The land that is known as Arakan by the foreigners is called Rakhaing-pray by its own people, Rakhaing-thar (Arakanese) who were titled this name in honour of preservation on their national heritage and ethics or morality.

China planes 'violated Taiwanese airspace'

Posted by Ven. Indobhasa Tuesday, August 26, 2014 0 comments

China planes 'violated Taiwanese airspace'
Taiwan's Indigenous Defence Fighters (IDF) fly in formation at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base (CCK) on 17 July 2014 Taiwan's Indigenous Defence Fighters (pictured in a file image here) were scrambled in response

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Two Chinese military aircraft violated Taiwan's airspace on Monday, officials said, causing Taiwan to scramble jets. 

Taiwan said Chinese Y-8 maritime patrol planes entered the island's ADIZ (air defence identification zone) in both the morning and the afternoon.

Taiwan scrambled planes which "followed them closely to make sure they left", an air force spokesman said.

The alleged incident came days after the US accused a Chinese plane of dangerous manoeuvres near its aircraft.

Washington said the Chinese aircraft came within 10 metres of a US Navy patrol plane over international waters off Hainan Island on 19 August.

China described the claims as "groundless", saying the pilot's conduct was "professional".
A Chinese fighter jet that the Obama administration on Friday said conducted a "dangerous intercept" of a US Navy surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft off the coast of China in international airspace (19 August 2014) The US has released photographs of the Chinese Su-27 aircraft which it says was responsible for carrying out the dangerous manoeuvres 
In the latest incident, Taiwan said the two Chinese planes violated its airspace twice each as they flew towards the South China Sea and back.

Mirage 2000-5s and Indigenous Defence Fighters were scrambled in response, officials said.
In a statement to Reuters news agency, China's defence ministry said its planes had carried out a "routine flight" in "relevant airspace". There was no "abnormality", the statement said.
Beijing considers Taiwan part of China but the two have been governed separately since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

Economic ties have improved significantly in recent years but on a political level the two remain far apart.

China, meanwhile, has in recent years been taking a more assertive stance over its territorial claims in both the East China and South China seas, sparking a rise in regional tensions.

At least five dead in South Korea flash floods

In a photo taken on 25 August, 2014, South Korean rescue workers attempt to secure a bus submerged by floodwaters in the south-eastern town of Changwon A bus was washed away by floods, killing one and leaving four more people missing

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Flash floods brought on by heavy rain in southern South Korea have killed at least five people, officials say.

One person was killed and four others are missing after a bus was swept away by floods near the southern city of Changwon, Yonhap news agency reported.

In Busan, South Korea's second-largest city, four people were killed after heavy rain battered parts of the city.

Victims included two people who drowned in their car after driving through a submerged city underpass.

An engineer is also believed to be missing after checking basement power lines in a flooded building.
In a photo taken on 25 August, 2014, South Korean rescue workers attempt to secure a bus submerged by floodwaters in the south-eastern town of Changwon More rain is forecast for the south of the country, weather officials say
Monday's heavy rain also disrupted train services in Busan, and a nuclear power plant was forced to halt operations after a cooling facility became flooded, AFP news agency reported.
Weather officials said that more heavy rain was forecast.

PhD Scholarships 2015
The Doctoral Program in Buddhist Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany offers two PhD scholarships for dissertation projects related to Buddhism.

Deadline for applications: 15 October 2014
Start of scholarship: Spring semester 2015 or later
Duration of scholarship: 3 or 4 years

Scholarship amount: 1000 € per month + insurance + support for rent + 460€ per year
Scholarship donor: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
The selection process comprises two stages: Applications are sent to the Doctoral Program in Buddhist Studies in Munich. The program will select promising candidates, who then have to submit their materials to the DAAD. Subsequently, an election committee chosen by the DAAD decides upon the successful candidates. It is expected that the successful candidates will be chosen and informed by February or March 2015.

The prerequisites for application are non-German citizenship (foreign applicants should not have lived in Germany for more than fifteen months at the time of their application), a Master of Arts or Magister Artium degree or equivalent, excellent knowledge of at least one Buddhist source language, outstanding qualifications in the subject, and fluency in English. A basic knowledge of German is also desirable, though not a prerequisite, but willingness to learn German/improve German language skills will be expected. It is desirable that, at the time of the application, the last final examination has taken place no more than six years ago.

Details about the application

Syria ready to cooperate with U.N. to fight terror

Posted by Ven. Indobhasa Monday, August 25, 2014 0 comments

(CNN) -- The Syrian regime says it's ready to accept support from the United States and others working under the U.N. umbrella to fight "terrorists."

The comments, by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, were made Monday as ISIS fighters seized control of a strategically important air base in the country.

The war-racked nation has been losing control of the northeastern region to ISIS militants.
Moallem, however, warned against any unilateral action or strikes in Syrian territory without permission.

"Any effort to fight terrorism should be done in coordination with Syrian government," Moallem said.

The U.S. military and intelligence communities are gathering intelligence on the locations of ISIS leadership and its troops in Syria, two U.S. officials told CNN on Friday. The information could be used in the coming days if President Barack Obama were to authorize airstrikes against the militants in Syria.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said on Monday, while speaking in general terms, that in order to conduct operations over Syria "you certainly want to get as much of a view on the ground as you can. You want as much situational awareness as you can."
"Satellites can provide you good visibility, but you always want closer eyes on target if you can," Kirby added.

Obama has authorized reconnaissance flights over Syria, which could begin at any point, a U.S. official told CNN on Monday.

When asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer about how much coordination the United States would need to do with Syria to strike ISIS, Kirby said, "Not getting into the hypothetical operations, there's no intention to coordinate with Syrian authorities."

