Pangeran “Terbuang” Thailand Muncul, Minta Kembali Lagi ke Istana

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Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse leaves a religious ceremony at Yannawa temple in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023. The estranged son of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has made his surprise return to the country after 27 years of living abroad. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit) Foto: Pangeran Raja Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn (AP/Sakchai Lalit)

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Putra kedua Raja Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn mengatakan dirinya ingin kembali ke kerajaan secara permanen setelah tinggal di luar negeri selama lebih dari dua dekade. Keinginannya ini muncul dalam sebuah wawancara yang diterbitkan Kamis, dikutip Jumat (22/3/2024).

Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse dibesarkan di Amerika Serikat (AS) setelah orangtuanya bercerai pada tahun 1990-an. Agustus 2023, ia melakukan kunjungan tak terduga ke Thailand, di mana kunjungan tersebut diawasi ketat oleh media Thailand, tetapi belum ada komentar resmi dari pihak istana.

Baca: AS Tusuk Israel dari Belakang? Tiba-Tiba Buat Senjata Selamatkan Gaza

Kini setelah kembali ke negaranya, pria berusia 42 tahun itu mengatakan kepada Bangkok Post bahwa dirinya ingin kembali ke negaranya. Ia bersikeras bahwa dia “tidak punya cita-cita” sendiri.

“Tidak ada yang menyuruh saya datang. Saya tidak mewakili siapa pun,” katanya, seperti dikutip AFP.

“Saya tidak ingin bersaing untuk apa pun… Saya tidak punya sumber daya, tidak punya kekuatan,” katanya.

Baca: Maskapai Kini Takut Pakai Boeing? Airbus Menang 2 Tender Besar di Asia

“Saya tidak mempunyai aspirasi selain memberikan nilai dalam kapasitas saya sendiri,” ujarnya lagi.

Vacharaesorn adalah anak kedua dari empat bersaudara dari pernikahan kedua raja dengan mantan aktris Sujarinee Vivacharawongse. Dari keempat anak, tidak ada yang memegang gelar kerajaan resmi.

Dalam beberapa minggu terakhir, dia membagikan foto-foto Instagramnya saat mengunjungi sebuah kuil di kota utara Chiang Mai. Ia pun sempat bertemu dengan Dewan Pengacara Thailand.

Vacharaesorn juga mengatakan kepada surat kabar tersebut bahwa dia telah memperoleh paspor dan kartu identitas Thailand untuk tinggal permanen. Di AS selama ini, ia bekerja sebagai pengacara.

Raja Thailand diketahui memiliki tujuh anak dari empat pernikahannya. Namun hingga kini, ia belum secara resmi menunjuk ahli waris, meski aturan suksesi lebih mengutamakan anak laki-laki.

Putri sulungnya, Putri Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol, masih dirawat di rumah sakit setelah pingsan. Ia kehilangan kesadaran https://kerasnya.com/pada tahun 2022.

Mudik Asyik Bersama TASPEN 2024 Telah Dibuka, Ini Cara Daftarnya

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Taspen Foto: Dok Taspen

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – PT Dana Tabungan dan Asuransi Pegawai Negeri (Persero) (TASPEN) berkomitmen untuk turut berkontribusi kepada masyarakat secara langsung, terutama dalam memudahkan masyarakat dalam menjalankan ibadahnya. Untuk mewujudkan komitmen tersebut, TASPEN menggelar program mudik gratis bertajuk “Mudik Asyik Bersama TASPEN 2024” yang terbuka bagi masyarakat umum secara gratis.

TASPEN mewujudkan komitmennya untuk mendekatkan diri dengan masyarakat melalui penyediaan fasilitas untuk melakukan perjalanan mudik secara aman dan nyaman. Pada tahun ini, TASPEN menyediakan sejumlah 14 armada bus dengan rute perjalanan menuju 8 daerah di Indonesia yakni, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Malang, Surabaya, Madiun, Solo, Sragen, dan Padang. Keberangkatan akan dilaksanakan pada tanggal 5 April 2024 dengan titik keberangkatan dari Silang Monas dan Kantor Pusat PT TASPEN (Persero), Cempaka Putih, Jakarta.

“Kami sangat bangga dapat kembali menggelar program mudik gratis bersama untuk masyarakat Indonesia. Kami berharap program ini dapat bermanfaat dan memberikan kemudahan bagi para calon pemudik yang belum menemukan pilihan transportasi untuk kembali ke kampung halaman pada Hari Raya Idul Fitri tahun ini,” kata Corporate Secretary TASPEN Yoka Krisma Wijaya dalam keterangannya, Sabtu (16/3/2024).

