Burma

BURMA: Kachin Refugees Get UN Relief, Finally

Six months after fighting erupted between Burmese troops and ethnic Kachin separatists, international relief is finally trickling in for over 30,000 people who fled their homes near the snow-capped mountains north of the country.

BURMA: Rape Used as Military Weapon

The Burmese army has been following a policy of systematically raping women and girls to subjugate the country's rebellious ethnic minorities, according to a new report.

BOOK-BURMA: On the New Road to Mandalay

Condemned for decades as an international pariah, Burma is enjoying a diplomatic spring with droves of former critics heading towards the Southeast Asian nation.

The Screen Speaks for Suu Kyi

Twenty years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and a year after being released from house arrest, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is the subject of a sweeping film that may increase international pressure on Burma’s ruling regime to speed up tentative reforms.

Elaine Pearson of Human Rights Watch, Jeanne Marie Hallacy, director of "Into the Current", and Thet Moo, former Burmese political prisoner Credit:  Christian Papesch/IPS

FILM: Political Prisoners Are Burma’s Unsung Heroes

In a move that highlighted its sub-par human rights record, the government of Burma announced Oct. 11 that it would release 6,359 prisoners, but how many of these will be drawn from the country's estimated 500 to over 2,000 political prisoners remains uncertain.

Western Sanctions Look Fussy in Burma

On the face of it, the sudden release of political prisoners in Burma would appear a triumph for the sanctions regime imposed on the Southeast Asian nation by Western governments.

BURMA: ‘Civilian’ Govt Eases Iron Grip

With Burma’s quasi-civilian government relaxing the iron grip on power maintained for half-a century by military juntas, the big question is: How real is the change?

Burmese Convict Brutality Spurs Calls for International Probe

Burmese convicts forced into military service have endured mistreatment that warrants a U.N. investigation into war crimes in the country, according to a new report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) Wednesday.

McCain Cold to Warmer U.S.-Burma Ties

If Burma’s quasi-civilian government was hoping for warmer ties with the U.S. government, Senator John McCain’s visit to this South-east Asian nation has placed such hopes on ice.

SOUTHEAST ASIA: ASEAN in Quandary over Burma’s Request to Head Bloc

The new Burmese government’s request to chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by 2014 has given its neighbours a political headache they have decided to put off dealing with till later this year.

Asian Allies Back Burma Uneasily

Already Burma’s new civilian government poses problems for its Asian allies as it tries to woo the international community. The month-old quasi-civilian administration, led by President Thein Sein has launched a new diplomatic charm offensive in an effort to get international approval for the cosmetic changes that have been introduced under the guise of a new civilian government.

THAILAND: Malaria Spreads Amidst Insurgency in South

A raging insurgency in Thailand’s southernmost provinces has become a breeding ground for another potential killer – the malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquito – that is threatening to wipe out the gains Thailand has achieved in fighting the disease.

Polio Threatens Burma

A small army of volunteers from local non-governmental organisations has fanned out across Burma to inoculate 3.4 million children from a rare strain of the polio virus that has re-emerged three years after the country was declared polio free.

BURMA: Military Plays a Civilian-Looking Game

A new quasi-civilian government has taken over in Burma, but diplomats, analysts and pro-democracy activists are dismissing it as nothing more than "old wine in a new bottle".

HEALTH-BURMA: Global Fund Back With New Hope

Burma’s transition from an overt military rule to a civilian administration of retired generals is getting a shot in the arm from a former critic of the junta – the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

BURMA: China Stands Behind New President

China is throwing its weight behind Burma’s predicted political transformation from military rule to a supposed civilian government, deepening its strong economic ties with the resource-rich Southeast Asian nation some have described as Beijing’s "client state".

Rohingyas Flee Burma by Boat

On a beach dotted with swanky, star-class hotels, a boatload of bedraggled men appeared out of the dark sea one midnight, exhausted from nearly two weeks at sea fleeing Burma’s repressive military.

Dipping Dollar Hits Burmese Refugees

Tracking gun battles along the Thai-Burma border and preparing for another wave of refugees are not the only things that concern British humanitarian Sally Thompson.

BURMA: Junta’s Drug ‘Exports’ to China Test Economic Ties

As military-ruled Burma prepares to unveil its new political cast, an enduring link between the junta and the country’s notorious drug lords is poised to come under the spotlight.

BURMA: Ethnic Rebels Resist Junta’s March Toward Final Frontier

An ongoing clash along the Thai-Burma border, pitting Burmese troops against ethnic insurgents, is raising the spectre of more violence in areas that the Burmese military sees as the final frontier to putting the country under the grip of one army for the first time in over six decades.

POLITICS: U.N. Faces Hurdles As It Seeks Mediator’s Role in Burma

Barely a week after a ranking United Nations official visited military-ruled Burma, the country’s strongman has sharply reminded the global body about the challenges that await any envoy who refuses to march in step with the junta.

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