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BurmaNet News January 6, 1995

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------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: January 6, 1996
Issue #315


BurmaNet Editor
January 6, 1995

The KNU used to allow Thai businessmen to run several sawmills along the Moei 
River. The sale of teak provided a significant source of income for the KNU.  After 
the KNU lost Manerplaw and Kawmoora, they also lost control of many of the 
sawmills.  The DKBA have taken over some of these, and Thai merchants have been 
eager to continue doing business, no matter who is in charge.  

One small sawmill still in KNU hands has faced repeated attacks by the DKBA.
Located west of Mae La camp on the Kawthoolei side, the sawmill has been 
attacked three times.  The first time, the KNU guards there were caught unaware, 
and the DKBA captured some KNU arms.  The second time, the KNU knew 
beforehand and shot at the DKBA as they came in.  The DKBA troops radioed 
nearby SLORC troops for reinforcements, but the SLORC only shelled three 
mortars. (According to a KNU official, in previous attacks on Karen refugee 
camps, the SLORC has provided much more support than this.)  Twenty DKBA 
troops launched a third strike around the 10th of December.

A camp official in Mae La claims that a Thai merchant has made a deal with 
both sides in order to keep this sawmill running.  He pays an equal sum to the 
KNU, who provide security, and to the DKBA, who with the SLORC, control 
much of the territory in that area.  It seems that the DKBA are not satisfied
with splitting the profits and are seeking full control of the sawmill.

Several sources have reported that DKBA officers and soldiers often go to Mae
Daan, a Thai border town near Sho Klo camp, to buy supplies.  Although the
DKBA have killed several Thais in the area in the past few months, it appears
that Thai merchants just can't resist doing business with them.  This puts
the Thai military and police forces stationed along the border in a difficult
position.  How can they get tough with DKBA intruders when Thai merchants 
are happily doing business with them on both sides of the river?  Some local
Thais and Karens have suggested that certain Thai authorities themselves are 
engaged in commerce with the DKBA.

It would seem that even from the Thai perspective, doing business with the
DKBA should be considered destructive rather than constructive engagement.


January 3 1996   By Suphamat Kasem

An illegal is suspected of supporting the pro-Rangoon DKBA 
in return for protection of its log smuggling business.

A Thai field military source in the Mae Sot District of Tak 
made the claims after DKBA troopers attacked a Thai Border 
Police patrol in a firefight which lasted about an hour on Saturday.

The clash took place after a BPP patrol on the Moei River 
found a large quantity of teak logs and processed wood, and 
a big stove for brewing illicit liquor on three islands.

Teak was found on the Burmese side of the river.
Fearing arrest a group of illegal loggers on the island 
escaped in a long-tailed boat.

Shortly after that, heavily armed members  of the DKBA opened fire 
with mortars and machine guns on the BPP unit, said the army officer. (BP)


December 31, 1995                Tak

FOUR pro-Rangoon Karen troops are believed to have been killed in
a clash yesterday morning with Thai Border Patrol Police on the
border in Tha Song Yang District.

A Border Patrol Police report said the fighting started about 10
a.m when members of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA)
opened fire with mortars and machine guns on a BPP unit patrolling
the river.  The gunfire damaged a BPP armoured car.


January 4, 1996   Agence France-Presse

BURMESE government troops have captured a rebel base in a 
military operation Against the ethnic Karenni of Burma's 
Kayah State, opposite Thailand's Mae Hong Son province, a 
Karenni source said yesterday.

A Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) base at Doi Thi 
Sak fell to forces of Burma's ruling State Law and Order 
Restoration Council (Slorc) on Monday and fighting continued 
in the area around Doi Sen, the KNPP source said.

The junta's offensive followed the KNPP's renunciation on 
Dec 20 of a ceasefire agreement signed in March last year. 
Fighting broke out around Dec 24, he said. (TN)


January 1, 1996   Rangoon, AFP

AUNG San Suu Kyi has called for a collective New Year's 
resolution to make efforts towards achieving democracy and 
human rights in Burma.