Program mudik TASPEN ini merupakan bagian dari rangkaian Program Mudik Bersama BUMN bertema ‘Mudik Asyik Bersama BUMN 2024’ dari Kementerian BUMN. Pada tahun ini, sebanyak 84 perusahaan BUMN dan anak Perusahaan BUMN siap menyambut dan melayani lebih dari 80.215 orang pemudik yang terbagi ke dalam tiga moda transportasi, yakni 1.225 unit bus, 60 unit rangkaian kereta api, dan 15 unit kapal laut dengan tujuan lebih dari 200 kota di seluruh Indonesia.

Adapun waktu pendaftaran Mudik Asyik Bersama TASPEN dibuka pada tanggal 15-21 Maret 2024, dengan formulir pendaftaran yang dapat diisi secara daring melalui laman ini. Masyarakat dapat mengikuti kegiatan program Mudik Asyik Bersama TASPEN tanpa dipungut biaya apapun. TASPEN mengimbau masyarakat untuk berhati-hati dan selalu waspada atas segala modus penipuan terkait program Mudik Asyik Bersama TASPEN 2024.

Untuk informasi lanjut mengenai program ini, masyarakat dapat melihat informasinya melalui Instagram resmi TASPEN di @taspen. TASPEN sebagai Pengelola Jaminan Sosial Aparatur Sipil Negara dan Pejabat Negara berkomitmen untuk senantiasa mendekatkan diri kepada masyarakat, serta secara aktif mendukung dan berpartisipasi dalam program-program positif Kementerian BUMN guna mewujudkan Indonesia maju danhttps://kerasnya.com/ sejahtera.

PLTU Batu Bara Disuntik Mati, Listrik di Jawa Bisa Padam!

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Kementrian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (ESDM) membeberkan untuk bisa memensiunkan dini Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Uap (PLTU) batu bara di Indonesia dibutuhkan persetujuan tiga menteri. Foto: Ardi Suratman

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (ESDM) mengatakan jika Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Uap (PLTU) batu bara di Jawa tidak mendapatkan suplai batu bara, maka kelistrikan di Pulau Jawa bisa mati.

Hal itu seperti yang diungkapkan oleh Staf Khusus Menteri ESDM Bidang Percepatan Tata Kelola Mineral dan Batu Bara, Irwandy Arif. Dia mengatakan bahwa sistem kelistrikan di Jawa saat ini masih berasal dari PLTU, jika suplai batu bara tersendat untuk menghidupi PLTU di Jawa, sistem kelistrikan Jawa akan mati.

“Batu bara kalau nggak disuplai ke PLTU di Jawa, kita nggak bisa hadir dengan listrik hidup, semua (kelistrikan) akan mati. Seluruh pembangkit kita di Jawa dari batu bara,” ujar dia dalam sebuah seminar di Jakarta, dikutip Jumat (15/3/2024).

Baca: Suntik Mati PLTU Pelabuhan Ratu Ditangan Pemerintah!

Dia menjelaskan hal ini seperti yang tengah heboh saat ini terhadap program transisi energi yang digenjot oleh pemerintah. Hal mengesampingkan batu bara sebagai sumber energi yang dinilai tidak ramah lingkungan dan tidak terbarukan. “Nah kalau misal kita dibayangi transisi energi maka orang-orang pikir batu bara masuk ke (masa) maghrib masa mulai turun,” tambahnya.

Dengan begitu, Irwandy mengatakan nantinya arah kebijakan Indonesia terbagi menjadi dua, yakni memastikan adanya suplai batu bara untuk PLTU dan mendorong peningkatan nilai tambah.

“Jadi pertanyaan kita bagaimana arah kebijakannya? Pertama Ada jaminan pasokan batu bara dalam negeri, kedua peningkatan nilai tambah, ini masihhttps://kerasnya.com/ berat,” tandasnya.

Presiden Jokowi Mulai Berkantor di IKN Juli 2024, Wapres Kapan?

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Presiden Jokowi saat peletakan batu pertama atau groundbreaking Gedung Kantor PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk di Kawasan Ibu Kota Nusantara, Provinsi Kalimantan Timur, pada Kamis, (29/2/2024). (CNBC Indonesia/Emir Yanwardhana) Foto: Presiden Jokowi saat peletakan batu pertama atau groundbreaking Gedung Kantor PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk di Kawasan Ibu Kota Nusantara, Provinsi Kalimantan Timur, Kamis (29/2/2024). (CNBC Indonesia/Emir Yanwardhana)

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Menteri Pekerjaan Umum dan Perumahan Rakyat (PUPR) Basuki Hadimuljono mengungkapkan pembangunan Istana Wakil Presiden direncanakan pada tahun ini. Ditargetkan proyek itu baru akan rampung pada tahun 2025 mendatang.

