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April 14, 2016

Magnitude 6.9 earthquake hits north-west Myanmar

Magnitude 6.9 earthquake hits north-west Myanmar

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

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A magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit north-west Myanmar on Wednesday at around 8:30pm local time (1400 UTC).

Initially reported as a 7.2 magnitude earthquake by RT, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and GEOFON Global Seismic Network (GEOFON) later confirmed the magnitude as 6.9. The USGS reported the seismic event occurred at a depth of roughly 135km (83.8 miles) due to reverse faulting.

The epicenter of the seism was approximately 100km (62 miles) north-north-west of the Myanmarese city of Monywa, according to the USGS and GEOFON. The earthquake affected Myanmar, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. The epicenter of the seism was not in a densely populated area, and immediate reports did not mention any injuries or serious damage.

The next day, the Hindustan Times and the Central Chronicle reported two people were killed and 70 injured in India’s north-eastern region of Assam. More than 80 people were also injured across Bangladesh as people hurried to evacuate their buildings during the quake, according to ABC News Australia.



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August 25, 2015

UK judge witholds report from Thai death penalty defendents

UK judge witholds report from Thai death penalty defendents

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

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In a judgement released today Mr Justice Green, sitting in the High Court in London, spoke of his “very considerable unease” as he rejected an application by two defendants in a Thai death penalty case. The pair sought a Metropolitan Police report they hoped could assist their defence.

The murders occurred on the picturesque resort island of Koh Tao, pictured here from file.
Image: Wikivoyage.

The court has expedited the case. Burmese nationals Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, both 22, are currently on trial accused of murdering David Miller, 24, from Jersey, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, from England. With the defence case due to begin shortly and continue until mid- or late September the court has issued its judgement today following a hearing on Friday.

The case dates to September last year when the victims were found murdered on a Koh Tao beach. Witheridge had been raped. The case attracted worldwide attention with Lin and Phyo confessing, before re-enacting the killing in front of the press.

The accused claim the confessions were tortured out of them and the ongoing trial is unfair. UK Prime Minister David Cameron intervened, speaking to Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Cameron and Chan-o-cha arranged for an observer team from the Metropolitan Police to conduct an inspection of the Thai probe, based on powers in the Police Act 1996.

A team was duly dispatched and prepared a report with the intent to use it for assisting the victims’ families. UK police were expressly forbidden, at a ministerial level, to provide any assistance to Thai authorities as the case involves the death penalty. Due to established UK policy on foreign death penalty cases, the report was also not shared with Thailand. It is this report that Lin and Phyo were seeking.

The Royal Courts of Justice complex in London, where the case was heard.
Image: sjiong via Flickr.

Using the Data Protection Act 1998 the defendants asked police for this report to assist their defence, and were denied. That decision was the one challenged unsuccessfully in the High Court. The case pits the two accused trying to defend a death penalty case against the possibility of jeopardising international relations; Thai police co-operated, but only in light of an agreement the report would be confidential.

Legal charity Reprieve, who assisted the two men, said in a statement “Concerns about the conduct of the Thai investigation and the safety of any convictions resulting have been raised from the very beginning[…] only the defence lawyers in Thailand are in a position to judge whether the information could be of assistance.” Mr Justice Green’s judgement acknowledges he did not know “how the accused might structure their defences” or details about what evidence had been or would be involved.

Thai Prime Minister Chan-o-cha, pictured here in December, was directly involved in negotiations that led to the report being produced.
Image: D. Myles Cullen/U.S. Military.

Both men say they were starved, suffocated, stripped naked, exposed to cold temperatures, beaten, threatened, and denied legal representation. The Royal Thai Police deny any misconduct. Mr Justice Green read the report himself and decided not to release it as it was of no assistance to the pair.

The report is known to contain some material disputed by Lin and Phyo. It says they repeated their confessions at various times, including in court with legal representation, before retracting them. It also says they have not backed up their torture claims with evidence, medical or otherwise.

Cquote1.svg This is not a Report which contains, for instance, state secrets Cquote2.svg

—Mr Justice Green

Mr Justice Green said the report described “in many respects […] no more than the routine conduct of a serious crime investigation. This is not a Report which contains, for instance, state secrets.” He also spoke of his distance from the ongoing trial, prompting him to remark of his “very considerable unease” and having to do “the best I could” — not “a comfortable process”.

