August 14, 2010 in Nation/World

In brief: Myanmar junta sets Nov. 7 election date

 

YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar’s ruling military junta announced Friday that the country’s first elections in two decades will be held Nov. 7, finally setting a date for polls that critics have dismissed as a sham designed to cement military rule.

Foreign governments have urged Myanmar to ensure the elections are open, fair and include the party of detained pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. Her National League for Democracy party, however, has decided to boycott the vote, saying the junta has imposed unfair rules that restrict campaigning and effectively bar the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and other political prisoners from participating.

Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory in the last elections in 1990. But the junta refused to honor the results and has kept her locked away, mostly under house arrest, for 15 of the past 21 years, ignoring global pleas for her freedom.

The elections are part of the junta’s “road map to democracy,” a seven-step program which it says will shift the nation from 50 years of military rule.

Several other parties have criticized the election process. The Democratic Party said it complained Tuesday to the Election Commission that police are intimidating its members.

The devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti in January was unleashed by a previously undetected fault line – not the well-known one initially blamed, according to an analysis of new data.

It’s unclear how dangerous the new, unmapped fault might be or how its discovery changes the overall earthquake hazard risk for Haiti, said Eric Calais, a professor of geophysics at Purdue University who presented the findings this week at a scientific conference in Brazil.

He said the analysis shows that most, if not all, of the geologic movement that caused January’s magnitude-7.0 earthquake occurred along the newly uncovered fault, not the well-documented Enriquillo fault.

He said the new fault’s profile won’t be known until scientists intensively study the region.

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