An escalation in fighting between the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Tatmadaw near the town of Mong Ko on the China border has emptied villages, while inflaming longstanding tensions over who controls the area.
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As dignitaries and the public distributed offerings to 18,000 monks at a special ceremony at the Shwedagon Pagoda, the 5,000 nuns at the event risked heatstroke and went home empty-handed.
US diplomat Bill Richardson also hit out at the State Counsellor for an "absence of moral leadership" over the crisis.