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Myanmar

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The leader of Myanmar’s military-installed government has announced the extension of its mandate to rule for another six months in preparation for an election it has said will be held next year. The army seized power last year from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The takeover was met with widespread non-violent protests around the country. Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, head of the ruling State Administration Council, said in a broadcast speech Monday that the state of emergency declared after last year’s takeover was extended because time was needed to prepare for new elections. There is doubt they will be free and fair because most of the leaders of Suu Kyi’s party have been locked up.

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International outrage over Myanmar’s execution of four political prisoners is intensifying with grassroots protests and strong condemnation from world governments. Myanmar’s military-led government has been accused of thousands of extrajudicial killings since it seized power from elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021. But the hangings over the weekend were the first official executions in decades. Hundreds of pro-democracy protesters outside Myanmar’s embassy in neighboring Thailand waved flags and chanted slogans Tuesday amid a heavy downpour. New Zealand’s foreign minister called the executions a “barbaric act by Myanmar's military regime.” Myanmar’s government spokesperson rejected criticisms, saying the executions were conducted in line with domestic law.

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Myanmar has carried out its first executions in nearly 50 years, hanging a former lawmaker, a democracy activist and two other political prisoners who had been accused of a targeted killing after the country’s military takeover last year. The executions announced Monday were carried out despite worldwide pleas for clemency for the four. State media said they planned, directed and organized terrorist killings. Opposition figures and rights activists say their convictions were politically motivated and condemned the executions while Myanmar rejected all criticism. The wife of one of the prisoners urged the world to hold Myanmar's military leadership accountable. U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said she was dismayed by “this cruel and regressive step.”

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Scattered pro-democracy rallies have taken place across military-ruled Myanmar to mark the 75th anniversary of the assassination of the independence hero and father of the country’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was ousted in last year’s military takeover. The protests generally dispersed within a short time to avoid confrontations with security forces. Since the army took power and detained Suu Kyi and thousands of supporters, 2,091 civilians including poets, activists, politicians and others had been killed in the crackdown, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. The shadow prime minister of the parallel civilian government in a message promised to fight until democracy is restored in Myanmar.

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Police officers testifying before a House committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection gave emotional and occasionally angry accounts of the attack, i…

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