Air base seizure

The Islamic extremist group, which has taken over large areas of Syria and Iraq, wrested the Al-Tabqa air base from the Syrian military on Sunday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that monitors the conflict.

Syrian state television reported that the Syrian military had evacuated the air base in Raqqa province to regroup and was still carrying out strikes against ISIS fighters in the area.
In Iraq, ISIS claimed responsibility for three suicide car bombs that killed at least 20 people in the northern city of Kirkuk on Sunday.

ISIS said in a statement posted Monday that the bombs were a response to secular Kurdish gangs that joined the war on ISIS and their involvement in the bombing and targeting of Sunni areas.

The statement said that two of those who carried out the suicide attacks were German nationals, identified as Abu Yasser al-Almany and Abu Ibrahim al-Almany.
When contacted by CNN, the German Foreign Ministry declined comment on the ISIS statement.

ISIS, which refers to itself as the Islamic State, is part of the complex web of groups fighting in the long-running Syrian conflict -- a war that the U.N. estimates has killed more than 191,000 people.

The spread of ISIS
Rebels have been battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011, and the civil war has turned the country into a haven for jihadists.

ISIS has thrived amid the chaos, gaining global notoriety for its brutal tactics, including the beheading of American journalist James Foley last week.

After its break with al Qaeda this year, ISIS has grown in strength and reach. Its dramatic, murderous advance in northern and western Iraq this year provoked U.S. airstrikes aimed at helping Kurdish and Iraqi forces.

U.S. and Kurdish officials say ISIS is now under pressure in Iraq. But the extremist group continues to win significant victories in Syria.

Planes moved before base fell
Al-Tabqa air base is the last major military base in Raqqa province, which borders Turkey, to fall into ISIS' hands. The group now is now understood to have effective control over the entire province, aside from a few villages in the south.

The warplanes from the base had already been taken to other locations before ISIS took control, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

It said ISIS fighters were seen carrying the heads of Syrian regime soldiers. Both sides were reported to have suffered heavy losses in the battle for the base.

ISIS controls major cities in Iraq and Syria, as well as oil fields, main roads and border crossings. It also has under its control more military hardware than some national armies after seizing both Iraqi and Syrian military bases and armories.

Senior U.S. defense officials said last week that they hadn't ruled out extending airstrikes against ISIS into Syria.

Editor's note: David M. Perry is an associate professor of history at Dominican University in Illinois. He writes regularly at the blog: How Did We Get Into This Mess? Follow him on Twitter. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- Pope Francis' trip to South Korea memorialized the atrocities of the last century. On the way home, the Pope became embroiled in controversy about a conflict raging in the current one.
During a lengthy discussion, Francis remarked on the spread of cruelty and torture before being asked about violence against religious minorities in Iraq, and whether he approved of the U.S. bombing campaign aimed at stopping the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. With what seemed careful deliberation, Pope Francis said: "In these cases where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say this: It is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underline the verb: stop. I do not say bomb, make war, I say stop by some means. With what means can they be stopped? These have to be evaluated. To stop the unjust aggressor is licit."

This response -- and the reaction to it -- says much about the complexity of running an organization that is at once modern and ancient, religious and political, international and parochial. But what exactly did he mean? Was he, as a few excitable writers suggested, calling for a new crusade? Certainly, much of the media response quickly fixated on what seemed to be approval for a military campaign and how a Pope -- the leader of the Catholic Church -- was seemingly sanctioning war against an Islamic caliphate.
Actually, he wasn't.

Crusading, as defined by most historians, generally involved taking religious vows to head east and assist in military expeditions against Islamic powers in exchange for spiritual rewards (redemption from sin). Historians have identified major campaigns as the First, Second, Third, etc. Crusades. In response to these conquests, the local Islamic powers leveraged the idea of jihad to rally disparate Muslim groups together.

Yet although the Crusades featured not just plenty of violence but also peaceful cross-cultural exchange, they aren't an example Francis wants to invoke. In fact, he isn't saying that anyone should take vows and go off to fight. Instead, Francis is making the point that taking action to stop evil is just.

This idea of justified violence, even from Catholics, chiefly emerged from the writing of St. Augustine (354-430). As Matthew Gabriele, associate professor of medieval studies at Virginia Tech, writes: "Augustine argued that war was never desirable but was sometimes necessary. We must protect those who suffer from unjust aggression. If that could be accomplished without war, so much the better, but force could be used by legitimate authorities as a last resort. The end goal, however, was always -- and simply -- lasting peace."

That's the context for understanding the ancient part of Francis' response.
The modern context emerged in how he concluded his answer. "One nation alone cannot judge how to stop an unjust aggressor," Francis said. "After the Second World War there was the idea of the United Nations. It is there that this should be discussed. Is there an unjust aggressor? It would seem there is. How do we stop him? Only that, nothing more."

Such pursuit of multiple perspectives to ward off bias is also Augustinian. In "On Christian Doctrine," St. Augustine argued that reading the Bible required special training because though the book contains all the truths of the universe, humans (flawed creatures that we are) are far too likely to assume that whatever we think is good is also what God thinks is good. To counteract this, St. Augustine prescribed a strict intellectual diet of the best liberal arts and science education the late Roman world could provide.

Multiple perspectives help us discern what is truly just from what might just be convenient. In a way, that's what Francis is doing with his words, too. He's concerned that any individual leader or nation is far too likely to assume that someone with whom they disagree is unjust, and thus the principles of stopping unjust action instead becomes a tool for warmongering. Instead, he argues, we should try to find consensus before acting, collectively, to put an end to atrocity.

"We must also have memory," Francis said. "How many times under this excuse of stopping an unjust aggressor the powers (that intervened) have taken control of peoples, and have made a true war of conquest."

