Prisoners to be released
Myanmar’s reformist government ordered more than 450 prisoners freed Thursday in an amnesty apparently intended as a goodwill gesture ahead of an historic visit by President Barack Obama next week. It was not clear whether any political prisoners will be among those released, but past amnesties have included both prisoners of conscience and common criminals.
Police stations attacked
Gunmen attacked two police stations in Jordan Wednesday as demonstrators threw rocks and denounced their king over price hikes in a rare spike of violence. One attacker was killed in the assaults, the first fatality in demonstrations in the kingdom this year. Thirteen police officers were among 17 seriously wounded in the attack in Jordan’s north, police said. A police corporal was critically wounded in the second. Two days of angry protests have threatened to plunge the U.S.-allied kingdom into unrest.
Detainees to be freed
Pakistan on Wednesday agreed to free several Afghan Taliban detainees, a gesture that suggested Islamabad may be willing to help Washington and Kabul reconcile with Afghan insurgents. The exact number of militants to be released was not known, though Pakistani media reported that it was not more than 10. It was also unclear whether any of the detainees were major figures within the Taliban hierarchy. Pakistani officials announced the planned release as Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s top peace negotiator, Salahuddin Rabbani, prepared to wrap up a four-day visit to Islamabad aimed at enlisting Pakistan’s help in revving up momentum for peace talks.
A strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off Chile’s central-north area Wednesday, but authorities said no injuries or damage were reported and discounted the possibility of a tsunami. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake’s epicenter was 55 miles north of Coquimbo, and had a depth of 37 miles.
Compiled from wire reports.