Burmese Migrants Die in Thai Crash
Six Burmese illegal migrant workers and one other person were killed in Thailand on Wednesday after the pickup they were in plunged into a canal while trying to avoid a police checkpoint, police said. The accident occurred in Ban Phreak district of Ayutthaya Province, around 75 km north of Bangkok. Two men, including the Thai driver, and five women were killed; 12 other people were injured. “One of 12 injured is in critical condition,” said Col Patcharakorn Chanwongsa, superintendent of Ban Phreak police station, according to a report by AFP.
US Senator Webb to Visit Burma
Democratic Sen. Jim Webb will visit Burma shortly after April 1 by-elections being carefully watched in Washington for signs of the country's commitment to democratic change. In 2009, Webb became the first US lawmaker to visit the country in more than a decade, and advocated reaching out to a military government that Washington had long isolated. Webb became the only American official to have met Than Shwe, who headed the then-ruling junta. Webb heads the Senate subcommittee that oversees U.S. policy toward East Asia.—AP
Japan to Send Election Observers to Burma
Japan said on Tuesday it will send three observers to monitor Burma's upcoming by-elections. The Burmese government announced last week that it had invited several countries, including member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other Asian and Western nations, to send observers. The US and Australia have already said they will be sending monitors. “Upon invitation from the government of Myanmar, the government of Japan has decided to dispatch a total of three electoral monitors,” said a statement released by Tokyo.
Bomb Kills Two Children in Karenni State
Two children were killed and another two were wounded when a bomb went off in Karenni State on March 21, according to local reports. The explosion occurred near the Lawpita-Taungoo power line, which carries electricity from the Lawpita hydropower station in Karenni State to Rangoon, Burma's largest city. The children reportedly discovered the bomb near a transmission tower and were playing with it when it exploded. It was unclear who had planted the device or how long it had been there.
Drug Traffickers Blamed for Golf Course Blasts
Thai intelligence sources said that a series of bomb blasts at a golf course in the Burmese border town of Tachilek last weekend were most likely related to local drug suppression efforts. According to a report by The Bangkok Post, the sources said the incident was just the latest in a series of attacks targeting officials in in the notorious Golden Triangle region, including one that left five police officers in Tachilek dead and the murder late last year of 13 Chinese sailors patrolling the upper Mekong River. One child was killed in Saturday's attack.
Very High Radiation, Little Water in Japan Reactor
One of Japan's crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and much less water to cool it than officials had estimated, according to an internal examination. A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the No. 2 reactor's containment chamber for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant a year ago. Special equipment and technology will have to be developed to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant, a process expected to last decades.—AP
China Rights Lawyer Allowed Visit by Family
Family members of jailed prominent lawyer Gao Zhisheng said on Wednesday that Chinese authorities have allowed them to visit him in prison, confirming for first time he is alive and in good health since he disappeared nearly two years ago. The dissident's wife, Geng He, said her father and Gao's brother saw him for half an hour in a remote prison in Xinjiang on Saturday. The whereabouts of Gao had been unknown for 20 months until state media reported in December that he was being sent back to prison for three years for violating his probation.—AP