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Police in Myanmar raided the homes of protesting railway employees.



Police in Myanmar raided the homes of protesting railway employees.

Police in Myanmar raided the homes of protesting railway employees.


Myanmar security forces raided a neighborhood in the country’s largest city early Wednesday, which is home to state railway employees who have gone on strike to protest the military coup last month.

The Ma Hlwa Kone train station and housing for railway employees are located in Yangon’s Mingalar Taung Nyunt neighborhood, which has been cordoned off by police. Officers were seen blocking streets and what seemed to be people fleeing in photos and videos shared on social media. At least three arrests were confirmed, but confirmation could not be obtained immediately.

The raid comes just days after a number of Myanmar unions, including the Myanmar Railway Worker’s Union Federation, called for a nationwide strike. The strike will be part of a larger attempt to “completely shut down the Myanmar economy,” according to the statement.

After the Feb. 1 coup, which ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s government just as it was about to begin her second term, Myanmar has been roiled by demonstrations and other acts of civil disobedience. After five decades of military rule, the coup halted years of gradual progress toward democracy in the Southeast Asian nation.

Mass arrests and, at times, lethal force have been used by security forces. According to the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least 60 protesters have been killed since the military takeover.

Authorities have also taken steps to stifle critical reporting on the crisis, including arresting journalists and shutting down media outlets.

Protests continued Wednesday in cities and towns across the region, including Yangon, Mandalay, Monywa, Dawei, and Myitkyina, despite security forces’ increasingly violent tactics.

State railway employees were among the first organized protest backers, and their strike began shortly after the coup.

Last month, police in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest district, attempted to intimidate railway workers by roaming through their housing area one night, shouting and firing guns at random.

The country’s new ruling junta, officially known as the State Administration Council, recognized the rail strike’s efficacy in a roundabout way.

In a Tuesday report on a junta meeting, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper quoted officials as saying that rail service between Yangon and Mandalay would resume “in the near future.”

It also acknowledged that the protest movement has had an impact on the banking sector.

After an 8 p.m. curfew, police marched through suburban neighborhoods in many towns, shooting weapons and stun grenades, and staging selective arrest raids.

More demonstrators died in detention after being arrested on Tuesday, according to reports. According to media reports and an activist who knew him, a school principal died of unexplained causes after being taken into custody by security forces.

An activist from Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party had previously died in custody. According to Human Rights Watch in New York, witnesses said his body had wounds consistent with torture.

More than 1,930 people have been arrested in connection with the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Several journalists have been detained, including Thein Zaw of The Associated Press, who has been charged with violating a public order statute that carries a three-year prison sentence.

Authorities raided the offices of Kamayut Media and detained its co-founder and editor-in-chief on Tuesday, continuing their assault on the media. Mizzima, an online news service, was also raided by the military. During the second raid, no one was arrested, but equipment was vandalized and property was taken away.

Five local media outlets — Mizzima, DVB, Khit Thit Media, Myanmar Now, and 7Day News — had their licenses revoked by the military government on Monday. All five had been covering the protests in great detail.

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One dead in early-morning Arlington fire



Boston Police subdue suspect near Northeastern University

An early-morning fire at a public-housing complex in Arlington for the elderly killed one woman and and sent another to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Arlington Fire Department.

The fire at Chestnut Manor, 54 Medford St., started sometime around 4 a.m. Sunday, according to Fire Chief Kevin Kelley, who was called in from his home at 4:25 a.m. The fire started on the third floor, according to an official statement Saturday afternoon.

The Middlesex District Attorney’s office confirmed that one person died in the fire. The cause and manner of the blaze are currently under investigation, according to spokeswoman Marcela Dwork.

“A State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation unit assigned to the state fire marshal’s office is jointly investigating the origin and cause of this morning’s fire with the Arlington Fire Department and the Middlesex District Attorney’s office,” said Jake Wark, spokesman for Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.

Chestnut Manor is “an elderly/disabled 100-unit highrise,” according to the website of Arlington Housing Authority, which manages the property. Kelley said that the fire was contained to the building and the residents were largely able to shelter in place in the building’s community room while firefighters did their work.

“I want to commend the women and men of the Arlington Fire for their swift response in suppressing the fire,” Kelley said in a Saturday afternoon statement. “We’re saddened by the loss of life. Our thoughts are with the family of the woman who died. We also want to thank Arlington Police Department, regional fire companies, and other organizations for their assistance.”

