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Obama – the first 100 hours

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Obama – the first 100 hours

At 4pm today, Barack Obama will have been president for 100 hours. From ordering the closure of Guantánamo Bay to approving missile strikes, we take a look at the first 100 things he did in office

Oliver Burkeman and Ed Pilkington
The Guardian, Saturday 24 January 2009
Article history

1 Said: “So help me God.” The phrase is not required by the constitution, so it’s arguable that he, Barack Obama, was president by the time he said it, making these his first words in office.

2 Delivered a 17-minute inauguration address, telling the crowds it was time to “pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America”.

3 Invoked biggest cheer of the day from the 2 million-plus crowd with the words: “Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many … But know this, America – they will be met.”

4 Then the words: “We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” George Bush, sitting to his left, looks decidedly uncomfortable.

5 With his wife, Michelle, escorted George and Laura Bush to the waiting helicopter, where the two men hugged before the former president began his journey home to Texas.

6 As the helicopter disappeared into clear skies, Obama now had Washington, and the United States, all to himself. His relief was palpable.

7 Inside the Capitol building, signed his first documents as president, including cabinet nominations.

8 “I’m a lefty. Get used to it,” he said, as he signed. Obama is the fourth southpaw, or left-handed, president out of the past five (Dubya is right-handed).

9 Signed a proclamation declaring 20 January 2009 a national day of renewal and reconciliation.

10 Completed the signing session, looking wistfully at the object in his left hand. “I was told not to swipe the pen,” he said.

11 Attended a lunch with congressional leaders, where he dined on a menu from Lincoln’s day: pheasant, duck and apple cake served on replica Lincoln White House china.

12 Addressed the assembled crowd, minus Ted Kennedy, who was removed on a stretcher with medical difficulties.

13 Entered his limousine, nicknamed The Beast, to begin the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to his new home at number 1600.

14 The armour-plated Beast has tinted windows, but through them Obama could be seen clearly practising his military salute.

15 Walked two stretches of the 1.7-mile route, waving at the crowds lining the street.

16 Briefly entered the White House with his family – the Obamas’ first moments in their new home.

17 As he entered the North Porticoe into the central entrance, he passed a portrait of the elder George Bush on his left and Bill Clinton on the right. Straight ahead of him, above the door to the Blue Room, was the seal of the US president. His seal.

18 Took his position in the reviewing stand outside the White House, to watch 40 bands and other groups parade past, including the World Famous Lawn Rangers from Illinois, who pushed decorated lawn mowers.

19 Tried out that salute, as cadets marched by. Not bad, though he needs to keep his hand straight.

20 Instructed military prosecutors to seek a 120-day halt to legal proceedings involving detainees at Guantánamo Bay.

21 Issued an order instructing government agencies to halt all pending regulations signed by Bush – a way of combating efforts by the outgoing administration to force through last-minute changes without congressional approval.

22 Danced with Michelle to Beyonce’s rendition of At Last, by Etta James, as the opening dance of the Neighbourhood Ball.

23 Appeared to step on the train of Michelle’s custom-designed gown by Jason Wu, but otherwise showed himself to be a decent dancer.

24 Gave a brief interview to ABC News, whose reporter said: “Mr President – sounds good, doesn’t it?” “It’s got a certain ring to it,” he replied.

25 Danced and spoke again at the Home State Ball, for Illinois and Hawaii.

26 A quick transfer to the Commander-in-Chief ball, with many military attendees, and a satellite link to war zones. Obama danced with Army Sergeant Margaret Herrera of Texas, who burst into tears.

27 Visited the Youth Ball, for people aged between 18 and 35.

28 Visited the Home State Ball for Delaware and Pennsylvania, in honour of Joe Biden, his vice-president.

29 Briefly visited the Mid-Atlantic Ball.

30 … And the Western Ball …

31 … And the Midwestern Ball …

32 … And the Southern Ball …

33 … And the Eastern Ball. The couple looked increasingly exhausted as the evening progressed, and sped up their appearances, ending the night ahead of schedule.

34 Back to White House at 12.55am to spend his first night there.

35 The Obamas slept in the master bedroom in the private residence on the first floor of the White House. Their daughters, Malia and Sasha, who were treated to a treasure hunt by White House staff on their first evening culminating with a surprise visit by their favourite music act the Jonas Brothers, slept in bedrooms over the corridor once occupied by Amy Carter, Tricia Nixon, Luci Johnson and Caroline Kennedy.

36 Four hours of sleep and he was up and at it on his first full day. Lights were reported in the private residence at 5am.

37 Obama probably squeezed in a visit to the exercise room on the second floor. He has daily 45-minute gym sessions.

38 Spent his first 10 minutes alone in the Oval Office.

39 Got to sit for the first time behind the Resolute desk, a gift from Queen Victoria to America in 1880.

40 Read the letter that Bush had left for him, according to tradition, in the top drawer of the desk, marked: “To #44, From #43”. Its contents have not been revealed.

41 Discussed the day’s events with his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. It’s their first Oval Office meeting.

42 Posed for pictures taken by his personal White House photographer of him and Emanuel in deep discussion. Press photographers later expressed their anger that they weren’t invited to capture the moment.

43 Briefly spoke with his wife, Michelle, in the Oval Office.

44 Attended morning-after post-inauguration service with his family, the Bidens, and the Clintons, at the Washington National Cathedral.

45 Laughed when Rev Samuel Lloyd proclaimed: “This is their first full day on the job and the best way we can imagine to begin is by praying for them.”

46 Listened, with head bowed, to the first sermon at a president’s inaugural church service delivered by Rev Sharon Watkins.

47 Telephoned the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas – according to Abbas’s spokesman, the call was Obama’s first to a foreign leader.

48 Phoned the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert.

49 Phoned King Abdullah of Jordan.

50 Phoned Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak. The Middle Eastern calls, Obama’s press spokesman said, were intended “to communicate his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term”.

51 Issued executive order limiting the powers of former presidents and vice-presidents to block the release of sensitive records of their time in the White House. It would allow the administration to approve release of former vice-president Dick Cheney’s records, among others, against his objections.

52 Issued instruction to government agencies to be more responsive to freedom of information requests.

53 Announced a tightening of rules on ex-lobbyists working in government.

54 Announced a pay freeze for his staff earning $100,000 (£73,000) or more. “Families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington,” he said.

55 Witnessed the swearing-in of about 50 senior members of White House staff.

56 Told his top team that “transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency”.

57 Biden made a joke about Chief Justice Roberts’s flubbing of the presidential oath as he prepared to lead the swearing in. Obama did not look amused. Was this one transparency too far?

58 Personally greeted each of the newly sworn-in staff.

59 Obama hosted an “open house” in the White House for 200 people who had been granted tickets on a first-come, first-served basis; some were in tears.

60 “Welcome, enjoy yourself,” the president told one young man. “Roam around. Don’t break anything.”

61 Met the joint chiefs of staff and other members of his national security team to discuss Iraq and Afghanistan. His first chance to check out the wizardry in the Situation Room, with its screens receiving satellite images from around the world and its banks of incoming top-secret messages.

62 Met economic advisors to discuss his stimulus package, which could be worth $900bn.

63 Re-swore the oath of office in the White House Map Room out of an “abundance of caution”. Or alternatively as a way of killing off the storm of right-wing agitprop that has been tearing through the internet suggesting that the first botched attempt at the oath means Obama is not rightfully president.

64 This time they got it right. Roberts asked “Are you ready to take the oath?” Obama replied: “I am, and we’re going to do it very slowly.”

65 “We decided it was so much fun.” Obama joked to reporters after the event. “The bad news … is there’s 12 more balls.”