"Let us make a New Year resolution to work as much as we can 
to successfully bring democracy and human rights to the 
country," she urged hundreds of people who gathered outside 
the gates of her home on Saturday.

Aunt San Suu Kyi's weekend appearances since her release 
from six years of house arrest have become a regular feature 
in Rangoon. Analysts say they have become an irritant to the 
military junta.

They said it appears to have stepped up a media campaign 
singling her out for official criticism.

The latest official commentary appeared in the English 
language New Light of Myanmar yesterday accusing her of 
being a "dictator," imposing her will on the people as well 
as members of her National League for Democracy (NLD).

State-organised rallies calling for the successful conclusion of 
the constitutional national convention, which reconvened last 
month, receive daily coverage in the official press.

In an apparent appeal to the military, which has refused to 
engage in dialogue with the opposition, Aunt San Suu Kyi 
called for "more mature thoughts and actions" in 1996.

She said: "As we usher in the New Year we need to acquire 
new thoughts because, if we continue to stick to old ways 
and concepts, we ourselves will become stale. (BP)


January 3, 1995
from Michael Beer: mbeer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Couple of additions of  varying import:

1. FECs are now exchangable in another attempt to entice IMF.
2. Massive Rice Harvest for second straight year.
3. Total has hired mercenaries for its pipeline.
4. Readership and listenership of New Era newspaper, Democratic Voice of 
Burma and Burmanet grew dramatically.
5. A mention of the ICRC withdrawal
6. 1995 Year of Tourism, a massive failure to reach 500,000.
7. Bumper opium crops.
8. Crack-down beginning in December reflects growing NLD threat.
9. The importance of Beyond Rangoon cannot easily be over-stressed, 
internally and externally.



Myanmar official paper the New Light of Myanmar  carried an editorial
wishing all a happy and prosperous 1996 and saying that the people of 
Myanmar and the SLORCcan look back withsatisfaction over the year just 
ended.  The editorial said that foreign investments in the infrastructural 
sector alone have exceeded three billion US dollars and Myanmar offshore 
oil/gas exploration has been successful, withcommercial feasibility leading to 
the signing of a sales contract for gas across the border (to Thailand).  
"A record million tons of rice could be exported and the economy is taking off. 
Peace and tranquillity reigns, with 15 of the 16 armed groups having embraced 
the legal fold," added the paper.  On the diplomatic front, it said, there has been 
an impressive record of achievements topped by SLORC Chairman and Prime 
Minister Senior General Than Shwe attending the Bangkok meeting of heads 
of state/government in conjunction with the fifth ASEAN meeting and signing 
the treaty declaring Southeast Asia a nuclear-weapons free zone, the paper 
emphasized.  Than Shwe's meeting with several leaders from among the "SEA 10" 
is a signal positive achievement, the paper stated. Myanmar will be able to continue 
to make positive contributions toward peace, harmony and understanding in the 
region, it added.


Translated by L.A. Campaign for a Free Burma
January 3, 1995

Edith Mirante, Project Maje
14, Dartmouth Road

Dear Mrs. [sic] Mirante,

You recently have written to a few members of the Administrative Council of 
Total, who forwarded your letters to us.

You questioned us on the conditions of Total's presence in Burma (Myanmar).  
It seems useful us to provide you with a certain number of clarifications. 

Our project includes the development of a gas field situated in the Andaman 
sea and the construction of a pipeline from this offshore field to the Thai 

First, you need to know the construction of this pipeline hasn't started yet.  
Some preparatory reconnaissance, geared to define a final route, has been 
conducted between March and May of 1995.  Some technical ["genie civil"] work 
has recently been launched since the return of the dry season. The 
installation of the pipeline itself will take place in 1996-97, to allow gas 
deliveries in Thailand starting July 1st of 1998.  We emphasize these dates 
because we can only be stunned ["bitten"] by the total virulence of comments 
made relative to the conditions in which the labor will supposedly be done-- 
in reality, it hasn't even started.

