Weekly Digest 120
Weekly Digest, No. 120 (31 Oct-6 November 2004)
CONTINUED PURGES IN BURMA!
Food for Thought
Confrontation strategy has
been tried since 1962 without appreciable success. The 1988 uprising represents
the highest point of the confrontation strategy � such an event either sweeps
the regime out or the regime is replaced by "new blood" and stays on.
Chao Tzang Yawnghwe (1939-2004) 27 December 2002
Senator John Kerry must be
commended for this courage to concede his defeat, but in Burma, those that were
beaten in 1990 elections are yet to do the same.
Cin Shin Thang Spokesman, United Nationalities Alliances, 4 November 2004
Present Burma is like a house
with a roof full of leaks. The roofing is already in a state of decay, and when
the rains come, everyone is scrambling for the remaining dry spots. What we need
is a new construction (not the preservation of the run-down structure).
Cin Shin Thang, Spokesman for United Nationalities Alliance, on the military- run National Convention, Democratic Voice of Burma, 1 November 2004
Mother tongue countries have
had their day. It's the turn of countries with English as spoken as a second
language to take the lead (in this age of IT revolution)
David Crystal, a world authority on English, AFP, Bangkok Post, 4 November 2004.
51- year old Norodom Sihamoni crowned as new monarch of Cambodia. (Bangkok Post)
Dow Jones announces closing of Far Eastern Economic Review, a weekly founded in Shanghai in 1946 and put out by raffish staff of adventurers that includes Bertil Lintner, "the Swedish buccaneer" who gave voice to a culture nobody would pay anyone to cover. The 4 November issue will be the last of its kind. (NYT news service)
AL-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden promise a new wave of attacks in a video message aired by Qatar-based Al- Fazeera television (AFP)
HM King Bhumibol tells PM Thaksin people in the south should be given a say in setting the problems. The south that comprises of Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala and parts of Songkla, was annexed in 1903. (Bangkok Post)
President George W.Bush wins second term.
10,000 Rohingyas in Malaysia will be a accorded refugee status by Kuala Lumpur, says Minister Mazni Aziz. ( New Straits Times)
UN rights investigator Paulo Sergio Pinherio says he is considering stepping down if he is not allowed to visit Burma before the UN rights session in Geneva in March. Burma envoy Kyaw Win has said that Pinheiro's request is under consideration (Reuters)
New PM Soe Win leaves for China Asean Business and investment summit in Guangxi's Nanning. It will be a 4 day visit. (AFP)
PM Thaksin, who blasted Senator Mitch McConnell for his "pro-junta stand", was told by President Bush on his last visit to Washington to get off McConnell's back, describing him as a respectable and influential lawmaker. (The Nation)
Ethnic Nationalities Council hold strategic consultation meeting. Urges ceasefire groups to stick to their guns. Basic principles for the union constitution, an alternative to Rangoon's Six Objectives, discussed. (S.H.A.N)
30 October-1 November
Front Wayne Conference reaches 5 resolutions:
1. Equality for all ethnic nationalities.
2. Burman nationality is one ethnic group.
3. The military in Burma does not represent the Burman Nationality
4. The future Federal Union's name should represent all nationalities.
5. A committee representing all ethnic nationalities should be formed
6. There must be mutual respect among ethnic nationalities (Statement)
Some opposition figures believe that by firing Khin Nyunt, Than Shwe has removed one of the three layers that were protecting the collective leadership, making the regime more vulnerable than before. "The friction and the infighting will increase and speed up the collapse of the regime, "says a Burmese analyst (Perspective)
59 members of the NLD in Mandalay adopts a resolution calling on the party to play a major role in the country's politics instead of acting as a bystander. (Irrawaddy)
Maj Gen Maung Oo, Western Region Commander, takes over from Home Minister Tin Hlaing and Maung Thaung, Science and Technology Minister, from Labor Minister Tin Winn, both of whom are "permitted to retire". The pair are seen as allies of Khin Nyunt.
(AFP) Four deputy Ministers have also been dismissed.
