October 27, 2013 |
THABYUCHAING, Myanmar - U Abdul Samat spent his life farming the rice paddies that stretched, brilliant green, in all directions. Now he was nearly 90 years old, a great-grandfather who walked with a cane. He was also a Muslim, and the men who stormed his village with machetes were Buddhists looking for Muslims to kill. As the mob set fire to more than 100 homes not marked with a Buddhist flag, Abdul's neighbors took cover at the mosque. But Abdul wasn't quick enough. According to a survivor, the old man was killed by an assailant who swung a heavy sword into the back of his head.
May 26, 2010 |
On the face of it, it's easy to support the courageous decision of the beleaguered Burmese opposition to boycott upcoming parliamentary elections in Myanmar (formerly Burma), even though the decision led to the dissolution of its National League for Democracy party. The elections are the first to be held since 1990, when the repressive military junta took control and renamed the country. A new law bars prisoners from being members of political parties, so the opposition decided to fold its tent rather than jettison incarcerated opposition icon and party co-founder Aung San Suu Kyi. Better to dissolve in protest than legitimize the ruling regime is the opposition's view.
August 13, 2010 |
Myanmar announced Friday that it will hold its first election in two decades on Nov. 7, part of what analysts characterize as a bid by the secretive ruling military regime to appear more open and responsive to the outside world. The United States and European Union have dismissed the exercise as little more than window dressing that will have little impact on who controls the country. The announcement, however, made in the form of a brief release on state television, ends months of speculation on the timing.
November 18, 2012 |
Yangon, Myanmar - President Obama on Monday became the first U.S. president to visit Myanmar, a once-secretive nation emerging from decades of authoritarian rule. Obama is expected to urge the Southeast Asian country's government to stay the course toward democratic reforms. The White House has billed his visit as a celebration of the recent shift by the government of President Thein Sein, symbolized most publicly by the release of dissident Aung San Suu Kyi in 2010 after years of house arrest.
November 15, 2012 |
NEW DELHI -- In an apparent goodwill gesture days before the arrival of President Obama in Myanmar, the country's president Thursday released 452 prisoners, although it wasn't immediately clear how many had been jailed for their political views and how many were common criminals. According to the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper, President Thein Sein ordered the amnesty "on humanitarian grounds" to spur friendship with neighboring countries and in hopes that those released would recognize the goodwill of the state and "do their bits in nation-building tasks.
April 29, 2013 |
NEW DELHI, India -- Ever since Myanmar opened to the West, released political prisoners and allowed the opposition led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to run for office, it has been dogged by tensions among its many ethnic and religious minorities. Rifts and discord held largely in check during decades of repressive military rule have burst into the global spotlight. On Monday, the government issued a report on one of the most difficult situations it faces: how to tackle tensions between the Rohingya, a Muslim minority concentrated in the western state of Rakhine, and the ethnic Rakhine Buddhist majority.
May 14, 2013 |
NEW DELHI - A boat carrying approximately 100 Rohingya Muslims capsized late Monday off the coast of Myanmar with many of its occupants feared dead, UN officials said, as the region braced for a cyclone expected to slam low-lying areas inhabited by the embattled minority. The boat apparently ran into some rocks off Pauktaw township in western Rakhine state and sank as people were evacuating, with approximately 40 passengers rescued and 60 still missing, said Ashok Nigam, United Nations director and resident coordinator in Myanmar, based on preliminary information.
April 2, 2013 |
Electrical problems were to blame for a fire that reportedly killed 13 children at a mosque and religious school in Myanmar, authorities said Tuesday, even as the blaze stirred up suspicions of an attack on Muslims. Yangon regional fire chief Kyi Win told Eleven Media that the children were trapped in the burning building, unable to escape through windows blocked with iron bars. Scores rushed out to safety when firefighters opened the doors, the fire chief said, but others unable to flee were found dead upstairs.
March 25, 2013 |
As the Myanmar government urged calm, Muslim shops reportedly sat shuttered Monday in the capital of Yangon, a sign of continued unease after the re-eruption of deadly religious violence in the country. Riots in the central city of Meiktila, reportedly triggered by an argument between Buddhists and a Muslim shop owner, are estimated to have killed at least 32 people last week. Mosques were burned and homes destroyed as mobs attacked Muslims. The violence spread beyond Meiktila through the week and into the weekend, displacing thousands of people.
January 2, 2013 |
The Myanmar military has admitted using airstrikes against rebels in the country's north, despite earlier government statements saying planes were being used only to supply troops. The strikes signal an escalation in clashes between government forces and the ethnic Kachin rebels, who seek greater autonomy. Video recorded from the rebel trenches by an aid group and shared with the BBC shows attack helicopters firing toward the ground. The military acknowledged the strikes Wednesday on state television, the Associated Press reported.