Tag Archives: Aung San Suu Kyi

Attacks continue in Afghanistan

35 people have died after coordinated explosions struck the city of Kandahar in Afghanistan, Al Jazeera.

Myanmar announced a new law barring anyone convicted of a crime from running for office. The new law will exclude political activists from participating in the upcoming election and may also force political parties to remove activists from their membership. The law is in large part targeted against Aung San Suu Kyi, the last democratically elected leader of Myanmar (previously Burma) who has been under house arrest or in prison for much of the past 20 years. Myanmar is a tightly controlled society that is run by a military junta. Military leaders are going ahead with elections this year but are working to ensure that only hand-picked candidates can participate, Al Jazeera.

Google has added biking directions and biking maps to 150 U.S. cities in its Google Maps feature, Wired News.

The Large Hadron Collider will be shut down for a year to fix design flaws, BBC News.

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President Obama Meets with Asian World Leaders

U.S. President Barack Obama is 2 days into a 10 day trip to Asia. President Obama held a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, whitehouse.org. Full coverage of the trip, whitehouse.gov.

President Obama will meet with leaders of member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including the Prime Minister of Myanmar, in Singapore today. Obama called for Myanmar to release its political prisoners, including pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, Reuters.

President Obama will be in China from November 15-18 where he will hold a town hall meeting with Chinese students. Chinese news agency Xinhua has been soliciting questions for President Obama online, Xinhua.

NASA confirms that it has found a significant quantity of water on the moon, CNN.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has called for a world hunger strike today to highlight the issue, FAO. Follow on Twitter: @faonews. Sign a petition to stop world hunger, 1 billion hungry.

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New Protests in Iran Show Hope for Reform Still Alive

On what was meant to be a day of anti-American sentiment, anti-government protesters instead took to the streets in Tehran, Iran. Today is the 30th anniversary of the Iranian takeover of the American Embassy in Iran and the beginning of the Islamic revolution that put the Shah of Iran in power in 1979.  Demonstrations for the anniversary are sponsored by the state, but opponents of the current government used the occasion to demonstration their support for reform. Police used teargas and violence to subdue protesters, New York Times.

Protests have been ongoing in Iran since the disputed June 12 presidential election. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad officially won reelection but supporters of reform candidates Mir-Hussein Moussavi and former president Muhammad Khatami alleged that the election was a fraud. Censorship and heavy surveillance by police prevent reformist Iranians from staging large-scale or long-running protests but protesters have been able to show their support and their growing numbers by coordinating reform demonstrations during state-sponsored demonstrations, such as at the Quds Day rallies in September. Iranians are also coordinating on Twitter and by text message. Timeline: Iran after the election, Al Jazeera.

President Obama appealed directly to the Iranian people in a statement released today. He called on Iranians to put aside the 30 years of mistrust that followed the seizure of the American Embassy and to start a new chapter of cooperation and mutual respect, Whitehouse.gov.

See our Live Blog for more information. See also the Green Wave of Freedom website for reports on reform efforts from inside Iran, Mowjcamp and the website for former presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi, Tagheer. Use Google Translate to change the text to your language.

5 British soldiers were shot inside a police training facility in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The shooter was described as a “rouge policeman.” It is unknown if the Taliban was involved in the attack. Strategy in Afghanistan has focused on training Afghan police and soldiers in hopes that those forces will one day be capable of stabilizing the country without the aid of NATO forces, BBC News. Taliban link to the shooting probed, BBC News.  Q & A on British troops in Afghanistan, BBC News.

Voters in Maine overturned a law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor that had allowed same-sex couples to marry.  Maine becomes that 31st state that has rejected same-sex marriage by popular vote, ABC News.  Republican candidates won the race for governor in both Virginia and New Jersey, ABC News. In New York City, incumbent Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg won reelection. The race was closer than had been expected with the Democratic candidate getting 46% of the vote to Bloomberg’s 51%. Mayor Bloomberg, who has a personal fortune of $20 billion, spent $90 million of his own money on his reelection campaign, New York Times.

At least 91 people are dead and thousands have been displaced by Tropical Storm Mirinae in Vietnam, Associated Press.  Vietnam is still recovering from Typhoon Ketsana, Citizen’s Daily Brief.

American diplomats were allowed to meet with Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi despite her house arrest. Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for much of the past 20 years. Suu Kyi was democratically elected President of Burma but a military junta did not allow her to take office. The junta controls the country, which it has renamed Myanmar. The U.S. has initiated a new policy of engaging with the country’s leaders, CNN International.

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Iranians Protest Ahmadinejad, Support Palestine on Quds Day

Residents of Tehran and other parts of Iran took to the streets earlier to today to mark Quds Day, a traditional day of rallies held in support of Palestine on the last Friday of Ramadan. People used the occasion to voice their political views, including support for opposition of current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and disapproval of the actions of Israel and other western countries. Riot police cracked down on anti-Ahmadinejad protesters while at Tehran University Ahmadinejad went further than he ever had before in denying the Holocaust, AFP.

