The Asean chair, Thailand, has expressed deep disappointment that Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to 18 months house arrest.
Malaysia too has expressed similar regret. Both countries have called for the release of all political detainees in Burma.
Meanwhile, the collapse of a 2,300-year-old pagoda in Burma – three weeks after the wife of Burma’s senior general Than Shwe helped to rededicate it – is being seen as an omen for the military regime.
“The temple collapsed about 3.10pm, while I was loading bricks on a platform around the pagoda,” a 24-year-old construction worker told The Irrawaddy, an exile magazine based in Thailand.
“The weather suddenly turned very dark,” he was quoted as saying. “Then we saw a bright red light rising from the northern end of the pagoda. Then, suddenly, the temple collapsed. I also heard a strange haunting voice coming from the direction of the light.”