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Suu Kyi gets award, but awaits verdict

Suu Kyi gets award, but awaits verdict

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International gave Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi its Ambassador of Conscience Award on Monday, hoping its highest honor would help deter the junta from imposing any harsh new punishments on her. The Nobel laureate is widely expected to be convicted of violating the terms of her house arrest and faces five years in prison, although there has been speculation she may stay under house arrest rather than serve time in jail. Her trial is expected to end today. Neither international outrage nor offers of closer ties with the United States if Suu Kyi is freed appear to have deflected the ruling junta's determination to neutralize — if not imprison — her. Supporters worry the ruling junta has found an excuse to keep her behind bars through elections planned for next year. "In those long and often dark years, Aung San Suu Kyi has remained a symbol of hope, courage and the undying defense of human rights," Amnesty's Secretary General Irene Khan said. Suu Kyi — who has spent nearly 14 of the past 20 years under house arrest — is charged with violating her detention by harboring an American man, also being tried, who swam uninvited to her lakeside home and stayed for two days. Her lawyers will give their final arguments in the case today, after the prosecution delivered its closing remarks Monday. The verdict is expected in two to three weeks.

Light switch led to pope's injury

The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI was looking for a light switch in the bedroom of his chalet in Les Combes, Italy, when he tripped and broke his wrist while on vacation 10 days ago. Papal spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told Sky TG24 TV Monday that the pope stumbled against a leg of his bed while searching for the switch. The pope didn't call for help and the next morning wanted to celebrate Mass as usual. But Lombardi said Benedict's right wrist was "swollen and painful" and a doctor was called. Benedict flies back to the Rome area on Wednesday.

Study: warming is part of vicious cycle

Researchers at the University of Miami have stumbled upon a vicious cycle after studying climate data from 1952 to 2007, according to a study in Science. Turns out that global warming leads to fewer clouds, which in turn leads to more sunshine, which of course leads to more global warming. "What we're interested in is what that means for future climate change," Amy Clement of UM said. Most models predict that global temperatures will rise 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, and cloud patterns are the variable that causes the wide range. A comparison of 18 climate change models determined that the one that has best tracked past data is the same one that predicts the biggest temperature increase in the future. Washington Post

Teen sentenced in White House hoax

Thomas Hutchinson, 19, of Sheffield, England, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence Monday for phoning the White House and claiming there was a bomb in New York. The northern England teenager acknowledged phoning the White House switchboard on May 10, 2008, after drinking with friends at a barbecue, and claiming there was a bomb in New York's Madison Square Garden. The call was quickly traced and found to be a hoax. But the subsequent investigation involved the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, the New York Police Department and the police counterterrorism unit in Britain.

Taser International unveiled its first new stun gun since 2003 on Monday, a device that can shock three people without being reloaded.

Older Taser stun guns, in use by 14,200 law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, have to be reloaded after one shot, which can be a problem for an officer who has missed a target or has more than one suspect to subdue.

Taser CEO Rick Smith unveiled the new device to hundreds of law enforcement officers and distributors at the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company's annual conference.

"This is as big a step as when firearms went from a muzzle loader to the revolver," Rick Smith said later. "If I was a cop I'd want to carry one."

The new stun gun costs $1,799, compared with $799 for the older model.

He said the device will be available to law enforcement agencies in late August.

Like the older models, the new stun gun shoots two barbed wires that deliver about 6 watts of electrical current for several seconds, temporarily immobilizing people from up to 35 feet away.

Suu Kyi gets award, but awaits verdict 07/27/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 27, 2009 9:40pm]
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