April 08, 2008

Violence in Sri Lanka and Thailand, Natural gas revenue in Burma

Burma's trade hit an all-time peak last year: $8.7 billion, much of it in natural gas exports to Thailand, according to the Bangkok Post. (UPDATE: Danny Fisher has a great post on remembering Burma today, with an amazing, Pulitzer-prize winning photo by Reuters photographer Adrees Latif as well.)

The Tamil Tigers ask Norway to intervene in the vicious Sri Lankan civil war. They say a 400-year-old Catholic shrine is threatened by the actions of the Sri Lankan military.

Violence continues in southern Thailand, and ordinary people, as always, suffer:

Housewife Malee Kwansawad no longer leaves her home after five o'clock in the evening.

Like many in Thailand's insurgency-torn south, the 41-year-old Buddhist says she lives under constant fear of drive-by shootings and bomb attacks. Security forces cannot protect her from separatist militants, she says.

All she can do is keep a vigilant eye out for any possible attack in a shadowy insurgency with a death toll that this week topped 3,000.

"I always look around very carefully whenever I go outside," says the mother of two teenage boys in Pattani, one of three Muslim-majority southern provinces wracked by violence since 2004.

Her 20-year-old nephew was among the dead. He was gunned down last year by two unidentified men in a drive-by shooting, forcing home the grim reality of the southern violence.

"This is my country. But I don't feel safe," says the Pattani native.

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