlin and became a follower until a falling out in the early 1980s.

His organization, the Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles, was responsible for collecting and distributing medical supplies throughout Asia and Africa, according to his Web site.

Kisho KurokawaJapanese Architect

Kisho Kurokawa, 73, the Japanese architect who led the "Metabolism Movement" and based his designs on themes including ecology and recycling, died of a heart ailment Oct. 12 at the Tokyo Women's Medical University Hospital, where he was hospitalized Tuesday with an intestinal ailment.

Mr. Kurokawa, who made his world debut in 1960 at age 26, advocated a shift from "machine principle" to "life principle" in his architectural designs, based on themes including ecology, recycling and intermediate space.

His major works include the National Ethnological Museum in Tokyo; Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which encompasses palm trees and rain forest; Tokyo's National Art Center, which looks like a wavy curtain; and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Mr. Kurokawa's design of the Kuala Lumpur airport won Italy's Dedalo-Minosse International Prize and was also certified as a sustainable airport by the United Nations' Green Globe 21 in 2003.

Born in Japan's central city of Nagoya in 1934, Mr. Kurokawa graduated from Kyoto University's Architecture Department before earning a doctoral degree from Tokyo University. He received the Gold Medal from France's Academy of Architecture in 1986 and most recently the Chicago Athenaeum Museum International Architecture Award in 2006.

-- From News Services

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