Burma

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'Rajuma's Story Stopped Me': Veteran Reporter Can't Shake It

Jeffrey Gettleman of 'New York Times' recalls wrenching interview with Rohingya woman

(Newser) - Last week, reporter Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times wrote a harrowing account of how Myanmar soldiers ripped a baby boy from the arms of his Rohingya mother and threw the child into a fire before raping her. Now, in a first-person account, Gettleman writes that his interview with... More »

Myanmar Leader Stripped of Honor Amid Ethnic Cleansing Claims

De facto leader of Myanmar criticized for downplaying the issue

(Newser) - Oxford recognized Aung San Suu Kyi for her struggle to bring democracy to Myanmar when the city gave her the honorary Freedom of Oxford title in 1997. On Monday night, city councilors decided to withdraw the honor, CNN reports. Suu Kyi, the longtime activist turned de facto leader of Myanmar,... More »

UN's Human Rights Chief Just Went There on Myanmar

'Seems like a textbook example of ethnic cleansing'

(Newser) - The top human rights official for the UN has dropped a damning charge on Myanmar: "ethnic cleansing." Addressing the agency's Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that Myanmar will not allow investigators to fully assess what's happening to the Muslim Rohingya community, "... More »

One Rule Blocks Suu Kyi From Presidency in Burma

But her party looks headed for a landslide victory

(Newser) - Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party was confident after Burma's elections Sunday , and that confidence so far seems to have borne out: Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party appears "on course for a landslide victory that could ensure it forms the next government," per Reuters... More »

Corrupt Jade Trade Turns Burma Into 'Hell on Earth'

Report says it's "the biggest natural resource heist in modern history"

(Newser) - The jade trade in Burma "may well be the biggest natural resource heist in modern history," according to a report published Friday by an international anti-corruption organization. That organization, Global Witness, puts the value of the jade produced in 2014 in Burma at at least $31 billion—more... More »

The 5 Worst Places to Die in the World

'The Economist' ranks end-of-life care

(Newser) - There's no avoiding death—but some places are "better" places to die than others. The Economist looked at 80 countries and ranked them for "quality of death," looking at factors including the overall palliative care and healthcare environment, the availability and training of healthcare professionals, the... More »

'Human Ping Pong': Abandoned Migrants Drinking Own Urine

Region's countries won't accept ships carrying Rohingya Muslims

(Newser) - A wooden fishing vessel carrying up to 400 Burmese migrants is adrift in the Andaman Sea off Thailand with nowhere to go as Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia play what a rep from Human Rights Watch Asia calls "a three-way game of human ping pong." Amid an influx of... More »

Burma Jails 3 Men Over Facebook Buddha Post

Poster depicted Buddha wearing DJ headphones

(Newser) - A Burmese bar owner and two employees have been sentenced to two and a half years in jail over a Facebook post that promoted a night of cheap drinks. The post, which depicted Buddha wearing DJ headphones, was found in violation of Burma's Religion Act, which bans damaging or... More »

Scientists Replay Call, Bird Last Seen in 1941 Surfaces

Jerdon's babbler spotted in Burma

(Newser) - Good news courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation Society: An apparently "extinct" bird last seen in Burma almost 75 years ago has flown back into view. The Jerdon's babbler, or Chrysomma altirostre, initially discovered in 1862, was spotted in grasslands near the town of Myitkyo in July 1941 but... More »

Decade After Tsunami, Bodies Still Unidentified

Most of the 369 thought to be Burmese

(Newser) - This week marks a decade since the tsunami that claimed some 226,000 lives in 14 countries on Dec. 26, 2004. But even now, questions remain about its toll: Almost 400 bodies, for instance, are in numbered coffins in Thailand, and 369 of them haven't even been identified, Reuters... More »

We Shouldn't Be Optimistic About Burma—or Suu Kyi

Adam Lerner writes that the president has some shortcomings to acknowledge

(Newser) - Barack Obama is currently in the midst of a three-day visit to Burma, and after an evening meeting with President Thein Sein he expressed that he is "optimistic about the possibilities" for the country. Writing for Politico , Adam Lerner sees "optimism" as the entirely wrong word choice. As... More »

Burma Sets 73 Political Prisoners Free

But protesters still face arrest: activists

(Newser) - Following up on a promise made while in Europe, Burma's president is reportedly setting 73 political prisoners free today, adding to hundreds already let go. "The total number of remaining political prisoners has now dropped to lower than 100 for the first time in many years," says... More »

'Godfather of Heroin' Dead at 80

Lo Hsing Han first got involved in drugs in the '60s

(Newser) - A man dubbed the "Godfather of Heroin" has died at the age of 80, leaving behind a dark and powerful tale. The New York Times and AP tell it: Lo Hsing Han, who died Saturday in Burma, existed as "a potent symbol of the ability of the country’... More »

Burma Minority Limited to 2 Kids

Now a top official supports local rule

(Newser) - Burmese officials last month "reaffirmed" a controversial two-child limit on minority Rohingya Muslims in two townships in Rakhine state, and now a top official has lent his support to the effort. "This will benefit the Bengali women," Immigration Minister Khin Yi tells Reuters , using the government term... More »

Suu Kyi: I Want to Be President in 2015

Former political prisoner has grand ambition in Burma

(Newser) - This would have been unthinkable a scant few years ago—let alone during the 15 years she spent under house arrest—but Aung San Suu Kyi says she wants to be the next president of Burma in 2015, reports Voice of America . "I want to run for president, and... More »

Slaves May Be Catching the Fish You Eat: Report

15 Burmese workers beaten, forced to work for Thai crew

(Newser) - A new report by UK activists points to slave labor in the Thai fishing industry—whose biggest buyer happens to be the US. The Environmental Justice Foundation report , published Wednesday, cites a case of slave labor in which 15 Burmese people, paid little or nothing, were allegedly beaten and forced... More »

Burma, Monks 'Encouraging' Ethnic Cleansing: Report

125K Muslims displaced after last year's violence: Human Rights Watch

(Newser) - Burma and its Buddhist monks have "organized and encouraged" ethnic cleansing in the country, asserts Human Rights Watch in a new report . Some 125,000 of the country's minority Rohingya Muslims have been displaced, in what amounts to "crimes against humanity," per the report. It's... More »

Burma Mosque Blaze Kills 13 Children

Residents fear Rangoon blaze linked to sectarian violence

(Newser) - Burma's biggest city is on edge after a fire engulfed a mosque compound, killing at least 13 schoolchildren. Authorities blamed the fire on electrical problems but angry Muslim residents of the Rangoon neighborhood believe the fire is related to the sectarian violence that has killed at least 40 people... More »

Argument Triggers Deadly Religious Riots in Burma

With 20 dead, president declares state of emergency

(Newser) - Religious riots between Buddhists and Muslims have rocked a central Burmese town for two days, leaving at least 20 dead and prompting President Thein Sein to declare a state of emergency, the AP reports. A local reporter estimated the number of dead at closer to 40, the New York Times... More »

China Gets Tougher on Internet Users

...while Burma opens way for private daily newspapers

(Newser) - No more aliases for China's Internet users. The government now requires users to give service providers their real names, a move that could potentially silence some microblog chatter. Internet firms are also facing more pressure to remove and report any banned postings. The crackdown comes after Internet users recently... More »

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