We can confirm to you that there is not and will not be, from the part of 
those who will build the pipeline, any recourse to forced labor.  The pipeline 
will be installed under the operational control of Total who, as always in 
similar situations, will call upon specialized, internationally renowned 
companies.  Those companies will employ the local manpower, which will clearly 
be voluntary and paid.  The conditions with regard to the human and labor 
rights will be absolutely equivalent to the ones we apply everywhere else in 
the world.  It is unimaginable that Total could resort, either directly or 
through a third party, to forced labor in any form.

The method of work allegedly used to built the railroad linking the cities of 
Ye and Tavoy are sometimes denounced.  It needs to be known that this railroad 
has nothing to do with the pipeline project:

	-- The railroad, follows a North-South route, whereas the future 
pipeline follows a West-East route.
	-- It should be finished no earlier than 1998, which is after the 
construction of the pipeline (1996-1997)
	-- Technically, its capacity will be incompatible with conveying the 
massive materials utilized in pipeline construction.  For the construction of 
the pipeline, the equipment will be shipped by barge then transferred by 
trucks to the construction site.

Some "forced relocation" of populations is also allegedly attributable to the 
pipeline construction. Since the closing of the first agreements relative to 
the development of gas in Yadana (1992), we have not known of any village 
displacement linked to our project.  There would be no reason for such 
displacement since the pipeline route selected avoids villages.  It could 
happen--as in any great undertaking throughout the world--that the pipeline 
crosses portions of cultivated land. In this case, of course, Total and its 
partners would indemnify people whose interests would be harmed.

Moreover, and contrary to certain assertions, this project will not in any way 
endanger the ecological balance of the area.  The terrestrial portion of the 
pipeline--which will be buried--will run across the country for a short 
distance: 60 km (about 40 miles).  At the end of last year, Total sent 
multi-disciplinary teams to the region.  They carefully evaluated several 
options for the pipeline route. The selected route is the one which best 
respects the environment.  The zones traversed do not include primary forests, 
but rather slightly wooded zones.  The only proposed logging will take place 
on the route's last 2-3 kilometers (1.5-2 miles), since it crosses a 
mountainous region; but this logging will be compensated by plantations, 
equivalent at the least. 

At last, to again place things in a larger context, Total considers that the 
project of development of Yadana gas field creates a historical chance for the 
people of Burma, since it will represent an important part of the country's 
exports.  We hold the conviction that when a country possesses strong energy 
resources, it is in its best interest to open itself to the world, foster 
changes of society, obtain peace on its territory, to durably win the trust of 
international investors.  The recent liberation of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, 
which we are celebrating, comforts us in this conviction.

Wishing that these clarifications will fulfill your expectations, we beg you 
to believe, dear madam, the assurance of our best feelings.  [This is typical 
of closing salutations in French correspondance]

Director of Institutional Relations


January 1, 1996

        As the ruling junta solidifies its position it is growing
          increasingly intolerant of dissent, Aung Zaw writes.

Last Sunday's warning to opposition groups by Lt Gen Khin Nyunt
Secretary One of the State Law and Order Restoration Council,
marks an ominous turn of events in Burma, analysts say.

In a national address, Lt Gen Khin Nyunt accused opposition
leaders of trying to break the country apart at the behest of
unidentified foreigners. " Adopted sons and daughters of the
colonialists, under external influence, are attempting to cause
the disintegration of the union and the loss of independence," he
said. While it was obvious Khin Nyunt was referring to Aung San
Suu Kyi, he did not mention her by name.

With his speech, Lt Gen Khin Nyunt joins several other senior
military leaders who have come out recently to warn opposition
groups. Two weeks ago Lt Gen Myo Nyunt and Lt Gen Tin Oo vowed to
"annihilate" those who mar the interests of the nation. The
warnings have raised the likelihood that Suu Kyi and top
opposition leaders may soon find themselves in the dock.

