[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

BurmaNet News February 19, 1996

Received: (from strider) by igc2.igc.apc.org (8.6.11/Revision: 1.16 ) id RAA09961; Mon, 19 Feb 1996 17:29:19 -0800
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 1996 17:29:19 -0800

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

The BurmaNet News: February 19, 1996
Issue #346



February 12, 1996
by Aung San Suu Kyi

	It is generally held that in Burma we do not have four seasons, we have
only three, the hot season, the rainy season and the cold season.  Spring is
largely unknown although in the cooler border regions there is a stretch of
pleasant, spring-like weather that we refer to as early summer.  Neither is
there a season that the Japanese would easily recognized as autumn, but in
those parts of the country where there are deciduous trees a flush of
/momiji/* colors brighten the early weeks of the cold season.
	From a casual observation of Burmese behavior it might appear as through we
were not particularly sensitive to the changing seasons.  We do not have
festivals to celebrate the advent of spring blossoms, we do not acknowledge
the vibrant beauty of the fall, we do not incorporate seasonal motifs into
our artistic presentations or our fashions.  We wear the same kind of
clothes the whole year round: the main sartorial difference between the hot
season and the rainy season is an umbrella and in the cold season we simply
add a few layers on to our summer outfits.  We do not give the impression of
paying too much attention to seasonal variations.
	But the Burmese are in fact acutely aware of the minute changes that take
place in their natural surroundings throughout the year.  In the classical
tradition we recognize six season and we also have a genre of poetry that
treats the 12 months of our lunar calendar as though each month were a
separate season in itself.
	December coincides roughly with the month of /Natdaw/ which, in the days
before Buddhism took root in Burma, was a time for the worship of the Hindu
god Ganesh, the elephant-headed deity of wealth.  In poetic tradition Natdaw
is the moth when the earth is wrapped in mists and cold silvery dews and
hearts are filled with longing for absent loved ones.  It is the month when
the /thazin/ orchid blooms: tiny exquisite blossoms, parchment colored with
golden yellow stamens, drooping from a curve of translucent green stems.
For the Burmese the thazin is exceedingly romantic, delicate and difficult
to nurture, its graceful beauty barely separable from the sharp coolness of
the season when it comes into flower.
	Natdaw constitutes the second half of the season of /Hemanta/ or winter.
It is the most lovely, most nostalgic of seasons in Burma.  The skies are
porcelain bright, pale cerulean edged with duck egg blue at the horizon.  In
Rangoon the coldest day is no colder than a fine day in Kyoto at the time of
the cherry blossom.  But for the Burmese this is cold indeed.
	Elderly gentlemen cover their heads in woolen balaclavas when they go out
for their early morning constitutional and old ladies drape knitted shawls
over flannel or velvet jackets of a cut fashionable half a century ago.
Tradition recommends the consumption of rich and "heating"foods such as
meat, milk, butter, honey and dried ginger during Hemanta and the cheeks of
those who can afford to eat well become rounded and glow in the fresh
morning air.
	Winter begins for me when at night I start piling on the Chin blankets that
we have always used in the family.  These blankets of thick cotton come in
stripes or checks, usually in different shades of greens, reds and reddish
browns.  As children we became attached to our own blankets and I remember
in particular a green checked one that I insisted on using until it was
almost in tatters.  Now, the first blanket I place on my bed at the advent
of the cold weather is an old one given to my father by Chin friends: it is
white with faded red stripes and in the corner is the date embroidered by my
mother, "25-3-47."  When the temperature drops further I place on top of the
Chin blanket a Japanese one that formed part of my parents' bridal bed.
	This is the eighth winter that I have not been able to get into bed at
night without thinking of prisoners of conscience and other inmates of jails
all over Burma.  As I lie on a good mattress under a mosquito net, warm in
my cocoon of blankets, I cannot help but remember that many of my political
colleagues are lying in bleak cells on thin mats through which seep the
peculiarly unpleasant chill of a concrete floor.  Both their clothing and
their blankets would be quite inadequate and they would be unprotected by
mosquito nets.  There are not as many mosquitoes in winter as their are in
summer but a net would have provided some much needed extra warmth.  I
wonder how many prisoners lie awake shivering through the night, how many of
the older ones suffer from aching bones and cramped muscles, how many are
dreaming of a hot drink and other comforts of home.
	This is the eighth winter that I have got out of bed in the morning and
looked out at the clean freshness of the world and wondered how may
prisoners are able to savor the beauties of Hemanta of which our poets have
written so nostalgically.  It would be interesting to read poems of winter
behind the unyielding walls of prisons which shut out silvery dew and
gossamer sunshine, the smell of pale winter blossoms and the taste of rich
warming foods.