“Kalau istana wakil presiden baru akan dibangun, masih lelang, jadi masih dibangun. Kalau kantor presiden, istana presiden, Insya Allah sudah siap pada bulan Juli itu,” kata Basuki di Kompleks Istana Kepresidenan, Jakarta, Rabu (13/3/2024).

Baca: Jokowi Berkantor di IKN Juli, Istana Presiden Dipastikan Siap!



Basuki mengatakan istana wapres kemungkinan dibangun dalam waktu satu tahun. Sehingga jika dibangun pada Juni atau Juli tahun ini kemungkinan rampung pada Juli 2025. Artinya Wakil Presiden yang akan datang baru bisa berkantor di IKN pada tahun depan.

“Saya belum (tahu) informasi pastinya, mudah-mudahan Juni-Juli baru dibangun. (Targetnya) saya kira setahun,” tutur Basuki.

Ia pun menjelaskan pembangunan istana wapres baru dibangun pada tahun ini lantaran ada perubahan pada desain bangunan.

“Desainnya berubah, waktu lelang pertama kami dengan desain yang juara sayembara pertama. Namun, setelah dicek pak presiden beliau melihat perlu direvisi sehingga kita revisi. Nah itu nanti kita enggak tahu lelang ulang atau gak gitu lho,” katanya.

Seperti yang diketahui rencananya Presiden Jokowi juga mau berkantor di IKN pada Juli 2024 mendatang. Namun rencana ini baru dilakukan setelah ada penyelesaian Kantor dan Istana Presiden, akses air bersih, fasilitas tol, hingga bandara.

“Belum ada arahan terakhir dari beliau, tapi kalau kita lihat pada waktu kita di glamping terakhir beliau akan pindah kalau tol dan airport sudahhttps://kerasnya.com/ beroperasi,” terangnya.

Warning: Arab Saudi Kurangi Pasokan Minyak untuk Asia pada April

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FILE PHOTO: A Saudi Aramco employee sits in the area of its stand at the Middle East Petrotech 2016, an exhibition and conference for the refining and petrochemical industries, in Manama, Bahrain, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo Foto: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Saudi Aramco, perusahaan eksportir minyak mentah terbesar di dunia, disebut-sebut akan mengurangi pasokan minyak jenis Arab Heavy ke para pelanggannya di Asia pada April 2024.

Mengutip dari CNA pada Senin (11/3/2024), dua sumber yang mengetahui masalah ini menyebut pengurangan pasokan dilakukan akibat adanya pemeliharaan ladang minyak.

Meski demikian, salah satu sumber menuturkan Saudi Aramco akan mempertahankan jumlah pasokan untuk jenis minyak mentah lainnya.

Pengurangan pasokan ini terjadi setelah Organisasi Negara-negara Pengekspor Minyak dan sekutunya atau yang sering disebut sebagai OPEC+ memutuskan untuk memperpanjang pengurangan produksi minyak secara sukarela sebesar 2,2 juta barel per hari hingga kuartal kedua. Keputusan itu diambil pada awal bulan Maret ini.

Baca: Raja Salman Makin Kaya, Arab Saudi Temukan Ladang Gas Alam Raksasa

Saudi Aramco disebut telah menginformasikan tentang keputusan pengurangan tersebut kepada para pelanggannya di Asia. Pemberitahuan itu dilakukan beberapa hari setelah mereka merilis harga jual resmi untuk bulan April.

Secara tak terduga, Saudi Aramco juga telah menaikkan harga untuk jenis minyak yang lebih berat pada bulan April ini. Dengan demikian, perbedaan harga dengan jenis minyak yang lebih ringan semakin sempit.

Belum jelas berapa banyak pasokan minyak mentah Arab Heavy yang akan berkurang dan ladang minyak yang akan ditutup untuk pemeliharaan. Saudi Aramco belum menanggapi permintaan https://kerasnya.com/komentar di luar jam kerja.

Muslim Australia Mulai Puasa Ramadhan 2024 pada Selasa 12 Maret

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FILE PHOTO: A person in protective face mask walks along the harbour waterfront across from the Sydney Opera House during a lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sydney, Australia, October 6, 2021. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo Foto: Aktivitas Waga Sydney, Australia (REUTERS/Loren Elliott)

Jakarta, CNBC IndonesiaUmat Islam di Australia akan memulai 1 Ramadhan 1445 Hijriah atau awal puasa pada Selasa, (12/3/2024). Hal itu diputuskan setelah melihat malam pertama Ramadhan akan terjadi setelah matahari terbenam Senin malam, (11/3/2024).

“Dewan Imam Nasional Australia dan Dewan Fatwa Australia mengakui, memahami dan menghormati para Imam dan ulama yang mungkin berbeda pendapat, dan meminta seluruh umat Islam untuk menghormati perbedaan pendapat mengenai masalah,” kata Mufti Agung Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohamad dikutip dari abc.net.au, Minggu (10/3/2024).

