Myanmar travel ban is removed

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration lifted sweeping travel restrictions on Myanmar government officials Thursday in a further acknowledgment of the country's progress in reversing decades of repressive policies.

But even as it lifted the 17-year-old travel ban, the White House moved to extend an emergency measure that allows U.S. officials to impose new sanctions in response to future human-rights abuses by Myanmar authorities, administration officials said.

The mixed decision reflected what one administration official described as "a very bumpy process" as Myanmar's civilian-led government seeks to extend civil rights to the country's 48 million inhabitants while improving ties with the West.

Although Myanmar has sought to reform its image after decades as an international pariah state, the country continues to suffer from spasms of ethnic and sectarian violence, most recently between Buddhists and a Muslim minority in the central Rakhine province.

- Washington Post

Gadhafi son is in local court

ZINTAN, Libya - Wearing a sky-blue safari suit and a pair of sandals, the imprisoned son of slain dictator Moammar Gadhafi made his second court appearance this year on Thursday in a local court in Libya's western mountains where he is facing charges of harming state security.

Seif al-Islam Gadhafi is jailed in the town of Zintan, whose fighters captured him as he was fleeing to neighboring Niger. His captivity underlines Libya's lawlessness and lack of state authority in the face of a hodgepodge of militia groups.

With no national army or police in place since the fall of Gadhafi's regime in an eight-month civil war in 2011, successive governments have been too weak to either secure Seif al-Islam's imprisonment in the capital, Tripoli, or put pressure on his captors, a militia known as Abu Bakr al-Sadek, to hand him over to the central government.

- AP

Rhinos vanish in Mozambique

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Mozambique's rhinoceros population was wiped out more than a century ago by big game hunters. Reconstituted several years ago, the beasts again are on the brink of vanishing from the country by poachers seeking their horns for sale in Asia.

A leading expert said that the last rhino in the southern African nation has been killed. The warden of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park also says poachers have wiped out the rhinos.

Mozambique's conservation director believes a few may remain.

- AP