Noting “the issues of both law and fact are complex, novel and difficult” Mr Justice Green’s judgement notes that, before even hearing the case he promised permission to appeal would be granted, if requested, whatever the outcome. He also promised a swift Court of Appeal hearing to comply with Thai trial time constraints. “The stakes are very high for both sides”, he added.

“In my judgment the common law,” the judgement reads, “and in particular the principles of natural justice and fairness, would in a case such as this which involves the right to life, and the right to a fair trial, as well as powerful countervailing issues of public interest, compel the court to apply the most intense level of anxious scrutiny to the facts to ensure that the accused were not prejudiced.”

Mr Justice Green also ruled the pair, in principal, “have a perfectly proper right to seek access to the personal data for the purpose of using it subsequently in their defence in criminal proceedings”, calling the case one about “fundamental rights”.

Rosa Curling, who represented both men in the London court, has said they would not appeal. She said Lin and Phyo are “disappointed” but “are reassured that at least a British judge has now looked at the information held by the Metropolitan Police, applying anxious scrutiny, and determined that it would not assist them in their ongoing proceedings in Thailand.”

Wikinews has contacted the Metropolitan Police, usually responsible for policing London, for a statement and is awaiting a response.



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November 21, 2012

US President Barack Obama visits Myanmar

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Myanmar
Other stories from Myanmar
  • 2 April 2012: Aung San Suu Kyi claims a seat in the Parliamentary elections in Myanmar
  • 30 March 2012: Report indicates continued severe weather problems still looming
  • 9 March 2012: Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton present 2012 International Women of Courage Awards
  • 19 January 2012: Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi to contest in by-election
  • 13 January 2012: Observing the 2012 Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US, and wider world
…More articles here
Location of Myanmar

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To write, edit, start or view other articles on Myanmar, see the Myanmar Portal
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Obama meets with Thein Sein
Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

United States President Barack Obama Monday became the first US President to visit the Asian country of Myanmar.

Locals left their jobs to watch President Obama’s motorcade drive down the streets of Yangon. In addition to speaking at the University of Yangon, he also spoke with the president of Myanmar, U Thein Sein; and opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

President Thein Sein told President Obama that their countries were in a “progressing” relationship. President Obama told Suu Kyi, an activist under the former regime who became a member of parliament in the new one, that her example “has been inspiration to people all around the world, including myself. Clearly you will be playing a key role in your country’s future for many years to come as Burma seeks the freedom and the prosperity and the dignity that not only the people of this country deserve but people all around the world deserve.”

When he spoke at the University of Yangon, Obama emphasized the former connections between the two countries. He also emphasized America’s democratic system and explained that Myanmar should follow America’s lead. “You need to reach for a future where the law is stronger than any single leader, because it’s accountable to the people”, he said.

Obama speaks at University of Yangon
Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Although many residents here are excited about the visit as proof of new democracy, others are more skeptical of such change. Thein Sein was a member of the former military government. Aung San Suu Kyi was only released two years ago from house-arrest that lasted nearly two decades under that government. There is speculation that there are still hundreds of political prisoners under the custody of the government. Violence is an issue in the Kachin State; and Associated Press reports over 110,000 refugees in Rakhine State. Major cities like Yangon seem almost ahead of themselves in capital, with a lack of hotel and office space; while the rural areas are still very primitive.

Zaw Nay Aung, an exile living in Great Britain and director of the Burma Independence Advocates research group, criticized the president’s visit on several counts. He called Thein Sein an ex-general who still leads the country despite their new government. “The ruling elites have been waiting for this moment since they came into power nearly two years ago. The U.S. approval of the country’s reform process has been one of the core political objectives that the regime has tried to secure since transitioning into power”, he said. He also criticized President Obama, calling it “a disgrace for the U.S. president to make such a historic trip to Burma while hundreds of political prisoners still remain in jails”.

Eyes are also on China, which neighbors Myanmar. The two countries had similar policies and were friends. Now, with the President’s visit; the US could be appearing to be “courting” Myanmar. This will especially be an issue in 2015, when Myanmar will be having an election.

The visit was overshadowed by conflict between Israel and Palestine in the Middle East. Myanmar is the second country the president visited in a three-country, four-day tour of the Middle East. Prior to his trip to Myanmar; the president and secretary of state were in Thailand, and afterwards they went to Cambodia, where human rights are expected to be a major issue.


