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How to hurt Myanmar coup leaders, according to activists



TOn Monday, the United States imposed new sanctions on the top leaders of Myanmar’s military junta on the eve of the anniversary of their overthrow of the country’s democratically elected government and the imprisonment of its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The US, joined by the UK and Canada, announced sanctions against officials who helped prosecute Aung San Suu Kyi, head of the National League for Democracy. The Nobel Peace Prize winner was arrested during the February 1, 2021 coup. As of 10 January, the Myanmar courts have sentenced her to six years in prison, but she faces additional charges.

Washington also imposed fines on the heir The Cho Taung familywho is New York once said he had close ties to the Myanmar military and helped them procure equipment. Sanctions have also been directed against the Myanmar government agency responsible for purchasing weapons for the armed forces, locally known as the Tatmadaw.

But Myanmar activists and watchers say targeted sanctions will do little to contain a brutal regime that is increasingly isolated from the West and determined to quell resistance to its rule through brutal repression. More than 1,500 people have been killed in clashes with the junta across the country, according to the human rights group, the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.

“I think it’s fair to say that after the coup, the West had little leverage on Myanmar both politically and on the ground,” says John Nielsen, senior analyst at the Danish Institute of International Studies and former Danish ambassador to Myanmar.

Democracy protesters have long called on the international community to find ways to cut off the junta’s revenue streams. And after last year’s coup, several Western firms, including energy giants, Total Energy France and chevrons United States – promised to withdraw business from Myanmar due to human rights violations in the country.

read more: Myanmar artists continue to resist from abroad

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing and other members of the Tatmadaw were already under US and other sanctions. Human Rights Watch called on the UN Security Council to impose a legally binding global arms embargo on Myanmar.

But in addition to the punitive measures, Burmese exiles say the international community must work to protect the people suffering under the junta’s rule. London-based Burmese activist and scholar Maung Zarni says neighboring states should open their borders to Burmese refugees fleeing the Tatmadaw.

They are also wary of the dialogue with the warlords advocated by neighboring countries, including some members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Nai San Lwin, co-founder of the Rohingya Freedom Coalition, a global network of Rohingya activists and allies, says many Burmese protesters believe such talks will only strengthen the legitimacy of the coup leaders.

read more: “Risk it all.” Myanmar activist talks about her struggle

But not everyone eschews the Tatmadaw. Russia has been criticized for warming up after the coup in Myanmar. keep selling guns and its officials who were present events led by the junta. China also does business with Myanmar, but is more ambivalent: it called for “restart the democratic process” in the Southeast Asian country, interacting with both the Tatmadaw and the ethnic military. “China’s main goals in Myanmar are to ensure stability on the borders and gain access to the Indian Ocean through the economic corridor from Kunming to Rakhine. They will work with any party to the conflict to achieve these goals – and that is, in fact, what they do,” says Nielsen.

Jason Tower, US Institute of Peace director for Myanmar, says a regional approach to the crisis is needed as companies closely linked to the junta operate in neighboring states. If the US and its allies can convince Myanmar’s neighbors, including Thailand and India, to crack down on these firms, it could greatly affect the cash flow of military leaders.

But the window for such actions may close. Cambodia assumed the ASEAN Presidency in 2022. And Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is not a supporter of democracy –gave conditional invitation to coup leader in Myanmar. Last year, nine countries banned the representative of the Myanmar junta from attending its meetings.

A growing number of activists say they cannot rely on the international community to support their cause to restore democratic government in Myanmar. They place their hope in the ethnic minority militias who have long fought the Tatmadaw and in the People’s Defense Forces, an armed group made up of members of Myanmar’s exiled shadow government and pro-democracy protesters. “If we want to be free, we must fight for ourselves,” Zarni says.

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Lawyer who left Trump’s legal team called disagreements with Trump adviser grounds for leaving



The lawyer, who left Donald Trump’s legal team last week, attributes his decision to strategic differences with a close adviser to the former president.

