Burma Opposition Leader Denies Secret Junta Deal

BURMA'S dissident leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in a rare message from detention in Burma, assured pro-democracy colleagues there would be no secret deal with the junta over her release and said she remains dedicated to their cause.

In a statement brought from Rangoon to Bangkok by her husband, British academic Michael Aris, Ms. Suu Kyi said she was at all times bound by the democratic duty to act with colleagues and be guided by their aspirations.

Her statement appeared to be in response to concerns voiced by pro-democracy activists that she might agree to be released under tight restrictions that would curtail her political activities.

The ruling Burmese junta has ended speculation that it might be about to release her. The speculation was fueled by two unprecedented meetings with generals late last year. But the junta last week said she would not be freed until a constitution, which is now being written, is complete.

Survey says many Beijing moms want second child

IN an unusual survey conducted by the Beijing Institute of Economics, 40 percent of young Beijing mothers polled said they would want a second child if not for China's ``one couple, one child,'' policy.

The survey of 2,162 married women between 20 and 54 years of age found that ``very few'' would want three or more children if the policy was lifted, the New China News Agency reported. The survey was conducted on the supposition that the one-child policy was not in force.

Most women said they would prefer a daughter over a son, the agency said without giving a percentage figure.

The survey found younger women to be less inclined to have big traditional families, and that the overwhelming sentiment among Beijing people of all ages is for smaller families.

Bangladesh politics at standstill

PPOSITION benches in Bangladesh were empty yesterday as the Parliament opened for a new session.

In the ongoing dispute between Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and the opposition, 147 opposition members, who had resigned from the 330-member house last month, failed to show up as President A. R. Biswas addressed the house. The opposition has accused Ms. Zia's government of corruption and incompetence and has demanded her resignation. She has denied the charges. The struggle between the government and opposition has blocked the passage of important legislation, and general strikes have further weakened the country's economy.

Speculation on Deng rejected

HONG KONG Gov. Chris Patten yesterday delicately sidestepped the guessing game about Deng Xiaoping's health and said he was sure successors to the Chinese leader are committed to his economic reforms. As speculation intensified last week about Mr. Deng's health, Mr. Patten refused to speculate on how the Deng's death would affect Hong Kong's transition from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

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