Burmese pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi has filed an appeal of this summer’s court decision to extend her house arrest after an American man, claiming illness, spent the night in her house last spring. Under the strict military regime in Myanmar, no one is allowed to stay over night at anyone’s house. A verdict on the appeal is expected next month. The country’s rulers aim to keep Suu Kyi out of public eye until after the upcoming 2010 elections, Associated Press.

30 people have been killed in a suicide bombing at a crowded marketplace in the village of Kohat in northwestern Pakistan. Most of those killed were men from the country’s Muslim Shia minority. A Taliban group has claimed responsibility, Al Jazeera.

Two American couples in Egypt who were arrested for trying to adopt children illegally have been sentenced to two years in prison. The country’s adoption laws are based on Islamic law which is strict about adoption practices, BBC News.

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Looking Forward: Elections in Myanmar

Myanmar, a country in southeast Asia formerly called Burma before it was renamed by the military junta that currently control it, plans to hold elections in 2010. The last elections were held in 1990 when pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi won most of the vote but was not allowed by the military to take power. Suu Kyi has been held under house arrest for much of the time since then. Myanmar is a severely repressed state where citizens are not even allowed to stay the night in other people’s houses. This is the technicality that led to Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest being extended when an American man who believed he was sent by God swam across a lake to Suu Kyi’s house and then, claiming illness, stayed overnight. Sanctions have been imposed against Myanmar, meaning that it is illegal for Western businesses to sell goods to the country, The New American.

The upcoming  elections are an attempt to legitimize the government in hopes of one day having the sanctions lifted and being accepted in the global community.  However, at least one fourth of the seats will go to members of the military and democratic activists like Aung San Suu Kyi will not be able to participate. Reuters Q & A on the elections. Comprehensive analysis of the impact of elections by the International Crisis Group.

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Violence Increases Ahead of Afghanistan Election

A car bomb exploded earlier today outside NATO headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. 7 people have died and 90 are injured. Violence is increasing ahead of Afghanistan’s presidential election on August 20, Voice of America.

Britain has suspended the government of Turks and Caicos Islands due to systematic corruption. The governor of Turks and Caicos Islands, who is directly appointed by Queen Elizabeth, usually only acts on the advice of cabinet, but will now take over decision-making, CNN International.

U.S. Senator Jim Webb, who is on a tour of Southeast Asia, met with Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for about 45 minutes today. Webb’s office later released a statement saying American John Yettaw, who sparked the current legal problems for Aung San Suu Kyi when he visited her uninvited at her home, will be released rather than serve a sentence of seven years, Reuters.

A fire at a wedding in Kuwait has killed 41 women and injured 76 more. The wedding spread through a tent that the women were inside of, CNN.

Wealthy Americas are scrambling to report offshore bank accounts after a U.S. deal with Swiss banks to turn over the names of 52,000 Americans with up to $15 billion hidden in secret accounts, AP.

In his weekly address, U.S. President Barack Obama discussed media distortion of the healthcare debate and emphasized that constructive conversations are happening at town hall meetings around the country, transcript.


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Lockerbie Bomber Closer to Release on “Compassionate Grounds”

The man convicted of the 1981 bombing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, has applied to have his second appeal dropped- a sign that he may soon be released on compassionate grounds. al-Gegrahi has terminal prostate cancer and will possibly be released on “compassionate grounds” to his family in Libya or transferred to a Libyan prison. All 259 people on the plane died, as well as 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie, Voice of America.

The death toll from Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan could reach over 500. The official death toll now stands at 118 but several villages were completely buried in mudslides, CNN.

Virginia senator Jim Webb is in Burma to meet with military leader General Than Shwe. The visit comes after the conviction of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi but it is not known if Webb will address that matter. Webb is traveling through the region Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations, New York Times.

In Perth, Australia a quadriplegic man, Christian Rossiter, has won the right to die. A judge ruled that Rossiter’s caretakers will not be held criminally responsible if he refused food and water, BBC News.

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1,000 Missing in Taiwan Typhoon Found

1,000 people believed lost following typhoon Morakot in Taiwan have been found. However, hundreds more are still missing. Rescue efforts are underway, Associated Press. Amazing photos of the storm, the destruction and rescue efforts, The Big Picture.

Officials have confirmed that the person killed in last weekend’s raid was not Indonesia’s most wanted terrorist Noordin Mohammed Top. DNA evidence shows instead the man was Ibrohim, who was also wanted in connection with last month’s Marriott and Ritz Carlton bombings in Jakarta. Ibrohim had worked as a florist in the hotels since 2005 and was able to bypass security to bring in explosives, Voice of America.

China has issued a statement on the conviction of pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said “international society should fully respect Myanmar’s judicial sovereignty,” Reuters.

Schools have closed on Mumbai, India on fears of spreading swine flu, BBC News.

Khmer Rouge jail chief Comrade Duch, while still denying the extent of his involvement in war crimes in Cambodia in the 1970s, says he will accept the decisions of the UN backed tribunal and “the strictest level of punishment” for his crimes, AFP.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced Russia will spend $500 million on military bases in Abkhazia, a disputed area of Georgia that Russia has declared to be an independent state, BBC News.

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