Suu Kyi May Be Free In November
Reports from Burma suggest the military government may be planning to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi later this year.
Sources said the Burmese home minister told a meeting of local officials that Ms Suu Kyi would be freed in November.
This is when her current period of house arrest is due to expire.
Her detention was extended by 18 months last August, over an incident in which an American man swam, uninvited, to her lakeside home.
Burmese officials have hinted many times that Aung San Suu Kyi may be released, but it is the first time in recent months that a putative date has been attached to the idea.
The comments are reported to have been made by a senior minister at a provincial town meeting four days ago.
It is a measure of how tightly information is controlled in Burma that it has taken this long for the reports to filter out.
Aung San Suu Kyi's own lawyer told the BBC he had heard the rumour but could not confirm it.
And if indeed she is released in November, key questions about the terms of Aung San Suu Kyi's possible freedom remain.
Would there be conditions attached? Would her activities be restricted? And, crucially, would her release come before or after planned elections?
There is also the matter of the legal appeal against Aung San Suu Kyi's current detention.
The Supreme Court is due to deliver its verdict in the next couple of weeks.
But if the military government says she will continue to be detained until at least November, the court's decision has been somewhat undermined.
The minister, Maung Oo, is also reported to have said that the vice chairman of Aung San Suu Kyi's political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), will be released in February.
Tin Oo, 82, has been in prison or under house arrest for more than a decade.
If he is released, he could have a key role in deciding whether or not the NLD participates in the elections due later this year.
No date for the poll has yet been set.
But if Tin Oo is released in February, and Aung San Suu Kyi remains in detention until November, it could indicate that the elections are pencilled in for a date sometime between the two. -BBC