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What’s Happening in Myanmar and What the Biden Administration is Trying to Do about it



The US policy on the Myanmar military’s crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators has been bipartisan — but that hasn’t helped stop the conflict in the Southeast Asian nation. At a time of rare bipartisan action, the Biden administration’s position on Myanmar’s violence won praise from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Their instincts are good,” the Kentucky Republican told Politico on Monday, after Biden reportedly consulted with the minority leader on the situation in Myanmar, which CNN has covered on the ground. The Biden administration has called for the country’s military to end its crackdown on peaceful protests and has levied at least two rounds of sanctions. “Our ability to influence this from halfway around the world is limited,” McConnell said.

Policy on Myanmar has long been an area of bipartisan agreement between Republicans and Democrats, who were united in condemning the military regime that brutally repressed the country until 2011, united in praise for its gradual opening to democracy and united again in denouncing the coup launched February 1.

We’ve broken down the history and the complicated situation here:

Why are there protests in Myanmar?

People in Myanmar have been protesting across the country ever since the military seized control on February 1 after refusing to accept the results of a national election that gave the National League for Democracy 83% of the seats in parliament.

The military declared a state of emergency and security forces made up of police, soldiers and elite counterinsurgency troops have since responded brutally to peaceful anti-coup demonstrations and general strikes, killing more than 700 people, including children, as of April 12. The military has imposed curfews, put limits on gatherings and restricted access to the internet. Ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the National League for Democracy have been detained and face charges in a secret court.

The military has repeatedly blamed the violence on protesters and said security forces were using “minimum force.” Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun said during a recent CNN interview that junta forces cracked down because “the crowd are blocking with sandbags, shooting with handmade guns, throwing with fire, throwing with Molotov, and the security forces have to use the weapons for the riot.”

What is the US doing?

The Biden administration unveiled sanctions in March, along with the European Union, naming military officials and other entities in Myanmar responsible for the violence. On March 30, the US State Department ordered all non-emergency employees and their family members out of the country, after allowing them to leave voluntarily in February.

On April 8, the State Department followed up, announcing sanctions on the state-owned Myanma Gems Enterprise, a key economic resource for the military regime that is headed largely by former military leaders. Myanmar is a major source of the world’s rubies, sapphires and other gems, trade estimated to be worth $31 billion in 2014, and Myanma Gems Enterprise oversees most of the industry, collecting royalties.

“The Burmese military regime has ignored the will of the people of Burma to restore the country’s path toward democracy and has continued to commit lethal attacks against protesters in addition to random attacks on bystanders,” Secretary of State Tony Blinken said in a statement that described the security force’s “brutal actions” that left hundreds dead.

Why hasn’t that changed anything?

On Sunday, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said China and Russia were blocking attempts by the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo and undermining efforts to create common ground. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated his deep concern about the violence on Monday, calling it “appalling,” and urged the Security Council to use its influence with Myanmar’s military leaders to help resolve the issue.

How did the Trump administration deal with Myanmar?

The Trump White House tried to balance holding Myanmar accountable for violence against minority Rohingya Muslims in the country while calibrating its response to avoid a rollback in democratic progress there and trying to compete against Chinese influence in the country.

Has Myanmar always been a democracy?

No. The country won independence from Britain in 1948. The armed forces seized control in 1962. In 2011, the military started allowing a slow return to civilian rule, which was cut short by February’s coup.

Where is Myanmar?

Myanmar, which Washington refers to as Burma, is in Southeast Asia. It shares borders with China, India, Thailand, Laos and Bangladesh. Its population of about 54 million includes many ethnic groups, including Rohingya Muslims, but the main religion is Buddhism. Burmese is the main language.

Why do people use two different names to refer to Myanmar?

When the armed forces seized control of the country in 1962, it was known as Burma. In 1989, its name was changed to Myanmar — a more formal version of the country’s name, which means fast and strong people. Many countries continued to use “Burma” to reflect their sense that the military regime was not legitimate. In 2011, the military started allowing a slow return to civilian rule and use of Myanmar has become more common.

Who is Aung San Suu Kyi?

Suu Kyi is the daughter of the general who led Burma to independence, Gen. Aung San, and spent more than 15 years under house arrest protesting the military’s control of the country. Her time in detention made her an international icon and earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She was released from house arrest in 2010 and became State Councilor in 2016, but her reputation has been badly damaged by her cooperation with the military and her defense of the campaign against Rohingya Muslims. The Biden administration is conducting a review to determine whether Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya amounts to genocide.