The Department of Health and Human Services has set up a fund to help residents impacted by the fire. The Chestnut Manor Relief Fund, coordinated by the Council on Aging, can be found at

With 15 active local firefighters on the scene and some mutual aid companies present, firefighters were able to extinguish the fire in around 20 minutes, Kelley said.

The responders worked through chilling temperatures, which National Weather Service data shows hovered at around 2 degrees with wind chill factored in. To keep responders warm in those conditions, a special “rehab unit” was at the scene, Wark said.

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Readers and Writers: St. Paul Winter Carnival-inspired thrillers and plenty of words about its history



Readers and Writers: St. Paul Winter Carnival-inspired thrillers and plenty of words about its history

It’s Winter Carnival time, and while many of us will take advantage of outdoor fun, others might be happy to stay in front of the fire and vicariously enjoy the Carnival through the pages of books.

In fiction, award-winning novelist and architecture writer Larry Millett uses Carnival as a setting for “Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders,” one in a series of thrillers featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the Midwest. When a scion of one of St. Paul’s wealthiest families loses his head — literally — it’s up to Holmes and Watson to track down the cold-blooded killer. Set in 1896, with the Carnival under way, Holmes and Watson, along with investigator Shadwell Rafferty, trail the cruel and ruthless murderer across the city and onto the treacherous ice of the Mississippi River. (University of Minnesota Press, 2011)

Sometimes, the cold we Northerners learn to live with is downright frightening to others, as F. Scott Fitzgerald vividly describes in his modernist 1920 short story “The Ice Palace,” in which Sally, a young woman from Georgia, visits her fiance’s family in an unnamed Northern city that is St. Paul. She doesn’t like Harry’s stoic parents and the way women are treated. She longs for the sweet sunshine of her home. When she is lost and alone in the labyrinths of the ice palace, she panics and is sure she is going to die. She felt “some deep terror far greater than any fear of being lost.” Convinced she will never be happy in the North, she returns home and the story ends where it began, with Sally sitting in the southern sunshine. Fitzgerald wasn’t born until 1896, but he would have heard about the spectacular palaces of 1887 and 1888. This story is reminiscent of Fitzgerald’s relationship with Zelda, his Southern Belle wife. (Included in “The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald,” Minnesota Historical Society Press, edited by Dave Page and Patricia Hampl, 2004.


“Fire & Ice: the History of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival” by Moira Harris. (Pogo Press, 2003)

“St. Paul Winter Carnival 100th Anniversary History, 1866-1986” by Judith Yates Borger (Jan Wiggs, 1986)

“Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt History” by Jesse C. Anibas, (White Bear Lake, MN: Treasure Hunt Headquarters, 2005)

Icy Pleasures book cover“Icy Pleasures” by Paul Clifford Larson (1998, Afton Historical Society Press, 1998) and “The 1992 Saint Paul Winter Carnival Pepsi Ice Palace: A Pictorial Souvenir  Book” (no author listed, Minnesota Winter Carnival, 1992)

ARTICLES available at Minnesota Historical Society, as are copies of the above books.

“Another Siberia, Unfit for Human Habitation: St. Paul’s Super Ice Palaces, 1886, 1887, 1888” by Bob Olson (Ramsey County History magazine, Vol. 52, #4)

“Rollicking Realm of Boreas: A Century of Carnivals in St. Paul” by Jean E. Spraker (Minnesota History, Vol. 49, #8)

“Chilling Tales: A History of the St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palaces” by Mary Jean Jecklin (Architecture Minnesota, Vol. 18, #1)

“Winter Carnival: St. Paul’s Annual Snowfest” by K.M. Kostyal (National Geographic Traveler, Vol. 1, #4)

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2022 Winter Carnival: Where to eat in downtown and Lowertown St. Paul if you’re here for festivities



2022 Winter Carnival: Where to eat in downtown and Lowertown St. Paul if you’re here for festivities

Are you planning to come to downtown St. Paul for the Winter Carnival?

If you’re looking for a place to warm up and grab a bite, downtown, and especially Lowertown, have lots of great options, even though the pandemic has claimed a few of our favorites in the past year.

Here are some suggestions for new and classic places to grab a bite when you’re out and about. Hours of operation might be different from previous years — many restaurants are dealing with staffing and supply chain issues that have led to drastic changes, often on the fly. Be sure to call or check websites before dropping in.

In addition, St. Paul’s new mandate requires proof of vaccination and a face mask to be worn when you’re not eating or drinking in certain establishments, so plan ahead and be kind to the workers who have to enforce the law.


