Live updates

1,000 land in Asian refugee 'floating coffin' crisis

Over 1,000 people fleeing persecution in Burma and poverty in Bangladesh have landed in south-east Asia, describing killings, extortion and near-starvation after a harrowing journey at sea.

An increasingly alarmed United Nations warned against "floating coffins" and urged regional leaders to put human lives first. The US urged governments not to push back new boat arrivals.

The waves of weak, hungry and dehydrated migrants who arrived yesterday were the latest to slip into countries that have made it clear they are not welcome.

But thousands more are still believed stranded at sea in what has become a humanitarian crisis no one in the region is rushing to solve.


Burmese president vows to free prisoners of conscience

Burma's President Thein Sein has promised there will be no prisoners of conscience left in his country's jails by the end of the year.

The Burmese government has faced international criticism for the number of prisoners held for their political and religious beliefs or ethnic identity, the most famous of which was the activist Aung San Suu Kyi.

President Thein Sein also said he had signed a peace deal to end the ethnic conflict in the country and that he believes he is close to a nationwide ceasefire.

Read: Hague: Time for Burma's president 'to bring about lasting reform'

Boat carrying 100 people capsizes off Burma

A boat carrying about 100 Rohingya Muslims has capsized off western Burma while evacuating people ahead of a coming storm and an unknown number of people are missing, a senior U.N. official said.

The boat struck rocks off Pauktaw township in Rakhine State and sank late on Monday, Barbara Manzi, head of the Myanmar office at the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told Reuters.


At least 13 children killed in Burma orphanage blaze

At least 13 children have been killed in a blaze at a mosque housing orphans in Burma.

Initially the fire in eastern Yangon was thought to have been linked to sectarian violence that has shaken the nation, but it was later blamed on an electrical fault.

The scene of the fatal fire in Burma. Credit: REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Police officer Thet Lwin said the fire was triggered by an overheated inverter "and not due to any criminal activity".

Sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims erupted in the central city of Meikhtila last month, killing dozens of people and displacing more than 10,000.

Ground-scanning equipment 'narrows Spitfire search'

An excavation team searching for buried World War II Spitfires has released the first set of pictures from its search in Burma. The team is using specialist ground-scanning equipment which they hope will narrow down the search in the next few days.

As many as 140 Spitfires are believed to have been buried Credit: Wargaming
The go-ahead for excavation came in October when Myanmar's government signed an agreement Credit: Wargaming
Load more updates