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Wired News on June 20, 1995

Attn: Burma Newsreaders
Re: Wired News on June 20, 1995

Thai Products Face Burmese Boycott Call

      MAE SOT, Thailand, June 20 (Reuter) - Posters have begun appearing in
Burma asking people not to buy Thai products, Burmese traders arriving in
this Thai border town said on Tuesday. 

    The traders said the posters had recently been put up in prominent places
in the southeastern Burmese border town of Myawadi, as well as other major
towns and cities including Moulmein and Mandalay. 

    They urged people to instead buy Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian and
Singaporean goods. 

    The posters did not give a reason for the boycott request, the traders
said, but their appearance follows several months of strained relations
between the neighbouring countries. 

    Since the beginning of the year Thailand has complained to Burma on
several occasions over encroachment into Thai territory by Rangoon forces or
fighters allied to the Burmese army. 

    Burma has responded by accusing Thailand of assisting ethnic minority
guerrillas fighting Burma's military government for greater autonomy. 

    Both sides have in recent months beefed up forces along their common

    For several years Thailand has been among the leading advocates of
constructive engagement with Burma's much-criticised military government. 

    Thailand argues that closer business ties with Burma's ruling generals
are more likely to prompt democratic and human-rights improvements than
isolation, which is backed by Burmese dissidents and some Western


Drug Trafficking Called a "Cancer" in Asia

      By Carol Giacomo

    WASHINGTON, June 20 (Reuter) - Illegal narcotics
trafficking, once a problem mostly for Burma and Thailand, has
``spread like a cancer'' throughout Asia, a State Department
expert said on Tuesday after a trip to the region.

    ``What was previously treated basically as a Burma and
Thailand problem has now evolved into an issue that threatens
all the countries in the region,'' Assistant Secretary of State
Robert Gelbard said.

    ``Trafficking routes have spread like a cancer to all these
countries. China now rivals Thailand as a passage for the
transshipment of Burmese heroin,'' he told a news briefing.

    He added that ``as law enforcement efforts improve in
Thailand, neighbouring states of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have
all experienced an alarming growth in drug trafficking and are
seriously concerned about the domestic abuse problems that
inevitably follow.''

    Gelbard, who oversees the department's international
narcotics and law enforcement bureau, was reporting on a
two-week trip he just completed to Asia.

    He said all the places visited -- Thailand, Laos, Cambodia,
Vietnam and Hong Kong -- recognise the seriousness of the
problem and want to cooperate with the United States in
anti-narcotics efforts.

    Of particular note was his assessment of Vietnam, since it
is likely to figure in President Bill Clinton's decision this
year on whether to open full diplomatic relations with Hanoi's
communist government.

    ``In Vietnam, I was impressed by the government's awareness
of the narcotics problem and by its political commitment to
address it,'' Gelbard said.

     A U.S. Customs team is to visit Vietnam on Wednesday to
assess what kind of counternarcotics assistance Hanoi needs and
a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration training team will
conduct a similar survey soon afterwards, he said.

     He called cooperation between the United States and
Thailand ``truly outstanding,'' citing last year's arrest of 10
major drug traffickers associated with the Shan United Army.

    ``Senior Thai government officials told me that they hope to
extradite these individuals to the United States in the near
future to face trial on major heroin smuggling charges. The Thai
courts also are seriously considering our extradition request
for a former member of parliament wanted in the United States
for smuggling shiploads of marijuana,'' he said.

    Gelbard cited ``encouraging trends'' in Laos, where opium
production has steadily declined over the last five years.

    On the down side, Cambodia has virtually no
counter-narcotics capability.

    Although there is some anti-narcotics cooperation between
the United States and Burma, corruption remains a problem in a
country that is the source of 60 percent of the heroin entering
the United States, he said.

    Washington is probing reports of a significant increase in
opium production, including government-controlled areas.


Sea Containers Signals Second Quarter Net Income of $100 million Equal to $9
per common share; 1995 will be second most profitable year in company's
30-year history

    NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 20, 1995--At its annual general  meeting
of shareholders held in New York City today, Sea Containers  said that its
second quarter net income would be approximately $100  million or $9 per
common share compared with net income in the  second quarter of 1994 of $10
million or $0.60 per common share.    

    The sale of its Wightlink subsidiary for $160 million on June 1  was
largely responsible for the improvement.  The company also said  that for the
first six months of 1995 net income would be  approximately $96 million or $8
per common share compared with  approximately $7 million profit and a small
loss on common shares in  the first half of 1994.    

    The company's main earnings period due to the seasonality of its  ferries
and hotels businesses is the third quarter.  If sale of a  hotel now under
negotiation takes place this year, the company said  its earnings on common
shares for 1995 would approximate the current  common share price.  The sale
of Wightlink has increased common  shareholders' equity from approximately
$140 million to $235 million  (from $13 per common share to $21 per common

    James B. Sherwood, president, said that the company intends to  replace
the earnings lost as a result of the Wightlink sale, after  taking into
account interest savings, with a new ferry service  planned to be introduced
later this year in Venezuela, in joint  venture with the established operator
Conferry, and by introduction  of the first of its new generation
SuperSeaCats scheduled for  delivery later this year. He also said that the
company plans to  submit tenders to acquire two of British Rail's operating
divisions  which are scheduled to be privatized early next year.    

    Robert S. Ward, senior vice president - Container Division,  indicated
that significant progress has been made in raising  container lease rates,
helped by the rising cost of new containers  due to higher steel, wood and
aluminum prices.  The entire $160  million of proceeds from the Wightlink
sale has been applied to debt  reduction in order to reduce floating rate
debt costs. The  combination of the company's new "SeaWorthy" repair standard
and  "SeaCover" damage protection plan is rapidly reducing repair costs  for
both the company and lessees.    

    Ward announced that production of 40' refrigerated containers  would
start shortly at the company's Gul Road factory in Singapore,  to complement
20' refrigerated container production at the Nam Lee  factory, also in
Singapore. He indicated that return on investment  for all specialized
container types had improved in recent months,  particularly for ventilated
containers where demand had sagged in  1994.  He said the company would have
to increase the output of its  specialized containers at the Yorkshire Marine
Containers subsidiary  due to rising demand.    

    He indicated that the company was either in the prototype or
 pre-production stage of its new silo containers, improved insulated
 containers and two palletwide containers.    

    David Benson, vice president - Ferries and Ports, said that the  impact
of the Channel Tunnel on Hoverspeed's profits this year would  likely reduce
them by about $3 million from the record $8 million  earned in 1994 to $5
million this year, however, he expected the  shortfall to be compensated by
better results from the company's  Scotland and Swedish services and
improving results from the Isle of  Man Steam Packet Company in which the
company holds a 43% interest.    

    Simon Sherwood, vice president - Leisure Division, said that  three hotel
properties were earmarked for sale with the company  retaining management of
two of them.  These properties will likely  be replaced with acquisition of
an existing hotel, a new hotel in  Johannesburg, South Africa and a river
cruise ship in Burma.  All  three of these acquisitions should be in
operation either late this  year or early next year.    

    Michael Stracey, chief financial officer, said that the company  has no
immediate plans to issue any publicly traded debt instruments  or to sell
equity, however, he did not rule out the issuance of some  equity in part
payment for asset purchases.  He indicated that the  stability of the
container leasing industry was such that new  methods of container finance
are emerging and these are being  explored by the company.  He said a date
had not yet been set for  calling the company's $2.10 series of preferred
shares in whole or  in part, but he expected a timetable to be set before
year end.    


Sea Containers America Inc. 
Jennifer Hawkins, 212/302-5066 
or William W. Galvin, 212/838-5454