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.
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Nepal has told aid agencies it did not need more foreign rescue teams to come and help in the search for earthquake survivors, because its government and military could cope, the national head of the United Nations Development Programme told Reuters.
“The search and rescue will go on but the message they wanted us to relay was they have enough to deal with it,” Jamie McGoldrick said. The message was conveyed by the Nepali government and military to aid agencies at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
NAYPYITAW (Reuters) – With an historic general election just seven months away, Myanmar opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is locked in a high-stakes showdown with a military-backed government she says isn’t interested in reform.
Some of her supporters within Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement have begun to question whether the country’s most popular politician has the political ability to prevail.
NAYPYITAW (Reuters) – Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said boycotting an upcoming historic election was an “option” if a military-drafted constitution that bars her from becoming president remains unchanged.
In an interview on Friday, the Nobel laureate told Reuters that her opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party was “ready to govern” but that President Thein Sein was insincere about reform and might try to postpone the election.
THAE CHAUNG, Myanmar (Reuters) – In this teeming camp for displaced Rohingya Muslims in western Myanmar, it’s easy to overlook the internet huts. The raw emotion they generate is much harder to ignore.
The huts have bamboo walls, thatched roofs and – most importantly – dusty laptop computers that allow Rohingya to reestablish contact with relatives who have left on boats for Thailand and Malaysia. The internet connection comes via cellphones jammed into the cobweb-strewn rafters.
THAE CHAUNG, Myanmar (Reuters) – Myanmar’s decision to revoke temporary identification cards for minorities is raising tensions among its 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims, who have effectively been disenfranchised just days after parliament approved a law affirming their right to vote in a referendum.
Last week, the government of the Buddhist-majority nation announced that the temporary identification, known as white cards, would be revoked on May 31.
BANGKOK (Reuters) – A Myanmar Buddhist monk who called a U.N. human rights envoy a “whore” has violated his monastic code and could damage his religion, another prominent monk said on Tuesday, but he is unlikely to face censure.
Wirathu denounced Yanghee Lee, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, in a speech in Yangon on Friday, after she questioned draft laws that critics say discriminate against women and non-Buddhists.
MAUNGDAW, Myanmar (Reuters) – The fence stretches as far as the eye can see, its concrete pillars carrying coils of barbed wire across the mountains and marshes of western Myanmar.
Beyond the fence, on the far bank of the Naf River, is a ragged horizon of mangroves: Bangladesh. There, say Myanmar officials, lurks the armed militant group the fence was partly designed to keep out.
MAUNGDAW, Myanmar (Reuters) – For years, tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslim boat people have fled this remote corner of western Myanmar for nearby countries. But another huge exodus has grabbed far fewer headlines.
Ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, bitter rivals of the Rohingya, are also leaving Rakhine State to seek jobs in Malaysia and Thailand. Small numbers of Rakhine are even following the same smuggling routes plied by the Rohingya and, like them, falling victim to human traffickers.