Shan State exiled leaders meet on the Thai-Burma border and discuss ways to enhance their cohesion and cooperation. An informal meeting, says Sao Seng Suk of Shan Democratic Union (SHAN)
"Khun Sa" becomes "the cause" for a fisticuffs between two Thai senators: retired Police Gen Pratin Santipraphob and Adul Wanchaithanawong. The former, apparently put out by the latter's interruptions during the reporting by another senator on the trip to the tumultuous south, had commented that "somebody" had dealings with Khun Sa. (Bangkok Post)
photo BP 4/11/04
Shan exiles hold exchange. Agree on more regular gatherings. Discuss current situation following PM Khin Nyunt's downfall. (S.H.A.N)
Economy / Business
Used car exports from Thailand to Burma may come to an end with the new government's crackdown on unlicensed cars. It has seized cars worth more than 100 million baht, says a Burmese vendor in Maesod. (BP)
Military authorities in Chin State's Rizua Township have charged the people 180,000 Kyat ($1,800), the cost for running a computer training program. Each household in the 15 villages have been ordered to contribute 2,000 kyat ($2) (Khonuonthung)
Rangoon launches countrywide crackdown on unlicensed cars. (Irrawaddy / NMG/ S.H.A.N)
Flower News, a local cultural journal reports Burma plans to begin retrieving cultural treasures that have been buried under riverbeds for centuries next year. One of them is the Dhammajedi bell, weighing 270 metric tons, lying in the Rangoon River for centuries. (Dow Jones International News)
U Htein Lin, born 10 July 1920, passes away of heart disease. He was former Botahtaung newspaper editor-in-chief. (DVB)
Over 15,000 Muslims have fled to Bangladesh over the past two weeks saying they left to escape persecution. More than 250,000 had fled to Bangladesh since 1990, most of whom were repatriated but about 20,000 remain.
Chiangrai deputy governor Nopporn Tornrub said the water level in Mekong that stood at 13 meters two months earlier is only at 6 meters due to the 4 newly completed dams in China which might be storing water. Passenger and cargo ferries shuttling between Thailand and Laos are landing on soil banks near the port at present. (Bangkok Post)
Suvit Khunkitti, Thai Natural Resources and Environment Minister, and Maj Gen Htay Oo, Burma's Agriculture and Irrigation Minister, sign MoU to carry out study of water resource potential. Thailand thinks the Kok in Shan State can divert its water to rivers in Thailand. Environmentalists are worried it may also lead to building of dams. (Bangkok Post)
Nine-day congress of World Conservation Union (IUCN), one of the oldest international organizations, bringing together 79 states, 114 government agencies, 800 NGOs and 10,000 scientists, to begin on 19 November in Thailand.
Members of five Southeast Asian nations will hold "informal sideline talks" on 19 November with China's Zhu Guangyao, Vice Minister of State Environmental Protection Administration over growing energy demands in China that lead to building of dams that, they believe, is effecting the water levels downstream. Beijing treats the Mekong as a local river and feels justified in initiating river development with no need to consult countries downstairs. (Bangkok Post)
Guangzhao Industrial Forest, founded 1999, hopes its Guangzhao Fast-Growing Poplar that can mature in 4-5 year rate instead of t Protection Administration over growing energy demands in China that lead to building of dams that, they believe, is effecting the water levels downstream. Beijing treats the Mekong as a local river and feels justified in initiating river development with no need to consult countries downstairs. (Bangkok Post)
Guangzhao Industrial Forest, founded 1999, hopes its Guangzhao Fast-Growing Poplar that can mature in 4-5 year rate instead of the normal 10-12 year rate will help meet China's paper demand while at the same time aid reforesting the country, where only 17% of the land is covered by forests. The strain has a high salt-tolerance level, allowing the plant to be grown in vast arid lands. The founder is Jack Song, 51, former student "revolutionary". (AFP/ Bangkok Post)
Wei Hsuehkang, fugitive drug kingpin, feels secure in Burma and didn't undergo plastic surgery on his face. He of ten stays in Tangyan and keeps in touch with Bao Youxiang and other Wa leaders. (Perspective)
Law amending the control of money laundering law promulgafy">31 October
On 22 September, 50 armed SPDC troops intruded into the UWSA region. They were disarmed and released three days later by the Wa. Bo La Kham, UWSA deputy commander, complained to the Burmese commander in Lashio, who denied knowledge. Khin Nyunt on reception of the news was "really surprised".
A senior member of the Wa leadership told Perspective on Monday, 25 October, China would support and protect the Wa unconditionally. "The SPDC has no reason to invade our region. For what? What would it gain?" said the Wa leader. But if their territory were invaded, the Wa would fight to the death. (Perspective)
Rosoboroneksport, Russian enterprise that specializes in defense hardware export, has plans to open new offices in Belgium, Burma and Uganda. China and India remain its chief markets. (BBC)
Operation launched a month back by Indian forces in Manipur has killed at least 13 separatists and captured 34, says army spokesman. Burmese soldiers simply guarding their own frontiers. There are some 19 militant groups in Manipur. (Indo Asian News Service)