History teaches us all about the dangers of mission creep. And it also makes clear that when two sides engage in the rhetoric of religious war, things can deteriorate rapidly. Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, for example, both routinely railed against the West as "crusaders," an accusation that gained traction in the Islamic world after President George W. Bush called for "this crusade, this war on terrorism" after 9/11.

Francis doesn't want to make a similar mistake. Indeed, while he named himself after a medieval saint who lived during the era of the Crusades, that St. Francis didn't actually go to war. Instead he went on mission, seeking (at least as we remember it today) dialogue and understanding. And that's certainly been Pope Francis' path so far. But when there is great suffering in the world, as is being inflicted on religious and ethnic minorities in areas controlled by ISIS, then Francis says one must act, while also drawing on both the ancient idea of justified war and the modern concept of international cooperation.

The question, of course, is whether in a digital age -- when misinformation and misunderstanding spreads so fast -- Pope Francis can somehow find true harmony between old and new. His ability to do so will determine the lessons his papacy ultimately hands down for posterity.

It’s true that the Pope is worried about religious minorities that are threatened with extinction from ISIS, but it’s absurd to say that he’s calling for war, much less a medieval-style crusade. 
To listen to the wave of breathless media coverage of Pope Francis’ recent remarks regarding intervention in Iraq on behalf of persecuted minorities, one would think the pontiff had expressed unqualified enthusiasm about the use of military force. Numerous outlets reported that he had called for “military action” against the ISIS terror group. Writing at Vox, Max Fisher went so far as to compare Francis’ position on intervention to a call for another crusade.

“There is good precedent for this,” Fisher wrote. “During the Middle Ages, between 1096 and 1272 AD, popes also endorsed the use of Western military action to destroy Middle Eastern caliphates. Those were known as the crusades; there were nine, which means that this would be number 10.”

To earn an interpretation like that, Francis surely called for heads on spikes and Christian standards draped over the gates of Iraqi cities, right? But the Pope’s comments on Monday were in reality characteristically thoughtful and measured, providing little grist for the crusade rumor mill.

“In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor…I underscore the verb 'stop,'” Francis said. “I'm not saying 'bomb' or 'make war,' just 'stop.' And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated…One nation alone cannot judge how you stop this, how you stop an unjust aggressor.”

First, it’s important to clarify what Pope Francis is requesting be stopped. He is not indicating that ISIS should be stopped in general terms, but that they unjust aggression against minority religious groups should be stopped – a feat that could be accomplished by removing those persecuted groups from ISIS occupied territories either permanently or temporarily.

Francis’ emphasis on unjust aggression as the problem to pinpoint also underscores the fact that his interest is in human dignity rather than the preservation of a specific religious community. Unlike the typical framing of, say, a medieval crusade, Pope Francis has openly objected the ill treatment of all religious minorities under assault from ISIS, a theme these recent comments bear out well. And his universal appeal for the safety of threatened minorities doesn’t match up with the Cross-versus-crescent rhetoric summoned to mind by accusations of crusading.
It’s a shame that such a well-considered message – one that clearly seeks to avoid repeating mistakes of the past – should be given such a facile and bad-faith reception.
It’s also worthwhile to pay serious attention to Francis’ unwillingness to assign special favor to any particular strategy of intervention. He was especially careful to note that many “wars of conquest” have been carried out under the banner of humanitarian intervention, and emphasized that the participation of various global powers will be key to ensuring whatever intervention takes place does not degenerate into a self-serving military action.

Pope Francis’ repeated prayers for peace and calls for the protection of groups facing genocide recalls Pope John Paul II’s great sympathy for Muslims similarly persecuted during the Bosnian War of the 1990s. In 1994, Pope John Paul II demanded that “all forms of action aimed at disarming the aggressor” be carried out in Bosnia, where Serbian Christians were slaughtering Bosnian Muslims, and systematically raping women and girls. The Vatican decried the “utterly shameful cowardliness” of the international community in putting off intervention for so long – evidently a pattern Pope Francis is unwilling to see revisited.

For his efforts in encouraging humanitarian intervention and supporting oppressed religious minorities, Pope John Paul II has enjoyed enormous popularity among the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who erected a monument to the pontiff in 2011 to honor his commitment to the defense of peace and human dignity.

Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis have deployed in their ministry against genocide similar emphases on peace, international collaboration, and concern for human dignity. A side-by-side comparison of Pope Francis’ remarks with medieval papal bulls agitating for crusades would reveal very little similarity in terms tone or content, and the suggestion that Pope Francis is a crusader in disguise is still dangerously irresponsible.

There is already some agitation for what would amount to a Christian assault on ISIS based mainly on religious grounds, and it seems unlikely that wiser policy will be produced by creating the delusion of Christian consensus on unilateral American military force aimed at destroying ISIS entirely. What Pope Francis’ contribution to our public conversation about how to respond to the crimes against humanity currently taking place in Iraq offers is nuance and reflectiveness – both qualities are washed out by clumsily filing him away as a nouveau crusader. For Americans, decisions about intervention abroad hearken back to recent bad experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is precisely why we should take Francis’ advice seriously when he talks about international collaboration and a sincere evaluation of what methods to use in the protection of minorities.

Generally, Pope Francis enjoys broad public reach, and as his ministry has remained committed to the needs of the vulnerable and impoverished, his input has grown in moral credibility. It’s a shame that such a well-considered message – one that clearly seeks to avoid repeating mistakes of the past – should be given such a facile and bad-faith reception.
In twenty years, Pope Francis may well be honored just like John Paul II for supporting the abused even when political currents were murky and ambivalent. And when survivors of genocide are thanking him for remaining faithful to their human dignity, all this clickbaiting about crusades will look very strange.

