Weekly Diary, No. 199 (20 - 26 May 2006)
:*: GAMBARI VISIT BREAKTHROUGH OR PRE-BREAKDOWN? :*: EVER SEEN WHAT A PHYSIC NUT LOOKS LIKE?
Weekly Diary, No. 199 (20 - 26 May 2006)
· GAMBARI VISIT BREAKTHROUGH OR PRE-BREAKDOWN?
· EVER SEEN WHAT A PHYSIC NUT LOOKS LIKE?
I am concerned about Burma for several reasons. Burma is undoubtedly currently under a shocking regime but whatever follows a sudden regime change/collapse will probably be much worse. Sadly the National League for Democracy lacks the teeth to run the country. Burma has the potential to become "Afghanistan squared" a narco state in the making. A United States/United Kingdom policy to push over this unhappy regime without thinking of the longer term is flawed.
Steve Vickers, president of Hong Kong-based International Risk Mitigation and Investigation Company,
Bangkok Post, 21 May 2006
To me everyday is a resistance day until this dictatorial government is overthrown.
Sao Noan Oo, Shan exile
Commenting on Shan Resistance anniversary on 21 May 2006
Montenegro becomes independent from Serbia in a statewide referendum. It can profit from tourism real estate boom and closer ties with EU. But it will also have to deal with poor infrastructure and corruption. Moreover, it can no longer blame Serbia for all its troubles.
According to US National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC), formed in 2004, the number of terrorist attacks worldwide has increased:
2003 208 attacks 625 deaths
2004 3,168 attacks 1,907 deaths
2005 11,111 attacks 14,662 deaths
Australian soldiers try to wave off photographers as they guard Dili's airport
Australian soldiers arrive at Dili airport, East Timor. Photograph: Ed Wray/AP
Australian commanders land in East Timor to resume the newly independent nation from its mutinous demobilized military members.
US Senate adopts a resolution calling for Washington to spearhead a UN Security Council resolution compelling Burma to work with the world body on a plan for national reconciliation.
Indonesia FM Hassan Wirayuda urges Burma's major trading partners China, India and South Korea to use their influence to coax the regime to allow more democracy.
Visiting UN envoy Gambari meets opposition representatives, who urge him to push for dialogue as a starting point.
Aung San Suu Kyi meets Gambari, her first contact with an outsider since March 2004, when she met Razali Ismail. The meeting follows his audience with Than Shwe, Maung Aye and Soe Win in the "jungle capital". The venue, the guesthouse where Gambari stays, is located near her residence. No details are available.
She is well but still under restriction. I hope she will be allowed to make (her contribution), says Gambari. Than Shwe had also agreed to "try to find common ground" with the NLD. He will also "explore ways" to give aid groups better access. (Reuters) Gambari also raises concerns about the crackdown on the Karens. (DPN)
Than Shwe meets Aung San Suu Kyi in 2003
China is thought to have urged the regime to show flexibility. (FT)
Envoy Gambari tells generals they should speed up democratization and improve human rights, says a Rangoon-based diplomat who received a briefing by Gambari. He also asks the junta to allow UN humanitarian workers operate smoothly.
He later meets Suu Kyi in Rangoon and talks to her for one hour. The contents of their meeting are not disclosed, but she "looks well". Her house arrest is due to expire on 27 May.
The junta is worried the UN will take up the Burma issue to the Security Council , comments political analyst Win Min.
Singapore government is happy that the UN envoy had a good visit in Burma, says a foreign ministry spokesman. "In Asean, we have taken a position that Aung San Suu Kyi should be released as soon as possible," he says, urging Burma to work with Asean and the international community to make further progress.
UN envoy Ibraham Gambari will brief the Security Council on his trip to Burma.
(New York Sun)
Visiting Assistant Secretary of state for East Asean and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill, during a lecture on US foreign policy in East Asia, urges China "to work more with us in trying to affect positive change in Burma."
Police chief Khin Yi, attending a southeast Asian police chiefs meeting in Kuala Lumpur, says Aung San Suu Kyi's release from detention will have little impact because support for the NLD has fallen. Some members have resigned, he claims. (Reuters)
US State Department calls for release of Aung San Suu Kyi no later than before 27 May to "show progress." (AFP) John Bolton, US envoy to the UN, meanwhile considers the meeting as a 'step ahead' but would like to know more about the 'substance'. (BBC)
UN envoy Gambari hopes what police chief Khin Yi claimed about releasing Aung San Suu Kyi will have little impact may suggest Rangoon is preparing to free her. (AFP) The Gambari trip was planned at least two months earlier. Its schedule was drawn up by Burmese envoy to the UN Kyaw Tint Swe. Maung Aye had also made an unpublicized visit to China before the 4-monthly meeting earlier this month. (Irrawaddy)
Gambari, meeting journalists in New York, says "there appears to be a willingness" on the part of Rangoon "to turn to a new page." His comment meets with skepticism from US Campaign for Burma's Jeremy Woodrum who says Aung San Suu Kyi has been used in the past as a trump card to deflect international pressure. Still Gambari thinks Asean pressure plus offers of some $100 million from the international community over five years to fight HIV and other diseases had helped opened doors.
Two Thai-based groups working with Burmese migrants have declined a $6.12 million package, offered by French oil giant Total. They are Migrant Assistance Program (MAP) and Thailand-Burma Border Consortium (TBBC).