66 Ate dinner with his family at the White House on Wednesday evening in the private dining room on the first floor.

67 Was waited upon by the 95-strong White House staff. Barack and Michelle will not have to make their own bed for as long as they are in the mansion, though Malia and Sasha will, at their mother’s insistence.

68 Gave a speech at a Wednesday night Thank You Ball for campaign workers at the Washington DC Armoury. “You guys dress a lot sharper than you did in Iowa!” he told the crowd.

69 Walked up and down the rope line shaking campaign workers’ hands – officially, the final act of the inauguration celebrations.

70 On Thursday morning, said goodbye to his daughters, Sasha and Malia, who were returning to Washington’s Sidwell Friends school after two days off for the inauguration.

71 Back to the gym for likely work-out.

72 Absorbed the news that the specially commissioned piece of music by John Williams played “live” at his inauguration by a quartet of world-class musicians had in fact been recorded two days’ previously.

73 Released statement on the 36th anniversary of the landmark Roe v Wade supreme court judgment, reaffirming his commitment to protecting abortion rights.

74 To applause, signed executive order requiring the closure of the military prison at Guantánamo within one year.

75 Obama said: “The message we are sending around the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism … and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals.” Was Bush watching on TV at home in Dallas cringing?

76 Signed second executive order requiring the closure of the CIA’s network of secret overseas prisons, and making a commitment to not using torture in interrogations.

77 Signed third executive order establishing an interagency taskforce on detainees, including Hillary Clinton and the defence secretary, Robert Gates, to decide what to do with the remaining Guantánamo inmates.

78 Signed directive to delay proceedings in the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, currently awaiting a hearing at the supreme court, so that the president’s team can review it. Marri is accused of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent.

79 Visited the state department, where Clinton had earlier made an introductory address to staff.

80 Watched, with impassive face, as Clinton said that she had appointed two special envoys to world trouble zones. The appointments had previously been billed as Obama’s own. Was this a taste of rivalry to come?

81 Endured second gaffe by his vice-president in a week. Biden stepped into the tension between Obama and Clinton, saying at first that the president would announce the envoys and then hurriedly saying Clinton would present them.

82 Clinton got to name George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader and Irish peace negotiator, as special envoy to the Middle East peace process. Obama later claimed him as his envoy. Who is in charge here?

83 Clinton named the former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke as special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama later names him as his envoy. Bully to you, secretary of state!

84 Called on Hamas to end its rocket fire into Israel, and for Israel to “complete the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza”, adding that Gaza’s borders should be opened to humanitarian aid.

85 Paid brief surprise visit to the White House press area, startling journalists. “Good to see you guys. I just wanted to make sure that I had a chance to say hello,” he said. “I gotta say, it’s smaller than I thought.”

86 Observing that CNN and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News had adjacent booths, he likened them to the goal for Israel and the Palestinians: “Living side by side in peace and security,” he noted.

87 Slight tetchiness entered the proceedings when a reporter asked a serious question about his nomination of a former lobbyist as number two at the Pentagon. “I can’t come in and shake hands if I’m gonna get grilled every time,” Obama said.

88 Said that he had won his fight to keep a Blackberry. The president will be given a $3,000 special version with encryption to secure his email exchanges with a very limited number of vetted correspondents.

89 Convened meeting with congressional leaders on the economic crisis.

90 Invited Republican leaders into the White House to air their discontent over the bail-out package. He is proving himself to be adept in defusing potential enemies.

91 Sat in on the daily briefing of the National Security Council giving updates on threats around the world.

92 Approves first American missile strikes under his presidency on tribal areas of Pakistan.

93 Started the first of what will now be a new daily series of briefings on the economy led by Larry Summers.

94 Budget meeting. With projections of an annual deficit of more than $1tr this year, there was plenty to talk about.

95 Rounded off a gruelling first three days with a meeting in the Oval Office with Timothy Geithner, his nominee for treasury secretary who is still embroiled in a drawn-out confirmation process in the Senate.

96 The Obamas had a choice of possible entertainments to round off their week. The choicest of all, most past presidents agree, is the private theatre, where they can watch Hollywood films before they are put on general release.

97 Back to the gym. There is no way Obama would miss his work-out on a Saturday.

98 Finally, a chance to take in the White House and its grounds at a slightly more relaxed tempo. The Obamas have said they will continue to spend weekends in their Chicago home, but this weekend is likely to be a time for acclimatising in their new residence.

99 Obama may take the opportunity to test out the White House basketball court. The court has been modified to put up two nets, allowing for a full game.

100 Obama retreats to his office on the first floor, puts his feet up on the desk, leans back and goes to light one of the cigarettes he has been struggling to give up. But alas smoking is banned in the White House.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 24, 2009 at 1:29 am

Barack Obama

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Video: Inauguration of Barack Obama as US president – 21 Jan 2009 AlJazeeraEnglish


44th President of the United States
Assumed office January 20, 2009
Vice President Joe Biden
Preceded by   George W. Bush
United States Senator from Illinois
In office January 3, 2005 – November 16, 2008
Preceded by   Peter Fitzgerald
Succeeded by  Roland Burris


Member of the Illinois Senate from the 13th district

In office January 8, 1997 – November 4, 2004

Preceded by  Alice Palmer

Succeeded by  Kwame Raoul


Born August 4, 1961 (1961-08-04) (age 47)
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States[1]
Birth name Barack Hussein Obama II[1]
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse Michelle Obama (m. 1992)
Children Malia Ann (b. 1998)
Sasha (b. 2001)
Residence Chicago, Illinois (Private)
Washington, D.C (Official)
Alma mater Occidental College
Columbia University (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Profession Community organizer
Religion Christian
(Most recent denomination:[2]
United Church of Christ)
Signature Barack Obama's signature

This article is part of a series about

Barack Obama

Background · Illinois Senate · U.S. Senate

Political positions · Public image · Family

2008 primaries · Obama–Biden campaign

Transition · Inauguration · US Presidency



Barack Hussein Obama II (pronounced /bəˈrɑːk hʊˈseɪn oʊˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961) is the forty-fourth and current President of the United States of America. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 3, 2005 until his resignation on November 16, 2008, following his election to the presidency. He was sworn in as President on January 20, 2009 in an inaugural ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He worked as a community organizer, and practiced as a civil rights attorney in Chicago before serving three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He also taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama was elected to the Senate in November 2004. Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004.

As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, Obama helped create legislation to control conventional weapons and to promote greater public accountability in the use of federal funds. He also made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. During the 110th Congress, he helped create legislation regarding lobbying and electoral fraud, climate change, nuclear terrorism, and care for U.S. military personnel returning from combat assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan.



Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 21, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Posted in Varieties in English

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Human Rights Day, Bill of Rights Day, and Human Rights Week, 2008

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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 9, 2008

Human Rights Day, Bill of Rights Day, and Human Rights Week, 2008
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

The United States was founded on the principle that government must respect people’s rights to speak freely, worship as they choose, and pursue their dreams in liberty. As we remember the enduring importance of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights, our thoughts turn to those who have yet to secure these precious liberties. During Human Rights Day, Bill of Rights Day, and Human Rights Week, Americans celebrate the rights bestowed upon all by our Creator and reaffirm our deep commitment to helping those whose desire for liberty and justice is still dismissed and denied.

In a free society, every person is treated with dignity and can rise as high as their talents and hard work will take them. Yet in countries like Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe, fervent pleas for freedom are silenced by tyranny and oppression. So long as there are people who fight for liberty, the United States will stand with them and speak out for those who have no other voice.

