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Ear to the Ground

Bush to Tighten Sanctions on Burma

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Posted on Sep 25, 2007
marching monks

President Bush has weighed in on the massive protests in Burma (Myanmar), saying he will boost sanctions against the country’s abusive military government. Meanwhile, thousands of Buddhist monks have defied government warnings and continue to demonstrate.

The military junta in control of the country responded by announcing a two-month-long dusk-to-dawn curfew and repositioning armed soldiers.

L.A. Times:

President Bush announced today that he planned to tighten sanctions against the military government in Myanmar and slap a visa ban on “those responsible for egregious human rights violations.”

In a speech at the United Nations, Bush focused on human rights, outlining new U.S. efforts to force the military rulers to accede to the demands of the democracy movement in the Southeast Asian nation once known as Burma.

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Regional perspective from the Bangkok Post:

The demonstration, exceeding 50,000 monks and laymen, was in open defiance of a government order to end their daily marches that started a week ago Tuesday, and escalated Monday with up to 100,000 marchers in Rangoon and other cities.

On Monday night, Brigadier-General Thura Myint Maung, the minister of religion, issued a televised warning to all monks to obey Buddhist rules that prohibit the clergy from engaging in political activities.

Trucks with loudspeakers prowled Rangoon’s downtown area Tuesday morning warning that anyone caught watching the marchers will be liable to three years in jail and anyone who participates in the marches faces 10 years imprisonment.

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Burma’s military leaders have imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the main cities Rangoon and Mandalay, which have seen escalating anti-government protests.

Armed troops have now been deployed after tens of thousands of Buddhist monks and civilians again defied the army’s warning to stay off the streets.

World leaders at the UN General Assembly have condemned the situation.

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By Frank, September 26, 2007 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

PACRAT, academic freedom of speech is exactly what Lee Bollinger was exercising when he spoke his mind to Ahmadinejad at Columbia. Apparently you don’t believe free speech or academic freedom applies to a University President?  Bollinger is not a Head of State or a diplomat. it is not his job or responsibility to kiss someone’s ass when they visit his university to speak. He is an academic first and foremost and it is his right to speak his mind at his own university, a right that Ahmadinejad does not have since the right to free speech does not include a captive audience or guaranteed public speaking forum like a university where you are not a member of the faculty or student body. 

Ahmadinejad was warned in advance he would be challenged and given a harsh introduction by Bollinger, and he was willing to accept this for the privilege of speaking at Columbia University. Otherwise, Ahmadinejad still would have been free to go speak his mind on any street corner.—colubmia-ahmadine0926sep26,0,4043826.story

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By QuyTran, September 26, 2007 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

Ah ha, when the baboon tries to play hero in his jungle.

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By PACRAT, September 26, 2007 at 6:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

America is Shocked at What is Happening in Myamar!

Right! Bet that our president couldn’t even find Myamar on the world map, even if he read two or three more novels by Camus!

Yes, it’s tragic and the world should rally to support the citizens of Burma, but isn’t this sudden concern by the President a cover-up for his negligence of human rights concerns in Iraq and even in our own country! Did the president directly mention his war in Iraq in his speech to the UN? No!But by throwing up a smokescreen by citing abuses in Burma, he obviously hoped to convince the UN that he cares!

And that ass of a president of Columbia University - so much for academic freedom! Was he trying to impress his students or the world with his lack of respect for a head of a soverign country and for all Americans! How could two worthly leaders like our president and the presiden of Columbia be so foolish on almost the same day???

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By thomas billis, September 26, 2007 at 1:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is absolutely wonderful that Pres Bush has highlighted the problems in Burma and he should be commended.I know that asking him to chew gum and walk is alot to ask but is it not possible to cover Iraq in the speech before the UN.Bush will not use the UN to help solve the problem.He seems to shy away from any forum that had it right on Iraq.I am sure calling Hans Blix and apologizing is not on his agenda either.I think what he dreds is open and frank discussion at the UN that the American people might overhear.It is okay to send Colin Powell there with a package of lies and halftruths to put some sort of international impramatur on this adventure in Iraq.But to go to the UN and seek some help in extricating ourselves from this situation no way.To talk about Burma to the exclusion of Iraq in front of the UN makes him and us look like morons.

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By Kevin James, September 25, 2007 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hypocrisy American style best displayed at UN by the El Presidente…

No rage over Musharraf’s military government and stifling of the opposition?!

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