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YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Security forces in Myanmar made mass arrests and appeared to use lethal force on Sunday as they intensified their efforts to break up protests a month after the military staged a coup.

There were reports of gunfire as police in Yangon, the biggest city, fired tear gas and water cannons while trying to clear the streets of demonstrators demanding that the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi be restored to power.

Photos of shell casings from live ammunition used in assault rifles were posted on social media, adding to evidence that live rounds were fired.

A violent crackdown also occurred in Dawei, a much smaller city in southeastern Myanmar, where local media reported at least three people were killed during a protest march. The fatalities could not immediately be independently confirmed. Confirming reports of protesters’ deaths has been difficult amid the chaos and general lack of official news.

The Feb. 1 army takeover reversed years of slow progress toward democracy after five decades of military rule. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term in office, but the army blocked Parliament from convening and detained her and President Win Myint, as well as other top members of her government.

Sunday’s violence erupted in early morning when medical students were marching in Yangon’s streets near the Hledan Center intersection, which has become the gathering point for protesters who then fan out to other parts of the city.

Videos and photos showed protesters running away as police charged at them, and residents setting up makeshift roadblocks to slow their advance. Nearby, residents were pleading with police to release those they picked up from the street and shoved into police trucks to be taken away. Dozens or more were believed to have been detained.

There was no immediate word on Yangon casualties. Sounds of gunfire could be heard in the streets and there were what appeared to be smoke grenades thrown into the crowds.

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Demonstrators later Sunday regrouped and were said to be planning to march to the local police station to demand the release of the medical students.

In Dawei, video from the online media company Dakkhina Insight showed a young man receiving urgent medical attention in the street for what appeared to be a wound in his upper chest. Medics held an oxygen mask to his face while calling out for an ambulance.

Security forces on Saturday began employing rougher tactics, taking preemptive actions to break up protests and making scores, if not hundreds of arrests. Greater numbers of soldiers have also joined police. Many of those detained were taken to Insein Prison in Yangon’s northern outskirts, historically notorious for holding political prisoners.

According to the independent Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, as of Saturday, 854 people had been arrested, charged or sentenced at one point in relation to the coup, and 771 were being detained or sought for arrest. The group said that while it had documented 75 new arrests , it understood that hundreds of other people were also picked up Saturday in Yangon and elsewhere.

MRTV, a Myanmar state-run television channel, broadcast an announcement Saturday night from the Foreign Ministry that the country’s ambassador to the United Nations has been fired because he had abused his power and misbehaved by failing to follow the instructions of the government and “betraying” it.

Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun had declared in an emotional speech Friday at the U.N. General Assembly in New York that he represented Suu Kyi’s “civilian government elected by the people” and supported the struggle against military rule.

He urged all countries to issue public statements strongly condemning the coup, and to refuse to recognize the military regime. He also called for stronger international measures to stop violence by security forces against peaceful demonstrators.

The junta said it took power because last year’s polls were marred by massive irregularities. The election commission before the military seized power coup had refuted the allegation of widespread fraud. The junta dismissed the old commission’s members and appointed new ones, who on Friday annulled the election results.

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Tags: in yangon’s suu kyi’s medical students security forces in the street military rule the election as police the military the election hundreds people were the streets

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Dozen states urge Biden to end gas-powered vehicle sales by 2035

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WASHINGTON, April 21 – The governors of a dozen U.S. states including California, New York, Massachusetts and North Carolina called on President Joe Biden on Wednesday to back ending sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035, a dramatic shift away from fossil fuels.

Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan calls for $174 billion in spending and tax credits to boost electric vehicles (EVs) and charging networks but does not call for phasing out gasoline-powered passenger vehicles.

In a letter that was seen by Reuters, the governors, which also include those of Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington State and Rhode Island, urged Biden to set standards “to ensure that all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold are zero-emission no later than 2035 with significant milestones along the way to monitor progress.”

They argued that “by establishing a clear regulatory path to ensuring that all vehicles sold in the United States are zero-emission, we can finally clear the air and create high-road jobs.”

The governors also want Biden to set standards and adopt incentives aimed at ensuring 100% zero-emission sales of medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045.

The White House did not immediately comment on the governors’ letter.

States and some lawmakers hope that Biden’s endorsement of a phase-out date will speed the transition to EVs by users and automakers. EVs currently make up just 2% of U.S. vehicle sales.

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A number of U.S. lawmakers have urged Biden follow California’s lead, which in September said it planned to end sales of new gas-powered passenger vehicles by 2035. Biden’s campaign said last fall he did not support California’s phase-out plan.

In March, a group of 71 House Democrats urged Biden to set tough emissions rules to ensure 60% of new passenger cars and trucks sold are zero-emission by 2030, while 10 U.S. senators urged Biden “to set a date by which new sales of fossil fuel vehicles will end entirely.”

General Motors said in January it was setting a goal to end all gasoline passenger car and truck sales by 2035. Volvo, a unit of Zhejiang Geely Holding, said its entire car line-up will be fully electric by 2030 and Ford’s European lineup will also be fully electric by 2030.

In their letter, the governors said they want Biden to boost fuel economy standards rolled back under President Donald Trump and provide states “substantial funding for investment in charging and fueling infrastructure.” They also urged removal of or raising the EV tax credit limits per manufacturer.

But not everyone has backed a phase-out plan.

Rory Gamble, the president of the United Auto Workers union, has expressed caution about the shift to EVs, noting it takes fewer workers to build EVs than gas-powered vehicles and said “workers will disproportionately suffer if we do not get it right.”

He said last month the government must ensure the transition to EVs “is stable, reliable and creates quality union wage jobs and flexible to market demand not relying on a one-size fits all solution.” 

Filed under Cars ,  climate change ,  electric cars ,  fossil fuel ,  infrastructure ,  joe biden ,  4/21/21

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