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Weekly Digest 113

by admin last modified 2005-06-05 04:57

Weekly Digest, No. 113 (12-18 September 2004)

Food for thought


Humanitarian aid is the regime's lifeboat.

CTY (1939-2004), 2 September 2002


Consider the irony-one Bush administration reason for war in Iraq was to reduce our dependence on Saudi Arabia's oil.

Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek, 6 September 2004

It doesn't matter if Jeffery Sachs or David Steinberg or Zarni or a million others wrote a million articles or went to preach the others. (Senator) McConnell and the senior senator will not even take a second look. The truth is US sanctions are not based on logic, and the reverse effect for US economy is neglectable. US sanctions are based purely on the personal report for Daw Suu. Period.
Bo Kyaw Nyein, Burma Strategy Group for Democracy, 9 September 2004

The World

Visual evidence may not be enough

14 September
Yong Chanthalangsy, Laotian foreign minister spokesman, brushes off video footage by Amnesty International yesterday that suggested 4 girls and a boy were killed by Laotian soldiers on 19 May and says he believes it had been doctored. "With modern technology these days you could do these anywhere. This is another groundless fabrication."

Batman protests for fathers


14 September
Jason Hatch, dressed as Batman, scales Buckingham palace to protest against legal standing of divorced fathers. (Bangkok Post)

International Relations

10-12 September
Euro-Burma Network holds meeting in the Netherlands attended by several countries, including new EU members. (BBC)

12 September
Two days after US announcement it would ramp up sanctions against Burma, Cuba and North Korea for not doing enough to battle human trafficking, Myanmar Times reports Burma is planning to open anti-human trafficking liaison offices in 3 key border towns. Washington estimates up to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year. (AFP)

13 September

PM Khin Nyunt visits Singapore to meet his new counterpart Lee Hsien Loong, who took power on 12 August. (Reuters)

EU foreign ministers agree to tighten sanctions against Burma if Aung San Suu Kyi is not released by 8 October, when Asem summit starts. (Reuters)

The level of Burmese participation will have to be below the level of head of state or government, says the statement. (EU Politix.com) Still some MEPs warn the decision to allow Rangoon a seat is a "dangerous signal" to the regime. (EU Poliix.com)

15 September
State Department's 6th annual report on International Religious Freedom renames Burma among Countries of Particular Concern. (Press Release)

Thai-Burma Relations

14 September
National Security Council will hold a meeting this weekend to tackle problems concerning people without nationality. (Bangkok Post)

Politics

10 September
Another NLD-MP, Tin Htun Aung of Sagaing Division's Yinmabin township, flees to the border. (RFA)

13 September
Bawmwang La Raw, a wealthy Kachin based in Thailand and President of exiled Kachin National Organization, is supporting the KIO faction led by Col Lasang Awng. (RFA)

16 September
CRPP issues statement on 6th anniversary of founding: Release of all political prisoners, Reopening of offices of all political parties and freedom of activities, Freedom of political activities for the people and Freedom of expression for the media. (VOA)

18 September
Reshuffle of cabinet announced:
� Win Aung, Foreign Minister, replaced by Maj Gen Nyan Win
� Khin Maung Win, Deputy Minister, replaced by Col Maung Myint
� Maj Gen Nyunt Tin, Minister of Agriculture, replaced by Maj Gen Htay Oo
� Brig Gen Pyi Sone, Minister of Commerce, replaced by Brig Gen Tin Naing Thein
� Maj Gen Hla Myint Swe, Minister of Transport, replaced by Maj Gen Thein Swe
� U Tin Winn, Minister of Labor, assigned concurrently as Minister of Prime Minister's Office
� Brig Gen Pyi Sone, reassigned as Minister of Prime Minister's Office
The announcement is signed by Secretary-1 Lt-Gen Soe Win. No reason is given. (XNA)

  • Gen Than Shwe has made no secret of the fact that he expects to rule the country for at least another decade, according to a senior military source close to him. He spends time surfing the internet and has ordered all senior commanders of the rank of colonel and above in the army to learn how to use computers and buy them.