Intruders asked to move out from Sittwe’s conflict zone

Posted by Ven. Indobhasa Sunday, August 24, 2014 0 comments

Intruders asked to move out from Sittwe’s conflict zone
Narinjara News, 22 August 2014)

A warning signboard erected by the authority in Sittwe. ( Photo- Narinjara)
A warning signboard erected by the authority in Sittwe. ( Photo- Narinjara)
The Arakan government has taken a decisive step against the intruders to the conflict-ridden localities of Sittwe asking them to move out immediately.

The chief of Sittwe administration has issued a warning statement to those who are illegally taking shelter in the disturbed areas inside the State capital asking them to vacate the place within this month.

“Arakan State government had issued a notice ordering the intruders to move out as early as possible,” informed a local residence from Sat Yon Suu quarter locality of Sittwe.

The authority has also posted warning banners in various places. Unconfirmed reports say that some intruders are still in the trouble-torn areas building make-shift arrangements.
The area witnessed the sectarian violence in June 2012 resulting the deaths and burning of  many houses. Number of local families rendered homeless and some of them are still in the relief camps.

“Nothing has been changed here even after  two years of the violent days. We are still clueless about the resetting of Muslim refugees in that affected areas. We are really not aware of any government plan to deal with the situation,” said a local resident of Sittwe.
When the Arakan State government chief U Maung Muang Ohn was asked by a prominent leader from Sittwe, U ThanTun about any scheme relating to problem, he responded affirmatively. But it may take time, the chief minister added.


(Narinjara News, 24 August 2014)
(In Mray Bon township of Arakan, over 1000 Muslims have applied for the Burmese citizenship status. Local authorities are presently engaged with the scrutinizing process under the guidelines of 1982 Burmese Citizenship Act. People are expecting that all the applicants would be considered as Burmese Citizens. Narinjara News talked to U Maung Maung Than, director general  of Immigration Department, recently and the excerpts are here).

Q: How are you conducting the process of scrutinizing the Burmese Citizenship?
U Maung Maung Than: We have done the same as we had announced earlier. The working committee in township levels began the scrutinizing process and we are scrutinizing their application forms step by step.

Q: What is the progress you have achieved till now?
U Maung Maung Than: We have just finished ten applicants. (note-only ten applicants were addressed under the scrutinizing process in the beginning, but now it is learnt that 325 applications are scrutinized so far)

Q- How much applications forms will be scrutinized?
U Maung Maung Than: We will scrutinize all applications that would be over are 1090.

Q-What will you do to after the scrutinizing to those applicants?
U Maung Maung Than: We will follow the guidelines under the law. The successfully scrutinized applicants will be offered Burmese citizenship by the central immigration department.

Q-Do you have plans to provide Identity Cards to those applicants?
U Maung Maung Than:  Yes, we will issue IC to them, who are eligible for citizenship status. That is why we are actually scrutinizing.

Q-When do you expect to implement the process?
U Maung Maung Than: The scrutinizing process in some townships has already been completed. We will  hand over the outcome to the State scrutinizing committee. Finally those will be in the table of central immigration department for final decision and disposal.

Q-Which nationality will they be offered?
U Maung Maung Than: They will be defined as Bengali. They will also receive a card with the title of Bengali under the law. We will issue them a kind of identity card.

Q- Will they be allowed to enjoy all rights in our country?
U Maung Maung Than:  Yes, they will do so.

Q: Will they be allowed to travel without any prohibition?
U Maung Maung Than: That is not our responsibility. We are conducting the process of scrutinization and will also issue them a card underthe law of the land.

Q- Who may be responsible for the same?
U Maung Maung Than: It should be under the purview of the administrative department under the immigration department.

Q- After Mray Bon township, which township will be covered?
U Maung Maung Than: We donot define which township we should select for scrutinization. Rather we can go to  any township where they desire to apply for the citizenship status. We will do the same for them as well.

Q- What will you do for the people who do not deserve Burmese citizenship?
U Maung Maung Than: They will receive the status they deserve depending upon the scrutinizing results. Our responsibility is to issue a kind of card to them. The rest is not in our purview.


A 6.0 magnitude earthquake damaged building, knocked out power to thousands in northern California this morning and injured dozens of people, some critically.
The South Napa Earthquake struck about 3:20 a.m. local time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It's epicenter was located about six miles south-southwest of Napa, California, and 51 miles west-southwest of the state capital, Sacramento.
ABC News
Dozens of aftershocks followed, with one reaching 3.6 magnitude, the USGS told ABC News. The earthquake was the largest one to shake the Bay Area since the 1989 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta Earthquake.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company showed more than 15,000 customers without power, primarily in Napa, Sonoma and Santa Rosa Counties.
ABC News station KGO in San Francisco reported several fires and damaged buildings in Napa.
Earthquake Strikes Northern California
Eighty-seven people were being treated at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, Napa City Fire’s Darren Drake told ABC News. Three of those people were considered critical, including a child. Dozens of ambulances have been dispatched and more were expected to go out, he added
The city of Napa's website said the injuries included two "major injury cases" as of 6:30 a.m. PT. The city also cited 50 gas line breaks and 30 water main leaks, though said water remained safe to drink.
Historic buildings damaged included Sam Kee Laundry, Goodman Library and the Napa County Courthouse, the city said, adding that two commercial buildings also had suffered severe damage.
Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd said he believed the county courthouse had been retrofitted for earthquakes.
"I've been through a few of these and I've never seen anything like this, particularly in downtown Napa," Dodd said, according to ABC News Radio. "The county building is just in total disrepair, and they've moved it down to the sheriff's office -- so that's where the coordinating all the emergency services for the county."
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco has briefed President Obama on the earthquake, a White House spokesman said.
Dozens living in the region reported falling dishes and violent shaking inside their homes.
"I was alone in the house so I didn't know what to do -- and the first thing when it stopped I ran under the table and tried to get cover because it's the first thing they say to do for an earthquake is get under the table," Diana Martini, who lives in Valejo, California told ABC News.
Martini said her television crashed to the ground, along with some of her dishes.
"I'm on the first floor, so that was the scariest thing. I thought the building was going to come down," she said.
Dozens of social media users also posted photos and videos of damage inside their homes.

