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Myanmar lifts curfew order in Yangon, Mandalay
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The Myanmar authorities Saturday lifted a night-to-dawn curfew 25 days after it imposed on the biggest city of Yangon and the second largest city of Mandalay, according to announcements of the local administrative and police authorities in the evening.


The 60-day curfew started on September 25 and was cut shorter for two times.


The lifting of the curfew was seen as being made following the restoration to calm and normal of the situation in the two cities.


The present withdrawal of the curfew came as Ibrahim Gambari, Special Envoy of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is touring Asian nations to consult with regional partners about the situation in Myanmar. His trip has covered Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia and is heading for India, China and Japan.


Based on Gambari's presentation to the UN Security Council (UNSC) about the situation in Myanmar following his first urgent mission to Myanmar from September 29 to October 2, a presidential statement of the UNSC on the country was unanimously adopted on October 11, calling for efforts to achieve an inclusive national reconciliation in the nation.


During his previous four-day visit in Myanmar, Gambari conveyed the message of Senior-General Than Shwe, Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), to Aung San Suu Kyi, detained general secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD). Than Shwe's message offered to meet and talk personally and conditionally with Aung San Suu Kyi.


As a follow-up, as proposed by Gambari, the Myanmar government appointed on Oct. 8 Deputy Minister of Labor U Aung Kyi to act as liaison minister to get link with Aung San Suu Kyi.


Meanwhile, The Myanmar authorities have so far released 2,550 people out of 2,927 detained for being involved in recent demonstrations in the whole country.


Of them, 53 are from Yangon, bringing the total of the release from the city to 2,147 out of 2,284, according to official report which added that altogether 377 people in the country including 137 in Yangon are still under detention for interrogation.


More will be freed if considered, the authorities said.


Earlier official report said the authorities have also freed 398 monks out of 533 taken away by the government security forces for interrogation during recent raids on some monasteries in Yangon amid curfew order.


Starting September 18, some Buddhist monks and people took to the streets to stage demonstrations in Yangon and other parts of the country, demanding for bringing down commodity prices, improving people's living conditions and seeking national reconciliation.


The authorities termed the demonstrations as "unrest," accusing internal and external anti-government forces as well as some Western leading broadcasting stations of inciting the "disturbances."


A compiled statistics based on the official figures show that a total of nine protesters and a then visiting Japanese journalist have been killed and 16 other civilians injured by shots fired by the security forces, while 45 government security forces members wounded during an action to disperse the crowds.


In the latest development, the ruling Myanmar SPDC formed a state constitution drafting commission Thursday to pave way for drafting a new state constitution which represents the third step of the seven-step roadmap following the end of the National Convention on Sept. 3. Detailed basic principles laid down in the convention are set to be based for drafting the new constitution.


The 54-member commission is chaired by Chief Justice U Aung Toe and Attorney-General U Aye Maung as Vice-Chairman. The remaining members mainly include two ministers -- Information Minister Brigadier-General Kyaw Hsan and Cultural Minister Major-General Khin Aung Myint and four legal experts.


According to the government roadmap announced in August 2003, the new constitution draft is to be endorsed through a national referendum, then a new general election will follow to produce parliament representatives and form a new democratic government.


(Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2007)

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