  • FM Win Aung says PM Khin Nyunt is in a dangerous situation and hinted they may have to leave the country for their own safety in the near future.

  • The ceasefire groups are also disenchanted. They have been told their papers will not be discussed when the Convention resumes. Senior military intelligence officers have been visiting the groups to try to convince them to return. (Bangkok Post)

Shans

9 September
Shan and Karen "ambassadors" meet Dutch foreign ministry officials, who vow to walk out if Khin Nyunt walks in at Asem V. (S.H.A.N.)

11 September
Krubar Saengla of Hsaimong temple in Tachilek hospitalized in Chiangrai after he fell down and broke his leg. He is respected by Buddhists both in Thailand and eastern Shan State. (Thai News)

14 September
"Hso" Soe Nyunt, 50, member of Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, passes away at his hometown in Waing Maw. He was suffering from protracted gastric ulcer. He became known in 1996 when he was beaten and forced to resign both from the party and the National Convention by a military officer. (S.H.A.N.)

Economy / Business

13 September
Burma plans to boost natural gas exports to Thailand to 11 million cubic meter per day from 8.5 million after discovering 4 new reserves in the Yetagun field bringing together 14 million cubic meters daily, according to Myanma Ahlin. (AFP/Bangkok Post)

Human Rights

A total of 9 mosques in Buthidaung Township, Arakan State had been demolished, 12-13 August by the order of authorities. (Kaladan)

10 September
Khit San (New Age) journal that feature international political thinking and social sciences closed by official censor board beginning this month. No reason was given, but a few days earlier, the editor U Kyaw Win was summoned and urged not to prioritize pro-American articles too much. (RFA) Rangoon later denied forced closure. (VOB)

11 September
Officials are not ready to counteract against famine that comes every 50 years in India's Mizoram and Burma's Chin area. The signs are the blossoming of the bamboos that draws hordes of rats to the region. When the fruits have been eaten, the rats will ravage the fields. Mizoram is already on the famine alert, but Chin State authorities have yet to do anything. The next appointment with the disaster is in 2007. (Khonumthung)

12 September
Some ten villages under pro-Rangoon Karenni National Solidarity League of Maj Tugari was told on 9 September by authorities to move to the outskirts of Bawlake. (FIG)

14 September
Sheila Sisulu, deputy executive director of World Food Programme, following a 4-day visit to Burma, says one reason for impoverishment in the border regions is the government that restricts free movement of agricultural products. In some parts, people are also being relocated to inferior lands, while their lands are being confiscated and forced labor imposed on them to work on land confiscated (from them). The consequence is reflected in the high percentage of farmers in refugee camps along the Thai-Burma borer. (IPS)

16 September
Flash flood is reported all over Burma. (DVB)

19 September
"Journey through the eyes of refugees", a photo exhibition held at Foreign Correspondents' Club in Bangkok. It will move to Chiangmai University, 18-31 October. The project is organized by AjA Project International. AjA stands for "Supporting Self Sufficiency" in Spanish. (The Nation)

Drugs

13 September
Five Burmese nationals were arrested in Kuala Lumpur on 10 September with 100 packets of heroin. Over the past 8 months, more than 90 Burmese nationals have been detained for drug-related activities. (News Straits Times)

14 September
According to AP, there were 440,000 poppy growing families in 2002 in Shan State. In 2003 only about 350,000 remained. (VOB)

16 September
President Bush removes Thailand from the list of major transit or producer countries, which includes Burma. (Press Release)

War

14 September
186 officers leave for Moscow from Mandalay International Airport. The previous batch, more than 400 trainees, had left in November 2003 from Tada Oo airport. (DVB)

15 September
Villages in Tenasserim Division are forced to send 10 trainees each for militia training course that begins today and will last two months. Many have tried to dodge the course by fleeing to the border. Their reason: we are being forced to fight against rebels without pay and without adequate weapons. Even soldiers are deserting. (FIG)

15 September
Bawmwang Hsinwa Naw, brother of Bawmwang La Raw and Chairman of Pan Kachin Development, killed in a bomb blast in Myitkyina. This is the second bomb blast since the first one had killed Col Lazing Bawk of KIO on 26 February. (DVB)