Michael Sullivan

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Police in Myanmar have officially filed charges against the country's former civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. She is in detention two days after a military coup. Michael Sullivan has been following this story for us from Thailand.

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Thailand's prime minister has vowed to use all available laws to quash protests calling for his ouster, after parliament rejected key demands of the demonstrators by rejecting a motion to revamp the country's constitution and overhaul the monarchy.

Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army chief who seized power in a bloodless coup six years ago, issued a statement on Thursday, addressing months of increasing unrest in the capital, Bangkok, led by students demanding a more freer and more open society.

Voters in Myanmar will cast their ballots Sunday in the country's second general election since the military ceded absolute power in 2011.

While the result appears predictable — analysts believe Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy will win again — the elections could further exacerbate the country's ethnic tensions due to the disenfranchisement of many minorities. The military establishment continues to wield significant political power. And COVID-19 may dampen voter turnout.

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The drug cartels in Southeast Asia have weathered the pandemic in part because of good planning. And business is booming despite border closures that have stymied legitimate commerce, as Michael Sullivan reports from Thailand.

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There are protests in Thailand's capital today. Anti-government demonstrators in Bangkok are demanding the country's prime minister step down.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: (Non-English language spoken).

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Thailand's capital is on a kind of lockdown. But it's not the pandemic; it's politics. On Wednesday, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in Bangkok to push their demands for the military-backed government to step down.

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Thousands of Thais gathered Sunday in the capital, Bangkok, for the largest anti-government demonstration since the 2014 coup that brought the military to power.

Protesters, many dressed in black, thronged the streets around the Democracy Monument at Ratchadamnoen Avenue and Dinso Road.

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Lack of testing, mixed messages from the government and a rush to reopen.

No, not the U.S., but Indonesia, which has been hit far worse by the coronavirus than any country in Southeast Asia — more than 80,000 confirmed cases with over 3,200 dead, as of Thursday.

Epidemiologists say it didn't have to be this way.

"We have a lot of big, missed opportunities," says Pandu Riono at the University of Indonesia. "If you want to protect the people, do something seriously and do something right."

Indonesia's central government, he says, hasn't done much of either.

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Tourism is such a significant part of Thailand's economy. Because of the pandemic, millions in that industry have lost their jobs, and there are fears there might never be a full recovery there. Michael Sullivan reports.

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Vietnam has been a bright spot during the COVID-19 pandemic — and has largely reopened for business. Thanks to aggressive contact tracing, quarantines and testing, it's managed to keep its confirmed coronavirus cases to just 317, with no deaths, according to government figures.

Doctors in a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City are struggling to save a patient from becoming the country's first COVID-19 fatality.

It's the moment international aid groups have been dreading for months — the coronavirus has reached the sprawling refugee camps in the Cox's Bazar district of southern Bangladesh, home to roughly a million Rohingya refugees.

Bangladesh officials said on Thursday that at least two people living in or adjacent to the camps have tested positive for the coronavirus and have now been quarantined amid fears of a humanitarian disaster if the virus spreads unchecked.

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Myanmar's Muslim minority Rohingya had few friends before COVID-19, and now they have even fewer. Boats full of refugees are being turned away by Malaysia over fears that they will spread the virus onto its shores. Michael Sullivan reports.

In Indonesia, one of the countries in Southeast Asia hardest hit by the coronavirus, some residents are refusing to allow COVID-19 dead to be buried in their communities, despite government assurances that doing so is safe.

The United Nations' outgoing chief human rights monitor for Myanmar is calling for an investigation into allegations of ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the southeast Asian country's Rakhine and Chin States.

"While the world is occupied with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Myanmar military continues to escalate its assault in Rakhine State, targeting the civilian population," Yanghee Lee said in a blistering farewell statement.

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