Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A storm in Myanmar, drought in Philippines

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In Myanmar, over 58,000 people have been affected and 21 people killed by strong winds,

A major fire on Tuesday damaged or destroyed the homes of nearly 450 Rohingya Muslim families living in a camp for people displaced by 2012 communal fighting in western Myanmar.

The charred remains of wooden shelters and twisted metal roofs were visible through a thick haze of smoke after the fire broke out in the early morning, a stark reminder of dire living conditions for over 100 000 Rohingya confined to bleak camps in Rakhine state.
Authorities said a cooking stove caused the blaze at the Bawdupa camp near the state capital Sittwe.
Relief and Resettlement Department (RRD), over 58,000 people have been
affected and 21 people killed by strong winds, hail and heavy rains in various parts of the country since 19 April. The severe weather destroyed 1,900 houses and damaged a further 20,000 homes. Authorities are continuing to validate the impact of the disaster. The RRD is providing cash assistance and relief items to households whose homes were destroyed or damaged. The Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) and humanitarian agencies are also providing non-food items and shelter materials to the affected communities including 550 displaced families in Kachin State.
On 29 April, storms that hit parts of Kachin, Mandalay, Magway and Bago killed an additional three people and injured 21 people, according to initial reports from MRCS.
Nearly 24 people killed.
Philippines affected by drought

With an estimated 40 per cent of the Philippines affected by drought, states of calamity have
been declared in 11 provinces, 10 cities and 26 municipalities across the country, mostly in Mindanao. In Zamboanga City, farmers’ production has decreased by up to 75 per cent. Low water levels in the city’s reservoir is also affecting water delivery to some 23,000 people who remain displaced over two years since the fighting between the military and a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front in September 2013. The national weather bureau forecasts that the current dry conditions may last until July in parts of Mindanao. Authorities continue to provide cash and food assistance to drought-hit farmers, however, scaling up the response is challenging due to a halt on most new projects until after the elections in May.
40% of the country affected
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Anti-corruption protesters leave Baghdad’s Green Zone

Anti-government protesters who entered Baghdad’s heavily-guarded Green Zone and stormed the parliament in an unprecedented incident on Saturday started withdrawing on Sunday. However, they warned that they would return if their political demands are not met. The supporters of powerful Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have been protesting against corruption and staging a sit-in for more than a month, demanding reforms and the replacement of the cabinet. “The protest organizing committee announces the withdrawal of the demonstrators from the Green Zone,” a statement by al-Sadr office said, giving a major Shiite pilgrimage as the reason for putting the protest on hold.
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Lavrov, Kerry urge sides in Syria to respect ceasefire

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have discussed the peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict on the phone and coordinated further actions as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday. Both officials again urged the warring sides in Syria to respect the ceasefire, brokered by Moscow and Washington. In a call initiated by the US side, the Ukrainian issue was also raised, with Lavrov stressing the need to investigate the Odessa massacre of May 2, 2014, in which 46 people were killed by pro-Kiev radicals.
The cessation of hostilities in eastern Damascus suburbs and northern Latakia has been extended until Wednesday morning, Damascus confirmed. The “regime of calm” in the two contested areas was declared on Saturday as both the Syrian government and armed opposition forces accused each other of violating the ceasefire. Russia and the US negotiated the additional truce as a confidence-building measure, which would prevent a possible derailment of peace negotiations in Geneva. The terrorist group Nusra Front, which does not observe the ceasefire, is suspected of staging provocations to resume hostilities in Syria.
Staffan de Mistura, the UN’s special envoy for the Syrian peace effort, is to visit Moscow on Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced. The visit for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov comes amid tension between Damascus and armed opposition groups over alleged violations of ceasefire near the Syrian capital and around Aleppo, which threaten to derail the peace negotiations in Geneva.
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Finnish, US troops begin joint drill

An exercise involving Finnish and US troops began on Monday in the municipality of Kankaanpaa in western Finland. Some 2,300 Finnish troops as well as 185 American soldiers and around two dozen 20 Stryker armored vehicles are taking part in the drills, which conclude on May 13. Lieutenant Colonel Pekka Purtonen, the second-in-command of the operation, told Yle that the presence of American soldiers plays an important role in training Finnish conscripts, reservists and professional military staff.
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End of the Viet Nam War

In the history of Viet Nam, 30 April 1975 is the day that marks the fall of Saigon government, ending the Viet Nam War and leading to the liberation of Viet Nam’s southern part. Every year since, the country celebrates this day to commemorate the reunification of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam in the North and the Republic of Viet Nam in the South into the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam as we know today.
ASEAN's photo.
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ASEAN and Australia reviewed cooperation

ASEAN and Australia reviewed the implementation of their development programme and planned on further enhancing the implementation and cooperation. The annual review and planning noted that their cooperation development programme remains relevant and provided valued contributions in the ASEAN regional economic integration. The Programme Management Team reported that 40 of 64 projects have been completed under the Rolling Prioritization Plan covering the period July 2015 to June 2016. The programme supports ASEAN sectoral bodies through research and policy advices in key thematic areas, as well as helping to strengthen capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat. Read more:http://www.asean.org/asean-australia-further-enhances-prog…/
JAKARTA, 3 May 2016 – ASEAN and Australia convened the 10th Joint Planning and Review Committee (JPRC) Meeting of the ASEAN-Australia Development…
ASEAN.ORG
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Spain’s king dissolves parliament

Spanish King Felipe VI has signed a decree to dissolve the parliament and called for elections June 26. The move comes after newly elected deputes failed to agree on a prime minister. The decree was signed in the presence of parliament speaker Patxi Lopez. The political turmoil has been continuing in the country since December’s elections, when no party managed to win enough seats to form a government, and no coalition has been able to agree to form one.

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