Myanmar Student Protests, Police Continue Standoff
A standoff is continuing for a third day between Myanmar police and student protesters who are trying to march to Yangon to demand changes to an education reform bill.
Student leader Thiha Win Tin told VOA on Wednesday that police continue to surround the activists at a monastery in Letpadan, about 130 kilometers north of Yangon.
Speaking by phone from Letpadan, he said police continue to threaten to arrest the students if they try to continue their march. So far, he said police have not made any arrests and that the activists are sticking to their demands.
The group of more than 1,000 students set off from Mandalay last month to demand Myanmar's military-dominated government scrap a new education reform law.
They say the law will centralize control of universities in Myanmar, also known as Burma. They also want more government spending on education as well as the freedom to organize teachers and students.
Obama: Netanyahu Offered Nothing New
U.S. President Barack Obama was critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the U.S. Congress, saying the Israeli leader offered no new alternatives on dealing with Iran and its nuclear ambitions.
President Obama told reporters in the Oval Office he did not watch the Israeli leader’s speech to a joint meeting of Congress Tuesday, but he did see the transcript.
“As far as I can tell, there was nothing new,” said Mr. Obama who was taking part in a videoconference with European leaders discussing Ukraine and other issues as the Israeli leader was speaking.
The U.S. leader said he agreed with Mr. Netanyahu when the Israeli prime minister described the U.S.-Israel relationship as unbreakable, and when he called Iran a dangerous regime.
It was on Mr. Netanyahu’s criticism of President Obama’s negotiations for a nuclear deal with Iran that the U.S. leader had the strongest rebuke.
“On the core issue, which is how do we prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, which would make it far more dangerous and would give it scope for even greater action in the region,” President Obama said, “the prime minister didn't offer any viable alternatives.”
President Obama planned no meetings with Mr. Netanyahu during the Israeli leader’s Washington visit.