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Myanmar Child monks become royalty for a day (Photos)

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The whole village of Myinkabar, nestled among the centuries-old pagodas of Bagan city, turns out for an annual lavish feast in their honour.

Riding elephants and horses in heavily bejewelled costumes, thick eyeliner and rouged lips, boys in central Myanmar parade through their village as ancient princes in a ceremony to mark their passage to monkhood.

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The whole village of Myinkabar, nestled among the centuries-old pagodas of Bagan city, turns out for an annual lavish feast in their honour.

Everyone pays respects to the children giving up their worldly belongings — at least for a few days.

Buddhist tradition in Myanmar requires youths to spend some time in a monastery or nunnery before the age of 18 in what is viewed as an important coming of age ritual.

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Most people undertake this at least once in their lives.

The first step for both boys and girls is to have all their hair shaved off.

They adjust to a demanding daily schedule of alms collecting, chores, study and worship.

But perhaps the hardest aspect is not eating from 12 noon until sunrise the next morning.

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Many ‘novices’ are happy to exchange their robes — maroon or saffron for monks, pink for nuns — at the end of the week for their normal attire and return to their families.

Others, however, are there for the long-term, destined for a monastic life.

“Sometimes I want to play football like other children in Yangon but I can’t,” says 13-year-old Tate Tha, who has been a novice monk in Yangon for five years already.

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“I’m envious of them but I’m doing good things in life and I am happy for that.”

Traditionally monasteries and convents have offered the chance for children, particularly from poorer backgrounds, to receive an education in the country which is 87 percent Buddhist.

But as free places in government schools have become more widely available, the number of novice monks and nuns is in decline, a trend that worries some Buddhism experts.

“It is like a tree whose roots are being destroyed,” says Mya Thein, 50, a scholar at Yangon Buddhist University.

“We need to take care of it and we also need to find a solution. It is now in danger.”

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Crime

Mother, Son arrainged for killing alleged housebreaker.

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A 45-year-old woman and her 17-year-old son have been arraigned for beating an alleged housebreaker to death in Butterworth, Eastern Cape.

Police confirmed they were investigating a murder after a 23-year-old housebreaker, identified as Solomzi Gcanca, was killed on Wednesday, June 19.

SAPS spokesperson, Capt Jackson Manatha said members of the community witnessed the [mother and son] beating the young man”

The man was found dead in the street by community members on Wednesday evening at Ext 14B, Mcubakazi township, Butterworth.

“The community was so angry that they wanted the woman and her son to be evicted from where they live. But we could not do that. Our job was to arrest them,” 

The community was angry about what happened to Gcanca.

“The alleged killers took matters into their own hands by beating the man for breaking into their house. What they were supposed to do was come to the police,” he added.

Both suspects were expected to appear in court on Tuesday

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24 Hours Across Africa

Nato warn Russia to refrain New Missle plan

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Source: Reuters – NATO urged Russia on Tuesday to destroy a new missile before an August deadline and save a treaty that keeps land-based nuclear warheads out of Europe or face a more determined alliance response in the region.

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NATO defense ministers will discuss on Wednesday their next steps if Moscow keeps the missile system that the United States says would allow short-notice nuclear attacks on Europe and break the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

“We call on Russia to take the responsible path, but we have seen no indication that Russia intends to do so,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference. “We will need to respond,” Stoltenberg said.

He declined to go into more details. But diplomats said defense ministers will consider more flights over Europe by U.S. warplanes capable of carrying nuclear warheads, more military training and the repositioning U.S. sea-based missiles.

The United States and its NATO allies want Russia to destroy its 9M729/SSC-8 nuclear-capable cruise missile system, which Moscow has so far refused to do. It denies any violations of the INF treaty, accusing Washington of seeking an arms race.

Without a deal, the United States has said it will withdraw from the INF treaty on Aug. 2, removing constraints on its own ability to develop nuclear-capable, medium-range missile.

The dispute has deepened a fissure in East-West ties that severely deteriorated after Russia’s seizure of Crimea and its involvement in Syria.


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