When Lord Buddha was alive, there were no cars or smartphones or cameras, so the rules were much simpler, easy to follow … ? EASY to bend and twist as desired, difficult to be found out, let alone called out//Crimson Tazvinzwa//
Buddhism in Thailand is largely of the Theravada school, which is followed by 94.6 percent of the population.
Buddhism is believed to have come to what is now Thailand as early as 250 BCE, in the time of Indian Emperor Ashoka
Replica of Ashok pillar at Wat Umong in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 13th century. Shows the establishment of Buddhism by Lanna Dynasty’s King Mangrai in northern Thailand
Buddhist monk chants paritta to a group of Siamese women in 1900.
Myanmar frees Reuters journalists jailed for reporting on Rohingya crisis
Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar after they were convicted of breaking the Official Secrets Act have walked free from a prison on the outskirts of Yangon after spending more than 500 days behind bars.
Reuters journalist Wa Lone is swamped by his fellow reporters after being released from prison alongside colleague Kyaw Seo Oo.
As he left Yangon’s Insein jail, Wa Lone thanked everyone who had called for their release, adding: “I’m really happy and excited to see my family and my colleagues. And I can’t wait to go to my newsroom.”
When asked if he could continue to be a journalist in Myanmar, he replied: “I am a journalist. I am going to continue.”
The two journalists were reporting on the massacre of Rohingya Muslims when they were arrested and sentenced to seven years in jail for breaking Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act.
They were freed when President Win Myint issued a pardon for 6,520 prisoners.
The United States’ regional hegemony in world is under threat like never before. For the first time in decades, both allies and rivals are openly questioning America’s staying power in this lately dynamic world.
The acute deluge of doubt over American leadership in Asia has been exacerbated by the country’s both absolute and relative decline in key dimensions of power. Both militarily and economically, China is rapidly chipping away at America’s long-held edge over its rivals.
Meanwhile, the toxic partisanship in Washington D.C., and the dramatic collapse in public confidence in American state institutions, hardly inspires confidence in the wherewithal of American presidents.
In many ways, President Donald Trump, who is confronting multiple scandals, particularly over alleged Russian electoral intervention in his behalf, is increasingly seen as the harbinger of a precipitous collapse in America’s global standing.
As one senior official from an allied nation said this year, “is this how superpowers commit suicide?” Under Trump, America is facing its greatest soft power disaster in recent memory, far outstripping the infamous days of George W. Bush in the aftermath of the Iraq War.
According to the latest Pew Research Center survey, global confidence in American global leadership suffered a dramatic setback, falling from average of 64 percent under former President Barack Obama to just around 22 percent today. The situation is particularly alarming among Asia’s most important allies in Asia.
Richard Javad Heydarian, Assistant Professor in international affairs and political science, De La Salle University
Sri Lanka has revised down the death toll from last Sunday’s wave of bombings by more than 100, to “about 253”, the health ministry says.
It blamed a calculation error and the difficulty of identifying victims.
Scores were killed and hundreds injured when suicide bombers struck hotels and churches in Colombo, Negombo and the eastern city of Batticaloa. Most of those killed were Sri Lankan but dozens of foreigners were also among the casualties.
Nine people are suspected of carrying out the attacks. Police have continued carrying out raids and have issued photographs of seven people wanted in connection with the attacks.
Sri Lanka attacks: What we know
Sister of ‘ringleader’ deplores attack
The authorities blamed a local Islamist extremist group, National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), soon after the blasts but say the bombers must have had outside help.
The Islamic State group said it was behind the attacks and published a video showing eight men but provided no evidence of direct involvement.
Sri Lankan Deputy Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said morgues had provided inaccurate figures. Another official, the head of health services, told Reuters news agency there had been so many body parts it was “difficult to give a precise figure”.
According to the health ministry, all autopsies had been completed late on Thursday and it transpired that some victims had been counted more than once. BBC World Service South Asia editor Jill McGivering says the revised figure comes as the government is struggling to restore its credibility – amid criticism of its apparent failure to respond to intelligence warnings before the attacks.
It’s also battling to counter fake news and false rumours about the crisis, she says. This sudden dramatic change in the death toll is unlikely to help. The downward revision means this no longer ranks as the deadliest attack claimed by IS.
How China is replacing America as Asia’s military titan
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has refashioned the People’s Liberation Army into a force that’s rapidly closing the gap on U.S. firepower — and in some vital areas has surpassed it. The American victory over China in a regional war is no longer assured.
For the first time since Portuguese traders reached the Chinese coast five centuries ago, China has the military power to dominate the seas off its coast. The conflict between China and the United States in these waters would be destructive and bloody, particularly a clash over Taiwan, according to serving and retired senior American officers. And despite decades of unrivalled power since the end of the Cold War, there would be no guarantee America would prevail.
“The U.S. could lose,” said Gary Roughead, co-chair of a bipartisan review of the Trump administration’s defence strategy published in November. “We really are at a significant inflexion point in history.”
Roughead is no armchair theorist: A retired admiral, as former Chief of Naval Operations he held the top job in the U.S. Navy until 2011. His alarm reflects a growing view across the American defence establishment. In their report, he and his colleagues issued a dire warning. The United States faces a “national security crisis,” principally arising from growing Chinese and Russian military power. “U.S. military superiority is no longer assured and the implications for American interests and American security are severe,” the panel concluded.
It is clear that Xi wants to bring the era of U.S. dominance in Asia to an end. “In the final analysis, it is for the people of Asia to run the affairs of Asia, solve the problems of Asia and uphold the security of Asia,” he said in a 2014 speech to foreign leaders on regional security.
China’s Ministry of National Defense, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the Pentagon did not respond to questions for this article or detailed summaries of its findings.
This account of Xi and the PLA – which despite the “army” in its name comprises all military branches – is based on interviews with 17 current and former military officers from China, the United States, Taiwan and Australia. Many would only speak on condition of anonymity. It draws on the accounts of Chinese officials and people with ties to the senior leadership in Beijing who have known Xi Jinping and his family for decades and are familiar with his career as he rose through the party and government bureaucracy. It also relies on Chinese government publications describing Xi’s political thinking, his speeches and official documentaries showcasing his leadership of the military.
In Washington, the world’s pre-eminent military power is mobilizing to respond. After decades of seeking engagement in the expectation that Beijing would become a cooperative partner in world affairs, the United States is treating China as a strategic competitor bent on displacing it as Asia’s dominant force.
Largely in reaction to this challenge, Washington is boosting defence spending, rebuilding its navy and urgently developing new weapons, particularly longer-range conventional missiles. It is expanding military ties with other regional powers, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore and India. And it’s conducting an international diplomatic and intelligence campaign to counter China’s cyber-attacks, traditional espionage and intellectual property theft. This campaign includes efforts to contain the global reach of Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE Corp.
The confrontation comes as the administration of President Donald Trump is waging a tariff war aimed at reducing China’s massive trade surplus with the United States. However the trade conflict is resolved, a grave risk is a possibility that the deeper tensions could boil over into an armed clash between Beijing and Washington and its allies in the hotly contested maritime zones off the Chinese coast.