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Myanmar Buddhist temple now a nirvana for snakes

MYANMAR: Crossing a bridge to the middle of a lake in Myanmar's Yangon region, pilgrims arrive at a temple to pin their hopes on the pythons slinking across the temple's floors and draped across windows. "People come here because they believe that their prayers will be fulfilled when they ask for something," said Sandar Thiri, a nun residing at the Baungdawgyoke pagoda –- dubbed the "snake temple" by locals. "The rule is that people can only ask for one thing, not many things," she said. "Don't be greedy." Many…

Sri Lanka’s fugitive monk surrenders

COLOMBO: A radical Buddhist monk wanted in connection with a string of hate attacks in Sri Lanka surrendered on Wednesday after four weeks on the run, police said. Galagodaatte Gnanasara gave himself up before a magistrate and was then arrested in connection with arson attacks targeting the island's minority Muslim community in recent months. Police spokesman Priyantha Jayakody said he had been released on bail of $8,000 and ordered to refrain from hate speech and inciting violence. Jayakody said four police teams…

Sri Lanka pressed over anti-Muslim hate crimes

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka-based Western diplomats on Thursday urged Colombo to investigate a wave of anti-Muslim violence in the Buddhist-majority island following repeated arson attacks targeting shops, mosques and a cemetery in the past month. The European Union delegation chief Tung-Lai Margue urged the government to ensure perpetrators were prosecuted swiftly as the envoys visited a mosque in Sri Lanka's capital to express solidarity with Muslims in the wake of the attacks. "It is important that the government and the…

Hardline Myanmar monk visits strife-torn Rakhine State

YANGON: Hardline Myanmar monk Wirathu, once dubbed the "face of Buddhist terror" for his anti-Muslim diatribes, toured Rakhine State on Thursday in a provocative visit soon after a bloody army crackdown on the Muslim Rohingya minority. The firebrand monk visited Maungdaw, a town near the epicentre of the violence in the north of the state, according to Phoe Thar, who is travelling in his retinue, told AFP by phone. Wirathu's presence in Rakhine is likely to fuel religious tensions between the Buddhist Rakhine and the …