"It is likely to happen," said Bertil Lintner, a leading Burma
watcher based in Bangkok.

At the beginning of December Burmese dissidents were speculating
that there would be of a political crackdown after the Asean

Senior Gen Than Shwe, Lt Gen Khin Nyunt and Foreign Minister Ohn
Gyaw represented Burma at the summit, where it was made clear
Burma could be a full Asean member by the year 2000.

One day after visiting military leaders told Asean leaders that
their country is progressing towards an open market economy that
would lead to democracy, Sein Hla Aung, 45, was arrested in
Mandalay. Sein Hla Aung is member of Suu Kyi's party, the
National League for Democracy. He was arrested for allegedly
distributing video tapes of Suu Kyi's speeches. Sein Hla Aung was
previously detained in 1990. It was also learned that Tin Oo, one
of the senior leaders of the NLD, was preparing his bags to go to
prison. He was released in March of this year.

"It is not only U Tin Oo. Many other party members and Suu Kyi
are ready to face the backlash," said one senior member of the
NLD, which pulled out of the Slorc-sponsored National Convention
in November. Hence, Slorc lost face as it has invested so much in it.

Win Min, a former university student now in Bangkok pleaded for
the international community and human rights watchdogs to monitor
the current developments in Burma.

"We have received information that inmates in Insein prison were
transferred to upper Burma in order to make more rooms for
newcomers," he said. "If it is true, Slorc is preparing to arrest
some destructive elements".

Since Suu Kyi's unexpected release earlier this year many people
crossed their lingers hoping to see a historical handshake like
the one that took place between the antagonists in the Middle
East and South Africa. But Suu Kyi, who some have called Burma's
Nelson Mandela, has found no Burmese de Klerk willing to work with her.

Suu Kyi, in the eyes of generals, is a "destructive element," a
"traitor," "malcontent," and "adopted daughter of colonialists."

Suu Kyi's repeated requests for a dialogue with military leaders
have been met with total silence. The door to dialogue is still shut.

Analysts recalled the two significant meetings between Suu Kyi
and military leaders in 1994 while she was under house arrest.
The meetings led to speculation that there would be a
power-sharing arrangement between the Suu Kyi-led opposition and
the Slorc. Seemingly, the military leaders are not interested in sharing power.

"At the moment, they have the upper hand so dialogue is
impossible," says a senior member of the student army, the All
Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF) .

The current ruling junta is in a strong position and has gained
confidence over the past two years. This year one Slorc minister
attended the conference of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
in the United States.

Tokyo resumed its assistance to Burma in November. David Abel,
minister for National Planning and Economic Development, said
Burma had approved 160 foreign investment projects worth $3
billion through October 31 this year.

The "Lady" at University Avenue has urged foreign investors to
make a careful study on her country before they rush in with
millions of dollars. She also expressed doubts over Asean's
controversial constructive engagement policy with Slorc. But it
seems as if Asean leaders and businessmen have ignored her too.

Ironically, businessmen from the East and West saw Suu Kyi's
release as a golden opportunity to invest in the country as it
opens up. Like it or not, military leaders have plans to stay in
power. Ostensibly, they will continue to ignore Suu Kyi and the
opposition. "They know they have many cards to play this game but
Suu Kyi has none," said Zaw Min, a former university student from
Mandalay. He said dialogue was impossible unless the junta is
under pressure or pushed into a corner. But the question remains,
then what? Will it be just another photo-opportunity ceremony?

Recently, Karen rebels sent a delegation to Rangoon, prompting
analysts to predict that within six months a cease-fire agreement
will be reached between the two sides.- Karen insurgents are the
only armed group currently outside the "legal fold". If the
Karens make a deal with Slorc it is commonly held that Burma's
democracy groups will face a harder-line from the junta. "If the
Karen go, they [Slorc leaders] are ready to knock down a peg or
two," Zaw Min warned.