Sebagaimana diketahui, bulan Ramadhan jatuh pada bulan ke-9 dalam penanggalan Islam. Kalender bergantung pada siklus bulan, sehingga Ramadhan jatuh sekitar 11 hari lebih awal setiap tahunnya.

Baca: Kapan 1 Ramadhan 2024 di Arab Saudi? Mahkamah Bilang Gini

Pengumuman dari Mufti Agung Australia mengenai hari pertama Ramadhan ditujukan kepada seluruh negara bagian dan wilayah di benua kangguru tersebut. Ibrahim dan Dewan Fatwa Australia mengatakan metode penentuan ini menggunakan perhitungan kelahiran bulan sebelum matahari terbenam, durasi bulan terbenam dan kemungkinan penampakan bulan.

“Ini adalah metode yang telah diadopsi oleh banyak cendekiawan, dewan, dan negara-negara Muslim terkemuka dan terkemuka di dunia,” kata dia.

Baca: Penentuan 1 Ramadan Pakai Metode Hisab & Rukyat, Apa Bedanya?

Sementara itu, pemerintah Indonesia juga akan menentukan hari pertama Ramadhan pada sore ini. Kementerian Agama tengah melakukan sidang Isbat yang dimulai pada pukul 18.15 WIB. Hasil dari sidang tersebut akan diumumkan satu jam berikutnya melalui konferensi pers pukul 19.05 WIB.

Kemenag melalui website-nya menyatakan sidang isbat 2024 akan berlangsung secara hybrid yaitu online dan offline. Sidang isbat kali ini menggunakan metode hisab dan rukyatul hilal.

Sidang isbat juga akan dihadiri para duta besar negara sahabat dan perwakilan ormas Islam, serta mengikutsertakan perwakilan Badan Riset dan Inovasi Nasional (BRIN), Badan Meteorologi Klimatologi dan Geofisika (BMKG), dewan pemimpin MUI, dan https://kerasnya.com/Komisi VIII DPR RI.

Sri Mulyani Bawa Kabar Buruk dari G20 & Pesan Khusus Buat AHY

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Menteri Keuangan Sri Mulyani dan Menteri ATR/BPN Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (Ist Kiki Maulana/Kementerian ATR/BPN) Foto: (Ist Kiki Maulana/Kementerian ATR/BPN)

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Ada kabar buruk yang dibawa Menteri Keuangan Sri Mulyani usai menghadiri Pertemuan Keuangan dan Gubernur Bank Sentral (FCMBG) negara anggota G20 di Brazil.

Kabar buruk itu adalah mengenai kondisi perekonomian dunia. Kabar kurang baik itu disampaikan Sri Mulyani dalam Rapat Kerja Nasional Kementerian Agraria dan Tata Ruang/Badan Pertanahan Nasional 2024 yang juga dihadiri Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY) beserta jajaran.

“Karena saya baru kembali dari G20, sedikit oleh-oleh untuk Mas AHY,” kata Sri Mulyani saat memberikan pemaparan di acara Rakernas ATR/BPN, dikutip Sabtu (9/3/2024).

Sri Mulyani mengatakan kondisi perekonomian dunia di 2024 masih diprediksi lemah dan tidak baik-baik saja. Menurut dia, kondisi itu disebabkan oleh efek pandemi Covid-19 dan ketegangan geopolitik akibat perang.

Ia berkata saat pandemi berlalu, pemulihan ekonomi dunia yang kuat dan berkelanjutan diharapkan terjadi. Namun yang terjadi justru muncul scaring effect yang menyebabkan efek mendalam kepada perekonomian. Akibatnya, pemulihan tidak berjalan secara seimbang.

Baca: Warning-Respons Ekonom Soal Ekonomi RI Tumbuh 8% di Tangan Prabowo

Ketika ekonomi dunia mengalami kontraksi diharapkan waktu itu terjadi pemulihan yang kuat dan berkelanjutan, namun karena ada pengaruh scaring effect atau efek mendalam dari ekonomi, pemulihan tidak berjalan secara seimbang,” kata dia.

Mantan pejabat Bank Dunia ini menuturkan kondisi perekonomian itu diperparah oleh ketegangan politik akibat perang. Harga pangan dan energi, kata dia, naik secara signifikan. Kenaikan itu kemudian mendorong inflasi yang tinggi di banyak negara maju.

Menkeu mencontohkan inflasi di negara Eropa yang biasanya 0% kini justru naik. Begitupun di Jepang yang biasanya mengalami inflasi rendah bahkan deflasi, kini harus berhadapan dengan inflasi yang tinggi.

“Dengan adanya kombinasi kenaikan harga pangan dan energi dan disrupsi rantai pasok, inflasi terjadi di berbagai negara maju,” ujarnya.

