Posts Tagged ‘Burma’

Weekend reading: Links & comments 10/23/2015

October 23, 2015

Iceland Just Jailed Dozens of Corrupt Bankers for 74 Years, the Opposite of What America Does by Jay Syrmopoulos of the Free Thought Project (via AlterNet)

Iceland sentences 26 bankers to a combined 74 years in prison by gjohnsit for Daily Kos (Hat tip to my expatriate friend Jack)

Icelandic courts have sentenced 26 bankers to prison terms for two to five years each—a total of 74 years—for financial fraud and manipulation leading up to the financial crash of 2008.

The important precedent here, and the great contrast with the United States, is that Iceland prosecuted individuals, not banks.  An organization structure cannot commit crimes, any more than a bank building can commit crimes.   It is the individuals within the structure who have criminal responsibility.

JADE: A Global Witness Investigation Into Myanmar’s Big “State Secret” (hat tip to Jack)

High-quality jade is the most valuable product of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.  But the government and people of the country get little benefit from it.  Instead the trade is controlled by military elites, corporate cronies and U.S.-sanctioned drug lords.

Nawal El Saadawi: ‘Do you feel you are liberated?  I feel I am not’ by Rachel Cooke for The Guardian (Hat tip to Jack)

An interview with the formidable 83-year-old Egyptian author, freethinker, feminist, medical doctor and campaigner against female genital mutilation.

(more…)

Glimpses of Asia – October 3, 2015

October 3, 2015

Hat tip for these links to my expatriate e-mail pen pal Jack and his friend Marty

Ghost Chili

Ghost Chili

World’s Hottest Chili (the Ghost Chili) is now being weaponized by the Indian Military
http://www.messynessychic.com/2012/10/08/worlds-hottest-chili-the-ghost-chili-is-now-being-weaponized-by-the-indian-military/

US elevates Thailand to best child labor category
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/breakingnews/US-elevates-Thailand-to-best-child-labor-category-30269971.html

Movie Vs. Reality: What It Actually Feels Like To Climb Mount Everest
http://uproxx.com/life/2015/09/everest-reality-vs-fiction/

The Most Frightening Food Found on Airplanes
http://mentalfloss.com/article/69240/most-frightening-food-found-airplanes

[Thai] Government warns netizen protesters
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/714964/government-warns-netizen-protesters

(more…)

The biggest book in the world

July 24, 2015

largest book 1Source: Kuriositas.

The biggest book in the world is an edition of the Pali Canon, a scripture of Theravada Buddhism, inscribed on marble by order of King Mindon of Burma in 1860.

Located in Mandalay, it consists of 1,640 marble pages, each 3.5 feet wide, 5 feet tall and 5 inches thick, sheltered by its own pagoda, and arranged around the central golden Kuthodaw Pagoda.  Only one page is devoted to King Mindon’s own deeds.

The project was completed and opened to the public in 1868.   Tended by Buddhist monks, it is still visited by pilgrims and tourists.

King Mindon believed that books were the most valuable creation of civilization, and he hoped his edition of the Pali Canon would last 5,000 years.

(more…)

The passing scene: Links & comments 7/14/14

July 14, 2014

Economix Explains Social Security

Economix Explains the Transpacific Partnership

Economix Explains Net Neutrality

Cartoonist Michael Goodwin uses words and pictures to give clear explanations of three important, and often misunderstood, issue.

Crimea Annexation Spurs Some Russians to Emigrate by Yekaterina Kravtsova for the Moscow Times.

Amid heightened nationalist passions over the Ukraine crisis,  President Vladimir Putin is cracking down on independent journalists and opposition politicians.

The United Nations estimates that 40,000 Russians asked for political asylum in other countries last year, the highest number from any country except Syria.  This year Russian requests for asylum are running ahead of last year’s.

Putin’s Russia is not a free country.

Russia wipes out Cuban debt by Aljazeera America.

President Putin agreed to cancel Cuba’s debt to the old Soviet Union, while Cuba plans more offshore oil concessions for Russian companies.  The USA could have had equivalent deals any time during the past 50 years if not for the ongoing U.S. embargo against Cuba.

The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal by Lee Fang for The Nation.

Marijuana is a cheap substitute for prescription painkillers, and may be less addictive.   The big pharmaceutical companies would lose a lot of sales if marijuana were legalized.

The Fire This Time:  A look at the religious violence in Burma by Hozan Alan Senauke for Buddhadharma.

The vice-abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center says that violence against Burma’s Muslim minority is contrary to the teachings of Buddha.

 

Traffickers victimize Burma’s Rohingya refugees

August 13, 2013

This documentary by UK Channel 4 News is about victimization of Burma’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority.  Living in camps along the Burma-Bangladesh border, they are offered passage to Malaysia by Thai smugglers.  Instead of being taken to Malaysia, they are imprisoned in camps along the Thai border with Malaysia and held for ransom.  If the ransom isn’t paid, they are sold as slave laborers to Thai fishermen.

The investigation led to a camp being raided by Thai officials and kidnap victims being freed.  It would be nice to think that this will be part of an ongoing crackdown and not just a one-time action to counteract bad publicity.

(more…)

The country formerly known as Burma

May 25, 2013

An e-mail friend of mine who lives in Thailand sent me a link to an editorial in the Bangkok Post about a visit by President Thein Sein of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, to President Obama in the White House.  That country has been ruled by a military dictatorship and is slowly transitioning back to an elected government.

map_of_myanmarAccording to the editorial, Obama and Thein Sein discussed American business investment in the former Burma, but ignored the country’s role as a center of heroin and methamphetamine trafficking.   It is interesting how the U.S. government wages low-intensity war against the Mexican and Colombian cocaine cartels, but cares little about the opium and heroin cartels of south and southeast Asia.

The editorial writers regret that Obama did not bring up the persecution of a minority group called the Rohingya, which I’d never heard of.   A little Google research told me that they are a Muslim ethnic group terrorized by the Buddhist majority, and that many are refugees in neighboring countries.  I always thought of Buddhism as a contemplative, tolerant religion. It goes to show how misleading stereotypes can bethat Buddhists, like other people, do not necessarily follow the best teachings of their religion, and to show how little knowing the name of the religion to which someone pays lip service will tell you about that person’s behavior.

The two things I get from the editorial are an indication of the U.S. government’s priorities in foreign policy, and an indication of how some foreigners still look to Americans to champion human rights.

Click on Myanmar, US Waste a Chance to read the editorial.