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Chinese envoy and Suu Kyi meet

The Chinese ambassador to Myanmar met Thursday with Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the country's main political opposition movement, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said in Beijing.

China is the largest foreign supporter of the Burmese government, which has been ruled by army generals for years. There had been no previous reports of a Chinese ambassador meeting Suu Kyi.

Spokesman Liu Weimin said at a news conference that the meeting took place at Suu Kyi's request.

"Madame Aung San Suu Kyi expressed her hope several times that she could meet with the Chinese ambassador to Myanmar, and the ambassador met with her in response to her request and listened to her opinions," Liu said.

- N.Y. Times
News Service

U.N. appeals for gay rights

GENEVA, Switzerland - The United Nations' top human-rights official Thursday urged countries to abolish legal discrimination against gays, including the death penalty for consensual sex, days after the U.S. government said it would use foreign aid and diplomacy to promote equal rights for gays.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, said governments should also outlaw all forms of abuse based on sexual orientation and set the same age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual activity.

Pillay's appeal came in a report released Thursday to the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council, which in June passed the global body's first resolution condemning antigay discrimination.

That vote was hailed as historic by the United States, European countries, and others, but decried by some African and Muslim nations.

- AP

Dutch delay plan on marijuana use

AMSTERDAM - The conservative Dutch government said Thursday it was delaying until at least May plans to ban tourists from buying marijuana, though it still intends to curtail the country's tolerance policy.

Cannabis is technically illegal in the Netherlands, but police turn a blind eye to possession of small amounts, and it is sold openly in designated cafes called "coffee shops." Large-scale growers are prosecuted.

Among other measures, the cabinet wants to introduce a "weed pass" system that will allow only legal residents of the Netherlands to buy marijuana. Supporters hope it will solve problems caused by an estimated 3.9 million French, German, and Belgian buyers who drive across the Dutch border annually just to purchase the drug.

Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten said a test rollout in southern cities planned for January would be delayed until May. The system will go nationwide in 2013.

- AP


The exiled son of the toppled shah of Iran plans to ask the United Nations to bring Iran's supreme leader before an international court on charges of crimes against humanity. Reza Pahlavi's father, the late Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, was ousted in Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. The current leader is the cleric Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.