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Burma to Hold Gem Auction

Burma's military rulers announced plans Thursday to hold a gem auction in October, despite international calls to boycott the sale.

Officials say jade, pearls, and precious gems will be among the lots on sale at the auction. Burma's last gem auction was held in June, just one month after Cyclone Nargis swept across the country's south, leaving more than 130,000 people dead or missing.

Burma is one of the main producers of jade and other gems, as well as the source of up to 90 percent of the world's rubies.

Gem auctions are a major revenue earner for Burma's military government.

Jewelry companies and human rights groups have urged buyers to boycott Burmese gems to protest rights violations in the country.

In July, the United States passed legislation banning the import of gems from Burma through third-party countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.