Freedom is the eternal birthright of all mankind, and during Human Rights Day, Bill of Rights Day, and Human Rights Week, we renew our commitment to lead the cause of human rights and pray for the day when the light of liberty will shine on all of humanity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 10, 2008, as Human Rights Day; December 15, 2008, as Bill of Rights Day; and the week beginning December 10, 2008, as Human Rights Week. I call upon the people of the United States to mark these observances with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


# # #

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 10, 2008 at 11:23 am

United States: Bush Signs Law on Child Soldiers

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By: Human Rights Watch

United States: Bush Signs Law on Child Soldiers

Measure to Prosecute Recruiters Abroad Puts Commanders on Notice

October 8, 2008

The US is saying to the world that using child soldiers is a serious crime and that it will take action. Military commanders who use children can no longer come to the United States without the risk of ending up in jail.

Jo Becker, children’s rights advocate

(New York, October 3, 2008) – Under a new law signed today by US President George W. Bush, leaders of military forces and armed groups who have recruited child soldiers may be arrested and prosecuted in the United States, Human Rights Watch said today. The law could apply to leaders of dozens of forces that have recruited and used child soldiers in over 20 armed conflicts.

The Child Soldiers Accountability Act makes it a federal crime to recruit knowingly or to use soldiers under the age of 15 and permits the United States to prosecute any individual on US soil for the offense, even if the children were recruited or served as soldiers outside the United States. The law imposes penalties of up to 20 years, or up to life in prison if their action resulted in the child’s death. It also allows the United States to deport or deny entry to individuals who have knowingly recruited children as soldiers.

“The US is saying to the world that using child soldiers is a serious crime and that it will take action,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocate for Human Rights Watch. “Military commanders who use children can no longer come to the United States without the risk of ending up in jail.”

The legislation was introduced by Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois and adopted unanimously by both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate in September 2008.

In a statement issued on October 3, Senator Durbin said: “The United States must not be a safe haven for those who exploit children as soldiers. Period. The use of children as combatants is one of the most despicable human rights violations in the world today and affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of boys and girls who are used as combatants, porters, human mine detectors and sex slaves. The power to prosecute and punish those who violate the law will send a clear signal that the U.S. will in no way tolerate this abhorrent practice.”

The recruitment and use of children as soldiers was recognized in 1998 as a war crime under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. In 2007, four former military commanders from Sierra Leone were convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for recruiting and using children as soldiers. Rebel and military commanders from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda have also been charged under the International Criminal Court with recruiting and using child soldiers, though none have yet gone to trial.

“This new law is a breakthrough because it no longer leaves the prosecution of child recruiters to international tribunals and the national courts of conflict-affected countries,” Becker said. “The United States is stepping up to hold these war criminals accountable in its own courts.”

Children are currently used in armed conflicts in at least 17 countries. Countries and territories in which children are known to have been used in hostilities between 2004 and 2007 include: Afghanistan, Burma, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Nepal, Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand and Uganda. Between 2001 and 2004, child soldiers were also used in Angola, Republic of Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Iran, and Yemen.


Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 2, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Posted in Varieties in English

Tagged with , , ,

World focus on Burma (18 November 2008)

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Rights Group Urges Ban Ki-moon to Visit Burma
Christian Post –
Protesters from Myanmar’s National League for Democracy shout slogans at a rally calling for immediate release of their pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu …

Global Insights: World’s Arms Trade Surging, but for How Long?
World Politics Review –
Some critics have questioned whether Beijing is fulfilling its pledge to adhere to the export rules of the Missile Technology Control Regime that govern …

Thaksin issues ultimatum through divorce tactic
เดอะ เนชั่น, Thailand –
Imagine Aung San Suu Kyi entering a Burmese Embassy somewhere overseas, two weeks after being convicted of fraud and five days after addressing a …

UN experts condemn Myanmar jailings
Earthtimes (press release), UK –
The group of UN experts, which include Tomas Ojea Quintana, the Special Rapporteurs on human rights in Myanmar, criticized the arbitrary detention of …

Commentary: Burma’s women come out of the shadows
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
It is clear that while all Burmese citizens are exploited by the military regime, women are doubly abused. Around the world, in countries under military …

Stitching together a life (Feature), India –
But, with the imposition of extensive sanctions stemming from 2003’s Burma Freedom and Democracy Act, exports to the United States were nonexistent by 2005. …

Race offence against truth
Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia –
An African immigrants’ group lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commissioner, accusing Andrews of racial discrimination, and he was pilloried on the …

New Generation activists jailed
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Aung Zaw Oo of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters network was transferred to Bago prison while network member Win Maw was transferred to Taung Ngu …

Prominent Monk, Others Receive Lengthy Prison Sentences
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

The subsequent crackdown by the military claimed at least 31 lives, according to human rights groups, while thousands of monks and civilians were arrested …

NLD MP Dr. Hla Aung passes away, India –
According to the National Coalition Government of Union of Burma (NCGUB) and the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), 34 NLD MPs-elect …

Burma-Bangladesh Maritime Talks Fail
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
“Myanmar[Burma] proposed a corridor in the Bay, and we have rejected it since we feel that equity should be the guiding method to settle the issue under the …

Jane’s Enfants D’Hiver…, UK –
… ‘Fictions’ – although the song ‘Aung San Suu Kyii’ gives it a particular edge with Jane singing about the rightful Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, …

UN rights experts condemn Myanmar activist trials
Reuters India, India –
GENEVA (Reuters) – Democracy activists in Myanmar jailed for long terms after unfair trials should be retried in open hearings, United Nations investigators …

Paving the Road to Hell
In These Times, IL –
Rabies is also metaphorical in Burma, renamed Myanmar by the mad-dog junta, formerly known by the deliciously sinister acronym SLORC. …

Rights experts adamant that reform must predate 2010 elections, India –
“The UN experts strongly urge the Myanmar [Burma] authorities to cease harassing and arresting individuals for peacefully exercising their internationally …

Global Financial Crisis Hits Burmese Jade Trade
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

Sales of jade are Burma’s third highest source of foreign income, earning an estimated $300 million in revenue for the military junta.

UN Condemns Myanmar Over 65-Year Jail Terms For Dissident, France –
GENEVA (AFP)–Five UN human rights experts Tuesday condemned Myanmar for imposing prison sentences of up to 65 years on democracy activists who joined …

Activist Than Nyein Undergoes Surgery
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
… an attempt to hold a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD youth members in Mayangone Township in Rangoon. “When I became involved in Burmese politics, …

CSW urges UN Secretary General to prioritise human rights in Burma
ChristianToday, UK –
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is calling on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to press ahead with his planned visit to Burma next month, …

The paper clip, 18 November
European Voice, Belgium –
Moving on to another repressive regime: Myanmar has been in the news this past week, once again for jailing opposition activists. …

Cheating in pulse and beans trade in Burma, India –
According to a trade bulletin issued by Commerce and Trade Department, the prices of all Burmese pulses and beans are falling in the Indian market. …

White House deplores recent sentencing of Burmese activists, India –
In a statement issued through President George Bush’s office, the United States decried the fact that, through the arbitrary actions of the Burmese junta, …

Gratitude: the win-win gift
The News-Press, FL –
I met pastors in Myanmar (Burma) that live on $1 a day and it cost them $400 to attend the conference. They risk being thrown in jail for talking about …

Fake drugs worth millions seized in Asia
The Age, Australia –
Nearly 200 raids were carried out in Cambodia, China, Laos, Burma, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam with the support of Interpol and the World Health …

White House Urges UN to Condemn Burma
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
… anti-democratic measures of the Burmese junta. Burma’s military government has sentenced at least 86 activists since November 7, including monks and …