A large earthquake caused significant damage and left three people critically injured in California’s northern Bay Area early on Sunday, igniting fires, sending at least 87 people to a hospital, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running from their homes in the darkness.
Two adults and one child have critical injuries and the Queen of the Valley hospital has treated 87 people, the city of Napa said in a statement.
Most patients had cuts, bumps, bruises, said Vanessa DeGier, spokeswoman for the hospital, which is in Napa. She said the facility had treated a hip fracture and a heart attack, but it was unclear if they were related to the quake, which the US Geological Survey measured at a magnitude of 6.0.
The hospital had set up a triage tent and many people were still coming in, DeGier said.
The Napa city government reported four mobile homes destroyed and two still on fire in the northern part of the city, and 50 gas main breaks, 30 water main leaks and damage to historic buildings as well as commercial properties.
Napa fire chief Darren Drake said the quake caused six significant fires. There were no reports of any fatalities, said Barry Martin, public information officer for Napa, who said he did not have details on the injuries.
The earthquake struck about 10 miles northwest of American Canyon, which is about six miles southwest of Napa in California wine country, said Leslie Gordon of the USGS. It was the largest earthquake to shake the Bay Area since the 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta quake in 1989, the USGS said.
Unreinforced masonry buildings in downtown Napa including the historic courthouse and library suffered major damage, city officials said.
“There’s collapses, fires,” said Napa fire captain Doug Bridewell, standing in front of large pieces of masonry from a turn-of-the-century office building where a fire had just been extinguished. “That’s the worst shaking I’ve ever been in.”
Bridewell said he had to climb over fallen furniture in his home to check on his family before reporting for duty.
Napa earthquake
A building is seen destroyed in Napa. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
“Everything was just shaking, the hanging lamps waving back and forth,” said Omar Lopez, 24, night clerk at a small inn in St Helena, 15 minutes outside Napa. “Guests came into the front desk after the quake and they said the swimming pool looked like a bunch of people had jumped in at the same time.”
“Oh I felt it. When I woke up I was lying on the floor. It kicked me out of bed,” said Keith, a man who lives in Napa and who wanted to be identified only by his first name. He said he went right into his job at the front desk of a Napa hotel, leaving his house in disorder.
“The house is a mess, everything is out of the cabinets in the kitchen. Dressers tipped over.”
The shaking, which was felt over a wide area, emptied cabinets in homes and store shelves, set off car alarms and had residents of neighbouring Sonoma County running out of their houses. Officials said widespread power outages had been reported.
“It was a rolling quake, said Oakland resident Rich Lieberman. “It started very much like a rolling sensation and just got progressively worse in terms of length. Not so much in terms of shaking, but it did shake. It felt like a side-to-side kind of rolling sensation. Nothing violent but extremely lengthy and extremely active.”
“It was long. I think it was the biggest one since I felt since I felt the 1989 quake,” said Stephanie Martin, 47, a nursing assistant in Oakland, south of the area where the quake was felt more strongly. “Nothing tipped over, thank God. Rolling back and forth. Just woke us all up.”
The USGS said the depth of the earthquake was just less than seven miles, and numerous small aftershocks had occurred in the Napa wine country.
“A quake of that size in a populated area is of course widely felt throughout that region,” said Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist with the USGS in Golden, Colorado. “The 6.0 is a sizeable quake for this area. It’s a shallow quake. It’s about six miles deep. We received hundreds of reports on our website from people that felt it in the surrounding area.”
Aftershocks can continue for the next several weeks and experts will watch their distribution to determine if this quake happened on a fault line, Baldwin said.
California earthquake
A truck navigates around a buckled section of California’s Highway 12. Photograph: Peter DaSilva/EPA
Numerous emergency vehicles were on the roads in Napa and Sonoma counties. A California highway patrol officer, Daniel Hill, told KTVU-TV road damage appeared confined to the Napa and Sonoma areas. He said there appeared to be no damage to major bridges in the Bay Area.
“They are in pretty good shape,” he said, noting that a couple of the roadways in the Napa-Sonoma area had some bumps and cracks.

(CNN) -- A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Northern California early Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Eighty-seven patients have been treated or are being treated at Queen of the Valley Hospital following the early morning earthquake, according to the city of Napa. "There are three major injury cases," the city said on its website.

One "young child," a girl, is in critical condition, Napa Division Fire Chief John Callanan said at a news conference. She was hurt when a fireplace collapsed.

It was the strongest earthquake to hit the Bay Area since 1989, when a quake struck during the World Series.

Sunday's earthquake struck 4 miles northwest of American Canyon, 6 miles southwest of Napa, and 9 miles southeast of Sonoma, according to the USGS.

A water main ruptured in downtown Napa and a handful of structural fires broke out, according to the Napa city fire department. Some Napa historic buildings sustained extensive damage and at least 15,000 customers in and around Sonoma, Napa, and Santa Rosa lost power, according to Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

KTVU reported that two evacuation centers have been set up in the Napa Valley

The USGS estimated, based on their locations, that 15,000 people experienced severe shaking, 106,000 people felt very strong shaking, 176,000 felt strong shaking, and 738,000 felt moderate shaking.

