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IRRAWADDY(Myanmar), BBC NEWS (UK), REUTERS, YAHOO NEWS

Worldcrunch

RANGOON- Myanmar is set to free 452 prisoners in a goodwill gesture ahead of President Obama’s visit next week. This comes as the latest in a series of reforms implemented by President Thein Sein over the past 18 months after nearly 50 years of repressive army rule.

Reuters reports that former political prisoner, Nobel laureate and head of the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, had received no information that any detainees released were political prisoners. Similarly, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) had not heard of any among those released by mid-afternoon Thursday.

Obama’s visit will be the first to Myanmar, also known as Burma, by a sitting president as he seeks to forge links and promote the U.S. on his November 17-20 visit. He will also travel to Thailand and Cambodia on his Southeast Asia trip.

Burma Campaign UK believes that the prisoner release is a manipulative way to propel the country into the spotlight just before a key international moment. The independent Burmese magazine Irrawaddy reports that prominent activist and former detainee Ko Ko Gyi echoed the criticism of activist groups saying that “The release of prisoners of conscience should not be used as a bargaining chip”.

According to Yahoo news, Samantha Power, a top Obama advisor, has signaled that the U.S. President will use the talks to put pressure on the civilian government to do more on human rights for its people.

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Society

When Friends "Break Up" — The Psychological Damage After Friendships End

Society sees friendships as far less important than love and life partnerships. But psychologists warn that the end of a close friendship can leave the "grieving" side in need of therapy.

The end of friendships can lead to heartbreak and grief like with any other relationship.

Paula Galinsky

BUENOS AIRES — It was Wednesday and Sofía, a 31-year-old woman living in Buenos Aires, was having a good day. She'd had a productive work meeting in the morning and her usual gym class in the afternoon. But as she walked home listening to music in her earphones, she felt an acute pain, first in her chest, then throat.

It wasn't a heart attack, but she panicked and began to cry. What prompted the reaction, she realized later, was the music she had just heard: a song that brought back teenage memories of a former friend. Sofía told her therapist the next day that the end of the friendship had upset her greatly, and until that moment had suppressed the grief.

The friend hadn't died, there had been no fight or exchange of ugly words, but the two had drifted apart, irreversibly, Sofía felt. None of this, she told the psychologist, made it any less troubling or hurtful.

The song that had triggered her anxiety was 11 y 6 by Argentine Fito Páez. It took Sofía back to her 16th birthday, which she spent with her friend. That girl "was" her teenage years, she explained and without her "a big part of what we lived together now is gone."

The end of a strong friendship causes bona fide grief, even if it is often ignored. More and more specialists believe that it needs to be processed, and perhaps treated, like one would the end of a love affair or partnership.

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