Jade trade in China in double jeopardy
Merinews, India –
The “blood jade” as it is called by Myanmar democracy activists and its supporters world wide seems to be taking on a jaded look what with global financial …

Bangladesh: No Progress In Bangladesh, Myanmar Border Talks
Sin Chew Jit Poh, Malaysia –
Naval ships from Bangladesh and Myanmar, also known as Burma, faced off earlier this month when a South Korean company contracted by Myanmar set up a rig to …

Myanmar disperses dissidents throughout its gulag
Reuters UK, UK –
Ko Ko Gyi and Min Ko Naing, the former Burma’s best known political prisoner after detained opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, …

White House Condemns Myanmar’s Harsh Sentencing Of Dissidents, France –
“In the last few days in Burma, Than Shwe’s brutal regime arbitrarily sentenced additional pro-democracy activists to harsh prison terms,” the White House …

Statement by the Press Secretary on Burma (press release), DC –
In the last few days in Burma, Than Shwe’s brutal regime arbitrarily sentenced additional pro-democracy activists to harsh prison terms. …

How Bush Iraq Invasion Boosted Burma’s Junta
Atlantic Free Press, Netherlands –
“American policy toward Burma has been to isolate the regime through sanctions,” Packer writes. “This policy has been pursued as a moral response to a …

Media Release: Telstra
iT News, Australia –
Telstra also announced that it would extend its assistance package for those calling family and friends affected by the recent cyclone in Burma (Myanmar). ..

A Wanted Man in Burma
Atlantic Free Press, Netherlands –
Perhaps not least among these signs is the name, “Myanmar”, which is the ruling regime’s name-change for the country that is otherwise known — particularly …

Myanmar courts imprison more democracy activists
The Associated Press –
Other activists sentenced Monday included economics student Sithu Maung and three members of the illegal All Burma Federation of Student Union. …

US condemns jailing of Myanmar activists (Pressemitteilung), Austria –
AP WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States is criticizing military-run Myanmar’s «brutal regime» for what it calls the arbitrary sentencing of dozens of …

ACLU Says Undocumented and Refugee Teens Denied Reproductive Care
Pacifica Radio Network’s Election Center 2008, CA –
For Free Speech Radio News , I am Rami Almeghari in Gaza Seven more democracy activists in Burma were sentenced to prison today in closed door trials. …

Birmania. Il viaggio dei condannati
La Pulce di Voltaire, Italy –
… were transferred from Rangoon’s Insein Prison to remote prisons around Burma on Saturday night and early Sunday morning—with more prisoners expected to …

Burma, Myanmar: At least 9 activists Sentenced Today

OpEdNews, PA – By Ashin Mettacara
At least 9 activists in Burma were sentenced today for their involement in 2007 Saffron Revolution …

Wanted for Opposing the Junta
Asian Tribune, Thailand – By Antonio Graceffo
Burma’s ruling junta, the SPDC, uses disinformation and modern technology to issues a wanted order against Antonio Graceffo. …

UNITED NATIONS, November 17 — The UN on matters of money, how it is raised and how it is spent, is either willfully out of touch or intentionally …

Journalist imprisoned for covering cyclone victims
CPJ Press Freedom Online, NY –
Cyclone Nargis devastated the Irawaddy Delta and left tens of thousands dead after it hit Burma in early May. According to The Associated Press, …

Burmese ruby ban likely to be undermined
Financial Times, UK –
… her claims is difficult, but that is the task of US customs officials following sanctions imposed by Washington on Burma and its ruling military junta. …

Jade trade in China in double jeopardy
Merinews, India –
The “blood jade” as it is called by Myanmar democracy activists and its supporters world wide seems to be taking on a jaded look what with global financial …

Dreaming Nagas’ Dream…
MorungExpress, India –
… Eastern Naga Hoho, Religious Institutions and Nagas in Myanmar (formerly Burma) combined together with experts (like young professionals, media persons, ..

No headway in Burma-Bangla bilateral maritime parleys, India –
by Salai Pi Pi The two-day bilateral delimitation talks between Burma and Bangladesh over the disputed maritime boundary, held in Dakha, …

Bangladesh wants more talks with Burma on border
Radio Australia, Australia –
Bangladesh says it wants more talks with Burma to demarcate their maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal, but hopes the issue will be peacefully resolved. …

Sea talks make ‘incremental progress’
Bangladesh News 24 hours (subscription), Bangladesh –
But Myanmar, formerly known as Burma and ruled by military junta since 1962, violated the agreement earlier this month, sending vessels to the disputed …

MP-elect Dr Hla Aung dies aged 66
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Nov 17, 2008 (DVB)–Dr Hla Aung, elected representative for Wundwin constituency-2 and an active National League for Democracy member, passed away this …

88 generation leaders transferred to remote prisons
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
The Burmese ruling junta is known to be superstitious, and has previously been guided by auspicious dates and numbers.

Township authority arrested for selling relief aid, India –
by Solomon A local official in Burma’s Irrawaddy Division, accused of secretly selling rice donated by Saudi Arabia and intended for survivors of Cyclone …

Obama & Bush meet for White House photo op

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Obama & Bush meet for White House photo op

CHICAGO – It will be all smiles at the White House Monday when Barack Obama pays a visit – but behind the handshakes is friction over his plan to reverse many of President Bush‘s edicts on controversial matters like abortion and stem cells.

Obama’s legal eagles have targeted more than 200 unilateral Bush moves made in the past eight years for overturning. A team of lawyers has pored over the administration’s records for months, preparing for the changes.


John Podesta, Obama’s transition chief, warned that any unwelcome eleventh-hour executive orders could bequickly reversed by the new President when he takes office on Jan. 20.

“There’s a lot that the President can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we’ll see the President do that,” Podesta said on “Fox News Sunday.”


The expected cordial meeting and friendly photo opportunity today between the departing First Family and the Obamas will follow protocols of past transitions.

Lurking in the background will be tension over plans to reverse Bush’s longstanding orders. Among them: edicts barring funding for embryonic stem-cell research and a recent scheme that opened 360,000 acres of federal lands in Utah for oil and gas drilling.


“I think across the board, on stem-cell research, on a number of areas, you see the Bush administration even today moving aggressively to do things that I think are probably not in the interest of the country,” said Podesta, who served as chief of staff in the Clinton White House.

“They want to have oil and gas drilling in some of the most sensitive, fragile lands in Utah that they’re going to try to do right as they [are] walking out the door,” Podesta added. “I think that’s a mistake.”

Presidents long have used executive orders to impose policy and set priorities.

One of Bush’s first acts was to reinstate full abortion restrictions on U.S. overseas aid. The restrictions were first ordered by President Ronald Reagan, and President George H.W. Bush continued them. Bill Clinton lifted them soon after he took over the Oval Office, and it is expected Obama will do the same.

Executive orders “have the power of law and they can cover just about anything,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond. However, the President cannot overrule laws passed by Congress.

If the two leaders choose to get into pressing matters, Obama may try to move Bush toward finding common ground on an estimated $190 billion stimulus package that would expand jobless benefits and food stamps allocations and create a government-funded jobs program.

The White House has sent mixed signals on whether it will support the package that Congress will debate in coming days when it returns for a so-called lame-duck session. Obama would like Bush to approve the stimulus package as soon as possible.

Differences aside, there will be a smattering of pomp and circumstance on today’s itinerary.

Bush and First Lady Laura Bush will welcome Obama and his wife, Michelle, during a picture-taking ceremony at 2 p.m. on the south portico of the White House.

