Center of The Storm


Wipeout: Cyclone Nargis sunk entire villages and killed tens of thousands

The people of Burma take omens seriously. For centuries, the paths of planets and vagaries of weather have been scrutinized by astrologers, who divine a relationship between celestial irregularities and earthly mayhem. So when Cyclone Nargis tore across the country on May 2 and 3 — killing tens of thousands of people and leaving hundreds of thousands more homeless — Burmese couldn't help but note the curious timing: exactly a week later, on May 10, the country's thuggish ruling junta was set to hold a constitutional referendum, a step toward what the military has called a "discipline-flourishing democracy." Critics...

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