Latest News March 21, 2011
covering burma and southeast asia
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Latest News March 21, 2011

By THE IRRAWADDY Monday, March 21, 2011


Burmese Travelers Tested for Radioactivity

Burmese passengers arriving home from Japan are being tested for radioactive contamination as the crisis continues in the Fukushima power plant, acording to a report by Radio Australia News. The scans are being carried out at Rangoon's international airport by officials from the Health, Science and Technology ministries. Arriving passengers are also being questioned on their movements in Japan. The Kyodo News Agency said officials are also monitoring rainwater in Rangoon for any signs of radioactivity, but no contamination has been detected so far. The price of iodised salt has tripled in Burma's main cities. It follows panic-buying in China where many have been wrongly convinced that iodised salt can protect against radiation sickness.

Burma Cracks Down on Prostitution Near Capital

Local authorities in Pyinmana, a town near Burma’s capital of Naypyidaw, have banned massage parlors and slapped restrictions on other fronts for prostitution, media reports said on Monday. “Massage parlors often act as a front for prostitution, which is illegal in Burma, and anyone caught running a brothel faces a lengthy prison term,” said an official of the Pyinmana Township Peace and Development Council. Restrictions have also been placed on restaurants, beauty parlors and karaoke lounges, which must now close at 11 p.m., according to a council announcement issued last week, The Myanmar Times said. Karaoke bars and lounges must install transparent glass in their rooms and are forbidden to use curtains, the announcement said.

World Bank: Japan Reconstruction May Take Five Years

Japan may need five years to rebuild from the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that has caused up to US $235 billion of damage, the World Bank said on Monday. The March 11 disaster—which killed more than 18,000 people and ravaged northeastern Japan—will likely shave up to 0.5 percentage point from the country's economic growth this year, the bank said in a report. The impact will be concentrated in the first half of the year, it said. The bank cited damage estimates between $123 billion and $235 billion, and cost to private insurers of between $14 billion and $33 billion. It said the government will spend $12 billion on reconstruction in the current national budget and "much more" in the next one.

Cambodia Calls for 15 Border Checkpoints Near disputed Area

The Cambodian military has proposed 15 joint border checkpoints be set up in the 4.6-square-kilometre area near Preah Vihear temple that is also claimed by Thailand, said a report by the Bangkok Post quoting a military source. The idea has been floated to the Thai military through Indonesia, as the incumbent revolving chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), and the Thai Foreign Ministry, but details have yet to be discussed, the source said. The proposed joint border checkpoints, which would be overseen by observers from Indonesia, do not include one at Keo Sikha Kiri Savara Pagoda, a temple in the disputed area claimed by Cambodia, the source said. Most of the proposed checkpoints would be located in areas supervised by Thai troops, including Phu Makhua mountain, the source said.

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