Kyatchi: This Japanese restaurant in the former Tanpopo spot serves delicious sustainable sushi and a full menu of other Japanese specialties, including rice dishes, ramen, skewer and hot dogs (Japanese people love hot dogs, just go with it). There’s also a full bar, specializing in sake and Japanese whiskey. $$, full bar

308 E. Prince St., St. Paul; 651-340-5796;

Saint Dinette: This eclectic, chef-driven eatery is one of my favorite places to grab a bite and a drink. Chef Adam Eaton, formerly of La Belle Vie, is putting out a menu full of eclectic bites from inventive small plates to a buttery, double-patty burger that is absolutely best in class. The cocktails are delicious, too. $$, full bar

261 E. Fifth St., St. Paul; 651-800-1415; 

Big River Pizza in St. Paul. (Pioneer Press: Holly Peterson)

Big River Pizza: If you’re looking for a way to feed a crowd, Big River’s affordable, wood-fired pizzas are a great way to go. I especially love any of the vegetarian options — Lott sources the vegetables from local farmers, which makes total sense given the restaurant’s location just across the street from the St. Paul Farmer’s Market. $, beer and wine only

280 E. Fifth St., St Paul; 651-683-2186; 

Bullvino’s Churrascaria: This relatively new Brazilian steakhouse is expensive, but you get a lot of high-quality meat for that price tag. Grilled meats, often skewered on swords, are served by wandering servers, who dramatically slice bits of steak, lamb, and even chicken and sausage onto your plate until you either explode or turn over a little color-coded cardboard sign at your seat that tells them to stop. $$$, full bar

289 E. 5th St., St. Paul; 651-493-3397;


Gray Duck Tavern: Located in the historic former Lowry Hotel, this restaurant has recently re-opened after being closed during the entirety of the pandemic. New owners are serving hot dogs, burgers and other bar staples. $, full bar

345 Wabasha St., St. Paul; 651-340-9022;

1642881083 472 2022 Winter Carnival Where to eat in downtown and Lowertown
Happy Hour fills the bar area of Louis Ristorante & Bar. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

Cossetta/Louis: This long-standing Italian eatery boasts a giant deli, with pastas, sandwiches, salads and pizzas, but also the upscale eatery Louis on the second floor as well as a dazzling pasticceria, the interior of which was imported directly from Italy, and the sweets filling the bakery case exquisite. And during the pandemic, Frank’s Levee Tavern, serving Italian street foods. Deli: $, beer and wine only; Louis: $$-$$$, full bar; Frank’s: $-$$, full bar

211 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651-222-3476; 

St. Paul Grill: This clubby room, recently re-opened after being closed for more than a year, is still the place to catch politicians and Winter Carnival royalty imbibing after a long day. The restaurant serves a classic menu of steak, chops and fish, a great burger, and the list of whiskeys and scotch is one of the most extensive in town. $$-$$$, full bar

350 Market St., St. Paul; 651-224-7455; 

1642881083 581 2022 Winter Carnival Where to eat in downtown and Lowertown
The oyster bar at Meritage in downtown St. Paul. (Courtesy of Meritage)

Kincaid’s: There’s a killer happy hour at this fish and chophouse in the heart of downtown, but they also serve lunch and dinner. The seafood offerings are extensive, but there are also plenty of meaty options, including Wagyu sirloin. $$-$$$, full bar

380 Saint Peter St., St. Paul; 651-602-9000;

Meritage: Oysters and bubbly after a walk through Rice Park to check out the ice sculptures? Yes, please! Belly up and watch a chef shuck for you or grab a booth and canoodle with your sweetie for the perfect date night downtown. The menu of French specialties are sure to get you in the mood if the oysters don’t float your boat. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$, full bar

410 St. Peter St., St. Paul; 651-222-5670;

Herbie’s on the Park: This restaurant serves up comfort food and elegant cocktails in a beautiful, historic space on Rice Park. Sit at the gorgeous, front-and-center bar for a signature mule and a plate of wings or a burger and some hand-cut fries, or cozy up by the fireplace in the dining room for a hearty entree. $$-$$$, full bar

317 Washington St., St. Paul; 651-726-1700;

Loon Cafe St. Paul: Minneapolis’ favorite pre-game spot has opened in the former Great Waters spot in the historic Hamm Building, and it is serving its famous chilis, a long list of sandwiches and a bunch of fun appetizers, including a queso with spinach that we love. $, full bar

426 Saint Peter St., St. Paul; 651-330-4777;


  • $: $10-$15 per person for a full meal
  • $$: $15-25 per person for a full meal
  • $$$: $25 or more per person for a full meal
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