Dia mengatakan kenaikan harga-harga itu direspons dengan naiknya suku bunga oleh bank sentral negara-negara maju. Kenaikannya, kata dia, tidak kecil, tapi hingga 500 basis poin dan dalam periode yang cukup lama. Kondisi yang kerap disebut higher for longer itu berimbas kepada negara berkembang seperti Indonesia.

Menurutnya, suku bunga menjadi seperti vacuum cleaner yang menyedot modal-modal asing keluar dari negara berkembang.

Baca: Sri Mulyani Kasih PR ke AHY, 54.445 Aset Negara Harus Bersertifikat

“Modal cenderung keluar, karena suku bunga seperti menyedot kapital itu dari negara berkembang dan emerging, ini yang menyebabkan negara berkembang mengalami tekanan mata uang dan banyak yang kondisi fiskalnya tidak sehat,” kata Sri Mulyani.

Dia mengatakan dalam kondisi dunia yang tidak baik-baik saja ini dibutuhkan konsolidasi yang kuat antar Kementerian dan lembaga di dalam negeri. Menurut dia, Kementerian ATR/BPN yang dipimpin AHY dapat mengambil peran yang penting karena berkaitan langsung dengan investasi dan perekonomian.

“Saya yakin ini waktu yang penting untuk konsolidasi, saya diminta memaparkan kondisi perekonomian dan bagaimana APBN dapat mendukung berbagai kebijakan di bidang agraria dan tata ruang yang merupakan salah satu kunci dalam investasi, perekonomian dan keadilan https://kerasnya.com/masyarakat.” pungkasnya.

Myanmar: Young people attempt to flee ahead of conscription order

Members of Myanmar's military security force patrol a street during a "silent strike" on the third anniversary of the military coup
Image caption,On 1 February, Myanmar entered its fourth year since the coup

By Kelly Ng

BBC News, Singapore

A deadly stampede outside a passport office that took two lives and unending lines outside embassies – these are just some examples of what has been happening in Myanmar since the announcement of mandatory conscription into the military.

Myanmar’s military government is facing increasingly effective opposition to its rule and has lost large areas of the country to armed resistance groups.

On 1 February 2021, the military seized power in a coup, jailing elected leaders and plunging much of the country into a bloody civil war that continues today. Thousands have been killed and the UN estimates that around 2.6 million people been displaced.Young Burmese, many of whom have played a leading role protesting and resisting the junta, are now told they will have to fight for the regime. Many believe that this is a result of the setbacks suffered by the military in recent months, with anti-government groups uniting to defeat them in some key areas.

“It is nonsense to have to serve in the military at this time, because we are not fighting foreign invaders. We are fighting each other. If we serve in the military, we will be contributing to their atrocities,” Robert, a 24-year-old activist, told the BBC.

Many of them are seeking to leave the country instead.

“I arrived at 03:30 [20:30 GMT] and there were already about 40 people queuing for the tokens to apply for their visa,” recalled a teenage girl who was part of a massive crowd outside the Thai embassy in Yangon earlier in February. Within an hour, the crowd in front of the embassy expanded to more than 300 people, she claims.

“I was scared that if I waited any longer, the embassy would suspend the processing of visas amid the chaos,” she told the BBC, adding that some people had to wait for three days before even getting a queue number.

In Mandalay, where the two deaths occurred outside the passport office, the BBC was told that there were also serious injuries – one person broke their leg after falling into a drain while another broke their teeth. Six others reported breathing difficulties.

People gathering outside the Thai embassy in Yangon on 16 Feb 2024
Image caption,People gathering outside the Thai embassy in Yangon

Justine Chambers, a Myanmar researcher at the Danish Institute of International Studies, says mandatory conscription is a way of removing young civilians leading the revolution.

“We can analyse how the conscription law is a sign of the Myanmar military’s weakness, but it is ultimately aimed at destroying lives… Some will manage to escape, but many will become human shields against their compatriots,” she said.

Myanmar’s conscription law was first introduced in 2010 but had not been enforced until on 10 February the junta said it would mandate at least two years of military service for all men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27.

Maj-Gen Zaw Min Tun, the spokesperson for the military government, said in a statement that about a quarter of the country’s 56 million population were eligible for military service under the law.

The regime later said it did not plan to include women in the conscript pool “at present” but did not specify what that meant.

The government spokesperson told BBC Burmese that call-ups would start after the Thingyan festival marking the Burmese New Year in mid-April, with an initial batch of 5,000 recruits.

The regime’s announcement has dealt yet another blow to Myanmar’s young people.

Many had their education disrupted by the coup, which came on top of school closures at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2021, the junta suspended 145,000 teachers and university staff over their support for the opposition, according to the Myanmar Teachers’ Federation, and some schools in opposition-held areas have been destroyed by the fighting or by air strikes.