Since her release Suu Kyi has been increasingly marginalized.
When she attempted last week to visit a Karen new year festival
her car was intercepted and taken to military headquarters for a
warning. It is a strong indication that she cannot leave her
fortress. The military authorities still tolerate the :Suu Kyi's
weekend speeches at her gate but residents in Rangoon are asking
how long that will last?

Unlike 1989, Suu Kyi has declined to respond to the junta's
accusations and warnings this time. As the military leaders
ignore her, she has done the same except for her repeated calls
for a dialogue.

One veteran reporter in Rangoon said: "We hear nothing about a
possible dialogue, when we read the newspaper it seems as though
the officials are getting tough. She enjoys talking to them,
people like to listen to what she says," said the reporter. He
stressed more people are coming to listen to Suu Kyi's speeches
each week.

This week more people will be coming because people want to
listen to her new year speech he said. The year of 1995 is almost
over. As the military leaders ignore her Suu Kyi is going her way.


January 1, 1996

     People are being forgotten as governments draw their legitimacy
        from economic growth figures, Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe writes.

It is fashionable nowadays to sing the praises of authoritarianism, 
portraying it as an efficient instrument that delivers the economic goods. 
However, given the bad rap it has accrued from association with the likes 
of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot, those who laud authoritarianism have been 
careful to subsume it under the cloak of non-Western, Asian-Confucian "culture".

The main frame of the pro-authoritarian argument is that
democracy (and associated rights of individuals and minorities)
are not only Western (and hence alien), but that they encourage
sloth, disorder, and are, besides, a luxury which only affluent
societies can afford, or that they impede the serious business of
"national development" (and filling empty stomachs or clothing the naked).

To buttress the argument, the economic woes of India and the
Philippines are trotted out as examples of the inefficacy of democracy. 
As well, the breakdown of family, rampant crime, drug use, and the rotting 
core of cities in the West are presented as resulting from too much human rights, 
democracy, and overly liberal attitudes and policies.

The point to note, however, is that the social problems mentioned
are universal. To digress, it is only in Singapore that we do not
find much signs of social dysfunction _ mainly because it is an
island city-state (apart from its tough laws and efficient police
methods). Singapore is a unique phenomenon, and using it as proof
of the superiority of Authoritarian Capitalism is like using
Monaco to argue the superiority of hereditary rule over other
post-feudal systems, and is hence clearly problematic.

Social problems are universal and their complexity correlates with
changes in the economic structures in which social structures and
values are embedded. For example, in olden times, or in a non-
monetarized, isolated rural community social problems would be
almost non-existent, . The father or grandfather ruled not only
over the family but also managed the family-cum-production unit.
Paternalistic authority (and dependent submission), ascriptive
hierarchy, family ties and personal loyalties, personalized and
reciprocal dependency (and interactions)?the core of what is now
packaged as Asian-Confucian values _ fitted the requirements of
production, consumption, exchange, and the keeping of harmony of
the time. i.e. in pastoral-rural civilizations. (Incidentally,
the Asian-Confucian type of values was prevalent in ancient
despotism, and as well in Scarlett O'Hara's plantation America).

With the advent and entrenchment of a sophisticated mode of
economic activity which covers a much larger area, requires more
complex organizations, and where there is formed impersonal
markets driven by the logic of money-rationality; and where
competition for profit is at the heart of economic activities,
the efficacy of the rural-pastrol (Asian-Confucian) values are
not capable of alleviating problems stemming from the destruction
of rural-pastoral civilizations by impersonal and increasingly
global, economic forces (in money-based, industrializing civilization).

In looking at the phenomenon of NIC-dom (aspired to and/or
achieved), how one assesses it very much depends on what one
prefers to see. Looking at statistics, the near-double digit rate
of growth achieved annually for a decade by, for example, China,
Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia (and even by Burma, as claimed) is
impressive. However, the question to ask is: why have the
standards and quality of life in these countries not caught up
with the West where the rate of growth is by comparison, dismal
(a lot less than S per cent)? In this regard, Singapore is
provides a good example. That is, its cost of living is higher
than Vancouver's, but the quality and standard of life are much
lower (perhaps only slightly above Bangkok's).

