March 19, 2008
An interesting piece in the New York Times addresses Tibetans living in western China, caught between several worlds. Not surprisingly, China is said to be tightening its grip on all Tibetan areas. Meanwhile, some western European countries flirt with an Olympic boycott. [Image © Mark Trepte/The Associated Press.]
Remember Ibrahim Gambari, the U.N.'s special envoy to Burma? He's disappointed with the lack of results from his recent trip, but he reports that Aung San Suu Kyi is in good health and good spirits. Meanwhile the All Burma Monks' Association (ABMA) urged monks to boycott this year's religious examinations, to be held on March 24th. The ABMA was formed in Mandalay on September 9th, 2007.
"During the saffron revolution, we announced the ex-communicative boycott of the regime. This boycott will remain in force as long as it is not withdrawn by another religious rite. So the boycott is still continuing. We urge our fellow monks to continue the boycott and obey the religious diktat," U Pyinyar Zawta, patron of ABMA told Mizzima.
"During the saffron revolution, the regime beat up monks, tied them to the lamppost, arrested them and imprisoned them. This is an insult to the Buddhist sasana (religion). So we issued this statement with the intention of urging our fellow monks to boycott the religious examinations held by the regime," he added.
The death toll from the four-year conflict in southern Thailand tops 3,000. (Or is it only 2,800?) What does Thailand's government think about how to solve this insurgency? "No idea," says interior minister Chalerm Yubamrung.
Meanwhile, a violent civil war rages in Sri Lanka, with 37 dead in recent clashes between the government and Tamil rebels.