09/13/2008, 00.00
MYANMAR
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Explosion northeast of Yangon, two dead, ten wounded

The attack struck a public building in a town 160 kilometers from the capital, in an area marked by conflict between the army and guerrillas. The Burmese junta has granted a few of the requests made by Aung San Suu Kyi, who will be allowed to receive letters from her relatives, and to read international news magazines.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Two dead, ten wounded is the toll of that attack that took place last September 11 in Kyaukgy, a town in the department of Bago, 160 kilometers northeast of Yangon. Two bombs struck a public building in the area, which has long been the theater of ethnic conflicts between Karen guerrillas and government forces.

Thursday's explosion was only the latest in a long series of attacks that have inflamed the country, marked by the harsh military repression that continues to maintain power through the use of force. On Tuesday, September 9, three people were wounded when the rear portion of a bus in the capital collapsed. The authorities have begun investigations, but at the moment it has not been made known whether the disaster was caused by a bomb, or was accidental.

In spite of the ethnic conflicts that characterize the country, in recent weeks the military junta has begun to launch accusations against the National League for Democracy, a party that supports Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi. According to the dictatorship in power, last July's attacks were the work of pro-democracy activists, who reject the accusations.

The Burmese military junta has, nevertheless, accepted some of the requests made by the Nobel peace prize laureate, including the possibility of reading English-language international news magazines, and of receiving all of the letters sent to her by her relatives. The pro-democracy activist's lawyer has confirmed the news, and says that thanks to these concessions, Aung San Suu Kyi "will stop refusing the food" brought to her home, as she has done since mid-August.

Until now, her correspondence with her relatives, including her two children who live in London, was subjected to censorship on the part of the regime, just as she has long been prohibited from reading the foreign press. The military leaders have also removed the restrictions against her two housemaids, a mother and daughter, who had been blocked from coming and going freely at the villa where the activist has been under house arrest for five years.

It is not yet known whether Suu Kyi will be given a new satellite decoder to receive international television channels, and whether she will really accept the new food supplies; there has been unconfirmed speculation that she is on a hunger strike in order to force the hand of the military regime. The junta has also given permission to her doctors to visit her each month to check on her health. This promise has been made in the past, but so far it has never been kept.

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