The situation in Burma is still dire:
It was hard to imagine a Burma worse off than it was in September 2007 but it has come about because all of the frustrations that drove the demonstrators on to the streets last year have redoubled. Food and transport prices are higher than ever, political oppression is greater and the violent treatment of the country's revered monks has increased popular contempt for the regime.
But, for all their bravery, opposition activists in Burma are in disarray.
Their figurehead and icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, has spent 12 years under house arrest and, after the crackdown in September, the remaining senior leaders have nearly all been arrested.
Those who remain at large are in hiding, their networks broken or in the hands of young and inexperienced activists. And having been physically crushed they face the danger of being politically outflanked after a remarkable move by Than Shwe's government in February it announced a national referendum will be held on a new constitution, to be followed by a general election in 2010.[...]
It is expected that it will guarantee 25 per cent of parliamentary seats to the military and to disbar Ms Suu Kyi from politics on the basis that she was married to a foreigner Michael Aris, the late, British academic.