After some posing and words of welcome, the two men will proceed down the colonnade alongside the Rose Garden and step into the Oval Office for their closed-door t%EAte-à-t%EAte. The First Lady will lead a private tour of the mansion for Michelle Obama during the time their husbands huddle in the West Wing.

The visit is scheduled to last only 90 minutes, and the Obamas are set to fly home to Chicago immediately after the Bushes bid them

Barack Obama in Pictures

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 10, 2008 at 10:35 am

Posted in Varieties in English

Tagged with , , ,

World focus on Burma (31 July 2008)

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Private donations for cyclone victims in Burma petering off, India –

Rangoon – Three months after the killer cyclone lashed Burma’s coastal regions, survivors said aid from private donors is slowly petering off, …

Expose backers of Burma’

PRWeek UK, UK –

‘People know how brutal the Burma regime can be after coverage of the revolution and Cyclone Nargis,’ he said. ‘They want to know why it is still in power. …

Canadian Trade Controls For US Companies Doing Business In Canada

Mondaq News Alerts (subscription), UK –

Canada’s Burma sanctions program, the most aggressive elements of which came into effect in December 2007, is a case in point. …

2008 Beijing Olympics: China Blames USA, FL –

… were made after the US House of Representatives passed a resolution, by 419 votes to one on Wednesday that attacked Beijing history of human rights. …

Bomb explodes in Mudon, no casualties, India –

Chiang Mai – A small bomb on Wednesday night exploded at the telecommunication office in Mudon of Southern Burma’s Mon state, sources said. …

Weasels bow to China’s will

Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia –

Giving the Games to China would in fact help human rights, the IOC said. China would be forced to open up and be nice. I mean, those nice Chinese leaders …

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia –

… rights of its citizens, to cease repression of Tibetan and Uighur citizens, and to end its support for the governments of Sudan and Burma (Myanmar). …

Awareness campaign on Burma’s August uprising in Delhi, India –

… of Burma the activists will be conducting a conference; a photo exhibition of protests in September last year and the recent devastation by Cyclone …

China and the West: parallel worlds

The Age, Australia –

… rights of its citizens, to cease repression of Tibetan and Uighur citizens, and to end its support for the governments of Sudan and Burma (Myanmar)”. …

Bush Heads to Asia For Olympic Games, Talks

Voice of America –

Mr. Bush is expected to shift focus in Thailand to another world trouble spot – neighboring Burma. “Our message is the United States believes in democracy …

THAILAND: Thaksin’s Wife Gets Jail Term For Tax Fraud

Inter Press Service (subscription), Italy –

‘’It was a fair trial and the decision rendered by the court was fair,’’ Somchai Homlaor, a Thai human rights lawyer, told IPS. …

Eritrea “Has Become One Big Jail,” Activist Says

NewsBlaze, CA –

At a panel discussion hosted by the US Mission to the United Nations, she was one of six panelists – the others being from Belarus, Burma, Cuba, …

help: Benefit Concert for Burma and Sichuan, CA –
1000000 people, the populations of Oakland and San Francisco combined, already have or might die in Burma ( Myanmar ) as a result of Cyclone Nargis. …

Thailand’s human rights chief must resign

United Press International, Asia, Hong Kong –

… a member of the Asian Human Rights Commission with over 15 years of experience as an advocate of human rights and the rule of law in Thailand and Burma. …

Zarganar and Zaw Thet Htway appear in court

Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –

Both Zarganar and Zaw Thet Htway were enthusiastically working to provide aid to cyclone victims before their arrests on 4 and 13 June respectively.

Zarganar Appears in Court in Insein Prison

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand – By SAW YAN NAING After nearly two months in detention, Zarganar, Burma’s best-known comedian, and a colleague, appeared in court in Insein Prison in Rangoon …

Christiane Amanpour, CNN Investigate Tibetan Buddhist Struggles ..., IN –

In Myanmar, formerly Burma, Buddhist monks are also at the forefront of political unrest. Amanpour meets the leaders of the September 2007 Saffron …

ASK is answer

News Sentinel, IN –

… and Kyi were dental school classmates in Rangoon, then joined the revolution against the military dictatorship that now runs Burma, also called Myanmar. …

House Resolution Demands China End Human Rights Abuses Before Games


Washington, DC (AHN) – The US House approved a resolution on Wednesday asking China to correct its poor human rights record before next week’s Olympics …

Junta Slams Exile Group’s UN Campaign

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

The New Light of Myanmar published an article about Maung Maung, the secretary-general of the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) and other groups …

Burma on Bush Agenda while in Thailand

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

… that broadcasts into Burma, so he can give a message directly to the Burmese people,” said Dennis Wilder, the senior director for Asian affairs at the …

Burma: Tom Lantos “Block Burmese Jade Act” has been passed by both …

UNPO, Netherlands –

The National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) acclaims the United States Government for enacting the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s …

Reuters –

Another 800000 were displaced in a disaster that the UN says affected 2.4 million people in the former Burma, where most people rely on farming for a living …

ABFSU slams abuse of ten Muslim students

Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –

Jul 31, 2008 (DVB)–The All Burma Federation of Student Unions has criticised the treatment of ten Muslim student activists who have been sent to hard labour …

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

“On the international front, the Chinese government continues to support the genocidal regime in Sudan and the military junta in Burma.” Pelosi said human …

Will herstory repeat itself?

The Jewish Journal of greater L.A, CA –

Human Rights Watch reports that as a direct result of inequalities found in their countries of origin, women from Ukraine, Moldova, Nigeria, the Dominican …

US House: Statement by Chairman Berman on the House floor in …

ISRIA (subscription), DC –

Because of China’s failure to improve its record on supporting human rights at home and abroad, now is the time to call on China to take immediate, …

Africa: World Community Renews Call to Free Prisoners of Conscience, Washington –

Panelists from Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Eritrea, Syria and Uzbekistan spoke to more than 120 diplomats, journalists and representatives of nongovernmental …

Australia rebukes China over reporter internet censorship

The Australian, Australia –

… rights of its citizens, to cease repression of Tibetan and Uighur citizens, and to end its support for the governments of Sudan and Burma (Myanmar). …

Chinese FM Spokesman Urges US to Curb “Odious Conduct” of Anti …, OR –

… criticized China on human rights issues and asked the Chinese Government to stop supporting the governments of Sudan and Myanmar [Burma]. …

My Yoke isn’t Easy

Chiang Mai City Life, Thailand –

It is estimated 1500 citizens of Burma are held captive – some have been for many years – for having political credos different from the kleptocrats ruling …

Fresh charge against Maung Weik, India –

“He (the businessman) is suspected of allowing the Malaysian to stay in Myanmar (Burma) without informing the immigration authority,” a police source said. …

Myanmar plays the UN and the world for suckers

The Gazette (Montreal), Canada –

It’s hard to say which is more appalling: the way Myanmar’s elite skimmed as much as $10 million from international aid money flowing into the country for …

Letter: Doesn’t trust food statistics

Appeal-Democrat, CA –

Does anyone remember the recent tragedy in Myanmar (formally Burma) when a cyclone killed more than 85000 people. Their government confiscated all the …

Farmers struggle with lack of resources

Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –

Jul 30, 2008 (DVB)–Farmers in the cyclone-hit township of Labutta in Irrawaddy division are still struggling to resume their work due to lack of resources, …

Felix Dexter – Comedy shuffle

The List, UK –

Which means that in the guise of a un-PC character, Dexter feels able to make a joke like ‘a lot of people died in Burma recently, but on the good side …

Ex-Thai PM Thaksin’s wife guilty of tax evasion (Pressemitteilung), Austria –

© AP BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) – A Thai court has found the wife of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra guilty of tax evasion and has sentenced her …

Ex-Thai PM’s wife guilty of fraud

BBC News, UK –

The wife of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been convicted of tax fraud by a court in Bangkok. Pojaman Shinawatra was sentenced to three …

Ancient sculptures found in Tripura

Zee News, India –

… Palas and Guptas of Bengal, influence of the Arakan in Mynamar (formerly Burma) and local style, Jawahar Achariya, a historian and numismatist, said. …

Thaksin’s wife awaits ruling on tax evasion case

International Herald Tribune, France –

AP BANGKOK, Thailand: The wife of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra awaited a court’s verdict Thursday on whether she evaded millions of dollars …

Verdict expected in Thaksin tax evasion case (Pressemitteilung), Austria –

© AP BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) – The wife of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is awaiting a court verdict on whether she evaded millions of …

… rights of its citizens, to cease repression of Tibetan and Uighur citizens, and to end its support for the governments of Sudan and Burma (Myanmar). …

UNICEF’s change for good achieves landmark of £25 million
eTravelBlackboard – Asia Edition, Australia –
Earlier this year, in response to the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar (Burma), £300000 was donated to UNICEF’s emergency relief efforts, helping to provide .