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President Obama visits Myanmar

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Myanmar
Other stories from Myanmar
  • 2 April 2012: Aung San Suu Kyi claims a seat in the Parliamentary elections in Myanmar
  • 30 March 2012: Report indicates continued severe weather problems still looming
  • 9 March 2012: Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton present 2012 International Women of Courage Awards
  • 19 January 2012: Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi to contest in by-election
  • 13 January 2012: Observing the 2012 Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US, and wider world
…More articles here
Location of Myanmar

A map showing the location of Myanmar

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Myanmar, see the Myanmar Portal
Flag of Myanmar.svg

Obama meets with Thein Sein
Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

United States President Barack Obama Monday became the first US President to visit the Asian country of Myanmar.

Locals left their jobs to watch President Obama’s motorcade drive down the streets of Yangon. In addition to speaking at the University of Yangon, he also spoke with the president of Myanmar, U Thein Sein; and opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

President Thein Sein told President Obama that their countries were in a “progressing” relationship. President Obama told Suu Kyi, an activist under the former regime who became a member of parliament in the new one, that her example “has been inspiration to people all around the world, including myself. Clearly you will be playing a key role in your country’s future for many years to come as Burma seeks the freedom and the prosperity and the dignity that not only the people of this country deserve but people all around the world deserve.”

When he spoke at the University of Yangon, Obama emphasized the former connections between the two countries. He also emphasized America’s democratic system and explained that Myanmar should follow America’s lead. “You need to reach for a future where the law is stronger than any single leader, because it’s accountable to the people”, he said.

Obama speaks at University of Yangon
Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Although many residents here are excited about the visit as proof of new democracy, others are more skeptical of such change. Thein Sein was a member of the former military government. Aung San Suu Kyi was only released two years ago from house-arrest that lasted nearly two decades under that government. There is speculation that there are still hundreds of political prisoners under the custody of the government. Violence is an issue in the Kachin State; and Associated Press reports over 110,000 refugees in Rakhine State. Major cities like Yangon seem almost ahead of themselves in capital, with a lack of hotel and office space; while the rural areas are still very primitive.

Zaw Nay Aung, an exile living in Great Britain and director of the Burma Independence Advocates research group, criticized the president’s visit on several counts. He called Thein Sein an ex-general who still leads the country despite their new government. “The ruling elites have been waiting for this moment since they came into power nearly two years ago. The U.S. approval of the country’s reform process has been one of the core political objectives that the regime has tried to secure since transitioning into power”, he said. He also criticized President Obama, calling it “a disgrace for the U.S. president to make such a historic trip to Burma while hundreds of political prisoners still remain in jails”.

Eyes are also on China, which neighbors Myanmar. The two countries had similar policies and were friends. Now, with the President’s visit; the US could be appearing to be “courting” Myanmar. This will especially be an issue in 2015, when Myanmar will be having an election.

The visit was overshadowed by conflict between Israel and Palestine in the Middle East. Myanmar is the second country the president visited in a three-country, four-day tour of the Middle East. Prior to his trip to Myanmar; the president and secretary of state were in Thailand, and afterwards they went to Cambodia, where human rights are expected to be a major issue.


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March 30, 2012

Report indicates continued severe weather problems still looming

Report indicates continued severe weather problems still looming

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Environment
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A 586-page report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released Wednesday indicated governments should prepare for continued weather-related catastrophes. The report noted highly populated and very poor areas are at highest risk, and stressed no country or continent is safe from these ongoing threats. The panel consists of Nobel Prize-winners, whose work in climatology indicates more intense tropical cyclones.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was created by the United Nations in 1988.
Image: Wilfried Huss / Anonymous.

The report placed blame regarding recent disasters on a combination of climate change caused by humans, population changes and poverty. The panel was founded in 1988 by the United Nations.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates recent severe weather conditions are costing upwards of US$80 billion per year. The report focused heavily on issues pertaining to coastal areas of the United States, specifically noting damage in those areas could increase 20 percent by 2030.

The authors of the report stated some portions of India may become uninhabitable for floods and other problems.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change pointed out other cities at lesser risk, such as: Miami, Shanghai, Bangkok, China’s Guangzhou, Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, Myanmar’s Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon), and India’s Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta). Inhabitants of small island nations may have to leave their homes because of elevated sea levels and major storms. A total of 220 authors worked on the report.



