BUKIT WANG BURMA, Malaysia (Reuters) – Malaysian police forensic teams, digging with hoes and shovels, on Tuesday began pulling out bodies from shallow graves found in abandoned jungle camps where an inter-governmental body said hundreds of victims of human traffickers may be buried.
The Malaysian government said it was investigating whether local forestry officials were involved with the people-smuggling gangs believed responsible for nearly 140 such graves discovered around grim camps along the border with Thailand.
BUKIT WANG BURMA, Malaysia (Reuters) – It’s a one-hour trek through thick jungle from the nearest road to the ramshackle camp along Malaysia’s northern border, but for all its remoteness this was a perfect setting for human traffickers to ply their grisly trade.
Prisoners could be kept alive with water from a stream running through the gully where the now-abandoned camp was nestled and, thanks to a good mobile phone signal from Thailand, they could communicate with accomplices across a trafficking supply chain that begins in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
WANG KELIAN, Malaysia (Reuters) – Malaysian police believe at least two of the jungle camps where they have found nearly 140 graves of suspected human trafficking victims were abandoned in the last two to three weeks, around the time that Thailand launched a crackdown on people smugglers.
The first body removed from the site had been dead for around the same amount of time and may have been left unburied as the traffickers fled in a hurry from the area near the Thai border, the local police chief said.
NAYPYITAW (Reuters) – Myanmar’s ruling party is led by former members of a military junta, evolved from an organisation that democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi once compared to a Nazi militia, and took office through electoral fraud.
This dubious history doesn’t seem to faze the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), as it prepares for an historic election likely to be held in November.
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Six years ago, Paru Shrestha’s family tore down their old home in the Nepali town of Sankhu and replaced it with a modern, five-storey house. It probably saved their lives.
On April 25, a devastating earthquake killed over 7,700 people and flattened towns and villages across central Nepal, including most of Sankhu’s fine old buildings.
KATHMANDU, May 2 (Reuters) – Customs inspections at
Kathmandu airport are holding up vital relief supplies for
earthquake survivors in Nepal, a U.N. official said on Saturday,
as the death toll from the disaster a week ago passed 6,600.
United Nations Resident Representative Jamie McGoldrick said
the government must loosen its normal customs restrictions to
deal with the increasing flow of relief material now pouring in
from abroad and piling up at the airport.
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – U.S. military aircraft, heavy equipment and air traffic controllers will start arriving in Nepal from Saturday as part of a U.S. relief operation following the devastating earthquake, a senior U.S. officer said.
The 7.8 magnitude quake that struck last Saturday killed at least 6,250 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless when it destroyed parts of the capital Kathmandu and flattened villages across a wide swath of the country.
LUKLA, Nepal/KATHMANDU (Reuters) – As rescuers lose hope of finding more survivors in Nepal’s earthquake disaster zone, a separate drama has unfolded high above them on Mount Everest where the hopes of a few rich climbers and some of their sherpas have also vanished.
After six days of high emotion and harsh words at Everest Base Camp, climbing firm Himalayan Experience finally decided on Friday to abandon its ascent of the world’s highest peak, becoming the last big team to do so.
CHAUTARA, Nepal (Reuters) – In the rubble-strewn Nepali hilltop town of Chautara, a round-the-clock rescue effort by the military is helping to recast the image of an institution once criticized for rights abuses in a brighter and more sympathetic light.
“The army was here five minutes after the quake,” said resident Dil Bahadur Khatuwa, 44. “They’ve been treating people and helping to get things from houses.”
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Climbing will reopen on Mount Everest next week after damage to routes caused by avalanches that were set off by a huge earthquake, one of which killed 18 climbers at base camp, senior officials said on Thursday.
“Next week, expeditions will continue,” said Tulsi Prasad Gautam, chief of the mountaineering department at the tourism ministry.