JVC: US Ban on Rubies, Jadeite Starts Within 60 Days of Enactment, NY –

The bill requires that within 60 days of enactment, jadeite or rubies of Burma (Myanmar) origin cannot be imported into the US This importation ban would …

White House says US wants big change from China

The Associated Press –

… lady Laura Bush will visit Thailand’s Mae La camp, home to thousands of refugees who have fled repression in neighboring Myanmar, also known as Burma. …

US Lawmakers Urge Support for Darfur Peacekeepers

Voice of America –

“The Chinese government continues to support the genocidal regime in Sudan and the military junta in Burma. Their actions run counter to our interests in …

Press Briefing by Senior Director for Asian Affairs at the …

MarketWatch –

And then he will be interviewed by the press in Thailand that broadcast into Burma, so that he can give a message directly to the Burmese people. …

Leading article: The Burmese deserve better

Independent, UK –

An admission by the UN this week that it had “lost” some $10m in aid to cyclone-stricken Burma must come as a shock to the many donors who forked out …

Medical Teams International volunteers use their unique talents

The Regal Courier, OR –

By Barbara Sherman Toni Miles has become an expert at reading product expiration dates, a skill she never dreamed would be important until she started …

New graft case against Thai PM

Peninsula On-line, Qatar –

In the Myanmar case, an army-appointed graft panel accused Thaksin of ordering a state bank in 2004 to increase the size of a loan to the military-ruled …

China gets pre-Olympics rights rap

Peninsula On-line, Qatar –

… rights of its citizens, to cease repression of Tibetan and Uighur citizens, and to end its support for the governments of Sudan and Burma (Myanmar). …

Trade of Burmese precious gems banned in US (press release), TX –

Nevertheless, despite the 2003 ban on trade, a loophole allowed the buying of gems, which originate in Burma and were polished or cut in third world …

Voice of America –

By Dan Robinson US lawmakers, organizations advocating for human rights and religious freedom, and China democracy activists have sharply criticized the …

Trade of Burmese precious gems banned in US (press release), TX –

The appalling record of the regime, beginning with a massacre in 1988 ending the pro-democracy disputes, has given it a reclusive status in the Western …

Summit gives disaster response leaders ‘Eagle Vision’

Edwards Air Force Base, CA –

… Midwest flooding and California fires, the imagery was used globally for responders to Cyclone Nargis in Burma, recent major earthquakes in China, …

Pelosi Statement on House Resolution Calling on China to Cease …

MarketWatch –

On the international front, the Chinese government continues to support the genocidal regime in Sudan and the military junta in Burma. …

Relief Still Spotty For Victims Of Myanmar Cyclone

OPB News, OR –

She was the only official from the Tigard relief agency allowed into Myanmar, or Burma. Dyment spent 2 months there. Dyment said the political situation …

So long bull market, it’s time to live with the bear

Stockhouse, Canada –

“And even North Korea and Myanmar (Burma) haven’t managed that little feat of autarky,” he quips. But on the whole, Canadian financial institutions have not …

Olympic Games show China through a glass, darkly

Times Online, UK –

… against Zimbabwe, not to mention its continued support for the Government of Sudan, its latest big gas deal with Iran or its heavy involvement in Burma.

President Bush Signs Myanmar Gemstone Ban

Luxist, CA –

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, produces some of the world’s most beautiful rubies. The rubies from the Mogok region have a deep translucent color often …

Burmese Writers Play Cat-and-Mouse Game with State Censors

NewsBlaze, CA –

After Cyclone Nargis in May, a survivor unveiled a billboard reading, “We want food, not gold.” In Burmese, shwe, means gold, a probable reference to …

Saarc economic agenda all but forgotten
Livemint, India –
Myanmar, or Burma, was after all part of British India till 1935, after which the last king was ordered to live in Ratnagiri (in Maharashtra) where he died.

Canadian aid worker says efforts to help cyclone Nargis victims …

News1130, Canada –

But he expects it will take six months to finish that task in Myanmar, also known as Burma, which was hit by the cyclone May 2-3. …

Burma and Zimbabwe witness the last gasps of the supreme global ...

New, Zimbabwe –

The first was Burma (or Myanmar as it should be known). We can all agree that the regime is odious. The question facing the rest of the world in the …

The Evolution of the National Security Concept of China

Journal of Turkish Weekly, Turkey –

Asian financial crisis in 1997 startled the Communist leadership since “the fall of Suharto in Indonesia clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of ..

Burma: Slow Start for Free-to-Air Digital TV

RedOrbit, TX –

Consumers have been slow to adopt Myanmar’s first free-to-air digital television channel launched in early February by [army-run] Myawaddy Television (MWD), …

Burma and the Bush Administration

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The Weekly Standard

Burma and the Bush Administration

It’s time to intervene.

by Benedict Rogers and Joseph Loconte
06/05/2008 12:00:00 AM

THANKS LARGELY TO THE INHUMANITY of Burma’s military dictatorship, the cyclone that devastated the country a month ago has left about 133,000 people dead or missing. Delayed and obstructed by the ruling junta, international assistance has yet to reach about a quarter of a million people affected by the storm. While the hopes and livelihoods of many have been swept away, there remains a lingering delusion: the notion that the “international community” retains either the moral sensibility or political will to confront the most despotic of regimes. The crisis in Burma confirms the indispensable need for American leadership.

The Burmese regime is guilty of atrocities far worse than the “criminal neglect” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates ascribes to them. It is guilty of crimes against humanity. Prior to the cyclone, the regime received dozens of warnings from India that the storm was on its way–yet did nothing to prepare its citizens. When the cyclone struck, the government sat on its hands and refused international help. Neither material aid nor aid workers were allowed to reach the victims, causing the needless deaths of tens of thousands. A trickle of assistance has gotten in, but aid workers are still restricted and much relief has been seized and sold on the streets. The junta now declares the relief phase is over: Its military thugs are forcibly evicting thousands of people from their shelters, even though they have no homes to return to. An estimated 2.5 million people have been displaced by this crisis.

While the United Nations has mostly ignored Burma, the Bush administration has put a spotlight on the regime. Apart from some helpful actions by the European Union, though, the United States has acted virtually alone in opposing the regime and supporting democratic resistance groups. The Bush White House has applied targeted sanctions against the government and brought numerous resolutions before the U.N. Security Council. In 2005, Bush met with a Burmese democratic dissident, Charm Tong, for 40 minutes in the Oval Office, to show solidarity and discuss the human rights situation in her country. Last September, in his annual address to the United Nations, Bush announced a new round of U.S. sanctions. Last month he again called for the release of all political prisoners and negotiations with democratic leaders. Meanwhile, First Lady Laura Bush has spoken out in defense of the Burmese people. She has written op-eds, held press conferences, hosted U.N. briefings, and pressed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take a harder line. The United States has the toughest and, in reality, the only meaningful foreign policy to confront the Burmese government.

