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Clashes between rebels and Myanmar government troops raged Monday at key border points a day after the country’s first election in two decades – polling that critics say will the cement the military-run government’s power.
At least 10 people were wounded in what was the first sign of post-election violence, and thousands of panicked refugees fled into neighboring Thailand. In the heaviest clashes, ethnic Karen rebels reportedly seized a police station and post office Sunday in the Myanmar frontier town of Myawaddy. Sporadic gun and mortar fire continued into Monday afternoon. More fighting broke further south for one hour Monday at the Three Pagodas Pass, said local Thai official Chamras Jungnoi, but there was no word on any casualties.
Groups from Myanmar’s ethnic minorities who make up some 40 percent of the population had warned in recent days that civil war could erupt if the military tries to impose its highly centralized constitution and deprive them of rights.
Myanmar’s secretive government has billed Sunday’s poll as a step toward democracy, but most observers have rejected it as a sham engineered to solidify military control. President Barack Obama called the vote “neither free nor fair.” He said the United States would continue a policy of both “pressure and engagement” in seeking change in Myanmar.
Still, some say having a parliament could provide an opening for moves toward democracy.
There is little doubt the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party will emerge with an enormous share of the seats, despite widespread popular opposition to 48 years of military rule. It fielded 1,112 candidates for the 1,159 seats in the two-house national parliament and 14 regional parliaments. The largest anti-government party, the National Democratic Force, contested just 164 spots.
As early results trickled in, state media and the Election Commission reported that 40 junta-backed candidates had already won their races, including six seats won by recently retired military generals and ministers including Foreign Minister Nyan Win in constituencies that were uncontested.
No matter the election results, the constitution sets aside 25 percent of parliamentary seats for military appointees.
Detained Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won a landslide victory in the last elections in 1990 but was barred from taking office, had urged a boycott of the vote. Hundreds of potential opposition candidates were either in prison or, like Suu Kyi, under house arrest.
Although the balloting passed peacefully in most parts of the country, the clashes at the border highlighted the unstable situation in Myanmar.
Khin Ohmar, a spokeswoman for Burma Partnership, an umbrella group of Myanmar pro-democracy activists based in Thailand, said a faction of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, seized the Myawaddy police station and post office Sunday. The group sides with the regime, but a faction has split off and along with other Karen rebels is fighting the central government.
Heavy fighting appeared to subside by Monday afternoon but sporadic shots sent refugees streaming across the Moei River into Thailand, said Samard Lyfar, the governor of Thailand’s Tak province on the border. Some bullets landed on the Thai side of the frontier.
He said five Thais and five Burmese were reported wounded.
There was no report on the fighting in Myanmar’s state-dominated media, and Myanmar government officials could not be reached for comment.
An Associated Press photographer at the border estimated about 5,000 refugees had entered makeshift camps in Mae Sot, Thailand, and more continued to come. Tens of thousands of ethnic Karen villagers who have fled decades of fighting in the border regions already shelter in refugees camps on the Thai side of the frontier.
Global warming-inspired cap and trade has been one of the most stridently debated public policy controversies of the past decade and a half. But it is dying a quiet death.
In a move that’s been almost completely ignored by the mainstream media, the Chicago Climate Exchange has announced that it will be ending carbon trading – the only purpose for which it was founded – this year.
A police officer assigned to guard President Obama during his visit to India accidentally shot himself in the leg, news sources report.
The incident took place at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, where the president and First Lady were staying. The hotel was also one of the sites targeted during the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Suhas Chaudhary’s .38 was not locked, which led to the accidental firing on Saturday.
Chris Hayes, tapped Friday by MSNBC to fill in for the suspended Keith Olbermann as host of the prime-time political show “Countdown,” gave money to two Democratic campaigns in recent years.
Now, following that disclosure, MSNBC says Hayes won’t get the gig after all. Mr. Hayes, editor of The Nation, a liberal magazine, made donations to Josh Segall, an Alabama Democrat who ran for Congress in 2008.
MSNBC says Keith Olbermann will be back on the air Tuesday, ending his suspension for violating NBC’s rules against making political donations after two shows.
MSNBC’s chief executive Phil Griffin said late Sunday that after several days of deliberation, he had determined that two days off the air was “an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy.”
