Michael Sullivan made many trips to Myanmar, also known as Burma, when he was NPR's correspondent for Southeast Asia. He recently returned, and found a country changing at a dizzying pace.
I get off the plane and almost immediately feel like I've come to the wrong country. There's a large blue sign at immigration that reads: "Attention journalists covering the by-election: please register at the Media Counter."
"Media Counter"? My kind has never been welcome here.
Saying it is "outraged" by reports of Syrian troops firing into a refugee camp across the border in Turkey, the U.S. State Department this afternoon said it strongly condemns the latest actions by the regime of President Bashar Assad and that things are getting worse in that country — not better, as had been hoped for when the regime agreed to a plan for a cease-fire that is supposed to begin Tuesday.
"Based on what we're seeing today, we are not hopeful" about the prospects for a cease-fire, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland added.
A brief encounter between two leaders has raised hope for better relations between India and Pakistan. India's prime minister hosted Pakistan's president and accepted a return invitation to travel to Pakistan. We talk here of two nuclear-armed rivals whose relations were even worse than usual, after Pakistani militants attacked Mumbai in 2008. And the meeting came as disaster struck Pakistani troops facing Indian soldiers in the Himalayas.
NPR's Julie McCarthy is going to talk us through all this. Hi, Julie.
Since the uprising began in Syria last year, there have been a lot of stories about soldiers who have defected from the army to join the rebels. This rebel group is loosely known as the Free Syrian Army, and it's starting to look more and more like an insurgency.
Not all soldiers who leave the army, however, decide to join these rebels. Those who simply escape the army altogether offer a rare glimpse into a military they say is committing unspeakable atrocities and a rebel force that's fighting back with its own brutality.
The wall of silence in Indonesia surrounding one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century is beginning to fall apart. A forthcoming report by Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights estimates that a purge of suspected communists during the mid-1960s killed between 600,000 and 1 million people.
The violence reshaped Indonesia's political landscape and affected the course of the Cold War, just as the U.S. was escalating its fight against communism in Southeast Asia.