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January 19, 2012

Myanmar\’s pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi to contest in by-election

Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi to contest in by-election

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Myanmar
Other stories from Myanmar
  • 18 May 2015: Over 900 asylum seekers rescued off Indonesian coast
  • 2 April 2012: Aung San Suu Kyi claims a seat in the Parliamentary elections in Myanmar
  • 30 March 2012: Report indicates continued severe weather problems still looming
  • 9 March 2012: Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton present 2012 International Women of Courage Awards
  • 19 January 2012: Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi to contest in by-election
…More articles here
Location of Myanmar

A map showing the location of Myanmar

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Myanmar, see the Myanmar Portal
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Suu Kyi in 2011.
Image: World Economic Forum.

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar registered yesterday as a candidate in the parliamentary by-election. She is contesting, for her party the National League for Democracy (NLD), for Kawhmu, among the 48 seats in the election scheduled in April.

Suu Kyi is to contest in elections for the first time. Her party won the 1990 election, but she was under house arrest. The military junta did not accept NLD’s majority in that election. She was released in November 2010. The NLD objected to electoral laws and boycotted 2010 elections.

Kawhmu is a rural township in south-west Myanmar which was hit by cyclone Nargis in 2008.

Suu Kyi’s party would not have much power even if it won all the 48 available seats in the election. Nevertheless, her participation could be a test for democratic reforms in Myanmar.



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  • “Myanmar dissident Suu Kyi to run for parliament in by-elections” — Wikinews, November 21, 2011

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January 13, 2012

Observing the 2012 Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US, and wider world

Observing the 2012 Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US, and wider world

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Friday, January 13, 2012

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This week US citizens observed National Human Trafficking Awareness Day through acts of education, legislation, and enforcement; whilst, around the world, other people highlighted or tackled this global problem in their own countries.

According to an annual report on human trafficking released by the US State Department in June last year, 27 million men, women and children are exploited through human trafficking. Worldwide, at least two million children are estimated to be trafficked victims of the sex trade; and, in military conflicts, it is not uncommon for children to be forced to bear arms. In releasing the report last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted the importance of international cooperation in addressing trafficking, and cultural issues associated with it.

Brown, orange and red are source countries, while light blue and dark blue countries are destinations for victims of human trafficking.
Image: KVDP.

Under the United Nations’ Palermo Protocols, human trafficking encompasses cases where victims are born into slavery, forcibly transported for exploitation, consented to work with a trafficker, and/or were forced to participate in criminal activities. The Protocols also recognize the unique status and rights of children.

US-based action

Reports from across the United States show a number of communities taking local action to solve, or otherwise highlight, this global problem.

In Southern California, Sister Caritas Foster is an advocate for the area’s victims of human trafficking. Commenting on the area’s involvement, she stated: “We in the San Francisco Bay Area are one of the largest receiving areas with our borders and coasts”. For over four years, Foster has worked on educating the public on human trafficking, speaking to civic and religious groups and describing the power traffickers hold over their victims through vivid accounts of situations trafficked individuals find themselves in. Many have no idea where they are located, suffer under the constant threat of deportation, and most often lack the language abilities to seek help.

Los Angeles politician Don Knabe said human trafficking was not a distant problem but one that hits close to home. As the county supervisor overseeing the fourth district in Los Angeles County, Knabe cited figures from the Probation Department showing 84 percent of arrests of children on prostitution charges in 2010 were in his district; he believes the overall problem for the county is much larger, and wants the Probation Department to establish a special unit dedicated to sexually exploited minors.

Northward in Seattle, Washington, members of the King County Sheriff’s department realized that law enforcement had to deal supportively with the symptoms of human trafficking — rather than putting victims in jail. This gave birth to the “Genesis Project” where sheriff’s deputies offer potential victims of trafficking a comfortable safe haven with amenities for 24 hours, and put them in touch with social services for counselling, job training, and education advice.

Politicians from several states have sought to address the connection between tourism and human trafficking; Indiana’s state Senate unanimously passed a human trafficking bill on Tuesday morning. Current legislation only considered forced marriage and prostitution as human trafficking; loopholes in the existing laws allowed some forms of human trafficking to escape prosecution. Lawmakers in the state hope to toughen their human trafficking laws, and have new legislation on the statute books in time for the Super Bowl, due to be held in Indianapolis on February 5. The just-passed bill now goes to the House for approval.

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Also on Tuesday, lawmakers from Hawaii held a special hearing on human trafficking. Kathryn Xian, of Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, says traffickers capitalize on the state’s tourist-based economy. She introduced a package of seven bills she says will help prevent human trafficking in the state.

At a national level, the US government continues to work abroad on the issue of trafficking; Luis CdeBaca, a special ambassador for human trafficking, is working with Myanmar, commonly known as Burma, as the country seeks to improve diplomatic relations with the United States. Myanmar was identified by the US State Department as having one of the worst records of forced labor, and as a country that lacks necessary laws to curb human trafficking.