Wine country hit
"I've got a lot of broken wine, being here in Napa," said Emily Massimi, who was woken up by the quake. "We tend to collect wine, so I have wine all over my kitchen, and glass, and pictures off the wall and books off of bookshelves," she told CNN.

At Silver Oak Winery, owner David Silver spent the morning cleaning up hundreds of broken wine bottles that fell off the shelves.

"Those bottles were very unique," he said. They were part of his private collection and worth hundreds of dollars. "It's a tragedy, but it's nothing we can't overcome." Silver said he plans to open the winery today.

The quake jolted downtown Napa resident Karen Lynch. "The refrigerator flew open and all the food fell out," she told CNN.

"It was not like other quakes we have felt," Lynch said. "This was a violent quake, jolting us to and fro."

There have been at least five aftershocks so far, according to the USGS, ranging from 2.6 to 3.6 magnitude

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit northern California’s San Francisco Bay area Sunday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Leslie Gordon of the USGS says the tremor struck just before 3:30 a.m. Sunday about 10 miles northwest of American Canyon, which is about 6 miles southwest of Napa. The USGS says it's the largest tremor to shake the Bay Area since the 1989 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta quake, which reportedly led to 63 deaths.

Three people were seriously injured and nearly 90 patients have been treated at one hospital.

The city of Napa said in a statement Sunday that two adults and one child have critical injuries and Queen of the Valley hospital in Napa has treated 87 people. Hospital spokesman Vanessa DeGier says most patients have cuts, bumps, bruises.

Officials say widespread power outages have been reported in Sonoma County.

Jennifer Jones Lee, who lives in the earthquake area, told Fox News the tremor “felt like someone just picked up the house, shook it for a while, then dropped it. It was incredibly violent.”

Arik Housley, who owns two grocery stores in the area, said he was awakened at about 3:30 a.m. by the shaking. “It was very jolting and probably went for 20 seconds . . . it was shaking pretty good,” said Housley, whose brother is Fox News senior correspondent Adam Housley.

Arik Housley said he passed a mobile home park where multiple fires could be seen as he drove to one of his stores to assess the damage. Housley said the shelving in his store had moved 2 feet to 3 feet from the wall, and much of his inventory had fallen to the floor, including $200 bottles of wine. Many merchants in the area forgo earthquake insurance because it’s too expensive, he said.  A quake about 14 years ago resulted in about $30,000 in damage, he told Fox News, and speculated the current damage would be in excess of $100,000.

"There's collapses, fires," said Napa Fire Capt. Doug Bridewell, standing in front of large pieces of masonry that broke loose from a turn-of-the-century office building where a fire had just been extinguished.  "That's the worst shaking I've ever been in."

Bridewell, who said he had to climb over fallen furniture in his own home to check on his family before reporting to duty, said he was starting to see more reports of injuries.

The tremor set off car alarms and had residents of neighboring Sonoma County running out of their houses in the middle of night.

The USGS says the depth of the earthquake was just less than 7 miles, and numerous small aftershocks have occurred in the Napa wine country.

A member of Napa County dispatch tells The Associated Press that there has been one report of structural damage, but additional details were not available.

“There’s fires, debris all over the streets, everywhere,” Napa resident Karen Hunt told “Fox & Friends.”

Hunt said her husband, who is an engineer, shut off the gas line to their home to guard against explosions, then went to neighbors’ homes to do the same.

“Right now we’re just waiting for the aftershocks,” she said. She said she had not felt any, but reportedly there has been two, one at magnitude 2.5.

Hunt has said she has felt other earthquakes, but “this is way on top of anything I’ve ever felt.”

Hunt, who has lived in Napa since 1996, owns a winery.  She said she heard from her partner that her 2011 and 2012 vintages had been destroyed.

“That’s pretty devastating if that’s the case,” she said.

Thousands of small earthquakes occur in California each year, providing scientists with clear indications of places where faults cut the Earth's crust. There were 4,895 earthquakes in California between 1974 and 2003 with a magnitude of 3.5 or greater (about 163 per year).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 has shaken northern California, reports the US Geological Survey.

The USGS said it struck at 03:20 local time (10:20 GMT) four miles (6km) north-west of American Canyon, at a depth of 6.7 miles.

At least 87 people have been injured in the Napa area, three of them seriously.
The site is 51 miles from Sacramento and about 30 miles north-east of San Francisco, where many Twitter users say the earthquake woke them up.

Officials in Napa said in a statement that the quake had destroyed four mobile homes and caused "approximately 50" gas main breaks and around 30 leaks from water mains.
Three historic buildings in the town had been hit and two commercial buildings "severely damaged", the statement went on.

More than 10,000 households were without power in Napa County, about six miles from the earthquake's epicentre, and the surrounding area, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company said.

An evacuation centre has been set up in a high school gym.

The California Highway Patrol in the San Francisco Bay Area tweeted that it was "checking over crossings and bridges for obvious signs of structural integrity", and asked residents to report any signs of problems.
Bricks are in the street after a building was damaged during an earthquake in Napa The city of Napa saw some of the worst of the damage
A California Highway Patrol officer redirects traffic from a buckled section of road Police had to divert drivers from buckled sections of road
People walk past a tumbled mannequin and broken storefront window in Napa Several stores and supermarkets suffered damage in Napa
Twitter users in the quake zone contacted the BBC to share their experiences.
Sarah McLellan tweeted: "On 6th floor entire building swaying, shaking", while Matt Dyar said: "Major shaker. Stuff off shelfs. Broken glass. No house damage that is obvious."
Another Twitter user said: "I haven't felt one that big since the Northridge quake in the early 90s."

