The world (plus Laura Bush, whatever planet she’s on) is running out of patience with Myanmar’s generals, says U.N sec-gen Ban Ki Moon. It seems Burma’s leaders (as well as a certain U.S. president) don’t much care what the U.N. says:

U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari has been awaiting permission from the Burmese government to visit Burma to continue efforts to broker negotiations between the military leadership and the opposition. Gambari has been in Burma twice since the violent September crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators.

The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva also condemned Burma again. (It was Human Rights Day, after all.) Remember Paulo Sergio Pinheiro?

“By severely restricting the right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly, the government has prevented over many years the emergence of a platform for genuine public dialogue,” he said. During his five-day visit, he found 16 people had been killed in addition to the 15 listed by the authorities, 74 people had “disappeared” and 653 people were detained after troops broke up the protests that had lasted several days. He urged the government to release anyone still detained and grant amnesty to those sentenced or awaiting trial. He also called for an independent investigation into the killings.

A Burma poster by Harry Pearce is all over the place. Pretty cool looking, too. Tibetans are celebrating the 18th anniversary of the Dalai Lama being award the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s become a kind of holiday for Tibetans-in-exile. The DL, who did meet Pope John Paul II, was disappointed not to meet Benedict XVI. He also said his Italy trip was not meant to be political or cause problems, but it did cause some discomfort for Rome and the Vatican (no word on the Most Serene Republic of San Marino) when China started fulminating. The DL did have a “private courtesy meeting” with Benedict in October 2006, but this visit was not recorded on the official Vatican calendar. Amazing works of art “running the numbers” on American consumption and other horrors from artist Chris Jordan. Is atheism “the new black”? Nd more talk on neo-atheism, which is presumably the bubble caused by works by Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, and someone else. And Going for Refuge points us to an interview and profile of the venerable Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi. – Philip Ryan, Web Editor

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