Statistics show that Authoritarian Capitalism, propped up by
Asian-Confucian values (imposed, propagated and reinforced by the
state), does deliver the economic goods _ but to whom? This is
the question that needs asking. The irony of the Asian-Confucian
success story can be seen in the scrambling of its beneficiaries
_ the "Winners" _ to transplant themselves and their families in
societies condemned as being too indulgent, liberal, economically
inefficient. etc. Why is this so?

The preference of the "winners" of Authoritarian Capitalism for the way 
of life in societies that run on the principles and structures of Democratic 
Capitalism, is clearly not without meaning. What is the message?

The message may be that, 1/ capitalism without democracy is a
potential timebomb in that it depends on a set of rural-pastoral
(Asian-Confucian) cultural values to solve serious economic,
socio-political problems inherent in modern, and increasingly
global, capitalism; 2/ that it does not really deliver any goods
to society as a whole: 3/ that it merely facilitates short-term
profit-making for those positioned to do so: and 4/ it destroys
whatever potential there is for sustained growth and genuine
development (especially of human resource and community).

To be sure, Democratic Capitalism is not perfect, mainly because
capitalism is centered on competition and governed by cold, often
harsh, profit-maximization rationality. However, the harshness of
capitalism is moderated in Democratic Capitalism by the principle
that ordinary man _ instead of extraordinary men _ is at the
centre of the economy and polity. Man is given the opportunity to
grow to adulthood, to question and challenge his "superiors and
betters", construct or deconstruct cultures and values, reject or
dissect received/given knowledge, and most importantly, he is
empowered to constrain the exercise of both economic and political 
power. Man in Democratic Capitalism is his own master, and those 
who exercise power over him are but "temporary tenants of power".

Whereas in Authoritarian Capitalism (buttressed by
Asian-Confucian values), man is prevented from attaining adult
maturity. He is impelled, besides bearing the cost of
"development" (i.e., wealth-making), to submit, like infantile
adults, to paternalistic superiors and compelled to sacrifice for
"community", or "the nation" _ as defined unilaterally by a few
who hold power and aspire to permanently occupy it.

If capitalism (and "economic development") is to make good on its
promises, serious thought should perhaps be given to the question
of what is, or should be, the constituency of capitalism: Man, or
such abstractions as the "national economy, growth rate, and
gross national product", to the detriment of Man and his
community and environment.

Given the- nature of capitalism which necessarily produces a
minority of "winners" at the expense of a large portion of
"losers", the failure to locate man and his well being at the
centre of economy and polity, will invariably lead to the
unravelling of the bonds that hold men together.

(With acknowledgement of, and in appreciation of Robert D
Kaplan's "The Coming Anarchy". The Atlantic Monthly, Feb 1994).

Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe is a son of the late Sao Shwe Thaike, Burma's
first independent president from 1948-1952. Sao Shwe Thaike, also
known as the respected Sawbwa of Yawnghwe, died in military
custody shortly after the coup in 1962 by Gen Ne Win. This
article was contributed to The Nation.


January 4, 1995

ILLEGAL immigrants will be allowed to work legally in Thailand 
to solve the country's labour shortage Secretary for Labour 
and Social Welfare Nithas Theerawit said.

The new move was agreed in principle yesterday at a meeting of 
officials from the ministry, the National Security Council and 
other state agencies seeking ways of solving the labour shortage.

In principle, illegal immigrants will have to report to the 
immigration police first.

They will then be registered by the Labour and Social Welfare 
Ministry before being taken on by their employers, Mrs Nithas said.

Their employers will have to take responsibility for any 
wrongdoings by their workers.

The ministry will issue the illegal aliens work permits valid 
for two years and the permits may be extended by ministry officials.

