Around the World

Around the World

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

BURMA

Political Prisoner Freed

Burma's longest-serving political prisoner was among more than 9,000 inmates freed Tuesday, days before the first anniversary of the junta's deadly crackdown on anti-government protests led by Buddhist monks.

Win Tin, a journalist-turned-activist and an aide to pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was held for 19 years. He was one of at least seven political prisoners released, Amnesty International said.

The rights group said there are an estimated 2,100 political prisoners in Burma, which has been under military rule for 46 years and is one of the world's poorest and most authoritarian nations.

Win Tin, a longtime journalist and poet, would write poems on the walls of his prison cell with ink made of brick powder and water, supporters said.

GREECE

Elgin Fragment Returned

Greece has finally taken possession of a chunk of the Elgin Marbles and now holds renewed hopes of regaining the rest.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano presented Greek authorities on Tuesday with a small piece of sculpture from the Parthenon that had been kept in a museum in Palermo, Sicily, for 200 years.

The 2,500-year-old marble fragment was among the pieces Scottish diplomat Lord Elgin removed from the Acropolis, the site of the Parthenon, in the early 19th century. Elgin gave it to a friend in Sicily during a stop on his trip back to London, where the rest of his collection is still displayed in the British Museum despite repeated Greek requests for its return.

The fragment will stay in Athens on permanent loan from the Antonio Salinas Museum.

PAKISTAN

Army Kills 60 Insurgents

Pakistani troops backed by helicopter gunships and artillery killed about 60 insurgents near the border with Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday, underlining the government's intent to confront extremists after the Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad on Saturday.

The United States has urged Pakistan to assert control in the lawless border region, which is a haven for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters who enter Afghanistan to attack U.S. and NATO troops, as well as for Pakistani extremists striking domestic targets.

Chávez Speaks Out in China

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said that his country is no longer the back yard of the United States and that he finds it more important to visit Beijing than New York, as he arrived in China's capital on the first leg of an international tour. Chávez has expressed hope of boosting ties with China's communist leadership through increased oil sales, in part to reduce dependency on the United States, which buys about half of Venezuela's oil.

Collider Startup Put Off Till Spring

The European nuclear research organization said repairs and the onset of winter would delay until spring the startup of the world's largest particle collider. A spokesman said it would take too long to finish announced repairs before the November shutdown.

Italy Sends Troops Against Mafia

The Italian government ordered the deployment of a military task force to a province north of Naples to fight a wave of violence by the Mafia that culminated last week in the slayings of six African immigrants in a suspected feud over drug turf.

From News Services


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