Latest News March 17, 2011
covering burma and southeast asia
Saturday, June 15, 2024

Latest News March 17, 2011

By THE IRRAWADDY Thursday, March 17, 2011


Judge Denies Bail to Dunkley

A Burmese court has refused to allow an Australian publisher charged with violating immigration law to be freed on bail. Judge Aung Min said Thursday that bail would not be granted for Ross Dunkley because he is in good health. Dunkley has been held at Rangoon's notorious Insein prison since his Feb. 10 arrest. He is charged with drugging a local woman and with violating immigration law by committing an illegal act. The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison for the drugging charge and five years for the immigration charge. Dunkley has denied the accusations. His associates say the charges are related to a business dispute and are designed to force him to relinquish control of the English-language Myanmar Times newspaper.

Thailand to Give Iodine Pills to Japan Travelers

Thai authorities say they will distribute medicine to anyone traveling to Japan to protect against radiation from damaged nuclear power plants. The Thai Health Ministry said that beginning on Thursday, potassium iodide tablets will be given free to travelers flying to Tokyo from airports in Bangkok and Phuket. The Thai government has already warned against unnecessary travel to Japan. Potassium iodide protects the thyroid gland against cancer by blocking absorption of radioactive iodine. Supplies in Japan have become short, and panic buying has been reported as far away as North America. The Thai government's National News Bureau says more than 70 percent of package tour bookings to Japan for March to May have been canceled.

Japan Crisis Creates Nuclear Panic Abroad

Japan's nuclear crisis reverberated in atomic power-friendly countries on Wednesday, with China saying it will hold off on approving new nuclear plants and French lawmakers questioning top energy executives about the safety of their reactors. Some governments have put their nuclear future on hold, at least for now, as concerns grow even among pro-nuclear governments about the safety of the 442 reactors operating around the world. Meanwhile, Japanese emergency workers are desperately struggling to cool overheating reactors after a series of explosions at a nuclear plant crippled after last week's earthquake and tsunami. China's cabinet said on Wednesday the government will suspend approvals for nuclear power stations to allow for a revision in safety standards. The State Council said it has ordered the relevant departments to conduct safety checks at existing plants and at those under construction.

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