ToERIC TUCKER Associated Press

FILE – Former President Donald Trump speaks at his Mar-a-Lago estate Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Palm Beach, Florida. Timothy Parlatore, a key lawyer for former President Donald Trump, says he is leaving the legal team, a move that comes after the special counsel’s investigation into the possession of classified documents shows signs that it is in its final stages. Timothy Parlatore told The Associated Press that his departure has nothing to do with Trump and is not a reflection of his view of the Justice Department investigation, which he has long called flawed and overly aggressive, or the strength of the government’s evidence. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, file)

Associated Press

WASHINGTON– The lawyer, who left Donald Trump’s legal team last week, attributed his decision on Saturday to strategic differences with a close adviser to the former president.

Timothy Parlatore, who was a key defense attorney for Trump in the Justice Department’s special counsel investigation into the potential mishandling of classified documents at his Florida estate, told CNN in an interview Saturday that there were “some people who have made the president’s defense much more difficult.” what is needed.”

He singled out Boris Epstein, another lawyer and Trump’s top adviser on numerous criminal investigations, whom he accused of “going out of his way to try and block us so we don’t do our best to protect the president.”

On Wednesday, Parlatore announced that he was leaving Trump’s legal team. The move comes after an investigation by Special Counsel Jack Smith shows signs of winding down and moves closer to a decision on whether to indict the former president. His comments on Saturday provided additional context for the decision.

In a statement responding to Parlatore’s comments, a spokesman for Trump said: “Mr. Parlatore is no longer a member of the legal team. His statements regarding the current members of the legal team are unfounded and categorically false.”

In an interview, Parlatore said that Epstein served as a “filter” to prevent the legal team from receiving information about the investigation from or from Trump.

He also said that Epstein resisted the idea of ​​a group of lawyers several months ago organizing a search of Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey property for potential additional classified documents, and that he obstructed a defense strategy aimed at helping “educate (the attorney general ) Merrick Garland, how best to deal with this issue. Parlatore was one of the authors of a letter last month to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee outlining a number of possible defenses in the investigation.

“It’s hard enough to fight the DOJ and in this case a special adviser, but when you also have people in the tent who also try to undermine you, block you and really make it so that I can’t do what I know, that I need to work as a lawyer,” said Parlatore.

“And when I get into fights like this, it detracts from what is needed to protect the client and ultimately is not in the best interest of the client, so I made the decision to refuse,” he added.


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On the anniversary of filming in Uvalde, the family feels betrayed



According to Cazares, Jacqueline was a giver, compassionate and emotional person. Every time the family went to San Antonio, she found a homeless person and told her mom or dad that they needed to help that person. One day she asked her brother for money to open a savings account for her sister Jazmine to go to college, he said.

“She had a heart of gold, just full of love, and everyone who came across her or met her along the way just felt it,” he said. “We don’t want her death to be in vain.”

Authorities initially said a school police officer had confronted the shooter. They gave conflicting accounts of how the law enforcement operation, which involved about 400 officers, unfolded.

I beg, pressing and hoping

The parents fought for full accountability, but the promised city investigation never materialized, and much information is hidden in the DA’s own investigation.

As some facts surfaced, they often contradicted the “official” version of what happened. Jesse Rizo, Jacklyn’s uncle, said he believes the leaked facts are the spirits of murdered children answering questions from their parents and loved ones.

Rizo, who joined Cazares in his fight for accountability and reform, said the year after the massacre was one of disappointments.

“All these things go down the line and you think, dammit, this is a disappointment, this is a disappointment, this is a disappointment. And so you start to wonder if you made a mistake,” he said. “What am I doing? Why am I not good enough to convince these people of the wrong thing in their actions? For a while, you start to believe it.”

But Rizo said that somehow they are energized to keep fighting because they are trying to save someone’s life, to prevent someone’s grief. “Here’s reason for hope,” he said. “Hope and faith are the only things we have left.”

