Sep 13


YouTube Added: 03.09.2012

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Aug 11


In early 2010, a boy led the hard-line Islamist al-Shabab fighters as they conducted military exercise in Somalia. The country’s continuous violence appears to have increased recruiting efforts of young fighters, who are easily indoctrinated. (Associated Press)

U.S. gives military aid to nations with child soldiers (Washington Times, Aug 8, 2012):

Obama issues waivers of law

Mr. Obama will decide by early October whether to withhold aid or give waivers to seven countries named in the State Department’s 2012 Trafficking in Persons list as using children as armed combatants. The countries are Congo, Libya, Myanmar (also known as Burma), Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen. Burma, Congo, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are repeat offenders, named on the 2011 list.

In October, responding to the State Department’s 2011 report, Mr. Obama said it was in the “national interest of the United States” that Yemen be granted a full waiver, meaning it was entitled to receive $20 million in military financing aid and $1.2 million in training funds for fiscal 2012. He called Yemen “a key partner in counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” and said that cutting military aid would harm the U.S. relationship with the country and “have a negative impact on U.S. national security.”

The president granted a partial waiver to Congo, saying that government had “taken some steps to reduce child soldiers,” but acknowledged that the progress made by Congo “does not yet represent the kind of institutional change required to make real progress toward eliminating child soldiers.”

Chad received a waiver for efforts to come into compliance with the law. Burma, Somalia and Sudan did not receive U.S. aid subject to the act, although the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia, which has child soldiers, is scheduled to receive $50 million in separate peacekeeping aid not subject to the Child Soldier Prevention Act.

In 2010, the first year the law was in effect, Mr. Obama gave full national-interest waivers to Chad, Congo, Sudan and Yemen. Continue reading »

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Mar 24

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Two large quakes with a magnitude of 7.0 struck near north Thailand’s border with Myanmar and Laos, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Witnesses said the tremors were felt in Bangkok, Myanmar and as far away as the Vietnam capital of Hanoi where people were evacuated from tall buildings.

The quakes struck seconds apart at 1355 GMT and were centered 69 miles north of the Thai town of Chiang Rai.

Continue reading »

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Oct 25

association-of-southeast-asian-nations
Graphic highlighting facts on the 10-member states of the ASEAN national grouping

HUA HIN, Thailand — Asian leaders will pledge to overcome their differences and push towards the formation of an EU-style community as they wrap up an annual summit in Thailand on Sunday.

Human rights issues, border disputes and signs of apathy over a meeting that was twice delayed by protests have at times marred the gathering of leaders from a region that contains more than half the world’s population.

But plans to increase the region’s global clout by building closer ties eventually dominated the three-day meeting of Southeast Asian nations along with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Heads of state at the Thai beach resort of Hua Hin will sign a raft of agreements Sunday on boosting economic and political integration and cooperating on subjects including climate change and disaster management.

Japan’s proposal for a so-called East Asian community will be up for further discussion, after Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said the region should “have the aspiration that East Asia is going to lead the world.”

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is also set to restate its commitment to create its own political and economic community by 2015.

Continue reading »

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Jun 04

More than 1 million people still don’t have adequate food, water or shelter a month after a devastating cyclone swept through Myanmar, and the military junta’s policies are hindering relief efforts and driving up the cost of aid operations, the United Nations said Tuesday.

Humanitarian groups say they continue to face hurdles from Myanmar’s military government in sending disaster experts and vital equipment into the country. As a result, only a trickle of aid is reaching the storm’s estimated 2.4 million survivors, leaving many without even basic relief.

Compounding these problems, the junta’s refusal to allow the use of military helicopters from neighboring countries is driving up relief costs, an official from the World Food Program said.

Aid groups are unable to provide 1.1 million survivors with sufficient food and clean water, while trying to prevent a second wave of deaths from malnutrition and disease, the U.N. said in its latest assessment report. Continue reading »

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May 12

“An estimated 100,000 people have already died in the badly hit Irrawaddy Delta region.

“Oxfam has warned the final figure could be as high as 1.5 million unless aid is given free access to the worst hit areas.”
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Aid should be dropped into Burma from the skies if access to Burma does not improve dramatically within the next day, Tory leader David Cameron urged today.

Amid increasing concern at the limited supplies getting through to those in need, he said: “The sands of time are running out.”

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said nothing was being ruled out, although access had improved recently.
Devastation: Cyclone Nargis tore through Burma leaving destruction in its path.

Their comments came as charities warned Burma was on the cusp of a second wave of disaster due to the inadequate relief being allowed into the country.

Mr Cameron said he hoped direct drops would not be necessary but if Burma did not allow aid in that would constitute a “crime against humanity”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One: “What we need to do is say if the situation hasn’t radically improved by Tuesday then we need to consider the further steps of direct aid being dropped to help people in Burma. Continue reading »

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May 12


Children standing amid the debris of their village, which was destroyed by the cyclone, near the township of Kunyangon, Burma. Photograph: Adam Dean/EPA

Burma is still exporting rice even as it tries to curb the influx of international donations of food bound for the starving survivors of the cyclone that killed up to 116,000 people.

Sacks of rice destined for Bangladesh were being loaded on to a ship at the Thilawa container port at the mouth of the Yangon River at the end of last week, even though Burma’s ‘rice bowl’ region was devastated by the deadly storm a week ago.

The Burmese regime, which has a monopoly on the country’s rice exports, said it planned to meet all its contractual commitments. Continue reading »

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May 09

(CNN puplished this article (check the title with google) but has it entirely rewritten just a few minutes ago. – The Infinite Unknown)

YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) — Myanmar’s cyclone survivors have insufficient fuel to burn the rotting corpses of the dead as the ruling military junta is accused of being too slow in letting aid groups into the country.

Relief agencies say decomposing corpses litter ditches and fields in the worst-hit Irrawaddy delta area as survivors try to conserve fuel for transporting much-needed supplies.

The international community is growing increasingly frustrated with the junta’s lack of progress in granting visas for relief workers and giving clearance for aid flights to land.

They are concerned the lack of medical supplies and clean food and water threatens to increase the already staggering death toll. Continue reading »

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May 08

Officials say corpses are floating in the water as Myanmar disaster grows
YANGON, Myanmar – Bodies floated in flood waters and survivors tried to reach dry ground on boats using blankets as sails, while the top U.S. diplomat in Myanmar said Wednesday that up to 100,000 people may have died in the devastating cyclone.

Hungry crowds stormed the few shops that opened in the country’s stricken Irrawaddy delta, sparking fist fights, according to Paul Risley, a spokesman for the U.N. World Food Program in neighboring Thailand.

Shari Villarosa, who heads the U.S. Embassy in Myanmar, said food and water are running short in the delta area and called the situation there “increasingly horrendous.”

“There is a very real risk of disease outbreaks as long as this continues,” Villarosa told reporters. Some 1 million people were homeless in the Southeast Asian country, the U.N. said. Continue reading »

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May 07

YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) — Bodies are being thrown into rivers by Myanmar cyclone survivors in desperate need of help.

The government-run radio station said Tuesday that 22,464 are confirmed dead and 41,000 are missing, and the United Nations says that up to 1 million could be homeless.

CNN’s Dan Rivers is the first Western journalist to reach Bogalay township, where China’s state-run Xinhua news agency says 10,000 died. He reported miserable conditions.

Rivers said that bodies were being dropped into rivers and that survivors had only small amounts of eggs and rice. The area’s rice mills are destroyed, leaving Bogalay with a five-day supply. Water pumps were also ruined, and fuel was scarce. Continue reading »

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