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Archive for Monday, May 6, 2002

Briefly

May 6, 2002

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Myanmar: Nobel peace laureate freed

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was freed today after 19 months of house arrest, the military government said, marking a breakthrough toward ending the country's political deadlock.

The end of the Nobel peace laureate's detention had been widely expected for days following U.N.-brokered negotiations aimed at breaking a 12-year-old political deadlock in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

The junta came to power in 1988 after crushing a pro-democracy movement during which Suu Kyi came into prominence.

The government called general elections in 1990, which were won by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party. However, the junta refused to hand over power.

She was released in 1995 but was prohibited from traveling outside Yangon. She was put under virtual house detention again in September 2000 after two high-profile attempts to leave Yangon, the capital.

Iraq: Oil exports to resume

After failing to win support for an oil embargo against the United States and other allies of Israel, the Iraqi Cabinet voted Sunday to resume oil exports beginning midnight on Tuesday, national television reported.

In a statement broadcast on the state-run service, the Cabinet said its April 8 decision to suspend oil exports for 30 days "did not find a response from Arab oil-producing brothers to take similar measures so that it would succeed."

Washington, D.C.: Pentagon aims to boost military satellite signals

The Pentagon wants to turn up the power on its network of satellites used to guide U.S. troops and the bombs they fire.

The $200 million proposal is one of the military's first to fulfill Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's plans to protect the United States from a "space Pearl Harbor."

The money would pay to upgrade the newest Global Positioning System satellites, which have yet to be launched. That would allow the transmission to military receivers of signals that are eight times more powerful those sent by the current generation of satellites.

Los Angeles: Smuggling by guards at airports suspected

Spurred by concerns about terrorism, federal authorities are investigating whether private guards hired by major airlines at Los Angeles International Airport have smuggled passengers from the Middle East and elsewhere into the United States.

Investigators with the FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service suspect security escorts may have helped systematically spirit away travelers en route between foreign countries under the little-known federal Transit Without Visa program, which permits foreigners to stop briefly in the United States without visas.

Sporadic evidence of smuggling has cropped up before. Criminal charges were filed in recent years in New York and Los Angeles against security guards accused of helping transit passengers slip out of airports, records show.

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