Two others, UNHCR and National Catholic Commission on Migration (NCCM), however say they will accept the aid.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan arrives in Thailand, his last stop on a five-nation Asian tour.
Fort Wayne in Indiana, with a Burmese population of up to 3,000, sees its daily newspaper Fort Wayne Sentinel launching a Burma news section. It can be viewed at burmafortwayne.com.
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, UN rights rapporteur for Burma, calls for release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all remaining political prisoners.
Under the circumstances, it may be too risky for Rangoon to extend the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi. It is therefore highly likely that she will be released to ease the pressures.
Tun Tun Oo of the Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB) says each of the 8 migrants who died in a car accident near Sangklaburi in April, will get 100,000 baht ($2,500) in compensation.
PM Thaksin Shinawatra returns to office after a six-week break.
Aye Chan, general secretary of Maesod-based Committee for Protection and Promotion of Child Rights (CPPCR) says more than 5,500 Burmese children who have birth certificates issued by Thai hospitals are unable to claim Thai citizenship. Pranom Somwong of Chiangmai based Migrant Assistance Program explains under existing law it is not possible for migrant workers' children to acquire citizenship because they are regarded as living in the kingdom temporarily.
Thailand signed international treaty banning land-mines in 1999. It had promised to get rid of all landmines within 10 years. So far only a miniscule of 0.3% have been cleared.
Landmines in border provinces adjacent to Burma, laid to deter guerrillas, drugs and arms smugglers, are victimizing the villagers living in these areas.
Flood in northern Thailand claims 30 lives and 77 missing. More than 100,000 are affected.
The signboard of NLD Mandalay division taken down by a group unknown people. Local authorities say they were not involved in the underhanded action.
U Lwin, NLD EC member, says he has yet to receive any resignations from members as reported by the military-run dailies.
To counter Aung San Suu Kyi, the generals are employing the power of the stars:
Kyet Suu (Physic nut) : Monday - Tuesday
Suu Kyi : Tuesday - Monday
As a result, nationwide physic nut tree-planting program, led by generals and their wives, has been put into force.
The USDA is subordinate only to regional and tactical commanders, themselves somewhat equaling battalion commanders, says a major. A large number of middle ranking officers are already thinking about (doing) something.
The internet service system in Burma has broken down for 3 days due to authorities' all-out campaign against non-essential websites.
Shans mark 48th anniversary of their resistance against Rangoon's rule.
Visiting Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Hemayetuddin assured by Deputy FM Kyaw Thu Burma will never encroach on Bangladesh's waters. Dhaka earlier had lodged protests to both Burma and India against exploring hydrocarbon into its maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.
(Daily Star News, BD)
Ten-fold power rate follows tenfold pay increase, effective since 1 May. Electricity, announces Electricity Ministry, will now cost 25 kyat ($0.02) per unit up from 2.5 kyat ($0.2).
Rangoon issues edict ordering closure of private tuition classes and boarding houses, causing untold miseries. They have no right to open until properly registered, reports an owner of an English language school.
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma (AAPPB) publishes 148 page report "Eight Seconds of Silence: The death of democracy activists behind bars," reporting 127 have died since 1988: 90 in prisons, 8 in interrogation centers, 4 in labor camps and 10 shortly after being freed. The number reflects a rise of torture and ill treatment, it says.
Of more than 10,000 people fleeing the abuses in the Karen State, 2,000 have flooded into Thailand over the last 3 months, says UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis in Geneva.
A report released today by Karen Women Organization says up to 70% of Karen fleeing the assaults by the Burma Army are women and children. An estimated 16,000 people abandoned their homes: after their villages were destroyed:
54 in Tounggoo
100 in Nyaunglebin
10 + in Papun
In Mudon, Mon State, rubber plantation owners have to cut down their rubber plants to make room for the physic nut planting. Authorities collected 1,500 ($1) per family member in exchange for an official household register.
China marks completion of 185 meter high, 2,309 meter long Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze. The final 12 of the dam's 26 generators are to be installed over the next 2 years.
The job began in 1993, cost $22 billion and relocated 1.3 million people.
The number of drug traffickers among migrant workers has increased, says ONCB official Sukhum Opartnipat. Drug routes however have shifted from Chiangrai to Chiangmai.
UNODC report released today says drug abuse and HIV/AIDS endemic in northeastern India are linked. Traffickers travel easily into Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland plying 7 routes into these states.
According to ONCB officials, consumption began to rise about a year ago in Bangkok and three adjoining provinces. Villagers say methamphetamine dealers have remained active and in fact are gaining more income. A tablet of yaba now costs 250 baht ($6), compared with less than 100 baht ($2.5) a few years ago.
(Bangkok Post/ Thai Rath)
Convicted criminals are being used as porters during the Army's operations in the Karen State. One of the former porters who fled to the border says he was transferred from Meiktila prison and assigned as a porter for Light Infantry Battalion 364. Each porter, he says, has to carry five shells.
The secretive Research Department under the Ministry of Science and Technology has been moved to Kyaukse from Ayelar near Pyinmana. More than 100 scientists and technicians there were trained in Moscow.
Last year's New Democratic Army-Kachin (KDA-K) coup plotters attack Kambaiti, near NDA-K's Pangwa base. NDA-K leader Sakhong Ting Ying says the attackers have been pushed out. The situation is still worrisome, according to a local.