Aung San Suu Kyi found guilty

Burmese democracy leader sentence to a further 18 months house arrest

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democracy leader, has been sentenced to a further 18 months of detention after she was accused of breaking the terms of her house arrest.

The court in Rangoon's Insein Prison sentenced Suu Kyi to three years hard labour, but it was immediately reduced to a year and a half under house arrest by Senior General Than Shwe, the leader of Burma's military dictatorship.

Suu Kyi, 64, was accused of harbouring John Yettaw, an eccentric American who swam uninvited to her lakeside compound in May. He said he had visited her to tell her about a dream in which he had foreseen her assassination. He received a sentence of seven years hard labour.

The sentence means that Suu Kyi will be unable to run in the elections which the Burmese junta has promised to hold next year. Her National League for Democracy won an overwhelming majority in the last election in 1990, a result which the junta never accepted.

The Burmese government has been on the receiving end of international criticism since Suu Kyi's arrest in May. Even neighbouring south-east Asian countries, who tend to avoid comment on internal affairs, have voiced criticism.

Ban Ki Moon, the UN secretary-general, visited the junta's capital, Naypidaw, last month, and asked for the release of Suu Kyi. He was not even allowed to meet her.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.