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Yogi Adityanath self-isolates after staff members test positive for coronavirus



Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has self-isolated after some of his staff members who came in contact with him tested positive for Chinese coronavirus.

Taking to Twitter, Yogi Adityanath informed that some of the staff members at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister’s office have tested positive for coronavirus. “These officers had come in contact with me and hence I have isolated myself. I have resumed all my work virtually,” he informed.

He further cautioned people against believing in rumours. “In illness, fire and floods, prevention is better than cure. The best cure for coronavirus is prevention and we must take all precautionary measures to save our citizens,” he said. He urged everyone to follow Indian government and UP state government guidelines and not to pay attention to rumours.

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Wishes, Messages and WhatsApp Greetings to Share with Family and Friends



Vishu is a significant festival for the southern state of Kerala. It is celebrated to mark the beginning of a new year for the south-Indian community from Kerala. It usually falls in the mid of April every year. This year, it will be celebrated on April 14. People enjoy the festival by spending time with family and friends, wear new clothes and eat the delectable Sadhya, which is a traditional meal.

The day is quite significant for Keralites as it marks the sun’s transit into the Mesha Rashi or the first solar month. On this day, people offer prayer to Lord Vishnu and his Krishna avatar. As per the legends, it is said that Lord Krishna had killed the demon Narakasura on this day.

Among other rituals, sharing best wishes, greetings and good luck to your loved ones is also an important part. Hence, you can exchange these heart-warming wishes and love virtually with your special ones.

1. Let this Vishu give you the strength to do all that you dreamed to do during last year but didn’t dare to do. Happy Vishu!

2. Let this be a delightful year, filled with delightful things in each of its days. Happy Vishu!

3. May Lord Vinayagar shower his divine blessings on you, and fill your life with new hopes and endless celebrations. Happy Vishu!

4. Love, peace, hope and joy all year through. These are my special Vishu wishes for you. Happy Vishu to you and your family.

5. Wishing you a New Year bursting with joy and roaring with laughter. Happy Vishu!

6. Celebration time is here again, devotion, prayers, songs and food, May Vishu bless every household, May it brighten up everyone’s mood. Happy Vishu.

7. May you be blessed with peace, prosperity..and good fortune. Happy Vishu!

8. May this year’s Vishu bring you delight, happiness, and fulfilment. Have a prosperous Vishu!

9. As you see the Vishukani, let your heart and soul invite the future with new zeal and forget all bitterness of the past. Happy Vishu to all of you!

10. Wishing you good health, wealth and long life today and always. Happy Vishu 2020!

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Facts About Architect of Indian Constitution Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar



Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar, was a social reformer and the principal author of the Indian Constitution. Born into a Mahar family on April 14, 1891, in Mhow town of Madhya Pradesh, he later inspired the Dalit movement and campaigned against social discrimination. He also served as the law minister of India (1947–51).

A few facts about the pioneer jurist, economist and educationist:

1. Babasaheb Ambedkar studied at universities in the US, Britain, and Germany. After obtaining a degree in economics and political science from Bombay University, he did his Masters at Columbia University in New York before training as a lawyer in London.

2. After returning to India during the independence movement, in 1936, Ambedkar wrote his magnum opus ‘Annihilation of Caste’, a fiery critique of the caste system.

3. Babasaheb’s personal library “Rajgirh” had more than 50,000 books and it was said to be the world’s largest private library.

4. Leading a committed struggle against discrimination, he once said that even if India were to become independent, Dalits would still languish at the bottom of the social order unless caste was abandoned by all. “The question of whether the Congress is fighting for freedom has very little importance as compared to the question for whose freedom is the Congress fighting,” he said.

5. After becoming the law minister, he took a leading part in framing the Constitution. He also played a critical role in forming the Reserve Bank of India.

6. Originally, his surname was Ambawadekar, but his teacher gave him the surname “Ambedkar” in school records. In School, he and other Dalit children faced discrimination based on their caste.

7. Before his death in 1956, Ambedkar converted to Buddhism, together with about 200,000 fellow Dalits, at a ceremony in Nagpur.

8. On March 31, 1990, he was posthumously conferred with India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

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