Burma

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Burma Jails Tourist for Unplugging Speaker

It just happened to be blasting a Buddhist sermon

(Newser) - A Burma court sentenced a Dutch citizen to three months in prison Thursday for interfering with a religious observance in a most unusual way: He unplugged an amplifier blasting a late-night Buddhist sermon near his hotel in Mandalay. Klaas Haytema, 30, in handcuffs, wept with his girlfriend before he left... More »

'Watershed Moment' in Burma

Htin Kyaw is first civilian leader in 54 years

(Newser) - Burma's parliament elected Htin Kyaw as the country's new president Tuesday in a watershed moment that ushers the longtime opposition party of Aung San Suu Kyi into government after 54 years of direct or indirect military rule, reports the AP . The joint session of the two houses of... More »

Jade Mine Disaster Kills More Than 100

At least 100 others still missing in northern Burma

(Newser) - Soldiers, police, and volunteers pulled body after body from the rubble in northern Burma on Monday as the death toll from a landslide near several jade mines reached at least 113, with more than 100 others missing, a local official says. The collapse early Saturday in Kachin state's mining... More »

Suu Kyi's Party Wins Majority

Burma says resounding no to military rule

(Newser) - Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party has secured a historic majority in Burma's parliament, making it possible to form the country's first truly civilian government in more than 50 years. With the tally still being counted, the Election Commission said that Suu Kyi's National League for... More »

Suu Kyi Party Suspects 'Trick' After Election

But she says government has promised to respect will of the people

(Newser) - Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party, which appears headed for a massive election victory , accused the government election panel Tuesday of intentionally delaying results, saying it may be trying "to play a trick." However, in an interview with the BBC , Suu Kyi did not repeat... 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 »

Burma Captures Rare White Elephant

She's the 9th in captivity in the country

(Newser) - Burma's forestry department has captured a rare white elephant in the jungles of the country's western Ayeyarwaddy region, an official said today. The 7-year-old female was captured Friday, six weeks after she was initially spotted in a reserve in Pathein township, forestry official Tun Tun Oo said. It'... 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 »

Climbers Discover New Top Peak in Burma

Remote Mt. Gamlang highest in all SE Asia, team says

(Newser) - Burma may new have a new tallest mountain, according to a US-Burmese mountaineering team that trekked through jungles crawling with cobras, made a brief, illegal detour through Chinese-controlled Tibet, and survived a terrifying 600-foot drop into a crevice on their way to the top of what has long been thought... 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 »

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