Trafficking, the global picture

File image of a Nepali mother who travelled to Mumbai, India, hoping to rescue her teenage daughter from an Indian brothel.
Image: Kay Chernush, US State Dept..

Although National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is a US-based effort to recognise, and highlight, this issue — as a topic of global concern being highlighted through the United Nations, others around the world continue efforts to increase public awareness and tackle trafficking.

Forty-six women from the international group Operation Mobilization sought to raise awareness by climbing Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. The summit is called “Uhuru Peak”, with Uhuru meaning “freedom” in Swahili. Each of the non-professional climbers raised US$10,000 to help those affected by human trafficking.

In the Middle East, several countries are reported to have problems with human traffickers recruiting unemployed gay Kenyan men to become sex slaves. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supposedly the more-common destination countries into which Kenyans are lured with offers of high-paying jobs. However, in the United Arab Emirates — where no law prohibits trafficking, but homosexuality is illegal — the problem is compounded.

Enforcement of existing laws, and acting against trafficking, are seen as key steps in reducing the activity. Showing that no country is unaffected, Northern Ireland police are currently investigating five sex trafficking cases; and, on Monday, Filipino police rescued fifteen women following a tip-off regarding women recruited, and being held, prior to being sent to work abroad.

In the Northern Ireland situation, Detective Superintendent Philip Marshall stated that fifteen men are to be contacted, suspected of having paid for sex with trafficked women. Identifying victims within the UK, or victims seeking help, is becoming more challenging with the sex industry having switched to using hotel rooms as-opposed to street corners. Many victims of trafficking are found to be unaware of where within the country they are.

In the Philippines situation, Zamboanga City police are still seeking the recruiter of the fifteen women rescued in Rio Hondo.

A range of complexities are involved in the sentencing of both those convicted of human trafficking, and their victims. In one Canadian case, 43-year-old Hungarian Lajos Domotor pled guilty to trafficking men and women into forced labor. Following being charged with conspiracy to commit human trafficking, he developed terminal stomach cancer and has been given a 10 to 15 percent chance of living five years.

In the UK, officials are seeking to detect exploitation prior to sentencing — as a counter to the high number of foreign women in jails, frequently having been victims of trafficking. One in seven women prisoners across England and Wales are foreign, with the primary offenses being drug or immigration-related. A report into the issue recommends sentencing decisions should consider the role of women, and of coercion, in such cases.

Artists also have a special role to play in the education and awareness of the public. The first opera about sex trafficking will premiere in Liverpool, England, on March 7. Anya17 was composed by Adam Gorb with a libretto written by Ben Kaye. Performers will come from Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic contemporary music ensemble 10/10. Funding for the production was provided in part by the United Nations.

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November 21, 2011

Myanmar dissident Suu Kyi to run for parliament in by-elections

Myanmar dissident Suu Kyi to run for parliament in by-elections

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Myanmar
Other stories from Myanmar
  • 18 May 2015: Over 900 asylum seekers rescued off Indonesian coast
  • 2 April 2012: Aung San Suu Kyi claims a seat in the Parliamentary elections in Myanmar
  • 30 March 2012: Report indicates continued severe weather problems still looming
  • 9 March 2012: Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton present 2012 International Women of Courage Awards
  • 19 January 2012: Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi to contest in by-election
…More articles here
Location of Myanmar

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To write, edit, start or view other articles on Myanmar, see the Myanmar Portal
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Suu Kyi
Image: World Economic Forum.

Myanmar political dissident Aung San Suu Kyi will run for a seat in parliament in upcoming by-elections, National League for Democracy (NLD) senior official Nyan Win announced today. The NLD decided Friday to participate in the by-elections, but Suu Kyi did not say directly then that she would run.

The by-elections include 48 seats in Parliament, all of which the NLD intends to contest. Dates for the elections have not yet been set.

Suu Kyi was released from house arrest last year. She had stated she would only accept an unconditional release, not a release on conditions. On Friday, in advocating participation in the upcoming by-elections, she remarked, “Some people are worried that taking part could harm my dignity. Frankly, if you do politics, you should not be thinking about your dignity.”

The military junta of Myanmar held elections last November, which NLD boycotted since many dissidents — including Suu Kyi — were not allowed to run. The junta responded by legally revoking the NLD’s status as a political party. The NLD voted Friday to re-register as a party.

