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AP, BBC, THE IRRAWADDY (Burma); REUTERS

Worldcrunch

RANGOON - Thirteen children were killed in a fire at an Islamic building housing orphans in Burma’s biggest city early Tuesday morning.

Sectarian violence has shaken Burma, also known as Myanmar, during the past week and the authorities were quick to blame the blaze on an accidental electrical short, writes Burmese paper The Irrawaddy.

According to the BBC, all of the victims were boys. The children were in a dormitory on the first floor, trapped behind a locked door. The Burmese police wrote on their Facebook page that the boys died of asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation.

Reuters spoke to a resident who said, “It seemed the boys didn’t get a chance to get away as the doors were locked because of the unstable situation.” Most of the other children in the building were asleep on the ground floor and were able to flee to safety.

Security forces, riot police, and almost 200 Muslim residents gathered outside in a tense scene, writes the AP, with many of the residents doubting the official version of events. “The children are innocent, someone burned the mosque,” said a member of the Muslim youth organization to The Irrawaddy.

The fire comes amidst an upsurge of violence between Muslims and Buddhists in the country, with a state of emergency being declared in the town of Meiktila on March 22. Last year there were clashes in the state of Rakhine between the Buddhist community and the Muslim Rohingya -- a stateless minority group who the Burmese state does not recognize.

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Despite the nationwide mobilization and following new security incidents, Lebanon banks have announced they would close again until further notice.

Laure Gautherin, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Здраво*

Welcome to Friday, where the Nobel Peace Prize goes to a Belarusian activist and two Ukrainian and Russian NGOs, Lebanon closes its banks “indefinitely” amid deep economic crisis, and a forest fire damages the iconic Easter Island statues. Meanwhile, German Die Welt’s Carolina Drüten reports from Istanbul where resentment against Syrian refugees is growing amid a rapprochement between Turkey’s President Erdogan and dictator Bashar al-Assad.

[*Swabian - Germany]

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