* * *

This article is one of a yearlong series, the Japanese translation of which
appears in the Mainichi Shimbun the same day, or the previous day in some areas.

* In Japan, /momiji/ has the specific meaning of "maple leaves" or the more
general meaning of "autumn" or "red" leaves.


February 14, 1996


The 13th Conference of Asian Students Association (ASA) was held
in Hong Kong from 27th to 31st January, 1996. Delegates
representing student organizations from 20 countries such as
Bangladesh, Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Palestine,
Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Aoteroa
(New Zealand), Fiji, PNG, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, South
Africa and Hong Kong participated in the conference.

The ASA is a student umbrella organization that supports and
works toward the cause of democracy and human rights in the
Asian-Pacific region.

The conference began with keynote speeches given by prominent
activists and authors from the USA, Philippines, and South Africa.

After a series of sub-regional workshops, political discussion
and country reports a Free Burma Motion was included amongst
those adopted by the conference.


ASA called for SLORC to:

1.Respect the result of the national elections of 1990.

2.Free all political prisoners  including student leader Min Ko Naing.

3.Withdraw  repressive laws and regulations imposed on the people of Burma.

4.Stop the military campaign against students camps.

5.Begin  tripartite dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and
leaders of ethnic nationalities.

ASA also calls for the Thai government to stop forcing Burmese
students into the restricted area in Rachburi province and free
Burmese students and dissidents who are serving indefinite sentences 
in Special Detention Center and Immigration Detention Center.

Political Actions

The ASA calls for the Unite Nations and individual countries to
impose economic sanctions, an arms embargo and tourism boycott
against Burma.

ASA will launch a "Free Burma" and "Boycott Burma" campaign
(1996- 1998) that includes actions, posters, petitions, etc.

ASA declares 8 August as "free Burma solidarity action day" and
urge all member countries to rally on the day.

The ASA secretariat and all member organizations join the Free
Burma International students Solidarity Network in order to
struggle hand in hand with Burmese students for Democracy and
Human Rights in Burma.

ASA called for international students and members to support
Burmese students and refrain from visiting Burma and drinking Pepsi.



AND CONSIDER DEMOCRACY      February 2, 1996
from brelief@xxxxxxx   (slightly abridged)
by Monzurul Huq

Japan recently turned down a request from Bangladesh to
provide financial assistance for an expansion project
planned by the state - run Bangladesh Television, citing
public concern about the lack of "political neutrality" on
the part of the government - controlled media.

It is the first time that the Japanese government has openly
expressed a desire to consider the issue of democratic
neutrality as a precondition for granting aid.

The Japanese decision, which affects aid for the current
fiscal year, is a particularly welcome sign. Even though
Japan adopted the ODA Charter in 1992, Japan has drawn
flak for being politically impotent in promoting democracy
when it hands out its yen.

Japan's Official Development Assistance Charter states
that in the process of providing financial assistance, "full
attention should be paid to efforts for promoting
democratization and the introduction of a free market -
oriented economy, and the situation regarding the securing
of basic human rights and freedoms in the recipient country."

Thus, Japan's decision to reconsider aid to Bangladesh
Television is a timely step in line with this principle.

But whether Japan's decision to reject the Bangladesh
government's request indicates that Tokyo is getting serious
about the issue of democracy in developing countries is
anyone's guess. Initially, one might think the answer is yes.

However, a closer look at Japan's recent ODA practices
suggests a very different scenario, from which it is possible
to conclude that Japan still has a long way to go to prove that it is sincere.

Take, for example, Indonesia and Burma. They are two of
Japan's most important Asian partners in terms of ODA ~ 
yet they both are outrightly undemocratic in their political practices.

Even though the junta in Burma recently released
outspoken pro - democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from
house arrest, there is no sign that a democratic constitution
will be promulgated any time in the near future. Despite a
clear - cut victory of democratic forces in the national
election held in May 1990), the military has refused to
surrender power to the elected representatives.

