Burma denies weapon use, transgender woman elected to DNC and more

by Admin on January 11, 2013

Burma Denies Chemical Weapon Use Against Rebels

Burma is denying accusations that it used chemical weapons against ethnic minority rebels in the northern Kachin state. The rebels, called the Kachin Independence Army (KIP), told AFP that “the army had stepped up its operations in recent days, allowing troops to take territory in a push towards the KIA stronghold of Laiza on the border with China.”

In response to the accusations, presidential spokesman Ye Htut said that “our military never uses chemical weapons and we have no intention to use them at all. I think the KIA (Kachin Independence Army) is accusing us wrongly.”

This is not the first time Burmese troops have been accused of using chemical weapons.

Marines Order Spouse Clubs to Allow Same-Sex Spouses

The United States Marine Corps are ordering military spouses clubs to allow same-sex spouses if they are to continue operating on bases. The Marine Corps order said that the groups must adhere to a nondiscrimination policy regarding sexual orientation, a move that comes as the military seeks to address same-sex rights following the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

The Marines are the first military branch to do so. Stephen L. Peters, president of the American Military Partner Assn., hopes this will set a precedent for all branches.

“Now that the Marine Corps has set the right standard, we need the secretary of Defense to ensure there is consistency across all branches of service in regards to private organizations that operate on military bases,” Peters said.

Oregon Elects First Transgender Woman to DNC

An Oregon democrat recently became the first transgender woman to be elected to the Democratic National Committee.

Laura Calvo, the Treasurer of the Democratic Party of Oregon, was one of three members from Oregon elected to the committee last month. Calvo had previously served as the Treasurer of the Party’s LGBT Caucus, Treasurer of the Multnomah County Democrats and board member of the National Stonewall Democrats.

Billionaire Philanthropist Soros Visits Burma

Hungarian-born billionaire and philanthropist George Soros was in Burma this week, visiting locations where his foundation has made donations and meeting with 88 Generation students.

Soros founded the Open Society Institute, a foundation that helps establish democracy and promote human rights and freedom in over 70 countries. OSI donates about $2 million USD a year to promote democracy in Burma, according to the Forbes website.

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