Independence Weekly, No. 35 (10 - 16 March 2003)
Mike O' Brien, British Foreign Office Minister, after meeting with UN envoy Razali Ismail and Burmese ambassador Kyaw Win, says UK will toughen its politics towards Rangoon unless its rulers show a real commitment to reform.
Chinese authorities arrested 3 Burmese officers on 25 February. They were released the following day. The cause: Burma's MI-23 had arrested 2 ABSDF leaders in China in 1999 without seeking Chinese permission. (Mizzima)
European Parliament urges Rangoon to revive process of dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi in order to resolve the problems Burma is facing. (AFP)
European Parliament members push for an unprecedented inclusion of foreign investment ban in EU Common Position. (Draft resolution)
European Commission Humanitarian aid Office (ECHO) has decided to fund Euro 1.5 million for safe drinking water to the residents of Rangoon's Thongwa Township.
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn begins a 5-day visit to Burma.
Third Army commander says he will negotiate with the Shan State Army to move away from the border "into Thai territory "so he can ask Burma to do the same with the United Wa State Army. The object of the exercise is to have only Burma and Thai forces along the border, he says. (Thai Post)
Maj-Gen Picharnmet Muangmanee, deputy commander of Third Army, chosen by PM Thaksin to become commander. Apart from being close to the Shinawatra family, he has served in the north for a long time and knows the border together with the groups there. (S.H.A.N.)
The present government, though not an elected one, will be chosen by the people as it become qualified, says Aung Thaung, Minister of Industry #1. "You just wait and see," he dares.
Gen Maung Aye is admitted to Singapore General Hospital. Maung Aye, 65, is said to be suffering from a minor prostate gland problem. (Dow Jones News wires) AFP later says he has an enlarged prostate.
Killing of Phone Maw and Soe Naing in Rangoon 1988 celebrated as Burma Human Rights Day.
Gen Maung Aye discharged at 1 p.m. and has flown back to Rangoon. (Japan Economic Newswire)
Meeting of Central Committee held by Shan Nationalities League for Democracy resolves to organize field trips in states and townships. The political situation is considered "an open season". Four members elected as secretaries to replace the detained Sai Nyunt Lwin: Sai Shwe Kyu (Rangoon), Sai Saw Awng (Hoparng, Kachin State), Sai Htoon Sein of Namkham and Ai La of Mogaung. (DVB)
Maj-Gen Kyaw Win, during a trip to border areas, says SSA 'South', being a breakaway faction of the Mong Tai Army that had already surrendered, must also surrender. Rangoon will also not deal with other groups collectively as demanded but only on a "one-on-one basis." (AFP)
European Parliament's demand to Burma includes immediate release of SNLD secretary Sai Nyunt Lwin. (AFP)
Business / Economy
Merchants in Kengtung have no faith in Burmese currency anymore as bank crisis continues and are using Thai and Chinese currencies and old silver coins for safekeeping. (DVB)
Currency shortage has caused the kyat to strengthen from 1,100 to the dollar to 900 kyat today. (Irrawaddy) A merchant who keeps 4 million kyat at Yoma Bank is allowed to withdraw 10,000 kyat a week. (DVB) Financial problems have been attributed to an increase in burglaries. (Irrawaddy)
Rape allegations lead to riots between Muslims and Buddhists in Sagaing Division's Kanbalu Township resulting in 25 homes being burned down leaving 80 people homeless. (NMG)
Rangoon is using the suffering of women to solicit aid while doing nothing to tackle the mountains of abuse, says a 40-page report entitled "Abused Bargain Chips" by Alternative Asean Network on Burma. (AFP)
Three of the six Chin asylum seekers continue their hunger strike in front of UNHCR office in New Delhi that had rejected refugee status to hundreds of Chins who have entered India. The protest began on 17 February. (Chinland Guardian)
Hunger strike by 7 Burma refugees begins at UNHCR office, Bangladesh chapter in Dhaka. The two are Hlaing Htwe, a Karen, and Khaing Win, an Arakan. (Narinjara)
Rangoon and ILO have been drafting a plan to eradicate forced labor. Talks on the move began on 21 February. The 18-month plan if agreed upon will begin in April. (Xinhua)
Farmers in Muse and Namkham who had signed agreements to sell their paddy at 360 kyat per basket and 8 baskets per acre were unable to fulfill their quota because of insufficient water supply. They were forced to buy paddy from outside at 2,700-3,000 kyat per basket. (PYNG)
The motor road from Sala-Tasarng to the dam site is roughly finished. The MDX has also built 9 huts, all zinc sheet roofed, according to inside sources. (S.H.A.N.)
PM Thaksin publicly backs damming of Salween. Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand sees need for 2 dams along Thai-Burma border and 3 more on the Burma side. The project shall be proposed to Asean meeting, 20-25 April, before approval by the cabinet. (The Nation)
There's less heroin, because drug lords protected by the military have switched to methamphetamines. (FEER)
Thailand's 3-month anti-drugs campaign will be ineffective because it leaves drug producers in neighboring Burma untouched. (FEER)
Death of the Golden Triangle, a documentary by the Adventure Film Productions, currently being edited in Paris, is due to be released by September. Some congressmen are more interested in putting pressure on Rangoon than worry about drugs flowing into the US market, says Barry Broman, a retired diplomat working for the company. (Bangkok Post)
Ongoing crackdowns in Thailand has forced over 100 dealers to flee into Burma, where clandestine drug laboratories are located, says Ner Dah, Karen assistant secretary for foreign affairs.
Thai police chief confirms UWSA have put a price on PM Thaksin's head. Li Jia-jun, Wa Secretary of Foreign Affairs dismisses the report from Wa HQ in Panghsang. (The Nation)
Satellite photos show 23 new drug labs plus new opium fields in Kokang. (RFA)
Kokang has also retargeted its region to become drug free in 2005. It had already targeted its drug free year twice in the past, 2000 and later 2002. (Myanmar Information Committee)
Two American senators have proposed stiffer conditions on Burma with regards to drug assistance. (FEER)
According to latest police report, Bao Yoxiang, Commander of UWSA, is responsible for putting a bounty on Thaksin's head. (Bangkok Post)
Price of pills in Chiangmai has risen from 80 to 400 baht, says ONCB. In Chiangrai, it is 300. Youths have turned to other highs such as sniffing glue or paints thinner. (AFP)