Deadly clashes erupted yesterday in Myanmar between government troops and ethnic minority rebels, prompting an exodus across the border in the wake of a poll that the junta’s proxies looked sure to win.
At least three civilians were killed when heavy weapons fire hit the town of Myawaddy in Karen State, an official in Myanmar said. There was no information on any troop casualties on either side. Clashes were also reported further south near Three Pagodas Pass.
Zipporah Sein, the Thailand-based general-secretary of the Karen National Union (KNU), said there had been fighting between government forces and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) troops in the two areas.
“I don’t think the DKBA will surrender,” she said.
About 10,000 people fled across the frontier to Thailand, including many women and children, said Samart Loyfah, the governor of Thailand’s Tak Province.
Sporadic fighting continued to be heard in Myanmar, he said.
Many rebel groups have signed ceasefire agreements with the regime, but tensions have increased after the junta’s attempts to bring minority armies under state control as “border guard forces” met with fierce resistance.
The violence came a day after an election that was strongly criticized by Western governments because of widespread complaints of intimidation and the detention of democracy icon and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. However, China hailed the polls as a sign of progress and most other Asian nations remained silent.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington would maintain “rigorous sanctions” against the regime while it holds political prisoners, abuses human rights and refuses dialogue with the opposition.
The electoral process was “severely flawed, precluded an inclusive, level playing field, and repressed fundamental freedoms” she said.
China’s state-run Global Times said Beijing supported “Myanmar’s plan to transform its political system, but knows it will not happen overnight,” while New Zealand joined the critics, saying opposition candidates were impeded by electoral rules that restricted their campaigns and registration, and hampered press freedoms.
“That the playing field was tilted was evident from the regime’s refusal to allow credible international observation, or foreign media, to witness the election,” New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said.
A senior Myanmar official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said voter turnout was estimated at more than 60 percent but the results from the whole country could take one week. However, with 25 percent of the seats in parliament reserved for military appointees, the two main pro-junta parties needed to win just another 26 percent from the elected seats to secure a majority.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
RELATIONSHIP ‘TERMINATED’: US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the president’s action was ‘an act of extraordinary senselessness,’ a tone Chinese media echoed US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Washington would withdraw funding from the WHO, end Hong Kong’s special trade status and suspend visas of Chinese graduate students suspected of conducting research on behalf of their government. Trump said in a White House announcement that Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the organization to mislead the public about the outbreak. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” he said. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be