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BURMA GOVERNMENT CHANGES COUNTRY'S NAME FOR 2ND TIME

Burma's military government has changed the formal name of the country for the second time since seizing power last September.

A military spokesman announced the country would be called "The Union of Myanma" to avoid the racial connotation of "The Union of Burma," the name the Saw Muang government promulgated when it took office.Until then the official name was "The Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma."

The spokesman said at the weekend the change was made because "Burma" implied the population were Burmans - the biggest racial group - while it included many ethnic groups.

Guerrillas of about a dozen ethnic minorities have been campaigning for autonomy since the country gained independence from Britain in 1948.

The spokesman said the English name of the capital would be changed from Rangoon to "Yangon."

The names of many other cities would also change.