An Uncertain Future for Myanmar’s Refugees

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In July, the Royal Thai Army announced plans to deport refugees back to Myanmar — formerly known as Burma — where, after 66 years of civil war, government forces and ethnic rebel groups are still fighting.

Today, around 130,000 refugees from the conflict live in Thailand, in 10 encampments along the border with Myanmar. The camps have been safe havens for generations of Burmese too afraid to return to their war-torn homeland. Many evacuees come from poverty-stricken areas, littered with land mines. In some cases, the areas have been staging grounds for armed resistance, and human rights activists say that mass repatriation could bring insecurity to the border region.

Though the refugee compounds are notoriously closed off, VICE News gained exclusive access to the Mae Ra Ma Luang camp. We spoke to evacuees about their life in the compounds, and what repatriation would mean for their livelihoods.

Read “‘Do Whatever You Want to Civilians’: Myanmar Military Accused of War Crimes on Eve of Obama Visit” – http://bit.ly/1DhR3rS

Read “Human Rights Abuses Rampant in Myanmar While Fair Elections Remain Elusive” – http://bit.ly/1wDGcpm

Watch “Turkey’s Border War (Dispatch 4)” – http://bit.ly/12zfBvL

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VICE News Daily: Beyond The Headlines – October 24, 2014

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The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: Turkey shifts position on helping Kurdish fighters get to Syrian town of Kobane, investigation reveals 18-year academic scandal at University of North Carolina, South Korean scientists solve mystery behind ‘weird’ dinosaur, and top drug manufacturers may collaborate to speed up ebola vaccine production.

TURKEY (annotate to: Turkey’s Border War)
Government to Help Group of Kurdish Fighters Reach Kobane
Two hundred peshmerga will be allowed to travel through Turkish territory from Iraq to defend the Syrian border town.

U.S.A.
Probe Uncovers Academic Fraud at University of North Carolina
Over an 18-year period, inflated grades and bogus classes helped thousands of student athletes stay in their programs.

SOUTH KOREA
Scientists Solve Decades-Old Dinosaur Mystery
Nearly complete skeletons discovered in Mongolia give paleontologists a clearer picture of a ‘weird’ creature with a duck’s bill, hoofed feet, and long arms.

HEALTH (annotate: The Fight Against Ebola)
Drug Makers in Talks to Collaborate on Ebola Vaccines
Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline are among the companies under pressure to quickly respond to the global health crisis.

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Trapped Inside the War Zone: Turkey’s Border War (Dispatch 4)

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In mid-September, Islamic State militants launched an offensive to seize Kobane, a predominantly Kurdish town in Syria just across the border from Turkey. In the following weeks, Turkey closed its border, leaving thousands of civilians stuck inside the war zone and preventing Kurds in Turkey from coming to the aid of their comrades. Violent protests subsequently broke out all over Turkey as Kurds accused authorities there of supporting the Islamic State.

More than 30 people have now been killed in clashes between Kurdish supporters, Turkish authorities, and Islamists. In the town of Diyarbakir, banks and public buildings have been set ablaze and destroyed.

VICE News went to Diyarbakir to meet with the youth wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and discuss their involvement in the clashes. We then spoke to both the family of a young man who claim he was killed by Islamists, and to an Islamist leader.

Watch Dispatch 1: http://bit.ly/ZGydZn
Watch Dispatch 2: http://bit.ly/1xWDoQM
Watch Dispatch 3: http://bit.ly/1sQHMix

“Britain’s Border War: Migrant Crisis in Calais” – http://bit.ly/1BXT7PY

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Uncertain Future for Kobane Prisoners: Turkey’s Border War (Dispatch 3)

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In mid-September, Islamic State militants launched an offensive to seize Kobane, a predominantly Kurdish town in Syria just across the border from Turkey. In the following weeks, Turkey closed its border, leaving thousands of civilians stuck inside the active war zone, trying to get past the tightly controlled crossings.

On October 5, 274 Kurds from Kobane were arrested at the Turkish border and held in a large room at a police station in the Turkish village of Suruc. Authorities have not given the people arrested — including many women and children — a reason for their detention, except to say they are suspected of being members of the YPG, the Kurdish fighters defending Kobane from the Islamic State.

VICE News visited Suruc to find out the status of the prisoners and when they would be released, only to learn they are being held indefinitely. We spoke via video chat with a prisoner who described the conditions in the facility, and visited his family to discuss their unknown destiny.

Watch Dispatch 1: http://bit.ly/ZGydZn
Watch Dispatch 2: http://bit.ly/1xWDoQM

“Britain’s Border War: Migrant Crisis in Calais” – http://bit.ly/1BXT7PY

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Life Inside Kurdish Refugee Camps: Turkey’s Border War (Dispatch 2)

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When Islamic State jihadists launched a major offensive on the majority Kurdish town of Kobane in September, more than 180,000 people fled across the border into Turkey. Local authorities struggled to cope with the influx at first, and thousands of refugees were forced to sleep on the streets of the Turkish border town of Suruc. Now camps are being set up to provide shelter and other assistance.

With the borders closed and thousands unable to leave Kobane, VICE News visited one of six refugee camps in the town to find out how refugee families — some sharing tents with up to 14 other people — are coping with leaving their homes and livelihoods behind.

Watch Dispatch 1: http://bit.ly/ZGydZn

“Britain’s Border War: Migrant Crisis in Calais” – http://bit.ly/1BXT7PY

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Kurds Left Helpless as Kobane Falls to Islamic State: Turkey’s Border War (Dispatch 1)

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Turkey has closed its border with Syria as Islamic State militants battle Kurdish forces in the Syrian border town of Kobane. Turkish checkpoints and tanks ensure that no one enters or exits the town, while nearby some of the 180,000 refugees who previously fled into Turkey watch helplessly as the fighting unfolds in front of them.

VICE News travelled to the Turkish side of the border as US airstrikes hit Islamic State positions in Kobane. As we watched alongside Kurds from both Syria and Turkey, they talked about Turkey’s lack of support for the Kurds fighting in Kobane and provided updates on the battle.

Watch Dispatch 2: http://bit.ly/1xWDoQM

“Britain’s Border War: Migrant Crisis in Calais” – http://bit.ly/1BXT7PY

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Migrant Crisis in Calais: Britain’s Border War (Dispatch 1)

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Refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, and Eritrea steadily descend on a migrant camp in the French coastal town of Calais. They hope to gain entry to the UK, just 21 miles away across the English Channel. But in May, French police destroyed their camp and told the migrants to go elsewhere. And so they moved… across the street. With the few tents and blankets they’re able to salvage, the refugees formed the Salam camp, which now holds about 400 people.

Every night, the migrants — many of whom have been forced to flee war and conflict in their home countries — attempt to sneak aboard trucks headed for Britain; eight migrants have already died this year while trying to make the journey. Inside Salam, things have gotten so bad that some occupants are hunger striking in an attempt to draw attention to their plight. But the French authorities do little to help, while the UK government turns a blind eye.

VICE News spent time in the Salam camp to find out why hundreds of displaced people are being allowed to live in squalor — and even die.

Watch Dispatch 2: http://bit.ly/1s3YGwI

Migrants in France Are Threatening to Set Themselves on Fire: http://bit.ly/1lAhydl

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