Jesse Rizo, Jacklyn’s uncle, asks himself what he would say to his niece Jacklyn about what happened, “when will we see each other again in heaven?” Jordan Vonderhaar for NBC News

The Uvalda shooting was one of the deadliest in history, as 20 children and six adults were killed in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. It was preceded in 2018 by the Santa Fe, Texas high school shooting in which eight students and two teachers were fatally shot. This was followed by a mass shooting this month at a mall in Allen, Texas, in which the shooter killed eight people.

Yet Uvalde’s children and teachers’ families, as well as some relatives of the Santa Fe victims, had to beg their elected legislators to hold hearings on a bill that would change the age for buying assault weapons from 18 to 24.

They had to put pressure on these officials to vote on the bill out of committee, and they had to wait until the time needed for the bill to be put to a vote expired. They had to witness how their elected officials rejected attempts to revive the bill as an amendment to other legislation.

Texas Senator Roland Gutierrez, whose district includes Uvalde, has been a supporter of families making and defending legislation to change gun laws and make other changes.

“It’s a pity that the Legislative Assembly lacks the political courage to stop the killing of our children,” he said in a statement last Thursday after yet another rejection of an amendment to a bill that would raise the age for buying assault weapons.

The mystery remains unsolved

Texas Democratic Representative Joe Moody was vice chairman of the Texas House of Representatives committee that investigated the response to the Uvalda shooting. In his city of El Paso, a mass shooting took place in 2019, in which 23 people were killed and 22 injured.

He visited Robb Elementary School to investigate, he said at an April legislative hearing, where families learned the shooter had written “LOL” in his victims’ blood on a blackboard.

Paintings made by children before the attack hung in the corridors.

The art was interrupted by “holes the size of my fist punched through the walls,” Moody said. “The TV that the children watched that day had bullet holes and the desks turned over like makeshift shields… It was a mass grave for the tiny bodies of children who died screaming while holding each other.”

“For these parents and families, that day was the end of the world,” he said. “The way time sits over them is a memory of when everything made sense.”

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Air, Tetris and BlackBerry nostalgic for 1980s capitalism



Hello Quartz Members!

If loose costumes didn’t give it away, the soundtracks did.

To the cinema Tetris: The boys from the pet shopOpportunities (let’s make a lot of money) and a remix of a Bonnie Tyler songwaiting for a hero“. IN Blackberry: Elastica’s “link” with the lines “Riding any wave / It’s the luck you crave.” And in air, most straightforward: Dire Straits’Money for nothing.

These songs anchor these 2023 movies in the time period: 1980s, transitioning into the early 1990s. But they also function as hymns to what the films celebrate. IN tetrisa video game manager travels to Soviet Russia to acquire the rights to wildly popular video game. IN air, Nike boss manages to sign Michael Jordan to support very popular shoe line. IN Blackberryphone company executives design wildly popular mobile phone. IN hot fieryanother movie in this mini-genre, Frito-Lay janitor-turned-CEO invents headline, wildly popular Cheetos snack. Hooray for the frenzied popularity of consumer goods.

These are interesting films. All of them are a hymn to entrepreneurial ingenuity, which May be somewhat dramatic, though not always. But these are also loosely fictional process stories without any obvious cinematic appeal. IN air, the Nike executive (played by Matt Damon) makes a lot of phone calls. IN tetristhere is a lot of chatter about the types of copyright available for video games. hot fiery about the idea for a more spicy corn layer flavor. In all of them, middle managers make their rich companies even richer. The acting is warm. This is not what you need for exciting presentations in an elevator.

But the films were made, and are made now, which speaks of their attitude to the present, which is actually much more interesting than the dialogues in the films themselves.