Fundamental human rights, especially among minority
communities, are routinely violated in Burma. However,
Burma stands out in one respect. Unlike other regimes in
developing countries, it makes no pretense about being
democratic. This puts Burma in a quite different position,
compared to countries like Indonesia.

Until recently Indonesia was at the top of the list of Japan's
ODA recipient nations for several years in a row.  This is despite 
the fact that Indonesia has one of the most oppressive dictatorial 
regimes in the world today.

As long as Japan continues to be the leading donor for
undemocratic regimes like those that exist in Indonesia and
Burma, there will be questions about the respect given by
policy makers in Tokyo to the country's ODA Charter.

Giving the thumbs down to the request by Bangladesh
Television might be a signal that Japan is becoming serious
about the question of democracy in ODA recipient countries.

If this turns out to be true, it will not only help people in
developing countries achieve genuine democracy; it will
also raise Japan's image as a true patron of democratic principles.

(The author is a visiting lecturer at Yokohama National University.)


INVESTMENTS       February 13, 1996   
by Barry Nelson   (abridged)

When personal morals and social concerns clash with financial goals, a
growing number of Canadians are turning to mutual funds that won't touch
investments they consider unethical.

These funds appeal to people who refuse to invest in companies that sell
tobacco, manufacture weapons, or generate nuclear energy.

Vancouver-based Ethical Funds, Inc., which offers Canada's widest range of
these funds, also won't invest in companies that don't practice "progressive" 
industrial relations, those that break environmental regulations, and those that 
do business in countries that fail to provide racial equality.

Applying these standards eliminates investing in about one quarter of the
companies listed on the Toronto stock exchange.  But following the collective 
conscience of its investors hasn't made the ethical approach unprofitable.  

The company's flagship Ethical Growth Funds one-year return to December 31
was 17.5 percent, making it the 20th best performer out of 156 Canadian
equity funds.  Last year, Ethical's Balanced Fund ranked fifth out of 127 in the 
category; its Income Fund was 14th out of 110; and its North American equity fund 
was 30th of 110.
"We have done some testing and we find it makes no difference in performance," 
says Ethical Fund's president John Linthwaite. "We took all the companies that 
could not pass our screens, took them out of the TSE Index, and then compared 
their results to the companies left, and there was no difference between the 
companies excluded and those that remained."
"In the beginning, we didn't invest in companies with substantial
operations in South Africa, but that changed when it became obvious the
country was moving to democratic rule.

"And the World Bank has been a controversial organization.  We are not
investing in World Bank bonds because we are concerned about the effect of
their operations on underdeveloped countries.  They financed a dam in India
that was a disaster, for example.

"We don't invest in Burma or Iraq, and we currently don't have any
investments in China.


February 17, 1996    (abridged)
Surachai Chupaka, Wichit Chaitrong, Yindee Lertcharoenchok

CHIANG RAI - The European Union, enthusiastic to join Asean and
other Asian countries in the Mekong sub-regional development
programme, has expressed reservations regarding Burma's
participation due to political reasons.
The 15-country European Union has also threatened to withdraw
tariff privileges extended to Burma under the Generalized System
of Preference (GSP) if forced labour charges turn out to be true,
according to Daniel Descoutures, charge d'affaires for the
European Commission in Bangkok.
"The EU is very concerned about allegations of forced labour in
Burma and the EU Commission decided in January to investigate the
issue," he said.
The EU is also closely monitoring political developments in
Burma, he said.
"Although the withdrawal of GSP might not make Burma feel
threatened as its tariff privileges are at a minimum level, it
would send a strong message from the EU on the issue," he said.
The EU is considering providing greater economic cooperation for
Laos, Carnbodia and Burma but the undemocratic political
situation in Burma has hindered cooperation with the Rangoon junta.
The EU would not participate in any international financial institution that 
ARFS provides greater economic cooperation with Burma unless the political 
situation improves, he said.
His statement was in response to an agreement between 10 Asian
economic ministers who met in Chiang Rai on Thursday to persuade
the EU to jointly develop the Mekong sub-region, particularly
Burma, Laos and Cambodia.

This initiative is expected to be raised at the first Asia-Europe
summit meeting in Bangkok on March 1-2.

Although the State Law and Order Restoration Council is moving in
the right direction towards democracy, it has not gone far
enough, he said.

The political situation has not made much progress since the
Slorc released democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi from her six 
years of house arrest last July and started drafting a constitution.

