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Both sides now

"Both sides now" Continued...

Issue: "Who will vote?," April 21, 2012

Military leaders have taken steps to allow new freedoms. But Dave Eubank, director of Free Burma Rangers, an aid group working with war victims, cautioned: "There are some good changes, yet oppression continues."

Tibetan exile

Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to India March 28 incited protests by the country's Tibetan refugee population, with one man setting himself on fire days before the visit.

To prevent further protests, police in New Delhi detained hundreds of Tibetan activists and placed all Tibetans refugees under house arrest until March 31, the end of the BRICS meeting-an annual summit meeting with the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Activists said 27-year-old Tibetan exile Jamphel Yeshi died from burns that covered 98 percent of his body. In the past year, ethnic Tibetans have held about 30 anti-China protests, speaking out against China's crackdown on Tibet and calling for independence.

New faces of Religious freedom commission

Under new congressionally imposed term limits, five commissioners on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom had to resign, including human-rights lawyer Nina Shea and the Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land. Now congressional leaders from both parties are appointing new commissioners to join President Obama's appointees already on the commission. House Speaker John Boehner appointed Princeton University law professor Robert George, a Catholic who has been at the forefront of domestic religious freedom issues and was one of the original drafters of the Manhattan Declaration. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appointed Katrina Lantos Swett, the daughter of the late Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos. Swett has followed her father's career advocating for human rights and heads a foundation in his name. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed Zuhdi Jasser, who heads the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a group that "seeks to counter political Islam."

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