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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        28  May 2011

US to continue Myanmar sanctions

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US lawmakers this week proposed to extend sanctions on Myanmar, saying that the regime has not made true efforts to improve treatment of its people despite a political transition.

The annual legislation, which has passed easily in Congress in the past, bans the import of goods from Myanmar, including lucrative gems, and restricts visas issued to government officials in the country often called Burma.

President Barack Obama earlier this month extended a separate set of sanctions that bar US investment in Myanmar. Senator Mitch McConnell, the top member of the minority Republican Party in the Senate, criticised elections last year in Myanmar as a farce to rubber-stamp regime-backed candidates, even though the junta officially ceded power to civilians.

'We should not be fooled by the transparent efforts of the regime,' the Kentucky senator said. “It is merely trying to get out from under the international cloud of sanctions - without making true changes in how it governs itself, treats its people and interacts with the rest of the world,” he said.

McConnell proposed the sanctions extension with Senator Dianne Feinstein of Mr Obama's Democratic Party. A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Democrat Joe Crowley and Republican Peter King.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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