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Myanmar rebukes UN over Rhakine genocide report

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Myanmar rebukes UN over Rhakine genocide report | The Thaiger

By Khine Kyaw , Yangon

Myanmar has responded to the UNs Fact Finding Mission that concluded genocide had been committed in Rakhine, saying the Myanmar Government did not recognise the mission and accused the writers of the report of intending to create a rift between the civilian government and the military.

“We have already dissociated ourselves from the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council, meaning Myanmar does not accept the establishment of that mission. So we do not accept any finding of that mission, and there is no way to cooperate with the Fact Finding Mission. We do not accept the one-sided accusations by that mission,” said presidential spokesperson Zaw Htay.

The UN report on Monday called for the investigation and prosecution of Myanmar’s commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing and several other senior military officers for “genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes” over their responsibility for violence in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states. The mission and international players also want to refer the case to the International Criminal Court.

“Actually, it is like an intentional attack on our country. For one thing, August 27 is not the date set for the launch of UN Fact-Finding Mission’s report, which was supposed to be submitted on September 18. But as the UN Security Council currently is holding a meeting on Myanmar affairs , we believe the report was timed as a blow to us just before the meeting,” Zaw Htay said.

“Our zero-tolerance policy on human rights violation is very clear. We have already told Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military) and police to address the Rakhine conflicts cautiously and legally, respecting human rights. If there is any evidence of human rights violations, let us know and we will investigate and take severe actions,” he said.

“Now, the Independent Enquiry Commission is doing its job very well. It will definitely let us know if it finds any evidence of such violations and then we will take actions against those who are involved.”

The spokesman also denounced Facebook for banning Min Aung Hlaing and other Myanmar officials and organisations for their alleged involvement in genocide and hate speech in the country. The government has asked Facebook how the removed accounts can be retrieved, and whether it will remove any accounts and pages created anew by banned military officials, he said.

“This kind of intentional attack may have negative impacts on our efforts for national reconciliation. I want to reiterate that there was no input by the government in Facebook’s ban on military officials.”

Win Mara, chairman of Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, said Myanmar has frequently asked the international community to be sceptical of one-sided accusations.

“Everything seems to emerge from exaggerations about the conflicts,” he said.

 

Myanmar rebukes UN over Rhakine genocide report | News by The Thaiger

“The country’s human rights body is happy to witness that the government has willingly followed the suggestions of Kofi Anan’s commission and the advisory board led by Thailand’s former foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai”, he said.

“This was systematically arranged to attack our country in different ways. It seems like an insult to our sovereignty,” he said.

Min Zaw Oo, director of the Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security, agreed, saying he believed it was a dishonest effort to foster confrontation between the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and the Tatmadaw.

The more confrontations between the two institutions, the harder it will be to build trust and peace, he said. The UN report indicated that civilian authorities had little scope to control the actions of the Tatmadaw.

It also found that “through their acts and omissions, the civilian authorities have contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes”.

“The State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, has not used her de facto position as head of government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events in Rakhine state,” the report states.

Nay Zin Latt, chairman of National Development Party, said conflict in Rakhine was started by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). The military merely tried to restore peace and stability in conflict-hit state, he claimed.

“I think everything was well-planned to pose further pressures on Myanmar, creating misunderstanding between the civilian government and the military,” he said.

Myanmar rebukes UN over Rhakine genocide report | News by The ThaigerSpecial Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee

SOURCE: The Nation

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ASEAN

China has the most atheists, Indonesia and Philippines the most believers

The Thaiger

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China has the most atheists, Indonesia and Philippines the most believers | The Thaiger

“According to the survey there is a connection between religiosity, beliefs and socio-demographic characteristics like age, income and education level.”

China is the least believing country in the world but belief in a God gets 100% mention in countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh and Philippines, according to the survey by Gallup International.

According to the survey exploring religious tendencies of 66,000 people in 68 countries across the world, 62 per cent of people in the world define themselves as religious, 74% of people globally believe we have a ‘soul’ and 71% believe in a God. Another 56% believe in heaven, 54% in life after death and 49% in hell.

China has the highest percentage of atheists in the world with 67% not believing in any religion. Every seven out ten people are atheists, more than double than any other country. 23% consider themselves as non-religious. Less than 10% identify themselves as religious in China.

China’s atheist percentage is followed by Japan, a long way behind in second place at 29%, Slovenia (28%) and Chech Republic (25%). Despite rapid industrialisation and urbanisation religion has stayed relevant in the South Korean region with only 23% identifying as atheist.

