Independence Weekly, No. 23 (1 - 15 December 2002)
Landmark accord to end 26 year war in Aceh Indonesia's Sumatra island, signed in Gevena.
Korn Dabbarangsi, Deputy PM, accuses Burma of failing to cooperate in a plan to repatriate illegal workers. So far Rangoon has agreed to establish only one holding center in Myawaddy. Thailand is pushing for two more in Kawsawng and Three Pagoda Pass. (AFP)
Registered workers, some 300,000 will have another year to stay, says the government resolution of a meeting on alien labor. (Bangkok Post)
28 democracy activists in Maehongson arrested at a meeting. Some are released after presenting legal documents allowing their stay in Thailand. 9 men and 5 women remain in detention. There are fears they will be handed over to the military regime. (13 were 'deported' on 13 December. One still remains in jail.)
Burmese surprises Thailand by reviving claims of Thai support for Shan rebels at a Township Border level meeting in Chiang Saen, Chiangrai Province. Lt-Col Aye Zaw tells Col Apichart Meesomomade that Shan strongholds are located inside Thailand. Thailand denies the allegation. The incident comes after bilateral relations are supposed to be have improved. (Bangkok Post)
Border issues with Rangoon will be alleviated if ceasefire talks between the junta and ethnic groups prove successful, says Defense Minister Thammarak Issarangkura na Ayuddhya. (Bangkok Post)
The CRPP have accepted two more parties to its ranks: National Democratic Party and National Human Rights and Democratic Party. It has yet to say anything about Patriotic Veterans Organization's application. (DVB)
The Military Alliance of five major ethnic groups: Shan, Karen, Karenni, China and Arakan has invited other groups to join them in bolstering future military operations, says Nang Khurh Sen of Shan State Army. (AFP)
Talks between NLD and the junta has made some progress, says Aung San Suu Kyi. She is hopeful of progress towards political reform by this time next year. Some political change could even take place "within months." (Reuters)
The Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors (VBSW) says in a statement that Kyaw Ni a.k.a. Johnny who took part in the 1999 Burmese embassy seizure was captured and executed by the Thai army in July the following year. The accused denies any knowledge of Johnny's fate. (AFP)
Ms Suu Kyi's release could well be another of the many aces up the sleeve of the SPDC.
All policemen instructed to test for HIV. The immediate concern is lack of financial support for the test, 300 kyats for each person. (DVB)
Ex-dictator Ne Win passes away and cremated on the same day "on the wishes of the party most concerned", according to the obituary. His ashes were scattered in the Hlaing. (DVB)
Ne Win's Legacy
Chief of staff Shwe Mann meets Cao Gangchuan, vice chairman of China's military commission. (Xinhua)
Nothing changes because of his passing away. He's gone but his adopted son are still around.
VOB, 8 December 2002, on U Ne Win's death
7 December 2002
Security beefed up in Rangoon following U Ne Win's death. House owners who fail to inform guest arrivals are threatened with 14 day jail terms. (DVB)
Light Infantry Division 44 preparing for offensive against Karen rebels. Villages along the Thaton-Hpapon road are under threats of paying damages and forcible relocations in the event of attack by rebels on the convoys. (DVB)
Monks, women and children in Ye Township are being used as human shields during a military operation against a splinter group from the New Mon State Party that have concluded ceasefire with Rangoon. (Kaowao) Narinjara News also reports using of people to clear landmines along Burma-Bangladeshi border in recent weeks.
Expatriate Shans celebrate their traditional new year's eve in Chiangrai, Chiangmai, Maehongson and Bangkok.
One Shan singer, identified only as Yi, arrested while singing on the stage decorated with two large Shan national flags for fear of repercussions on Thai-Burma relations. (Bangkok Post)
Celebrations in northern Shan State permitted to hold after a report by NMG that they have been withheld by the authorities. (S.H.A.N.)
The eight state structure would be the kind of federation which is acceptable to all the ethnic nationalities, said Col Yawdserk of the Shan State Army "South" on 24 November. This is the first time the SSA, regarded as a diehard fighter for Total Independence, has publicly announced its softening stance towards a federal union with Burma proper. (Interview, www.shanworld.com.)
UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) is happy with progress in Burma's war against drugs, says head Antonio Mana Costa. (Bangkok Post)
Germany has pledged $1.26 million for UN Drug Control Program in Burma. (New Light of Myanmar)
16 Thais detained in UWSA's Mongyawn and Banhong prisons released by Col Min Chen, personal secretary to Wei Hsuehying, at San Makhed, Mae Fa Luang District of Chiangrai. About 300 Thais are being kept at Wa prisons. (Bangkok Post)
HM King Bhumibol calls for a national war on drugs while delivering his annual birthday eve address. It is the third time in less than a week that drugs have been mentioned in a royal speech. (Bangkok Post)
Deputy PM Chavalit Yongchaiyudh will propose anti-drug agencies come together under one roof to wipe out drugs by HM Queen's 72nd birthday, 12 August 2004, 20-months away. (Bangkok Post)
Outspoken General Wattanachai Chaimuenwong confirms earlier estimate by Maj Gen Naris Srinet of a billion speed pills flooding into Thailand. (Bangkok Post) he later says he considers Wa soldiers as Burmese soldiers. Army sources say the Wa are also producing methamphetamines in Laos and Cambodia near the borders with Thailand.
Drugs, precursor chemicals and poppy seeds burnt in Namzarng. The ceremony is presided over by Gen Khin Nyunt. (New Light of Myanmar)
Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh has invited Burma's Gen Khin Nyunt to a meeting in Chiangrai "in the next few days" to discuss proposal of joint border patrols against drugs. No date has been set for the meeting.
Cooperation against drugs will also be discussed at the regional level meeting in Moulmein, 26-28 December, say Lt-Gen Udomchai Ongkhasingh. (Bangkok Post)
UN officials are worried "too fast, too soon" decrease in opium output (50% out in the current production year) will land the country with a humanitarian crisis.
3 Wa drug traffickers and 1 Thai solders killed during a shootout in Chaingrai's Mae Fa Luang District. Thai forces also seize 36,000 speed pills. Ex-KMT familes are also involved, says Gen Surayud Chulanont. (Bangkok Post)
Burmese Inspection team from Kunlong pushed back by Wa units in the township. (DVB)
A joint command center for drug suppression headed by Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and targeting to win the war on drugs by 12 August 2004 set up. The structure will help speed up work and forge unity among all agencies concerned, says Defense Minister Thammarak Issarangkura. (Bangkok Post)
Burma will be opium free by 2015, says Pol Maj Gen Khin Yi, Secretary of Central Committee on Drug Abuse Control in Chiangmai. Thai drug officials wonder whether the plan will succeed given Burma's internal problems.
Burma has never surveyed the border area and does not know many refineries there are, says Pol Col Kham Awng at the end of 2-day drug meeting in Chiangmai. He brushes off claims of existence of 55 factories and smuggling of 1 billion speed pills into Thailand as mere speculation. "It may have come from our (other) neighbors", he says. Precursors as ephedrine is made in India and caffeine in Thailand. "Burma has never imported such chemicals," he insists. (Bangkok Post)
Wa relocations may have contributed to the decrease in opium output. (Time Asia)
Rangoon wants the power plant to be built in Tasarng, between Mongpan and Mongton, in Shan State, while EGAT wants it to be built on the Thai side, says Energy minister Pongthep Theipkanchana. (Bangkok Post)
52-Thai based organizations present a petition to China to halt blasting of Mekong due to begin 15 December. (S.H.A.N)
We are now dealing with a mental state of mind that has been deeply ingrained into the behaviors of Burmese soldiers for a long time. If the Burmese military called a halt to this type of behavior tomorrow, one would certainly have to doubt their ability to enforce that on to a group of men who have been educated in this type of warfare for far too long.
Tha Lay, Burma Issues, October 2002, (who says Burmese soldiers are being indoctrinated of the need to establish a single national race in order to preserve the country.)
600 Burmese workers from Rian Thong Apparel, Taiwanese owned knit factory in Maesod sacked and work permits seized, after they stage a strike demanding increased pay. They receive only an average of B. 1,000 - 1,500 month, according to a worker. (Bangkok Post)