1. Cynical approach

The products in these films are also brands, and brands have supporters. “I feel a little dirty when I say this, but it’s about brand awareness” – John S. Baird, Director tetris said Los Angeles Times:

Ultimately, you want as many people as possible to see your film. And I think that when you make a movie about an existing product, you automatically have a built-in audience, and that helps in marketing and helps in raising audience awareness. This piques a little interest in what they might see next, whether it’s on streaming or in the movies.

Another “cynical answer” Matt Johnson saiddirector Blackberrything is [intellectual property] the chain of names of all these products is much easier to imagine for money people, and since everything is related to intellectual property – you either base a movie on an article, or a book, or something else – of course, people from [agencies like] CAA, William Morris and others said, “Well, wait, what about groceries?” And so I think this is just the beginning of what is likely to be a flood if there is market interest.” In other words: expect films about the light bulb moment behind an acid-washed Levi’s, a musical about the invention of the Sony Walkman, and a saga about how a hero brought Cabbage Patch Kids to market.


All four films are written in the tone of nostalgia – but nostalgia for what exactly? Maybe for a while avant-garde China, when Western companies were comfortably running the world economy? And when the most dynamic businessmen had a distinctly American zeal—even if they were Canadians, as in Blackberryor act on behalf of a Japanese company, as in tetris?

IN air, Damon has to give clumsy inspirational speech: Two minutes to sell Jordan his advertising contract, during which the music swells and the eyes get wet. Jordan’s story, as Damon’s character says, “is an American story, and so Americans will love it. People will develop you… Because when you’re great and new, we love you… You’ll change the damn world.” Is he still talking about Jordan? He might as well be referring to Nike before they ran into problems with fake shoes and labor rights allegations. Or an American corporation around the 1980s and 1990s, when the US was winning the Cold War and when China’s meteoric rise was just around the corner.


Maybe the nostalgia they’re chasing this was the heyday of a special type of capitalism, when companies made things that we could eat, wear or play with. (American production, in particular, suffered after the era depicted in these films; between 2000 and 2010. USA lost a third jobs in manufacturing.) The following decades were dominated by other ways to make money: the financialization of the economy and the creation of ubiquitous software. In both cases, the nuts and bolts elude the non-professional moviegoer. Although Cheetos? This is what we get.

Or was it really nostalgia for the last years of belief in corporate capitalism? His victory in the Cold War should have strengthened this belief. Instead, as the environment deteriorated, corporate greed grew, and inequality increased in the US and elsewhere, the luster faded. The main actors of capitalism today are seen as snooty and heartless. In films, Horatio Alger’s characters are portrayed as courageous and passionate people, and their work as useful and good. If capitalism ever needed puff things, now it has them.

🎧 Sideshow podcast

image: Vicki Leta

But back to the future for a moment. It’s 2023, in case you haven’t heard it yet, and among everything we think we should have figured out by now, two stand out in particular:

🧴Disposable plastic: Often it is the consumer’s responsibility to figure out what to do with a plastic product, but what can manufacturers do – and what should they be told to make a real dent in this problem?

🗳️ Online voting: Voting from your own device would theoretically increase the number of participants, but it is much more difficult than it seems. Will we get there in our lifetime?

Listen to the latest two episodes of the Quartz Obsession podcast –Now!

✅ Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | stapler | YouTube

4. 💲 THING

In a crime film, we protect the detective; in a sports film, an outsider. But these films are about people who want to make more money.

The idolatry of those who have become rich is not, in itself, as unusual as a Hollywood cliché. But the specific mechanics of it here is what happens in the middle rungs of a corporation, like a cog in a machine. doing his duty-different from entrepreneurial dramas such as workplaces, Juliaor minx.

Apart from V economic nostalgia works well, movie studios cashing in on these jagged heroes because they must think that this is who we want. The fault, dear reader, is not in our movie stars, but in ourselves..

Thanks for reading! And don’t be shy lend a hand with comments, questions, or topics you want to learn more about.

have a nice holidays

Samant Subramanian, Global News Editor

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