Last year’s election was the first since 1990, when the NLD won a landslide that the military junta refused to acknowledge. A year later, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Various parties have acknowledged recent signs of political reform in Myanmar, such as the relaxing of the law that had prevented Suu Kyi and many other political dissidents from participating in elections last year. Suu Kyi in a speech last Monday was cautiously positive about recent developments. US President Obama announced Friday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Myanmar in December, an unprecedented move since the military coup in Myanmar in 1962. The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) at its recent summit decided to allow Myanmar to hold ASEAN’s rotating chair in 2014.



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March 24, 2011

Magnitude 6.8 earthquake strikes northeastern Myanmar

Magnitude 6.8 earthquake strikes northeastern Myanmar

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Myanmar
Other stories from Myanmar
  • 18 May 2015: Over 900 asylum seekers rescued off Indonesian coast
  • 2 April 2012: Aung San Suu Kyi claims a seat in the Parliamentary elections in Myanmar
  • 30 March 2012: Report indicates continued severe weather problems still looming
  • 9 March 2012: Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton present 2012 International Women of Courage Awards
  • 19 January 2012: Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi to contest in by-election
…More articles here
Location of Myanmar

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake has struck the northeast of Myanmar, near the borders of China and Thailand, according to the United States Geological Survey. The earthquake, which was originally registered at mangnitude 7.0 occured at the rather shallow depth of 10 km (6.2 miles) in a sparsely populated, remote area in the northeast, striking about 89 km (55 miles) north of Chiang Rai, Thailand at 13:55 UTC.

Tremors from the quake could be felt in Bangkok and Hanoi. A second earthquake occurred a half-hour later, which registered at a preliminary magnitude of 4.8. One person has been killed in Chiang Rai by a roof collaspe. A third quake occurred an hour and a half later and registered a preliminary magnitude of 5.4.

No tsunami was formed or is expected to form as a result of the quake. A bulletin from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center stated, “The earthquake is located too far inland and too deep inside the earth to generate a tsunami in the Indian Ocean.”



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January 13, 2011

Burma introduces military draft

Burma introduces military draft – Wikinews, the free news source

Burma introduces military draft

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Myanmar
Other stories from Myanmar
  • 18 May 2015: Over 900 asylum seekers rescued off Indonesian coast
  • 2 April 2012: Aung San Suu Kyi claims a seat in the Parliamentary elections in Myanmar
  • 30 March 2012: Report indicates continued severe weather problems still looming
  • 9 March 2012: Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton present 2012 International Women of Courage Awards
  • 19 January 2012: Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi to contest in by-election
…More articles here
Location of Myanmar

A map showing the location of Myanmar

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According to an official document, the Burmese junta has passed a law dated November 4, 2010, requiring able-bodied persons over the age of 18 to register with local authorities. Furthermore, the law requires all men between the ages 18 and 45 as well as all women between 18 to 35 to join the army if they are called upon. Those who fail to report for military service could be imprisoned for three years, and face fines. Those who deliberately inflict injury upon themselves to avoid conscription could be imprisoned for up to five years, as well as fines. Civil servants, students, those serving prison terms, and those caring for an elderly parent are currently excluded from the draft, but they could be later called to serve. Totally exempt are members of religious orders, disabled persons, and married or divorced women with children.

The Democratic Voice of Burma claims that the law was passed just before the new parliament convened in order to avoid scrutiny of the practice by the new parliament. However, laws surrounding forcible conscription are murky and it is unclear how tightly the new law would be enforced.

The new law has faced stiff criticism by Burmese around the world. Aung Kyaw Zaw, a military analyst on the China-Burma border, said that there are pros and cons to the new law. “From the bad side, our country is already in deep poverty and the people barely have anything to eat. So [adopting such a law] may cause bigger negative effects on the country, which is already…struggling to feed the current army and carry the burden of military expenses.”

“On the plus side, civilians will learn how to use guns and be given a chance to understand the nature of the military. With the knowledge of how to handle weapons, the people will be able to rise up against the military – in a way they will be trained for the revolution.”

Many people see the draft as a threat to ethnic armed groups, who have been long embroiled in guerrilla conflicts with the government.

Burma is a military dictatorship and already has a standing army close to half a million, one of the biggest per capita in the world. Previously, professionals, including doctors, engineers and mechanics, between the ages of 18 and 44, and females between 18 to 33, were required to serve in the military for up to three years. However, the new law extends this to five years in case of a national emergency.



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