Numerous small aftershocks were also reported on Sunday.
California lies on the San Andreas Fault, which forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, two of the large moving plates that form the Earth's crust.

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and subsequent fires devastated the city.
In 1989, a powerful earthquake struck San Francisco, killing nine people and injuring hundreds.


The alarm rang. At 5:30 in the morning, my mind was still in a murky haze having arrived in Mrauk U just a few hours before. The entirety of the previous day was spent traveling by plane, boat and jeep and yet there I was, up and on the go once more.
in a dreamlike state…
Burma’s Rakhine state, where Mrauk U is located, is closer to Bangladesh than to Yangon. The roads here are so underdeveloped that an 80 km road trip between two points in the state takes almost 5 hours. We decided to take a longer but less bumpy route, and went on a 6-hour journey by boat after we arrived in Sittwe, the administrative center of Rakhine state.
At 5:30 in the morning, I found myself scaling some unknown peak in utter darkness, with the faint luminance of a flashlight guiding the way. A closer peek revealed a golden pagoda at the top – the Shwetaung Paya, from where the sunrise views of Mrauk U are said to be legendary.
“This better be worth it,” I muttered to myself. The air was a lot colder than what I remembered from when I had arrived. Surely, it wasn’t what I expected for the tropics.
mrauk u has one of the best sunrises i’ve seen in a long while
By the time we reached the top, the first sign of daybreak had arrived. I could make out a fog forming in the lower altitudes while the sky turned dark blue and later into purple. What happened a few minutes later was perhaps the most magnificent sunrise I have seen in my entire life. The landscape in Mrauk U in Burma’s restive Rakhaing state at dawn is a mishmash of cauliflower fields and village huts surrounded by the morning fog and punctuated by hillocks with several centuries old stupas – it’s a dreamlike scene made even more apparent by the fact that I was still only half-awake on this pre-dawn hike.
The sunrise view also served as my orientation to the scattered temples of Mrauk U. There were about 700 in the horizon, and I would only be able to visit a handful.
How to Go to Mrauk U
One of the things that has deterred many travelers and kept Mrauk U mainly off-the-radar despite its ability to give Angkor Wat a run for its money is the long hours involved in getting there. You can basically look at a few ways of getting here, assuming you take a domestic flight with any of the more reliable airlines like Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways or Air KBZ from Yangon to Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state (around an hour fifteen minutes flight).
By Boat
By far, the most popular method of getting to Mrauk U, it is also one of the longest. You can either take a public ferry which runs every day from Sittwe (similar from the other direction in Mrauk U) at 7AM in the morning. This takes about 6 hours. There is also a fast boat on some days, which takes only 4.5 hours.
Alternatively, you can charter a private boat which can fit up to 4 or 5 people. The boat (including the crew) will basically wait for you for a few days while you’re in Mrauk U and will similarly take you back.
By Car
Despite popular notions on the contrary, it is possible to take a car from Sittwe to Mrauk U. But it is a very bumpy ride. According to the map, Sittwe to Mrauk U by road is a 145 kilometers in distance but the roads are in poor shape so expect the journey to take around 5 hours each way.
Temples of Mrauk U
Later that morning, we started our exploration of the fascinating but little known temples of Mrauk U. As we had only 2 full days to spend in the area, we decided to hire a jeep (a normal car isn’t able to withstand the poor state of the roads) for about $40 a day. Our driver was an amiable chap who spoke decent English and tried his best to offer some stories to the temples we were visiting.
Kothaung Temple
kothaung temple
We started our exploration at the temple of 90,000 Buddha images or otherwise known as Kothaung temple. To have started here was pretty symbolic. If there was anything that drove me to insanely pursue such a long trip to get to a remote place like Mrauk U, it was the sight of this square-shaped edifice. From the outside, its large size and cube-like construction gave off a faint reminder of Borobudur in Central Java. The exteriors are replete with hundreds if not thousands of small stupas that give Kothaung a bit of a pointy / thorny look. The inner chambers on the other hand reveal almost life-sized Buddha statues on both sides of the wall. I reckoned the gray monotone construction and exotic looking statues would make the temple a shoo-in if there is ever a need to scout filming locations for the next Indiana Jones movie. The place was just sublime.

the exterior of kothaung temple – notice the hundreds of stupas 
There are a few other interesting temples surrounding Kothaung – which is one of the farther sites in Mrauk U. The semi-destroyed Pizi Paya for instance, offers a nice hilltop view of the pointy outer shel of Kothaung while Paya Ouk and Mokhong Shwegu served as nice excursions on the way back to town.
Sakyamanaung Pagoda & Ratanamanaung Pagoda
the relatively understated sakyamanaung stupa
Heading towards the direction of town, we passed by a couple of working temples. Sakyamanaung in particular seemed quite popular among locals. The temple itself consists of one large, multi-tiered pagoda. At the top, it is bell-shaped but as it extends downwards, it assumes an octagonal shape. It was the only temple in Mrauk U where I saw brightly-colored guardians with sharp teeth by the entrance, similar to what I sometimes encounter in Thailand.
Ratanamanaung, which is about half a mile away, had a similar design though it also had a more modern construction next to it with a large Buddha statue and an unassuming souvenir shop.
Ratanabon Pagoda and Andaw Pagoda
5 of the 24 small stupas surrounding a large central one in ratanabon pagoda
By now, we were well within the town center of Mrauk U. There were a couple of notable temples here as well, perhaps the most visited among the archeological sites in the area. We stopped by the Ratanabon Pagoda, one of the most photographed in Mrauk U. The massive and bulky stupa is quite unlike others in the area, in the sense that it is ringed by 24 smaller stupas. There is a hill next to the temple from where some people go for sunset / sunrise views. The structure seen today had been extensively reconstructed, no thanks to treasure hunters who looted the place many years back. Ratanabon is translated as “treasure,” and precious objects were said to originally lie in the central stupa.
A few feet away from Ratanabon Pagoda is the Andaw Pagoda. Like Ratanabon, there are numerous stupas surrounding a central one but the difference here is that all of them are roughly of the same size. There is also an interesting inner chamber at the main stupa with a handful Buddha statues inside. However, it was pitch black when we entered and we couldn’t see a thing.
Shitte-thaung Temple