Then there are those who have fled across borders seeking refuge, among them young people looking for jobs to support their families.

In response to the conscription law, some have said on social media that they would enter the monkhood or get married early to dodge military service.

The junta says permanent exemptions will be given to members of religious orders, married women, people with disabilities, those assessed to be unfit for military service and “those who are exempted by the conscription board”. For everyone else, evading conscription is punishable by three to five years in prison and a fine.

But Mr Min doubts the regime will honour these exemptions. “The junta can arrest and abduct anyone they want. There is no rule of law and they do not have to be accountable to anyone,” he said.

Wealthier families are considering moving their families abroad – Thailand and Singapore being popular options, but some are even looking as far afield as Iceland – with the hope that their children would get permanent residency or citizenship there by the time they are of conscription age.

Myanmar people step on photos of military junta leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, during a gathering marking three years since the coup
Image caption,Myanmar people step on photos of military junta leader Gen Min Aung Hlaing during a gathering marking three years since the coup

Others have instead joined the resistance forces, said Aung Sett, from the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, which has a long history of fighting military rule.

“When I heard the news that I would have to serve in the military, I felt really disappointed and at the same time devastated for the people, especially for those who are young like me. Many young people have now registered themselves to fight against the junta,” the 23-year-old told the BBC from exile.

Some observers say the enforcement of the law now reveals the junta’s diminishing grip on the country.

Last October, the regime suffered its most serious setback since the coup. An alliance of ethnic insurgents overran dozens of military outposts along the border with India and China. It has also lost large areas of territory to insurgents along the Bangladesh and Indian borders.

According to the National Unity Government, which calls itself Myanmar’s government in exile, more than 60% of Myanmar’s territory is now under the control of resistance forces.

“By initiating forced conscription following a series of devastating and humiliating defeats to ethnic armed organisations, the military is publicly demonstrating just how desperate it has become,” said Jason Tower, country director for the Burma programme at the United States’ Institute of Peace.

Mr Tower expects the move to fail because of growing resentment against the junta.

“Many youth dodging conscription will have no choice but to escape into neighbouring countries, intensifying regional humanitarian and refugee crises. This could result in frustration growing in Thailand, India, China and Bangladesh, all of which could tilt away from what remains of their support for the junta,” he said.

Even if the military does manage to increase troop numbers by force, this will do little to address collapsing morale in the ranks. It will also take months to train up the new troops, he said.

Protesters gather in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand
Image caption,Protesters gather in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand

The junta had a long history of “forced recruitment” even before the law was enacted, said Ye Myo Hein, a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

“So the law may merely serve as a facade for forcibly conscripting new recruits into the military. With a severe shortage of manpower, there is no time to wait for the lengthy and gradual process of recruiting new soldiers, prompting [officials] to exploit the law to swiftly coerce people into service,” he said.

Even for those who will manage to escape, many will carry injuries and emotional pain for the rest of their lives.

“It has been really difficult for young people in Myanmar, both physically and mentally. We’ve lost our dreams, our hopes and our youth. It just can’t be the same like before,” said Aung Sett, the student leader.

“These three years have gone away like nothing. We’ve lost our friends and colleagues during the fight against the junta and many families have lost their loved ones. It has been a nightmare for this country. We are witnessing the atrocities committed by the junta https://kerasnya.com/ on a daily basis. I just can’t express it in words.”

Alabama IVF ruling divides devout Christians: ‘Fewer children will be born’

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Margaret Boyce wearing a white top and blazer
Image caption,Margaret Boyce was days away from her first appointment for IVF when Alabama made its ruling

By Nomia Iqbal

BBC News in Birmingham, Alabama

When Alabama’s Supreme Court defined frozen embryos as children, the shock and confusion was immediate. Major hospitals pulled fertility services and would-be parents scrambled for clarity on what would happen next.

The debate over reproductive rights in America has long been driven, in part, by opposition to abortion from Christian groups – but this ruling has divided that movement and ignited debate about the role of theology in US lawmaking.

Short presentational grey line

Margaret Boyce is soft-spoken, a private person, and certainly not – in her words – a “crier”.

She had been taking fertility drugs for 10 months and was days away from her first appointment for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) when the justices of Alabama’s top court upended her life.

Their ruling, which prompted many fertility clinics to pause their work, has left her turning to the Bible daily for comfort.

The 32-year-old and her husband have a young boy but, second time round, she is experiencing unexplained infertility. Building a family has always been the dream.

“I’m one of three. I feel like it’s the greatest gift to give your child a sibling,” she said.

“The journey to becoming parents is different for every single couple – mentally, emotionally and financially,” she added, welling up.

“This ruling has added more unnecessary anxiety to something that is already so hard.”

