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There was a wide-ranging change of the guard in Europe and the Middle East in 2011. Here are 10 other elections that could change the game of global politics in 2012.
Western governments lashed out at the extension of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest, but the outrage at Myanmar's military rulers was tempered by concern over disrupting aid flows to desperate cyclone victims.
The roads of the ravaged Irrawaddy Delta are lined these days with people hoping to be fed. After lifetimes living off the land, poor farmers have abandoned their ruined rice paddies, setting up makeshift bamboo shelters, waiting for carloads of Burmese civilians who have taken it on themselves to feed those who lost everything to Cyclone Nargis.
The 68 blue tents are lined up in a row, with a brand-new water purifier and boxes of relief supplies, stacked neatly but as yet undelivered and not even opened. But for the majority of Cyclone Nargis survivors, aid is something they've had no access to.
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon flew to Myanmar on Thursday to press the ruling generals to allow a full-blown international aid effort for 2.4 million people left destitute by Cyclone Nargis.
Army-ruled Myanmar started three days of mourning on Tuesday for the 134,000 dead and missing from Cyclone Nargis as diplomats pressed the reclusive generals to speed up aid to 2.4 million survivors.
Hopes turned to a meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers on Monday for a breakthrough in speeding up aid flows to the millions of desperate cyclone survivors in Myanmar.
Torrential tropical downpours lashed Myanmar's Irrawaddy delta on Friday, deepening the misery of an estimated 2.5 million destitute survivors of Cyclone Nargis and further hampering the military government's aid efforts.
Desperation among Myanmar's 1.5 million cyclone survivors mounted on Wednesday as the international aid flow remained a trickle and police barred foreign aid workers from worst-hit areas.
Two more American aid flights were due to leave for cyclone-hit Myanmar on Tuesday where the reclusive military government is keeping most foreign aid workers away from the devastated Irrawaddy delta.
The U.S. was launching its first relief airlift Monday after prolonged negotiations with Myanmar's military rulers, accused of restricting international efforts to help up to 1.5 million cyclone survivors at risk of disease and starvation.
The first United Nations relief flights started to arrive on Thursday for cyclone victims in military-ruled Myanmar as a U.S. diplomat said that more than 100,000 people may have been killed.
Myanmar's military government raised its death toll from Cyclone Nargis to nearly 22,500 with another 41,000 missing, almost all from a massive storm surge that swept into the Irrawaddy delta.
Countries worldwide promised help to Myanmar after a cyclone killed 10,000 people in just one town, suggesting the overall death toll in the impoverished military-run Southeast Asian nation will be much higher.
The governments of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar are weighing the creating of a rice exporting cartel.
If the Association of Southeast Asian Nations , better known as ASEAN, was a garden party, then Myanmar was the dark cloud that threatened to break. Some could say that it did in fact rain on ASEAN's parade.
U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari met U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday after a four-day visit to Myanmar in which he secured the junta's agreement to meet pro-democracy figure Aung San Suu Kyi.