Leader’s Rumored Sickness Provides Some Small Hope for Burmese Reform

BANGKOK, Thailand — Astrology and superstitious belief are part of everyday life in impoverished Burma, where hope for every family hangs on some fortune-teller’s prophesy. But there is one prediction no one in the country is prepared to make — who will succeed ailing leader Than Shwe. Rumor is rife in Rangoon that the hardhearted general who cherishes his family life is seriously ill with intestinal cancer. His death or withdrawal from a position of influence is seen by some Burma-watchers as a small chance for a break in the long-running deadlock between the hard-line military regime and the suppressed […]

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