A pilot in Myanmar is being hailed as a hero after landing a plane Sunday on only its rear wheels, after the passenger jet’s landing gear failed. In a statement, the airline said pilot Captain Myat Moe Aung “followed emergency procedures and did the fuel burn out to reduce the landing weight,” before bringing the jet down onto its rear wheels, lowering the nose carefully onto the runway on which it skidded for about 25 seconds before stopping. There were no casualties or injuries from the incident, the airline confirmed.
Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar after they were convicted of breaking the Official Secrets Act walked free from a prison on the outskirts of Yangon on Tuesday after spending more than 500 days behind bars. The two reporters, Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, had been convicted in September and sentenced to seven years in jail, in a case that raised questions about Myanmar’s progress toward democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates. They were released under a presidential amnesty for 6,520 prisoners on Tuesday.
More than 50 people are believed to have died in a mudslide at a jade mining site in northern Myanmar, a lawmaker representing the area said Tuesday. Tin Soe said three bodies have been recovered and 54 people remain missing after the accident Monday night in the Hpakant area of Kachin state. The mud flowed down on the workers from a collapsed reservoir made from a disused mining pit to contain materials discarded from the mining process. Hpakant, 600 miles north of Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon, is the center of the world’s biggest and most lucrative jade mining industry.
A court in Myanmar has rejected an appeal by two Reuters reporters jailed for breaking a state secrets act. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were sentenced to seven years in September in a case condemned around the world. They exposed the summary execution of 10 Muslim Rohingyas by the security forces during the military’s anti-Rohingya operation in 2017. Both were arrested carrying official documents handed to them by police officers. They maintain their innocence, saying the authorities set them up.
Prosecutors announced, Wednesday, that two Reuters journalists were formally charged with obtaining state secrets in Myanmar and face up to 14 years in prison. The documents allegedly obtained by the journalists related to supposed ‘ethnic cleansing’ by Myanmar’s military. The military made a rare admission of wrongdoing, saying 10 Rohingya ‘terrorists’ were murdered by soldiers.
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi spoke at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Vietnam on Thursday and admitted the Rohingya Muslim displacement situation ‘could have been handled better.’ Suu Kyi also defended the internationally condemned arrests of two Reuters journalists, saying their jailing had ‘nothing to do with freedom of expression at all.’
United Nations officials accused Facebook of playing a ‘determining role’ in spreading hate speech in Myanmar and influencing possible genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority. UN Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee says Facebook is an integral part of public, civil, and private life in Myanmar, and the government uses the platform to communicate information to citizens.
Bangladesh summoned Myanmar’s Ambassador Lwin Oo, Thursday, to ask for the immediate removal of the troops that have been deployed, with heavy weapons, to line their shared border where thousands of Rohingya refugees have taken shelter. Nearly 100,00 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since August, after attacks labeled ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the United Nations.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum revoked the human rights award awarded to Myanmar civil leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, in 2012, citing the Rohingya Muslims massacre continuing under her watch. The museum wrote to the leader, saying they hoped she ‘would have done something to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign.’
The first official day of the planned repatriation of thousands of Rohingyas to Myanmar was a failure as no one agreed to return. Despite a joint deal between Bangladesh and Myanmar, the UN says people should not be forced to return. The repatriation plan was met by mass protests in Rohingya refugee camps.