BBC correspondent in Bangkok
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has announced that the U.S. is ready to begin easing sanctions against Myanmar. Sunday's elections saw pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party won 43 of the 45 seats up for grabs in the country. Clinton announced an easing of investment restrictions as well as intentions to name an ambassador to Myanmar and the establishment of a U.S. Agency for International Development. Rachel Harvey is a correspondent for our partner the BBC.
After years under house arrest, on Sunday pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was elected to serve in the Myanmar parliament. Rachel Harvey from our partner the BBC reports from Myanmar, where she speaks with those celebrating the election results.
For years, relations between the U.S. and Myanmar have been frozen. Myanmar is one of the least developed countries in the world, with systematic human rights violations, rampant child labor, and a health care system that has been ranked by the World Health Organization as the worst in the world. But a historic visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the isolated country this week may represent a late thaw. In a step that could transform American diplomacy in the region, the U.S. and Myanmar are considering exchanging ambassadors.
A year after being released from two decades of house arrest, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi announced she will return to politics and run for a seat in Myanmar's Parliament. Her National League for Democracy party plans to contest all 48 vacant seats in Parliament. The NLD boycotted Myanmar's last election, its first in 20 years, because Suu Kyi was banned from running for office by the military-backed government. Hours before the announcement, President Obama said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Myanmar, making her the first secretary of state in 50 years to do so.
In Thailand, flooding has plagued large areas of the country since July, and now it appears to be headed for the city of Bangkok. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has issued an evacuation warning for suburbs of the area, which caused many citizens there to panic. Flood waters are flowing south toward Bangkok, and have already affected northern parts of the city.
The youngest sister of Thailand’s ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra is poised to become the country’s sixth leader in under five years. Introducing herself to our partner the BBC as "just a simple lady, and a lady that will be willing and sincere to help the country," Yingluck Shinawatra is Thailand's president-elect following Sunday's elections, which gave a resounding win to the Puea Thai political party.
The BBC's Rachel Harvey reports from tsunami-hit Ofunato, Japan, where survivors are picking through rubble, looking for anything that might be of value. Meanwhile, the cold weather is taking its toll on victims of the tsunami. Although many survivors have gone elsewhere to stay with friends or relatives, for those remaining, "it is a day to day struggle just to get enough to eat and drink and to stay warm," says Harvey.
A country in shock. Five days after the tsunami and quake hit Japan, survivors are hanging on. One tsunami victim tells NHK-TV, "everything is turned upside down. After the tsunami, our house was gone. We lost everything. I was desperate to save my grandchildren. Here in the shelter, everyone is helping each other."
Thousands of people along the Japanese coasts trying to pick up with their lives. The BBC's Rachel Harvey traveled through Minamisanriku, one of the coastal towns flattened by the tsunami. It's also the town where at least 1000 bodies have washed up so far. Even amidst the rubble and the ruin, she finds survivors who are gathering up any belongings that weren't destroyed.
The prime minister of Thailand this morning rejected an ultimatum from anti-government protesters to call a snap election. Tens of thousands of demonstrators are currently in front of the army barracks in Bangkok where the prime minister has been staying.