China has the most atheists, Indonesia and Philippines the most believers | News by The Thaiger

European countries like Belgium (21 %), France (21%) , Sweden (18%) and Iceland (17%) also have a large percentage of believing population.

Bangladesh, Indonesia and Philippines are the most believing countries with entire population claiming to believe in God, soul, hell and heaven. Thailand and Pakistan have 99% believing population, followed by India, Vietnam and Mongolia.

The survey shows that the levels of religiosity diminish as income and education levels increase. While 66% of people with low income affirm to be religious, this percentage drops to 50% among people with higher incomes. The same trend is verified in relation to education levels: 83% of people with lower education level are religious against 49% of higher level.

According to the survey there is a connection between religiosity, beliefs and socio-demographic characteristics like age, income and education level. As education and income levels grow higher, religiosity levels tend to go down. Also, the expression of different beliefs is higher among young people.

The level of education has a considerable influence on the perception of religion by the society. Women and young children show higher percentage for spiritual forces.

China has the most atheists, Indonesia and Philippines the most believers | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Data Leads

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Philippines

Powerful 6.4 earthquake kills five in the Philippines

May Taylor

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Powerful 6.4 earthquake kills five in the Philippines | The Thaiger

PHOTO: AFP

A strong 6.4 magnitude earthquake has struck the southern Philippines, killing five, including one child, destroying property and disrupting power supply. The death toll is expected to rise.

The powerful quake was felt across the Mindanao region, even causing a 3-storey shopping mall to burst into flames. Residents were evacuated and a child was killed when a house collapsed in the town of Datu Paglas.

AFP reports that the quake was 14 kilometres deep and followed by two aftershocks. The Philippines is part of the “Ring of Fire”, a zone of constant seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific.

Several injuries have been reported as a result of falling debris. The shopping mall that caught fire was evacuated when the quake struck, but it’s not yet known if there were still people inside as the fire took hold.

The mall was still on fire three hours later as nearly 100 firemen battled to put it out.

Residents on the coast in Davao fled to higher ground fearing a tsunami, even though a government seismologist reassured people there was no tsunami risk as the quake had occurred inland.

It’s understood that prisoners in the municipal jail in the town of Bansalan were also let out, but placed in handcuffs and held outside for the duration of the evacuation.

SOURCE: AFP

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Myanmar

Burmese surfing team head to SEAsia Games, a first for Myanmar

The Thaiger

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Burmese surfing team head to SEAsia Games, a first for Myanmar | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Burmese surfer Thwe Thwe Soe practicing off the coast of Ngwe Saung – Myanmore

Paddling hard and smiling, Thwe Thwe Soe flung herself up on the board just as a wave was breaking, spreading her arms out for balance before getting knocked off.

“I can’t live without surfing. I did not expect to be chosen for the national team but I’m thrilled at the opportunity.”

Thwe Thwe Soe was speaking after a day in the blue waters off the small coastal resort town of Ngwe Saung. Competitive surfing was barely known in Myanmar a few years ago but one local beach town is riding a wave of enthusiasm to the Southeast Asia Games for the first time ever.

The Southeast Asian country is flanked by surf-ready coasts to the west and south, but decades of military rule, lack of equipment and poverty kept aspiring athletes from testing the waters. The 25 year old encountered the sport while studying in southern California and has been hooked since, saying she “always feels happy” on the water.

Now she is going up against the region’s giants at the December games in the Philippines. Thwe Thwe Soe has one of the best chances to medal among the handful of surfers going, but all are training hard.

“We surf for at least four to six hours a day,” said American coach Robert Brickell, a 26 year old originally from New York.

The mild waves at Ngwe Saung present a paradox for competitive surfers – they are good to learn on but much tamer than the conditions in surfing hotspots. The team went to Bali in Indonesia for two months to get used to some “big wave surfing” and have made enormous strides in a short amount of time, Brickell said.

“My hope is that we can show everybody that people from Myanmar, we know how to surf, we know how to respect the ocean. And of course our hope is to win some meets.”

The Surf Association of Myanmar was established only this year. The sport is slowly gaining prominence thanks to the impassioned surfers, most from a village near the beach and newcomers themselves. Ngwe Saung is the heartland of the growing craze and has now hosted several competitions.

“We hadn’t heard of surfing before 2017. It will be a difficult competition but we will do our best for sure.” said 19 year old Aung Min Naing.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

Burmese surfing team head to SEAsia Games, a first for Myanmar | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Aspiring new Burmese surfer, Aung Min Naing – MMTimes.com

Burmese surfing team head to SEAsia Games, a first for Myanmar | News by The Thaiger

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