» Two separate incidents in Tibet on Monday: The self-immolation incidents quickly raised tensions near the Buddhist temple in Lhasa, leading many to believe that the tide is turning against Chinese rule in the region. ”For the Chinese authorities, it has very serious implications and suggests that the movement is spreading among Tibetans,” said Robbie Barnett, an expert on Tibet at Columbia University. ”It could lead to an increased severity of restrictions and controls.” One note: Most of the self-immolation incidents listed above didn’t take place in Tibet, but in Tibetan-populated areas in southwestern China.
New revelations on Honduran prison fire: As we mentioned yesterday, the most lethal prison fire in the last century took place Tuesday in Honduras, at a prison in Comayagua. Since then some startling and grisly facts have come out, which speak to the sad state of legal affairs in Honduras, as well as to the staggering overcrowding and understaffing of their facilities – of the 800 or so inmates at Comayagua, 57% were being held without charge or were awaiting trial, most on suspicion of gang membership. During the fire, only six guards were on duty, just one of whom held the keys for every prison cell. source
» Crowded chaos: The fire started yesterday night at the prison in Comayagua, with authorities believing, by another prisoner’s report, that an inmate started the blaze by igniting their mattress. Honduras is a state plagued by high rates of crime (the United Nations says it has the world’s highest murder rate), which has caused its prisons to be absurdly overstuffed, and many are old and dilapidated. Angry relatives of the inmates gathered outside the prison this morning, protesting and at times trying to force their way in; police responded by firing tear gas. President Porfirio Lobo pledged to “take urgent measures to deal with this tragedy, which has plunged all Hondurans into mourning.”