Sunday, May 25, 2008

Aid conference in Rangoon

A British government minister has said it's time for the Burmese generals to turn into action, their promises to allow more international access to the Irrawaddy Delta, to aid thousands of cyclone victims still in desparate need.

The minister, Douglas Alexander, was speaking to the BBC in Rangoon at a donor meeting to pledge more help to Burma. He said aid was still not reaching nearly enough people, and needed to be scaled up.

Meanwhile the Burmese Planning Minister, Soe Tha, has released remarkably precise figures on the losses caused by Cyclone Nargis: They include nearly seven-hundred-thousand ducks, more than a million-and-a-half chickens, large numbers of pigs, cows, buffalo, sheep and goats.

Burma's opposition leader due for release

As the world focusses on humanitarian relief for survivors of Cyclone Nargis the leader of Burma's pro-democracy movement, Aung San Suu Kyi, is ending a five year period of house arrest this week ... but correspondents say her release is unlikely.

The leader of the National League for Democracy party has been detained for thirteen of the last nineteen years. Her party won an overwhelming victory in the last free election in Burma, in 1960, but the military refused to hand over control.

On Saturday the military government completed the holding of a referendum on a new constitution, which it describes as part of a road map to democracy - but critics say it would only entrench military rule, and Aung San Suu Kyi would not be allowed to stand for election as her late husband was a foreigner.

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