US-approved Syrian opposition group forms governing body
After US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a "more trustworthy" Syrian opposition last week, New TV reported that a leader in the Free Syrian Army announced that the Free Army is reorganizing its ranks to gain the trust of the international community, adding that his leadership has started to settle inside Syria. The Syrian opposition also announced during its ongoing meetings in Doha that it accepted a proposal to establish a transitional government headed by opposition member Riyad Saif. The initiative, headed by Saif, stipulates creating a unified leadership dubbed the Syrian National Initiative, from which a government in exile will be formed.
World groups organize global day of action in support of Myanmar's Rohingyas; Suu Kyi under fire for ignoring violence
Myanmar's Rohingyas are fleeing Rakhine State after a new wave of attacks from the Buddhist majority. Press TV reported that Rohingya groups around the world held a global day of action for the Rohingyas on November 8. International rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, have also criticized Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence on the issue. The president of Arakan Rohingya National Organization, Noor al-Islam, added in an interview during a rally in London that if the persecuted had been Rakhine's Buddhists, Suu Kyi would have spoken out. Additionally, the aid group Doctors Without Borders says its workers have been threatened and stopped from reaching violence-hit areas in Myanmar. The group says thousands are left without medical care in the western Rakhine State as a result, adding that many of the victims are extremely vulnerable.
Tens of Thousands Demand Nobel Peace Prize for Malala Yousafzai
BBC Arabic reported that over 60 thousand people signed a petition calling for Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafzai to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The 15-year-old girl is recovering in The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Britain, after suffering an armed attack by the Taliban movement in Pakistan. Malala and her campaign for education gained notoriety around the world after she wrote her memoirs in the Urdu section of the BBC about life under the teachings of the extremist Taliban movement that rejects girls' right to an education.
Oil Giant Shell Undercuts Iran Sanctions with $1.4B Grain Barter
Dubai TV reported that the Royal Dutch Shell Company aims to circumvent international sanctions imposed on Iran by concluding a swap through which it would pay its USD 1.4 billion debt to the Iranian national oil company with a grain barter deal through the American agribusiness Cargill. Through the deal, Shell would deliver grain to Iran worth USD 1.4 billion, or what amounts to nearly 80 percent of Iran's yearly grain imports. Sources also revealed that the Royal Dutch Shell company, Tehran's second largest customer, imports 100,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day, and continued to purchase oil until the sanctions went into effect on July 1st.
Image: Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai talks to her father, Ziauddin Yousufzai, as she recuperates at the The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, in this undated handout photograph released to Reuters on November 8, 2012. REUTERS/Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham/Handout
(LinkAsia: February 3, 2012)
This week, Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi began campaigning outside Yangon for April's by-elections. The Nobel Laureate will continue her tour around the country to win support for other candidates from her party. If the politics of Burma has become easier, it doesn't matter to the hundreds of thousands of Burmese who fled the country's military government. At least 140,000 live in Thailand. And for most of them, life is brutal. NHK has the story of one young refugee.
NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: January 30, 2012
Mae Sot marks the border between Myanmar and Thailand. The far side is Myanmar. Every day people cross from Myanmar, often illegally, to look for work. They total around 20,000 a year. They expect a better life, but often they find reality is tough. This garbage dump is close to the river. I'm standing at a garbage mountain in the town on the Thai border with Myanmar. The scene is really terrible. Here people from Myanmar make a living by collecting garbage. The mountain of trash is dotted with people. They are searching for scraps of steel and plastic to sell. Thirteen-year-old Zimintu came here with his family five years ago. He earns about a dollar a day, too little to feed his family of four. Picking vegetables out of the garbage is sometimes the only way to get enough to eat.
My father is sick, so I have no choice but to do this.
A local NGO has built a school near the garbage site to help the children. About 150 students attend the school. They all live at the dorm, but they get medical check-ups and free meals through the school. Zimintu's younger brother studied at the school two years ago. After Zimintu finishes his day collecting garbage, he goes to the school to pick up his brother. He wishes he was also playing with his friends. But he has to support his family.
Put the sweets in your bag. Let's go home.
He hopes that one day, he too will go to school and become a doctor.
Working at the dump site is no fun at all. It's just that there's no alternative job. I want to return to my hometown someday.
Zimintu endures a tough job to support his family, but that doesn't stop him from dreaming that one day things will get better. Khemmapat Rojwanichkun, NHK World, Northern Thailand.
(LinkAsia News - November 4, 2011) YUL KWON, LinkAsia host: After decades of house arrest, Myanmar's pro-democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, says she senses a change in attitude in the country's year- old government. Lately, it's been more willing to engage with the opposition movement that she leads. Japanese broadcaster NHK World has this exclusive interview with the Nobel Peace Prize Winner.
NHK World NEWSLINE Transcript
10/28/11 - 9PM Broadcast
AUNG SAN SUU KYI: I think the president is very desirous of positive change.
REPORTER: Myanmar held its first general election in 20 years last year. However, Aung San Suu Kyi was effectively barred from participating in the ballot. More than 80% of the rule-makers elected turn out to be supporters of the former military government.
The military maintains a strong influence over the country. However, in August, President Thein Sein held his first meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi in an upfront effort to improve ties with the pro-democracy movement.
SUU KYI: The force to its changes... I think we've got to make it strong. This is our responsibility; this is our duty to try to make it as strong as possible. We prefer to emphasize what is positive, and to help the process along. We also are cautious about saying that change has taken place.
REPORTER: Then, earlier this month, the government granted amnesty to more than 6,300 prisoners, including political detainees, who were accused of criticizing the former military regime.
The United States has suggested that it might review its economic sanctions on Myanmar, if the government allows more political participation by opposition parties and moves closer towards democracy. Even Aung San Suu Kyi says she would be willing to take part in the party's political framework, if the government asks her, but only with one condition.
SUU KYI: Such matters are very much things that have to be decided with the rest of the party. It's not something that I decide for myself. I think you have to be committed to the process of dialogue, and even sometimes when it is perhaps not everything that you might wish for, you still have to continue and try to make it more meaningful and more substantial.
REPORTER: Aung San Suu Kyi says she sees the change in the government's attitude as the golden opportunity to advance democracy in the country. Jun Kobayashi, NHK World, Yang Gong.