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Saturday, October 31, 2009

DIPLOMACY

Senior U.S. officials traveling to Burma

For the first time in more than a decade, senior U.S. officials will travel to Burma to meet with that country's leaders and political dissidents as part of a policy shift by the Obama administration.

Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, and Scot Marciel, a deputy assistant secretary, are scheduled to visit Burma on Nov. 3 and 4, the State Department announced Friday.

A State Department official said Campbell and Marciel would meet with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has spent 14 of the last 20 years under some form of imprisonment and is currently under house arrest.

The last senior U.S. official to travel to Burma, also known as Myanmar, was Madeleine Albright, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in 1995.

-- John Pomfret

Holder claims state secrets in wiretapping case: The Justice Department invoked the state secrets privilege Friday to try to stop a lawsuit over Bush-era wiretapping. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the decision in a California lawsuit, Shubert v. Obama, that challenges the warrantless wiretapping program begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Last month, the administration said it will try to curb the use of such claims by setting a higher bar for invoking the privilege.

-- Associated Press

Newsom drops out of Calif. governor's race: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) ended his campaign for California governor Friday amid faltering fundraising and an inability to make up ground on front-runner Jerry Brown, the state's attorney general. Newsom entered the race to much fanfare, but he struggled to turn that buzz into tangible results -- particularly in fundraising.

-- Chris Cillizza

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