Newly elected Suu Kyi meets Myanmar president

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday held talks with President Thein Sein for the first time since her landmark election to parliament earlier this month.

"I am satisfied," the Nobel Peace Prize laureate told AFP when asked about the meeting with the former general, which took place at his official residence in the capital Naypyidaw.

But she declined to reveal what was discussed during the one and a half hours of one-to-one talks and made no further comments.

After the meeting Suu Kyi had lunch with Thein Sein and his wife.

It was the veteran dissident's second meeting with the former junta prime minister since he took office last year, marking the end of nearly half a century of outright military rule.

Suu Kyi has rejected suggestions that she could take a cabinet position in his military-backed government after her by-election victory.

But she has not ruled out taking on an advisory role, particularly on the subject of the ethnic minority conflicts that have gripped parts of the country since independence in 1948.

The pair held talks in August 2011 as the once-reclusive country embarked on a surprising series of reforms, including welcoming Suu Kyi's party into the political mainstream and freeing scores of political prisoners.

That meeting paved the way for the opposition leader to rejoin the official political arena and stand for election for public office for the first time.

Suu Kyi has said she believes Thein Sein genuinely wants to pursue democratic reforms although it is unclear whether he has the total support of the military.

The 66-year-old, who spent 15 of the past 22 years locked up by the junta, will take her seat in the lower house of parliament for the first time on April 23 after a decisive victory in April 1 by-elections.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party secured 43 of the 44 seats it contested, becoming the main opposition force in a national parliament that remains dominated by the military and its political allies.

The vote was largely praised as a step towards democracy by the international community, and Western nations are beginning to lift sanctions on Myanmar as a reward for the reforms.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is due to hold talks with both Thein Sein and Suu Kyi on Friday as part of a visit to the country that will be the first by a top Western leader for decades.

Thein Sein's quasi-civilian regime came to power following a controversial 2010 election that was marred by the absence of Suu Kyi and her party and won by the military's political proxies.

Observers say the regime now needs Suu Kyi in parliament to bolster the legitimacy of its political system and spur an easing of Western sanctions.

The European Union is considering "substantially" easing sanctions against the impoverished nation, according to a senior diplomat.

Washington announced last week it would ease some of its own restrictions, but said measures would remain against those opposed to reform.

The International Crisis Group think-tank on Wednesday called on the West to lift remaining sanctions "without delay" to help the reform process, saying the regime was unlikely to reverse course.

"Myanmar has turned away from five decades of authoritarianism and has embarked on a bold process of political, social and economic reform," the ICG said in a report.

"Those in the West who have long called for such changes must now do all they can to support them. The most important step is to lift the sanctions on Myanmar without delay," it said.

  • How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds 13 hours ago
    How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds

    “I didn't steal your car but I think my mom may have. It's a long story. I'll explain, but your car is safe and sound," read the flier posted in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a strange tale that began when Cheyrl Thorpe was asked by her daughter Nekisia Davis to dog sit her Pomeranian at her apartment, according to New York Magazine.

  • All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground 16 hours ago
    All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground

    Much of Subaru’s modern day success in America can be attributed to one car: the Outback. Born in 1994 as a response to the growing popularity of SUVs, the Outback established a winning formula of combining a high-riding suspension, butch body cladding and big round fog lights to its comfortable, no-nonsense Legacy wagon. It is the kind of unique product that only a quirky company like Subaru could build, and was one that kept Subaru from slipping into ubiquity even as traditional SUVs and crossovers have taken over the world.

  • Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers 16 hours ago
    Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers

    For the record, it's the year 2014. I mention that in case someone reading this story about a push to replace horses with motorized carriages thinks they've stumbled onto some archival piece by accident. It's been more than 100 years since the first vehicles began to trundle around Manhattan, but the last remaining vestiges of horse-powered transport in the city could be nigh — if the backers of a massive electric wagon get their way.

  • Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers
    Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers

    Singaporeans on social media reacted angrily to news that tissue sellers at hawker centres and street corners are being required to pay for an annual licence.

  • Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry
    Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    Heart-wrenching messages of fear, love and despair, sent by high school students from a sinking South Korean ferry, added extra emotional weight Thursday to a tragedy that has stunned the nation. Nearly 300 people -- most of them students on a high school trip to a holiday island -- are still missing after the ferry capsized and sank on Wednesday morning. Mom, I love you," student Shin Young-Jin said in a text to his mother that was widely circulated in the South Korean media.

  • ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says
    ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The “huge” statues at a Hindu temple in Batu Caves and Buddhist temple in Penang are an affront to Islam as the religion forbids idolatry, a retired Court of Appeals judge...