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Pro-democracy party founder freed after seven years by Burmese junta

Myanmar's ruling junta released the deputy leader of the country's pro-democracy party from nearly seven years in detention, but offered no indication that he or still-detained party leader Aung San Suu Kyi would be allowed to take part in this year's elections.

The release of the 82-year-old Tin Oo, who helped found the National League for Democracy with Suu Kyi, comes shortly before a UN envoy visits Myanmar, also known as Burma, to evaluate progress on human rights.

"The release of Tin Oo is very welcome," said one activist, "but Burmese democracy activists are regularly released when the generals want to score points with the international community, and are then arrested later."

Eight killed in bomb blast in India

At least eight people were killed after a bomb blast ripped through a bakery popular with tourists in the western Indian city of Pune yesterday. It was the first such major attack in India since the Mumbai attacks in November 2008. Five foreigners were among the 33 wounded.

US professor charged over killings

A Harvard-educated biology professor allegedly shot dead three colleagues at the University of Alabama because she was bitter after being rejected for a job.

Amy Bishop, 42, is be charged with murder after the shootings at a staff meeting at the Huntsville campus, police said. She could face the death penalty if convicted.

The dead included her department head and two fellow professors. Three other staff members were injured.

Ms Bishop and her husband Jim Anderson were award-winning inventors who designed a cell growth incubation system as a replacement for the Petri dish. But her teaching was criticised by some students and colleagues.

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Ukraine PM 'has proof' of fraud in poll

Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko declared yesterday that she had proof of cheating in a February 7 presidential election by her rival Viktor Yanukovich which she would take to court to contest his victory.

In her first real public appearance since the poll, the charismatic 49-year-old Tymoshenko said: "I want to clearly state: Yanukovich is not our president. Whatever happens in future, he will never become the legitimately elected president of Ukraine."

Obama ignores China over Dalai Lama

THE US has escalated a row with China, refusing Beijing's demand to cancel US president Barack Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama, which is set for this Thursday.

The deepening public spat over Tibet, a row over US arms sales to Taiwan, China's dispute with Google and currency disagreements, come at a key moment, as Mr Obama seeks Chinese help to toughen sanctions on Iran.

Electricity cable fall kills 20 on bus

AT least 20 people were killed in Nigeria yesterday when a cable fell on to a bus and electrocuted passengers inside.

Police confirmed 20 deaths, but a spokeswoman said the toll could climb further. The victims were taken to a hospital in the provincial capital of Port Harcourt.

Another 10 people were taken to hospital for treatment to gashes and burns. Most of the dead had been passengers on the bus, though some had been just passing by when the cable tumbled down during heavy rain.

Dresden neo-Nazi rally attracts 5,000

SOME 5,000 neo-Nazis and thousands more opponents yesterday faced off in competing protests to mark the 65th anniversary of the Allied Forces' bombing of Dresden in WWII when over 100,000 civilians were killed.

Heavy security was in place to prevent clashes between the two groups, and five police helicopters flew overhead to monitor crowds. There was no major violence.

North Korean leader's 'gifts of love'

North Korea has given "gifts of love" to all its children ahead of leader Kim Jong II's birthday on Tuesday, the North's official media reported yesterday.

Defectors from the famine-stricken land have said biscuits and sweets were given to children for past holidays. His birthday and that of his late father, Kim II Sung, North Korea's founder, are the nation's biggest holidays. The murderous dictator is set to turn 68.

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