The Real News: Myanmar death toll climbs over 70,000 UPDATED

by matttbastard

The Real News reports on the rising death toll and ongoing aid efforts in Myanmar (Burma) following the devastation wrought by Tropical Cyclone Nargis:

Related:

  • UN suspends aid flights to Myanmar after junta seizes supplies: NY Times. UPDATE: Reuters reports that the UN will resume aid flights and has appealed for more funds (h/t tata in comments):

    The United Nations appealed for $187 million in aid on Friday to help 1.5 million victims in cyclone-ravaged Myanmar and said it would resume relief flights despite the military government’s seizure of food supplies.U.N. humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes said initial pledges totaled about $77 million to provide water, food, medicine, shelter and other supplies to survivors of Cyclone Nargis, which killed tens of thousands of people.

    “I think more pledges will follow,” Holmes told reporters after he addressed representatives of the 192 member states, saying he was confident the appeal for $187 million would be met. “The important thing is that the response is there.”

  • Bloomberg News reports that “[a]nother storm heading toward Myanmar threatens to further disrupt aid distribution. The country will have rain, some of it torrential, in the next few days, according to forecaster AccuWeather.com.”
  • Maps showing the areas devastated by Tropical Cyclone Nargis can be downloaded at the Information Technology for Humanitarian Assistance, Cooperation and Action website.
  • Photographs of the aftermath in Yangon from Jay Saxon, Henry Webb and Wesley Hadden (also via The Lede). Hadden also decries the hypocrisy of the inital response to the crisis from the Bush administration (as expressed by First Lady Laura Bush):

    “As a current resident of Yangon and a resident of New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina, I was disgusted by Laura Bush’s comments in the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. First of all, she was inaccurate in saying that the Burmese people had no warning. Everyone I know in Yangon was aware of the approaching storm because of a government warning. Schools, businesses, and government offices closed down early on Friday so people could prepare for the storm. Second, her comments were insensitive and tactless. It was brazenly insensitive to focus on criticizing the government when upwards of a hundred thousand people had just lost their lives and millions were without homes. It is tactless because insulting the Myanmar government is not the way to promote the cooperation necessary to provide relief to the millions in need. Finally, it is hypocritical. No one associated with the Bush administration has any right whatsoever to criticize a country on their disaster management policies, especially when it is one with a miniscule fraction of the resources available in the United States. Shame on you, Laura Bush”

  • Even though aid flights have been (hopefully only temporarily) suspended (edit: see update), you can still make a secure donation to the World Food Programme’s Myanmar relief fund here. Donations can also be made to Red Cross/Red Crescent, Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF’s fund for the immediate and long-term response to children in Myanmar.

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Slacker Friday: Half An Ass Is Better Than None

by matttbastard

Still recovering from a recent bout with the flu, so this week’s edition is even more slacker-iffic than usual. Hopefully by Monday I (and the rest of the bastard.logic crew) will have mitigated all overriding meatworld concerns enough to at least mail it in, as opposed to phoning it in (hell–forget half-assed telecom blogging; we’re talking two tin cans tied together with string here).

With that said, onward ho, dear readers!

  • As the FCC in the US considers loosening cross-ownership regulations that currently prevent companies from owning both print and broadcast media in a single market, Adbusters illustrates what we in Canada have known for several years: extreme media convergence stifles press freedom to the point of asphyxiation.
  • If you haven’t been reading Hope and Onions lately you’ve been missing out on some superlative citizen journalism. Godammitkitty has been burning the midnight oil all this week providing in depth coverage of current events like the Throne Speech and the Mukasey AG confirmation hearings (here, here here and here). Did I mention she’s doing all this hard goddamn work without getting paid? Take that, Glenn Greenwald.
  • Libby Spencer looks at a most creative direct action campaign directed against the ruling Burmese junta (no gussets, no peace!)
    Related
    : Even as Bush promises harsher sanctions against the junta, a recent PINR briefing shows that the US and EU are not the actors most relevant to Burma’s economic well being. Even China’s potential leverage has been overstated, according to the briefing, which advises that “the importance of trading partners within A.S.E.A.N. [Association of Southeast Asian Nations], especially Thailand, should not be overlooked.” But, as reported in the Times of India, “ASEAN will urge Myanmar’s military junta to end its bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters but it will “never” suspend the country from the regional grouping,” according to Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Alabar. (More from PINR on Burma here, here and here)
  • Last, but most certainly not least, as my intial contribution to Blogging For Radical Fun Day, a kickass selection of hawdcoar vids from the fine folks @ Underground Operations, guaranteed to get yr heads a-bangin’ and rumps a-shakin’ prior to the weekend (more to come later tonight, Tom — I promise):

Hostage Life – This Song Was Written By A Committee

Protest The Hero – Heretics And Killers

The Holly Springs Disaster – Up In Smoke

I Hate Sally – Hannah Hannah

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