Constitution can only be changed in next government term: Myanmar speaker

Yangon : Myanmar's constitution can only be amended in the next government term and the upcoming 2015 general elections will be held under the existing 2008 constitution, Union Parliament Speaker U Shwe Mann told a press conference in Nay Pyi Taw Tuesday.

A nationwide referendum on amendment of the constitution will be held in May 2015 before the general elections, he said, adding that the constitution amendment would be implemented by the next term of the parliament after the 2015 general elections.


Buddhists, Muslims work together in Thai bamboo business

By Gaspar Ruiz-Canela,

Pattani (Thailand) : A group of Buddhists and Muslims work together in a cooperative business to make bamboo goods in troubled southern Thailand, an unusual initiative amidst sectarian strife in which more than that 6,000 people have died since 2004.

Since Muslim guerrillas intensified their armed struggle 10 years ago, a climate of distrust has been created in the southern Thai provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat which are home to 80 percent of the country's Malay-Muslim population.


Former union boss to head New Zealand's main opposition party

Wellington : Former trade union head Andrew Little was Tuesday named the new leader of New Zealand's main opposition Labour Party and charged with reversing its fortunes after its historic defeat in September's general election.

A lawyer by profession, Little, 49, acted as solicitor for the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union before becoming the union's national secretary in 2000.

He was elected president of the centre-left Labour Party in 2009, the year after it lost power to a centre-right coalition led by Prime Minister John Key and his National Party.


One out of every 30 children in US is homeless

Washington : One out of every 30 children in the US is homeless, the highest rate in history and one that is due to the nation's high percentage of poverty, together with the lack of affordable housing and the impact of domestic violence.

According to the study, "America's Youngest Outcasts", released Monday by the National Centre on Family Homelessness, close to 2.5 million US children were homeless at sometime during 2013.


Missouri declares emergency ahead of jury decision on shooting

Washington : Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency, anticipating unrest if a grand jury decides against indicting White police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown.

The St. Louis County grand jury that is probing the Aug 9 incident is expected to deliver its decision before the end of this month.

Brown's death triggered weeks of protests in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, a largely African American community with a nearly all-White police force.


Montreal Protocol: One more 'BerlinWall' fell 25 years back

By Rajendra Shende,

The Montreal Protocol's entry into force gave birth to the freedom from yet another Iron Curtain.

'Wall of Shame!' moaned the Western proponents of freedom to describe 155 km of Berlin Wall that finally came down Nov 9, 1989. The architects of the Wall, however, called it 'anti-fascist protection', built to protect the population of the eastern socialists from fascist elements. The West-East divide was not just physical. It was a philosophically brutal experiment in socio-political theories.

Drowning kills 372,000 people each year: UN

United Nations : A newly-released World Health Organisation (WHO) report shows that drowning claims the lives of 372,000 people each year, UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said Monday.

The WHO Monday released the global report on drowning: Preventing a leading killer, which reveals that drowning kills more than 40 people every hour and is among the 10 leading causes of death for children and young people in every region, Xinhua reported.


India, Australia should cooperate in maritime security: Modi

Canberra : In a historic speech in the Australian parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday termed Australia a major partner of India in "every area of our national priority" and called for closer economic and security cooperation between the two, including in maintaining maritime security.

Modi, the first Indian prime minister to address the Australian parliament, said both need to strengthen their security cooperation to combat terrorism and cooperate closely in international forum like the East Asia Summit, the G20 and the Indian Ocean Region Association.

Nine Thai army officers killed in helicopter crash

Bangkok : Nine Thai army officers were killed when their helicopter crashed into a field in Phayao province Monday evening.

Deputy army spokeswoman Sirichan Ngathong confirmed that none of the nine people on board the Bell 212 helicopter survived the crash, Xinhua reported.

The search and rescue team discovered the bodies of all the nine at 8.15 p.m. local time

Maj. Gen. Songpon Thongjeen, the Third Army's deputy area commander, was on board the chopper that left an army camp in Phayao bound for an army base in Chiang Rai province.


Suspicious package prompts partial evacuation of British parliament

London : Part of the British Parliament was evacuated Monday morning after a suspicious package was discovered, media reported.

People in the offices of Portcullis House, a building opposite the Houses of Parliament, were turned away Monday after a suspect package was found.

However, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that the package "had later been confirmed as non-suspicious and the security alert had been stepped down", reported British newspaper The Independent.