(10 am – promoted by ek hornbeck)
From the AP:
Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was personally informed of her continued imprisonment by officials from the Home Ministry who entered her villa prior to the announcement, the official said.
The extension was issued despite a Myanmar law that stipulates no one can be held longer than five years without being released or put on trial.
The junta faced a deadline to extend Suu Kyi’s house arrest for another year or release her. Members of her National League for Democracy were marching from the party’s headquarters to her home when riot police shoved the group into a truck.
It was not immediately clear where the truck was headed or exactly how many people were detained.
According to this YouTube, “Dust In The Wind” has been adapted as a song of protest by Burmese refugees living along the country’s border (it’s YouTube, so take it with the appropriate grain of salt):
In the midst of Burma’s military leaders holding an inexplicable referendum on their proposed constitution in the areas hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis last Saturday, and despite the continuing political back-and-forth between the US State Department and the military junta on the appropriateness of that action, Australia’s government seems to be the only western nation capable of hitting the right balance between not letting the military leaders off the hook while still being able to see past the politics of the moment in order to focus on the urgent needs of the cyclone’s victims.
These remarks are from a recent interview with Bob McMullan, Australia’s parliamentary secretary for International Development Assistance:
“Australia’s expressed its views about the regime in Myanmar (Burma) and the Foreign Minister’s expressed our views about the referendum and the process and the constitution,” Mr McMullan said.
“But our job today has been to talk about getting assistance to people in desperate need, people who just need clean water, children who can’t get food.
“We haven’t changed our opinion – the secretary-general made it clear the United Nations hasn’t changed its assessment, and we support the extension of democracy and civil rights,” he added.
“We are not going to get engaged in that sort of discussion in a manner which prevents us and stands in the way of the people, the people on this globe who probably are in more dire need than anybody, not getting assistance because we spent our time talking about very fundamental, very important but different questions from their desperate need for survival.”
After what appeared to be more delay tactics on the part of Burmese authorities, the Press Association reports that foreign relief workers are now moving into the hardest hit areas of the Irrawaddy delta:
The apparent breakthrough in the flow of aid for victims of Cyclone Nargis came after promises made by Burma’s ruling generals to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“International aid workers are starting to move to the delta,” said a spokesman for the UN humanitarian effort in Burma.
Helicopters also began shuttling high-energy biscuits and ready-to-eat meals into the hardest hit area.
The French aid agency Doctors Without Borders said its teams had entered remote villages around the delta town of Bogalay where people had not eaten for three days.
“Thousands of people have not seen any aid workers and still have not received any assistance,” the group said.
Hopefully, the presence of these international aid workers will, by itself, dispel the argument presented by Burma’s top military leaders that the “relief” phase of recovery efforts are over, and that “rebuilding” – something the military regime is very keen to do – should commence. Such statements may have been behind the international community’s reluctance to meet the military regime’s goal of raising $11 billion dollars in aid funding last Sunday, at a meeting chaired by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Please keep the people of Myanmar, the victims of the earthquake in China, and all those who are suffering in your thoughts, prayers and meditations.