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Burma's Military Leader Absent From Key Event

The absence of Burma's military leader at an Independence Day dinner this week is generating more concern about his health.

Diplomats say 73-year-old General Than Shwe did not attend Thursday evening's dinner because he was having medical tests in Singapore. It was the first time since Than Shwe took power in 1992 that he did not host the annual dinner.

Instead, the military government's second-in-command, General Maung Aye, hosted the event this year.

Diplomats say they were told that Than Shwe's medical tests in Singapore were routine. However, it is believed that he suffers from hypertension, diabetes and other ailments.

The military government in the past has dismissed rumors that the ailing senior leader is gravely ill.

Some information for this report provided by AP.