scenes inside the shitte-thaung temple, the second photo has lots of depictions of life in medieval mrauk u
Widely recognized as the “main temple” of Mrauk U, the Shitte-thaung Temple is where most visitors start in Mrauk U. The $5 zone fee is collected here. When I stopped by the temple, I scanned the log book for the visitor profiles. Not a single Filipino it seemed, visited in the 2 or 3 months before I did. When I asked the guy at the registration, I was told that I was the first Filipino tourist he had seen around Mrauk U. The log book didn’t reveal many visitors from Southeast Asia either. Around 1 or 2 other Singaporeans, Malaysians and Indonesians; a couple of Thais and that was about it for the past 2 or 3 months. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to react to the guard’s assertion – the brief thought that I may be the only Filipino insane enough to come briefly popped up, but was quickly quelled by the fact that I was enjoying what I was seeing so far.
Of the temples in the entire archeological site, Shitte-thaung probably ranks as my second favorite. The temple itself is divided between a newer and older part. The older part consists of the passageways that run through the temple’s perimeter. Within it, I saw more Buddha statues in stone – though these weren’t as exotic looking as the ones I saw in Kothaung. But apart from that, there were fascinating carvings depicting daily life as well as royal life in the outer passageway. The sheer number of objects in the wall carving as well as the level of detail were very impressive and there’s a walkway from which one can have a great view of a bunker-looking temple down the hill.
Htukkanthein Temple
the bunker temple of htukkanthein
That temple that looked like a bunker was actually the Htukkanthein Temple. Again, this is considered to be one of the main temples in Mrauk U due to its sheer size. Like the other temples, the inside is filled with Buddha statues though the difference here is that the passageway coils its way for several times before leading to a large and more modern-looking Buddha statue at the very center.
There was a great deal of speculation by the British as to why the temple look the way it does. There were some theories that claimed that the temple doubled as a shelter during times of war. Or that the hard outer shell helped to protect the structure against the fierce winds of Arakan. But I guess we’ll never really know.
Laymyatna Pagoda
natural light on the Buddha
Another bunker-looking temple lying immediately west of Htukkhanthein is Laymyatna or the 4-faced temple. Compared to the other temples, the restoration here wasn’t extensive but that served to heighten the atmosphere of the place. The temple has arch-shaped windows that give light to the Buddha statues within. It’s a particularly small temple though at the time of my visit there were quite a few locals hanging around outside, using the tall facade as a shade.
Other Temples
some of the other temples around mrauk u
The temples of Mrauk U are spread across the four corners – I only managed to visit the ones in the east, center, north, some southern ones but completely skipped the western ones. With an extra day, a substantial portion can be covered. But to avoid getting templed out, a one or two day trip around the temples should suffice.
Sunrise & Sunset Views
The sunrise and sunset views around Mrauk U alone are worth the long trip to get here. Aside from the classic Shwethaung Pagoda sunrise on my first day, I also ventured to a place called Discovery View (fee of 500 kyats) just north of Ratanabon Pagoda and the hilltop temples of U-mrawa and Haridaung close to town. Here’s a peek of the views from up there:
morning mist – it was a cool 13 celsius in the mornings but quickly rose to a sweltering 35 by noon
just gorgeous!
Where I Stayed
the $25 a night room at prince hotel
I stayed at a humble little place called Prince Hotel. Rooms were about US$ 25 a night. The owners here are mighty proud to have built the very first hotel in Mrauk U. Very simple accommodation run by a family and the owners are quite knowledgeable regarding the area. Service is excellent. I like how they would invite us to sit by the dining table every night to to help us sort out the following day’s plans. They also arrange boat trips to remote Chin villages for a decent price.

Tips for Mrauk U
  1. Avoid coming during the rainy season from mid-May to September. In Mrauk U. When it rains, it pours!
  2. The best time to visit Mrauk U is from November to mid-March when it’s cooler in the mornings and you get to see the morning mist
  3. Put at least a 1 day allowance to your trip to cater for possible ferry or flight cancellations. It’s pretty common over at these parts
  4. Bring lots of insect repellent. You’ll be thankful you did.
  5. Myanmar has one of the highest incidences of malaria in Southeast Asia and Mrauk U is considered to be more frontier than Bagan or Inle Lake. While it may still be okay to visit without having taken malaria pills, it’s best to wear long-sleeve shirts and pants to decrease the chances of getting the disease.
  6. Change your kyats beforehand. Avoid changing in Mrauk U. The exchange rate here is very bad.
Possible Itinerary
Day 1
Sunrise: Shwetaung Paya
East Group (Kothaung, Pizi Paya, Mong Khong Pagoda)
Central (Shitte-thaung, Ratanabon, Andaw, Ratamanaung, Sakyamanaung)
North (Mahabodhi Shwegu, Laungbwanbyauk, Httuparon)
Sunset: Discovery View
Day 2
Sunrise: U-mrawa Paya
Chin Village Excursion
Excursion to Vesali and Mahamuni


Ancient Arakan Gold and Sliver Coins

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