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Military coup ends revival of democracy in Myanmar

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The Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and all the parties in the Socialist Alliance condemn the military coup, which has destroyed the recent attempt to restore democracy in Myanmar after nearly five decades of cruel military dictatorship.

In the General Election held last November, the National League for Democracy (NLD) scored a massive victory (winning over 80% of the seats) defeating the party put forward by the military. Ever since the election results were announced, the military alleged that the victory was a fraud, and this false campaign peeked last week when it declared that it could seize power to settle its claims of irregularities in the polls, according to the terms of the Constitution drafted by the military in 2008.

On February 1, the Myanmar military staged the coup detaining elected Leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and taking control of the country for one year under a state of emergency. Suu Kyi and President Win Myint were detained in the capital Naypyidaw, NLD spokesperson Myo Nyunt said just hours before Parliament was to assemble for the first time since the election. This shameless violation of the people’s victory after nearly five decades of suffering under army terror and brutality came as a shock to the people.

Aung San Suu Kyi spent 20 years, on and off, under house arrest for her role as an opposition leader before she was released by the military in 2010. The country emerged from 49 years of military rule when elections were held in 2011. Despite the Aung San Suu Kyi party capturing 396 of 476 seats in the combined lower and upper houses of Parliament in the November polls, the military holds 25% of the total seats under the Constitution drafted by the military in 2008. This also includes several key ministries including that of Defense.

It is noteworthy that Myanmar has also seen two previous coups since independence from Britain in 1948, one in 1962 and the other in 1988. The powerful and ruthless military of Myanmar that has trampled on the people’s democracy since the country gained independence from Britain in 1948 has been able to trade and communicate with the rest of the world with very little condemnation by the so-called “International Community” (the Western powers led by the USA). This also applies to some extent to Myanmar’s neighbors.

However, with the developments of the last few days, it is gratifying to note that there has been strong condemnation by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nation has said, “The Constitution of 2008 was specifically designed to ensure military power was deeply entrenched and protected”. Other countries like the USA, Australia, India and Singapore have condemned the military action and called for the immediate release of the detained elected leaders and the early restoration of democracy.

We call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to join the rest of the world in strongly condemning the Myanmar military coup.

 

7Prof. Tissa Vitarana



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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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