KUALA LUMPUR — If timing matters in the art of diplomacy, then those responsible for the death of Noordin Mohammad Top did the foreign services of Indonesia and Malaysia a big favor. The killing of Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist came as neighborly relations were sliding rapidly into a political abyss amid declarations of a “cultural war.” Opportunists on the fringe were even calling for the real thing as the foreign ministers from both countries tried to mend a few broken fences torn apart over the historic origins of a traditional dance. “As for Noordin M Top, while Indonesians were […]

Southern Thailand Insurgents Target State Schools

In southern Thailand, Muslim insurgents are targetinggovernment-run schools. For the insurgents, the schools symbolize theThai Buddhist state, and a threat to their Muslim Malay culture. Voiceof America’s Daniel Schearf reports from Thailand’s PattaniProvince.

Rights Group Launches Pre-Election Burma Campaign

Human Rights Watch has launched a campaign to push for the release of political prisoners ahead of Burma’s elections next year. Rights groups have repeatedly blasted the ruling junta’s election plans as farcical, given the obvious lack of freedoms associated with the process. The HRW campaign, “2,100 by 2010,” is an attempt to counter ongoing junta arrests, intimidation and detentions of pro-democracy activists. As part of its crackdown, the Burmese regime has targeted people on a variety of spurious charges related to protests against forced labor and providing aid to victims of the deadly Cyclone Nargis. “The United States, China, […]

Rights Groups Condemn Oil Giants’ Burmese Pipeline

By participating in the Yadana gas pipeline project in Burma, Western oil giants Total and Chevron are financing the country’s brutal military junta, Earth Rights International charges in two new reports on the pipeline. That in turn allows the junta to continue its ongoing campaign of repression and siphon off billions of dollars in income, the group maintains. “Total and Chevron have essentially provided the military regime with its single largest lifeline, that being the revenue generated from the project,” Matthew Smith, coordinator of ERI’s Burma project told the BBC. ERI’s reports allege that the two companies have ignored abuses […]