There are about 500,000 illegals immigrants working in 
Thailand at present, most come from Burma.

The NSC is to work out regulations and procedures. (BP)


January 2, 1995             Nussara Sawatsawang   (abridged)

THAI CONGLOMERATE Charoen Pokphand is moving into Burma after
successful ventures in China ,and Vietnam.

Within two weeks, a technical team will conduct a survey for the
right location to grow DK888 _ the group's best maize hybrid
single cross _ to supply feedmills the group plans to open soon.

The survey follows a trip by CP representatives to Rangoon in
mid-November, as part of the delegation of Foreign Minister M.R.
Kasem S. Kasemsri.

During the visit, the minister mentioned the company's intention
to contribute 10 tons of DK888 worth 800,000 baht to the Burmese
leader Gen Than Shwe, chairman of the State Law and Order
Restoration Council.

The CP group said it hoped this gesture would improve mutual
understanding between the two countries and benefit Burma as well
as the company.

The technical team is expected to survey an extensive area in
three divisions and two states in central, western, northern and
northeastern Burma: Pegu, Magway and Mandalay divisions, and
Arakan and Shan states.

Adirek Sripatak, vice-president of CP Agro-Industry (Thailand)
Co, said last week the group planned to spend about 100 million
baht to build an animal feed manufacturing plant, slaughter house
and on chicken raising in Burma. The project would be 100 percent
CP owned. Construction of the plant, on 200 rai in Rangoon, is likely 
to start midyear after the Burmese authorities approve the project.

Montri Congtrakultie the CP Trading Group's vice-president in
Crop Integration, who was in M.R. Kasem's delegation to Burma,
said the company planned to start soybean farms and raise prawns.

In addition to investing in Burma, Mr Montri said CP group would
provide two weeks' to one month's training in Bangkok for Burmese
officials from the ministries of trade, agriculture and fisheries
and livestock to get acquainted  with the company's technology.

Two years ago, maize plantation experiments were carried out in
Mandalay. In 1994, a CP chain import-export trading company was
established in Rangoon to explore opportunities and collect
information and establish connections with local partners.

Former premier Gen Suchinda Kraprayoon, honorary chairman of
Telecom Holding a CP Group subsidiary, visited Rangoon in August
to pave way for the company's business there.

Since the aim was to sell in Burma, the short-term plan was to
raise the buying power of its people. The company might establish
a bank and a fund for local communities to extend loans to
Burmese, along the lines of its ventures in north-eastern
Thailand, Mr Montri said.



Information from various wire services, provided by M. Beer and abridged by


The Czech Republic is owed nearly 150bn Czech crowns (5.6bn dollars) by
other countries, the Czech news agency CTA reported on 28th December quoting a
Finance Ministry spokesman.  Regarding debts owed directly to the government, 
Nicaragua, Syria and BURMA are the biggest convertible currency debtors. 


China and Burma signed  an agreement for China to supply machinery, equipment
and spare parts to an agricultural machinery factory in Burma. The agreement was
signed by Chinese ambassador to Myanmar Chen Baoliu and Myanmar minister for
national planning and economic development Abel.  According to the agreement,


Diethelm Travel has opened branch offices in Mandalay and 
Pagan to cope with an increase in tourism to Burma.  Dielthelm
expects to handle at  least 2,500 visitors to Burma in the six months 
ending  March, 27% more than in the same period last year.


A 10-day Myanma cultural festival will be held in the Santosa Resort Garden
of  Singapore from January 5 to 14.  A 30-member Myanma troupe will take part in 
the festival to exhibit the country's culture and art.


According to Myanmar state-run radio, over 1.889 million US dollars was 
made at the interim jade sale held at the Myanma gems emporium hall up to 
now.  At the 3-day interim sale, a total of 189 jade lots worth 1,784,021 US 
dollars on competitive bidding and lots of gems, jewelry and jade figurines 
worth 105,818 US dollars at fixed prices were sold off.