For a devout Christian like Margaret, the ruling – given its consequences for what she sees clearly as a process to create life – is even more difficult to comprehend.

“God,” she said, “tells you to go forth and be fruitful and multiply.”

IVF is a difficult and lengthy treatment, involving the fertilisation of a woman’s eggs with sperm in a lab to create a microscopic embryo. The fertilised embryo is then transferred into a woman’s uterus, where it may create a pregnancy – but a successful outcome is not guaranteed.

Embryos are often frozen or eventually destroyed as part of IVF, which accounts for around 2% of US pregnancies.

The Alabama court ruled that an existing law – wrongful death of a minor – covers not just foetuses in the womb, but embryos held in a lab or storage facility too.

It did not explicitly restrict or ban IVF, but it has still created deep uncertainty for clinics and medical workers who handle embryos and fear prosecution. In recent days the office of the state’s attorney general said he had “no intention” of pursuing criminal charges against IVF clinics – but one clinic told the BBC this statement lacked detail and did not quell their fears.

Short presentational grey line

While the majority of the justices rooted their ruling in law, Chief Justice Tom Parker also had a higher authority in mind, repeatedly invoking scripture in explaining his decision.

The people of Alabama, he wrote in a concurring opinion, had adopted a “theologically-based view of the sanctity of life” in their state constitution.

Tom parker wearing a black robe and glasses, sitting in front of a black backdrop
Image caption,Chief Justice Tom Parker, of the Alabama Supreme Court

Delving into religious sources from classic Christian theologians like St. Thomas Aquinas and also a modern conservative Christian manifesto, he concluded that “even before birth, all human beings have the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory”.

Some anti-abortion groups celebrated the explicit use of scripture in Justice Parker’s opinion to justify what for them was a momentous decision.

Tony Perkins, president of evangelical activist group the Family Research Council, described it as “a beautiful defence of life”.

But the chief justice’s theocratic justification has left Margaret puzzled. She doesn’t believe in abortion but she also struggles to see a frozen embryo as a living person. For her, life begins with a heartbeat.

“Nobody understands more that an embryo is not a child,” she said, before taking a pause, “than the person yearning for that embryo to be a child.”

US courts do sometimes make decisions that seem to be based on religious premises, said Meredith Render, a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law.

But, she added, “rarely do you see it as explicitly stated” as in the chief justice’s opinion.

The ruling was however “not an outlier” for a conservative court in a red state, said Kelly Baden, the vice president for public policy at the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion legislation across the US.

“We do see that many elected officials and judges alike are often coming at this debate from a highly religious lens,” she said.

While the Alabama state Supreme Court is not appointed by the US president, more than 200 judges were appointed by Donald Trump to federal courts during his four-year term, winning him lasting support from American evangelicals.

During his presidency he was able to nominate three new justices to the nine-member Supreme Court – all of whom sided with the majority in striking down the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that had guaranteed a federal right to abortion.

Since that decision in 2022 re-opened a national battle over reproductive rights, courts in Missouri have quoted Biblical teachings to justify restricting abortion rights and a Trump-appointed judge in Texas who previously worked for a Christian legal organisation tried to impose a nationwide ban on Mifepristone, a commonly used abortion pill.

While many Republican politicians comfortably agree with such rulings, restrictions on abortion imposed by conservative courts have proved a potent campaign issue for Democrats in recent elections, including the 2022 midterms.

Donald Trump gestures and stands in front of a US flag against a blue backdrop
Image caption,Donald Trump has said he supports the availability of IVF treatment, calling on Alabama to find “an immediate solution”

The Alabama decision, made by Republican judges and affecting fertility treatments widely supported by the US public, went one step further, prompting immediate fear of a political backlash in a presidential election year.

Any sign of IVF being endangered could worsen the anger that’s already cost Republicans since the fall of Roe v Wade, especially among suburban women and those who are uncomfortable with abortion bans.

Donald Trump himself, the clear frontrunner in the Republican nomination race, came out strongly in support of IVF, calling on Alabama lawmakers to preserve access to the treatment. His last remaining rival Nikki Haley at first appeared to support the ruling, but then backtracked.

“It’s a win philosophically for the pro-life movement because it carries on the pro-life recognition of unborn life,” said Eric Johnston, president of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition.

“But you get into a very difficult situation, where you have this medical procedure that’s accepted by most people, and then how do you deal with it? That’s the dilemma.

“I agree with the opinion overall – I think it’s well written opinion from the legal side and from the medical side,” he added.

“But I think the pro-life community in general supports IVF, and I’ve known and worked with many people who have had children via IVF. And at the same time, they think abortion is wrong. This issue is so different from abortion, but it has to do with life.”

What next for fertility patients in Alabama and beyond?

