Monday Sunrise Briefing: Military coup after Myanmar election

Monday Sunrise Briefing: Military coup after Myanmar election

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, sunrise briefing. 

Here are four news events from this past weekend (while you may have been playing ice hockey, tandem cycling, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

REUTERS/Thar Byaw/File Photo

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi votes in November 2020 general election in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Suu Khi was placed under house arrest during a military coup Monday, Feb. 1, 2021.

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February 1, 2021

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected leaders of her ruling National League for Democracy party were arrested early Monday in a military coup. The military takeover came in the wake of November elections in which Suu Kyi’s party swept 396 out of 476 seats in parliament. It was Myanma’s second democratic election since transition from military rule began in 2015. But the party with close ties to the military said the election was rigged, and disputed the results. Myanmar lawmakers were scheduled to gather Monday for the first session of Parliament since the election. The military declared a one-year state of emergency.

2. Protests rattle Kremlin. For the second weekend in a row, protest rallies against the jailing of opposition activist Alexei Navalny were held across Russia. More than 5,100 people were arrested, including Navalny’s wife. Despite Kremlin threats of jail terms, warnings to social media groups, and tight police cordons, the protests again engulfed cities across Russia’s 11 time zones. In most cases, Sunday’s marches were reportedly somewhat smaller and met with a more aggressive police response than last week’s protests, suggesting growing determination among Navalny’s supporters and the Kremlin. Some protesters held up toilet brushes, a reference to the golden ones worth $850 allegedly purchased for a lavish palace on Russia’s Black Sea coast that Navlany says is owned by President Vladimir Putin. “I do not want my grandchildren to live in such a country,” said 55-year-old Vyacheslav Vorobyov, a marcher in Yekaterinburg told the Associated Press.. “I want them to live in a free country.”

3. A bipartisan negotiation? A group of 10 Republican senators released an approximately $600 billion pandemic relief plan Sunday challenging President Biden’s $1.9 trillion proposal. The senators said their counterproposal was offered “in the spirit of bipartisanship and unity.” Mr. Biden agreed to meet with the senators Monday. Some political observers saw it as a “let’s meet in the middle” gambit even as Democratic lawmakers prepared  to pass Biden’s plan without Republican support. Few details were released, but the GOP plan was reported to reduce the stimulus checks from $1,400 to 1,000 per person with much lower income limits. It also omits state and local aid, and there’s no federal minimum wage increase. Full details of the plan are expected to be released Monday. 

4. Making Bernie’s mittens. The kind of mittens that Sen. Bernie Sanders wore to the inauguration (and launched a thousand memes), will soon be available for sale again. The Vermont elementary school teacher, who made the famous recycled plastic and wool mittens (but had closed her side hustle), is now partnering with the Vermont Teddy Bear Company to meet soaring demand, with some of the proceeds going to Make-A-Wish Vermont. “I can’t be more thrilled, because I personally can’t make 18,000 pairs of mittens,” Jen Ellis said Saturday, estimating how many people have contacted her. “Everybody will get their mittens – everybody.”

Patrick Hamilton/Belga photo via Reuters

Out of quarantine. Spain’s Rafael Nadal practices ahead of the 2021 ATP Cup, at Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Sunday Jan. 31 2021. The Australian Open is set to begin on Feb. 8.

Look Ahead

Monday, Feb. 4

Have mask, will travel. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mandates that as of today anyone traveling into or within the country on buses, trains, taxis, airplanes, boats, subways or ride-share vehicles must wear a mask. Scarves and bandanas don’t count. 


Was Jan. 6 the end of an era – or start of a dangerous new one?

Space walk. NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover are scheduled to embark on another space walk, this time to finish installation of a new battery system and install new cameras on the International Space Station. 

Tuesday, Feb. 2

Justice or censorship? A Russian court hearing is scheduled to consider whether jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny violated probation terms from a suspended sentence on a 2014 money-laundering conviction. Navalny faces up to 3½-years behind bars.

Wednesday, Feb. 3

Excellence in entertainment. The Golden Globe Awards nominations are scheduled to be announced for the event hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on Feb. 28.

Thursday, Feb. 4

Global justice. International Criminal Court judges are expected to deliver their judgment in the trial of a senior commander in the brutal Ugandan rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army accused of crimes including murder, sexual slavery, and using child soldiers.

More excellence in entertainment. The Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations are scheduled to be announced for the event on April 4.

Sunday, Feb. 7 

Gridiron excellence. Grab some guacamole and settle in to watch the two top teams in the NFL play in the Super Bowl: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers led by Tom Brady and the Kansas City Chiefs led by Patrick Mahomes. 

Generosity Watch

Courtesy Puppy Rescue Mission

U.S. Army Capt. Steve Benacci is stationed in Saudi Arabia, where he adopted Tux from a local animal shelter. Thanks to generous donors, Tux will return home with Captain Benacci.

Two years away from family is a grind for anyone. A year into his assignment in Saudi Arabia, U.S. Army Capt. Steve Benacci heard about a litter of four puppies that had been found by fellow soldiers.  The pups were taken to the local animal shelter. Captain Benacci (who has two dogs and two cats at home) offered to foster one of the puppies. One month of foster care turned into six months with the pandemic lockdowns.  

“He has become an integral part of my time here by keeping me busy and preventing me from being lonely over the past two years that I will have been away from my family,” Captain Benacci told the Erie Times-News. “He has become family and I know my family back home already feels the same way. I only want the best for him which is why I want to bring him home with me.”

Now, thanks to the generosity of strangers, his mix breed adoptee, Tux, will be going to home to Iowa this summer with Captain Benacci.

A fundraising campaign was launched in early January through the Texas-based Puppy Rescue Mission, an organization that assists soldiers serving overseas in bringing home animals they’ve befriended. The goal was to raise $3,000 to cover Tux’s immunizations, quarantine, and his trip to the United States. More than $4,000 was contributed by 96 donors. 

The extra funds will go toward helping other dogs go home with their adopted service men and women. “We currently have 16 rescues waiting for funding all across the world from Jordan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Syria and Iraq,” Anna Maria Chiasson, president and founder of the Puppy Rescue Mission told the Erie Times-News.

Hidden gem 

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:

Japanese comic creators grapple with racism

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about California’s effort to improve the quality of criminal justice by hiring older, more experienced cops. 

Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday’s subscription-only Daily Edition:

  • A young generation stalled but ready to launch: A special global report
  • On pandemic hold, 21-year-olds around the globe plot hopeful future
  • In their own words: Intimate introspection from our 21-year-olds
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    Editory’s note: This briefing has been updated to correct an error in the cost of President Biden’s proposed coronavirus relief package. It is $1.9 trillion.

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