Eighteen people were killed in separate shootings throughout Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez on Saturday, marking it as one of the bloodiest days this year in the nation’s most violent city.
In one incident, a family of seven was slaughtered while they were outside their home in the southeastern part of the city, Chihuahua State Attorney General’s Office spokesman Carlos Gonzalez said.
A video has surfaced of a federal contractor telling his employees to vote for Sen. Lisa Murkowski because she is on the appropriations subcommittee that steers a lot of funds to Alaska.
“If her opponents win this election, I can tell you they will not get on that subcommittee,” the contractor remarked. “She is a write-in candidate and you’ve got to spell her name right.”
University of New Hampshire and outside researchers are creating a computer model to help organic dairy farmers cut greenhouse gas emissions such as methane, because Beano isn’t an option.
UNH has been awarded a $700,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to create a computer model that measures the amount of greenhouse gases an organic dairy farm produces and thus provide ways to cut them.
U.S. House GOP leader John Boehner insisted he will “never ever, ever” allow Obamacare to be implemented and hinted that the newly elected Republican majority in Congress has “a lot of tricks up our sleeves” to follow through on that promise.
In a letter sent today to Gov. Haley Barbour, Congressman Boehner has also revealed what at least one of those tricks may be.
At least 70 people have been killed and dozens of others injured after a 17-year-old suicide bomber struck a Sunni Muslim mosque in northwest Pakistan during Friday prayers, in the first of two attacks on mosques in the region.
The blast collapsed part of the mosque’s roof on top of worshippers, and there are fears the death toll from the explosion could rise.
It’s called quantitative easing, which is just banker talk for devaluing the American currency. Today the Federal Reserve is about to work some “black magic.”
They are going to create $600 billion dollars out of nothing. It is absolutely no different than a corporation vowing to improve its fiscal performance simply by printing a lot of new shares.
Mexican security forces killed reputed Gulf cartel leader Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, one of Mexico’s most-wanted drug lords, in a spectacular gunbattle Friday in the northern border city of Matamoros.
Cardenas Guillen is the brother of imprisoned former leader Osiel Cardenas Guillen. The clashes Friday across the border from Brownsville, Texas, also claimed the lives of four gunmen and three marines.
John Allison, who for two decades served as chairman and CEO of BB&T, the nation’s 10th largest bank, told CNSNews.com it is a “mathematical certainty” that the United States government will go bankrupt unless it dramatically changes its fiscal direction.
Allison likened what he sees as the predictable future bankruptcy of the United States to the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
A Nicaraguan military commander, relying on Google Maps, moved troops into an area near San Juan Lake along the border between his country and Costa Rica.
The troops are accused of setting up camp there, taking down a Costa Rican flag and raising the Nicaraguan flag, doing work to clean up a nearby river, and dumping the sediment in Costa Rican territory.
The Justice Department is reviewing a complaint from failed Republican Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle after allegations that Sen. Harry Reid’s campaign engaged in voter intimidation and broke campaign finance law in his re-election campaign.
A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said Friday that the department is reviewing the complaint filed by an attorney for Angle.
Coffin makers have taken the lid off the raunchy side of their business with a racy calendar of drop dead gorgeous models.
The calendar shows models in sexy lingerie draped over the caskets performing movie scenes from famous films. The black and white cover shows a close up of a woman in a frilly thong and suspenders holding a gun behind her back.
A 27-year-old Wilmer man was charged Tuesday with cruelty to an animal after Mobile County sheriff’s deputies said he sexually abused a miniature horse.
Eric Steven Easley was also charged with killing or disabling livestock, which is a felony. Those two charges were filed because Alabama has no specific provision in its sexual abuse laws to cover bestiality.
A Chinese man is recovering after he was impaled by 13 metal rods in an accident at a concrete factory. Wang Tao, 24, had been making steel reinforced concrete blocks when a mold exploded sending the rods into his thigh and hip like spears.
Some of the rods were so long that workmates had to cut them off with an angle grinder so Tao could fit into the ambulance.
Matthew Nieveen, 19, was jailed Monday night after he went to a Halloween party dressed as a breathalyzer test – an interesting coincidence since he was jailed for DUI on the drive home.
An officer pulled Nieveen over after observing him driving in an erratic manner. When the officer approached the vehicle, Nieveen was found intoxicated and dressed as a breathalyzer.