Few nations match Burma for its record of atrocities. The ruling junta has carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against its ethnic minorities, involving the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war, the forcible conscription of child soldiers, human minesweepers, torture, murder, and the destruction of over 3,200 villages. More than a million people have been internally displaced by military offensives aimed almost exclusively at civilians. Hundreds of thousands have fled to camps in Thailand or into India and Bangladesh.

While U.N. human rights bodies have given lip service to the cause of democracy, the Burmese leadership has assaulted its nation’s fledgling democratic movement. The National League for Democracy (NLD) won elections in 1990 with more than 82 per cent of the parliamentary seats, but the junta rejected the results and imprisoned the victors. Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Laureate and leader of NLD, has spent more than 12 years under house arrest. Last month her detention was extended yet again–a fact loudly criticized by the Bush administration. More than 1,800 Burmese languish as political prisoners.

President Bush’s “democracy agenda” is widely criticized for its failings and inconsistencies: Oil-producing autocrats, for example, get little attention. Yet the White House has made a significant, and surprising, investment in Burma’s struggle for democratic freedom. It is surprising because Burma represents little strategic value to the United States. Domestic political pressure for U.S. engagement is, at best, minimal. Indeed, until the “Saffron Revolution”–in which peaceful demonstrations by Buddhist monks were brutally put down–Burma seldom received media attention.

The spectacle of Burma’s self-induced catastrophe may yet prod political and media elites to admit an unpleasant possibility: There may be a certain moral necessity to Bush’s democracy agenda after all.

Given the unflinching paralysis of the U.N. Security Council over Burma, what should the United States do? The United States, with a democratic coalition that could include Great Britain and France, should prepare immediately to intervene in Burma to ensure humanitarian aid reaches the tens of thousands of cyclone victims whose lives are still at risk. Defense Secretary Gates recently ruled out such action, but President Bush could overturn his judgment, given the ongoing humanitarian disaster.

U.N. apologists would decry a U.S.-led intervention as a breach of international law–but only by ignoring the “responsibility to protect” doctrine adopted by U.N. member states nearly three years ago. Under the U.N. doctrine, nations agree to take all possible measures–including the use of force–to protect civilians from gross human rights abuses. If the deliberate and calculated failure to protect and assist its own population in the face of a devastating catastrophe does not invoke the U.N. mandate, what does?

An intervention of this kind, even with its humanitarian objective, would not be without its risks. Yet the costs of inaction–the deaths of thousands of people, the emboldening of a murderous regime, the perception of American weakness–must also be weighed.

“Intervention will be seen as divine intervention by the Burmese people, not only to help the cyclone victims but also to finally free the entire nation from the military yoke,” wrote a coalition of Burmese democracy groups to President Bush. “Please do not compare Burma with Iraq, because Buddhist monks, students, Burmese patriots will happily assist you with whatever you need to go inside Burma and help the cyclone victims and entire nation Many concerned Burmese citizens are willing to join the intervention. Please do not waste precious time.”

Burma represents an opportunity not only to save lives, but to rescue the principle of humanitarian intervention from the forces of cynicism and moral cowardice. That may not amount to a final vindication of the Bush doctrine. But it could prove to be one of the most important legacies of his administration.

Benedict Rogers is a human rights officer with the London-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide and author of A Land Without Evil: Stopping the Genocide of Burma’s Karen People. Joseph Loconte is a senior fellow at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy and a frequent contributor to The Weekly Standard.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

June 5, 2008 at 7:44 am

Burma: Cyclone updated top news (1 June 2008)

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Play Burma ‘camp closures’ condemned

BBC – Sun Jun 1, 10:24 PM ET
Burma 'camp closures' condemnedA senior UN official has said any coercion of Burmese cyclone victims to return home is completely unacceptable.



US defense secretary says Myanmar junta guilty of ‘criminal neglect’

International Herald Tribune –
By Eric Schmitt BANGKOK: Defense Secretary Robert Gates of the United States said Sunday that Myanmar was guilty of “criminal neglect” for blocking large-scale international aid to cyclone victims and that more Burmese civilians would perish unless the …
Gates Blasts Myanmar Junta Over Cyclone Aid Response Wall Street Journal
Myanmar defends cyclone response after US rebuke Reuters
Voice of AmericaCNN InternationalThe Associated PressReiten Television KXMB Bismarck
all 412 news articles »



Gates Blasts Myanmar Junta Over Cyclone Aid Response

Wall Street Journal –
By YOCHI J. DREAZEN, TOM WRIGHT and GORDON FAIRCLOUGH US Defense Secretary Robert Gates accused Myanmar of “criminal neglect” in the deaths of thousands of its own citizens, ratcheting up the Bush administration’s criticism of Myanmar’s ruling junta.
Myanmar defends cyclone response after US rebuke Reuters
Gates Accuses Burma of Criminal Neglect in Cyclone Operations Voice of America
CNN InternationalThe Associated PressDailyIndia.comOpEdNews
all 379 news articles »


Twin Falls Times-News

Myanmar criticized for plan to reopen some schools a month after …

International Herald Tribune –
AP YANGON, Myanmar: Myanmar’s plan to reopen schools this week in the country’s cyclone-devasted delta region could do more harm than good, aid groups said Sunday, a day after the government came under criticism for forcing cyclone survivors out of …
Poor access irks RP, SEA aid workers in Myanmar ABS CBN News
Myanmar warned over forcing cyclone survivors home Washington Post
BloombergHinduInquirer.netKhaleej Times
all 2,531 news articles »


Women and children carry goods at a refugee camp in Labutta, in the Ayeyawaddy Division, some 200 miles from Yangon, on May 31. More people will die unless Myanmar changes its approach to foreign relief after the devastating cyclone, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday, accusing the junta of

More will die unless Myanmar changes approach: Gates

BANGKOK (AFP) – More people will perish in Myanmar’s cyclone disaster zone unless the regime lifts restrictions on foreign aid, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned Sunday, accusing it of “criminal neglect.”


Washington Post

Myanmar rejects criticism of junta cyclone response

Reuters –
By Melanie Lee SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military junta, widely condemned for its slow response to Cyclone Nargis, said on Sunday it had reacted swiftly to the disaster and remained open to foreign aid with “no strings attached.

