Obama: US Prepared to Lift Sanctions on Myanmar
President Barack Obama has announced that the United States is prepared to lift economic sanctions on Myanmar, following talks at the White House with the country's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
After their meeting Wednesday, both leaders spoke to reporters in the Oval Office. Citing that country’s “remarkable social and political transformation,” Obama said, "The United States is now prepared to lift sanctions that we have imposed on Burma for quite some time.”
Earlier, he sent a letter to Congress saying the administration is moving to restore trade benefits to Myanmar that were suspended more than two decades ago because of human rights abuses.
Speaking alongside Obama, Aung San Suu Kyi thanked him personally for being the first U.S. president to visit Myanmar. She also thanked the Congress for putting pressure on Myanmar to restore human rights, but said the time has now come for the U.S. to lift all sanctions, saying, "But unity also needs prosperity, because people, when they have to fight over limited resources, forget that standing together is important."
She pleaded for people to visit and invest in the country, saying, “I expect businessmen to come to our country to make profits.” She said she expects Myanmar’s legislature to pass a new investment law she hopes will be very attractive to countries around the world.
Aung San Suu Kyi acknowledged that while Myanmar has made progress in its transition to democracy, there is "so much that has to be done." She cited continuing tensions among its 135 ethnic groups, and said her administration is focused on the situation in Rakhine state, saying "communal strife is not something we can ignore."
US Olympic Athletes Respond to Russian Disclosures of Their Private Medical Information
Several U.S. Olympic athletes have taken to social media to respond to disclosures from Russian hackers that show they received exemptions to use banned drugs.
The hackers published confidential information earlier this week that was gleaned from the medical records of gymnast Simone Biles, tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams and basketball star Elena Delle Donne.
Biles, a gold medal winner, has acknowledged her use of Methylphenidate, a stimulant used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. In a statement on Twitter, Biles said she was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. "I believe in clean sport, have always followed the rules, and will continue to do so as fair play is critical to sport and is very important to me."
USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for the sport in the U.S., issued a statement on Twitter saying, "Biles was approved for a therapeutic-use exemption" and that Biles "has not broken any drug-testing regulations, including at the Olympic Games in Rio."
Venus Williams expressed disappointment on Twitter that her private medical information was disclosed and emphasized she has followed the rules established by the Tennis Anti-Doping Program. "I am one of the strongest supporters of maintaining the highest level of integrity in competitive sport," she wrote.