For patients in the deep-south state, the last week has been one of panicked phone calls to clinics, emails to local lawmakers and a rush by some to try and transfer frozen embryos out of the state.

Rodney Miller, 46, and his wife Mary Leah, 41, spent a decade trying to have children, before IVF allowed them to give birth to a set of twins 18 months ago, who were adopted as frozen embryos.

He said he “thanks the Lord for the advances in science and medicine” that made that possible.

Rodney Miller wearing a white shirt and orange pullover
Image caption,Rodney Miller warned the ruling could mean fewer children are born

The couple are now going through the process again, and waiting to see if two embryos transplanted this week will develop into a pregnancy.

“This is not a win [for the Christian right],” says Rodney, who works for Carrywell, an organisation that supports families through infertility.

“It’s the classic case of you won the battle but lost the war. Fewer children will be born because of this unless things change.

“How did we become a state where if you want to terminate a pregnancy, you have to leave the state and if you want to initiate a pregnancy, via IVF you [also] have to leave the state?”

Whether the ruling in Alabama influences decisions elsewhere is an open question.

Foetal personhood bills, which enshrine the idea that life begins at conception, have been introduced in more than a dozen states. But these bills, while pushing the idea that a foetus or embryo is a person, don’t explicitly relate that to the context of IVF, said Kelly Baden of the Guttmacher Institute.

The Alabama ruling – with its implications that go far beyond abortion access – does not therefore constitute a trend, she said.

Alabama family lawyer Ashleigh Meyer Dunham, who has used IVF herself, has been working with a large number of cases affected by the ruling. She said she was “terrified” that fertility patients in other states could eventually be affected.

Ashleigh Meyer Dunham wearing a black blazer and pink headband
Image caption,Ashleigh Meyer Dunham is worried that more states might make similar rulings

“I think the biggest concerns are that people elsewhere forget about us and they think, ‘Oh they’re just the conservative state, and they’re all country bumpkins. Don’t worry it will never happen here.’

“And the next thing you know, it is happening in other states that are ultra-conservative.”

Because the Alabama ruling involves an interpretation of state, not federal law, it is unlikely to reach the US Supreme Court. Currently a bill is going through the state house in Alabama, introduced by Democrats, which would aim to effectively pause the ruling and allow treatments to resume as before.

Republicans are expected to propose their own bill. If they do, they have to find a way to balance a divided religious constituency, with some celebrating the court’s ruling and others disturbed by its potential implications for IVF.

Margaret is praying that lawmakers find a solution.

“I’m not very outspoken, I keep myself to myself. But if any of my friends or family heard that I was sending emails to every single representative https://kerasnya.com/ and senator, I think they would be shocked.”

She takes a breath.

Navalny’s body returned to mother, spokeswoman says

Alexei Navalny
Image caption,Alexei Navalny died on 16 February in a Russian prison inside the Arctic Circle

The body of leading Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny has been returned to his mother, his spokeswoman says.

In a post on X, Kira Yarmysh thanked everybody who had demanded that the authorities hand over his remains.

“The funeral is yet to take place,” she wrote.

Navalny’s mother Lyudmila had reportedly been told to agree to a “secret” burial. If she refused, he would be buried at the prison colony where he died.

She has spent the last week in the town close to the prison where he died, trying to first confirm the location of his body then demanding it be returned to her.

After signing a death certificate saying he had died of natural causes, she was then given three hours to agree to a “secret” funeral for her son.

If she didn’t agree he would be buried within the grounds of the prison where he died, Ms Yarmysh said his mother was told.

However, Lyudmila had apparently refused to negotiate with the authorities.

Ms Yarmysh said the funeral plans were still not clear.

“We don’t know whether the authorities will interfere with it being carried out in the way the family wants and as Alexei deserves,” she said.

Earlier on Saturday, Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, accused Vladimir Putin of holding her late husband’s body “hostage” and demanded its release without conditions.

“Give us the body of my husband,” she demanded in a video address.

“You tortured him alive, and now you keep torturing him dead. You mock the remains of the dead.”

Ms Navalnaya again accused the Russian president of being behind the death of her husband.

The Kremlin has denied the allegations, calling Western reaction to the death “hysterical”.

Navalny died on 16 February in a Russian prison inside the Arctic Circle.

Details about what happened to him remain scarce. His team has offered security officers €20,000 ($22,000; £17,000) in reward and assistance in leaving Russia in exchange for information about his death in prison.

For years, he was the most high-profile critic of the Russian leader.

In August 2020, Navalny was poisoned using the Novichok nerve agent by a team of would-be assassins from the Russian secret services.

Airlifted to Germany, he recovered there before returning to Russia in January 2021, where he was imprisoned.

Attempts at commemorating his death have been met by a heavy-handed response from Russian authorities, with makeshift https://kerasnya.com/ monuments cleared and hundreds arrested.