Myanmar junta defends cyclone response as prompt – AP

Myanmar defends cyclone response after rebuke – Reuters

Myanmar criticized for plan to reopen some schools a month after … International Herald Tribune
Myanmar Welcomes Aid as Long as `No Strings Attached’ (Update4) Bloomberg
The Associated PressSan Jose Mercury NewsAFPWashington Post
all 483 news articles »


Malaysia to Burma: Allow S. Asian militaries to help

USA Today –
SINGAPORE (AP) – Malaysia’s deputy leader urged Myanmar’s junta Sunday to let Southeast Asian militaries play a bigger role in providing aid to cyclone victims, a rare plea for foreign intervention in a region where nations generally stay out of each …
Malaysia wants bigger ASEAN role in Myanmar relief Reuters
Malaysia urges ASEAN to play bigger role in helping cyclone-hit … Xinhua
International Herald TribuneMelbourne Herald SunXinhua
all 25 news articles »


Suu Kyi’s fate overshadowed by Myanmar cyclone

Taipei Times –
In September of 1988 she helped found the National League for Democracy (NLD), an alliance of 105 opposition parties, and campaigned across Myanmar (then officially known as Burma) for peaceful change, mesmerizing huge crowds with her intelligence, …
Mulish Myanmar Seattle Times
Burma’s Rulers Tighten Grip on Power Voice of America
all 1,989 news articles »

US says Burma ‘deaf and dumb to offers of aid’

Scotsman –
… no matter who won in November. ions – including subtle calls for China to work more amiably and fairly with other Pacific nations – Gates displayed the most emotion when talking about Burma. “We have reached out, frankly, to Myanmar multiple times …
Fury as Burma shuts cyclone relief camps
Myanmar policy cost lives: USA The Statesman AustraliaRadio
all 230 news articles »

The Daily Star

Myanmar warned against premature resettlement

The Associated Press –
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Cyclone victims in Myanmar who leave relief camps may not receive the aid they need, making them even more vulnerable to disease and the elements, a UN official said Saturday following reports of forced evictions by the …
Poor access irks RP, SEA aid workers in Myanmar ABS CBN News
Myanmar warned over forcing cyclone survivors home Washington Post
BloombergHinduInquirer.netContra Costa Times
all 2,774 news articles »

World Focus on Burma (11 Apr 08)

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Nobel laureate Maathai withdraws from Olympic torch relay
She said China had failed to exert pressure on the military junta in Myanmar — formerly known as Burma — to respect human rights, including freeing …
Update: Thailand To Investigate Immigrants Found Dead In Container Van
Bangkok, Thailand (AHN) – The Thailand government is investigating the death of 54 illegal immigrants from Myanmar found dead in a container van along this …
Myanmar referendum will not be free: NLD
Daily Times, Pakistan –
YANGON: Myanmar’s pro-democracy party said Thursday that next month’s constitutional referendum would not be free and fair as the junta was quashing any …
US Says Mynamar Constitution Flawed, Croatia –
… which will be put to a vote on May 10, did not provide much hope to those looking for any real, democratic change in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. …
Burma Plans Its “Democracy”
But given that Burma’s generals (who prefer to call their country Myanmar) rejected a plea by the United Nations to allow international monitoring of the …
Esar Met appears in court
ABC 4, Salt Lake City –
His translator said that Met wants the consulate in Myanmar (formerly called Burma) to be contacted on his behalf. “He said he wants to notify the Burmese …
US Finds Serious Flaws in Burma’s Draft Constitution
Voice of America –
By David Gollust The US State Department said Thursday Burma’s new draft constitution provides little hope for real change in the military-ruled Southeast …
Cargo suffocation reveals Myanmar’s plights
Prosperous Thailand is a magnet for people in the poorer neighboring countries of Cambodia, Laos and especially Myanmar — also known as Burma — who take …
Accused killer of 7-year-old girl makes first court appearance
Salt Lake Tribune, United States –
… if the defendant would like to exercise his right to have information about his case relayed to the consular office of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. …
US says it has misgivings about Myanmar’s new constitution draft (Pressemitteilung), Austria –
AP WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States says it has serious concerns about a new draft of Myanmar’s constitution that the country’s ruling generals intend to …
Accused killer of 7-year-old girl makes first court appearance
Salt Lake Tribune, United States –
… told the judge he would like to exercise his right to have news of his charges relayed to the consular office of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). …
Immigrant accused of killing another immigrant appears in court, ID –
Hser’s family is from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, and moved to Utah last summer. Met also is a native of Myanmar. His next court date is April 21.
The Failure of Gambari Mission in Burma
Asian Tribune, Thailand –
Turning a deaf ear to international outcries, Burma’s military rulers are going to perpetuate military domination in running the state forever through …
Deaths of Burmese brings shame on us
Nation Multimedia, Thailand –
They were about two hours into their trip late on Wednesday from Ranong province near Burma to Phuket when some of them succumbed. …
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippines –
The Tibet issue has festered for half a century; China’s degree of influence over North Korea, Burma (Myanmar) and Sudan has been a concern and an object of …
Apr 10th 2008 | YANGON
Economist, UK –
Feeding itself should be the least of Myanmar’s problems. Burma, as it was until the junta renamed it in 1989, was once the ricebowl of Asia. …
Man accused of killing South Salt Lake girl makes court appearance
Deseret News, UT –
The judge asked if Met, who is an immigrant from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), wanted the consulate notified about the criminal charges leveled against …
Nothing ‘free and fair’ in run up to referendum: Opposition, India –
New Delhi – Burma’s main opposition party – the National League for Democracy – today accused the ruling junta of unfair practices in the run up to the …
Thailand to step up investigation of Myanmar’s illegal immigrants …
Xinhua, China –
BANGKOK, April 10 (Xinhua) — The Thailand authorities will step up investigation of the 54 illegal immigrants from Myanmar dead in a truck in Thai south on …
Malfeasance charges filed against Thai ex-PM Thaksin
Xinhua, China –
… against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, alleging he was involved in a 4-billion-baht (about 127 million US dollars) bank loan for Myanmar. …
Myanmar warns embassies ahead of referendum
YANGON (AFP) — Myanmar’s military government Thursday warned foreign embassies not to support Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party, as the nation gears up …
Myanmar pro-democracy party calls for international observers at …
International Herald Tribune, France –
AP YANGON, Myanmar: Myanmar’s main opposition party called Thursday for international observers to take part in the country’s referendum on a new …
Refugee families plant food, new roots
The Carrboro Citizen, NC –
They had been living in Mae La refugee camp in Northern Thailand after fleeing the militaristic government of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. …
Myanmar migrant recalls container horror
Reuters South Africa, South Africa –
Instead, Win feels lucky to be alive after escaping the hot, cramped container truck where 54 other Myanmar migrant workers suffocated on Wednesday night. …
Myanmar crackdown on “no” campaign begins: opposition
Reuters –
The regime, which tightly controls the media in the former Burma, has urged the country’s 53 million people to back the charter, a key step in the junta’s …
NLD slams late release of draft constitution
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Apr 10, 2008 (DVB)–The National League for Democracy has criticised the Burmese regime for releasing the draft constitution only one month before the …

Irrawaddy Division Surveyed about Referendum
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Despite the calls from the NLD and other political dissidents to reject the constitution, Burma’s ruling junta announced that the referendum would go ahead …
NLD Wants International Observers at May 10 Referendum
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
By WAI MOE Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), called on the military government on Thursday to drop its opposition to …
SPDC accuses foreign embassies of interfering in internal matter, India –
The regime’s mouth piece newspaper, New Light of Myanmar, reported that diplomats of some foreign embassies, without mentioning the names of the embassies’, …
Security Council Presidential Statement on Burma ‘Not Easy’
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
“I do not know; they have not circulated the statement on Myanmar [Burma] yet. I understand that it is the US which is still consulting on it, but they have …
Interior Minister calls for urgent probe of Myanmar migrant …
Thai News Agency MCOT, Thailand –
The interior minister’s call for prompt action was made after at least 54 illegal Myanmar migrant workers being smuggled into Thailand’s murky labour …
Death of 54 Myanmar labourers prompts Thai crackdown (2nd Roundup)
Monsters and –
Bangkok – Thai police promised Thursday to round up a human-trafficking gang responsible for the death of 54 illegal Myanmar labourers who suffocated while …
Malfeasance charges filed against ex-PM Thaksin
Thai News Agency MCOT, Thailand –
… Thaksin Shinawatra involving a Bt4 billion (about US$127 million) bank loan for Myanmar were submitted to the Office of the Attorney General Thursday. …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

April 11, 2008 at 3:15 am