He said the EU is closely monitoring how the Burmese government
would integrate the different forces and conduct the constitution.

Economic ministers from the Asean nations of Brunei, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, as
well as China, Japan and South Korea, met informally in Chiang
Rai in preparation for the Asia-Europe summit at which ten Asian
and 15 EU leaders will meet for the first time to discuss greater
political, economic and social cooperation.


February 17, 1996

Human Rights abuses and forced labour cases in West Burma Region (Kabaw 
valley, Kalay region)
People in this region are forced to donate their labour for Nat Chaung-Gangaw 
rail-road construction. If any person who cannot donate their labour  they must 
give 700 Kayts per individual and 1500 Kyats per family to authority.
Because of so many atrocities in work place, one forced labour worker killed a 
soldier by his spade and fled to Mizoram, India during first week of September 
Since from rail-road work start, at least 4 persons (workers) expired in work 
place but they had no compensation from authority.
Many people were suffering fever (Malaria), dysentery and injuries during 
working time but there has no medical aid to lobourers.
>From January 1996, SLORC increased the rate of tax as follow:
150     kyats/year      for Radio
150     kyats/year      for Cassette Recorder
5,000   kyats/year      for Small Home Rice Mail
10,000  kyat/year       for  par House (Wooden)
100,000 kyat/year       for  par  House (Brick)


February 11, 1996

The meeting held in Hseng Kyau, Shan State from 5 January 1996 to 7 January 1996
was attended by Zao Kye Min, Zao Poo Mar, Zao Gan Na ( Mong Yorn ), Zao Gan Na (
KDA ), Zao Aung Mya, Zao Zai Lar, ( Zao Zai Yee was absent because of his
commanding position in the Southern Shan Shate ), from Shan State National Army
( SSNA ), Zao Loi Mao, Zao Pang Hpa, Zao Kai Hpa, Zao Zai Tu, Zao Hsai Mo, Zao
Ngo Harn, ( Zao Zai nong and Zao Ya Pee were absent as they were attending the
SLORC NC ), from Shan State Army ( SSA ).

The decision was made to merge the SSNA and SSA into one. It was also agreed and
decided that when the condition and time is ripe ( and if necessary ) to stand
up again as a Revolutionary organization and fight against the SLORC invader.It
is estimated that after the fusion of SSNA and SSA the strength will amount to

Further Conference held in Hseng Kyau again within the last week of January was
attended by the top line leaders of both organisations.

The outcome of the conference are as follows :
- to rename the fusion of SSNA - SSA into Shan State National Army ( SSNA )
- to reform the Shan State Progressive Party ( SSPP ).

Furthermore, the conference selected the 15 members Central Executive Committee
comprising 8 members from SSNA and 7 members from SSA, including Zao 
Zai Nong who was named Chairman, Zao Pang Hpa ( vice Chairman ), Zao Kan 
Yord ( Secretary General ), Zao Loi Mao ( assistant Secretary General and Chief 
of Staff ), Zao Zai Yee ( 2nd Chief of Staff ).  It was also decided that financial 
and rations will also be merged into one.

It was learned that the decision of the conference will be publicized in the
near future.


February 1996
by David DeVoss in Mandalay

New infrastructure and investment are transforming this once-isolated Burmese

Singaporean entrepreneur William S.K. Chew no longer complains about
Mandalay's hellish temperatures, daily power outages or smog. But late at night,
when the electricity fails and his bedsheets turn musty with sweat, he does
bemoan the monastic life of a foreign investor.

I'd love to have a wife or girlfriend, he sighs, but Mandalay is hot, dusty
and full of mosquitoes. Who would follow me here? 

Why, then, does Chew subject himself to the rigors of frontier capitalism in
Burma? Because, he laughs conspiratorially, this country is full of customers.

   Chew has reason to smile. In just three years he has become a multimedia
magnate. In addition to staging trade fairs for the government, his company,
Myanmar Media International Ltd., organizes advertising campaigns and produces
market studies for companies like Toshiba, Seiko and Philip Morris. When Chew
proclaimed an interest in publishing, clients beat a path to his door. Today he
produces a forestry journal, an inflight magazine for Myanmar Airways and a
bimonthly business review of Burmas economy.

   My biggest problem is the absence of overseas talent, says Chew. I have to do
everything myself because there aren't enough editors, graphic artists or

   A decade ago, Mandalay was an isolated garrison town beyond which Rangoon's
writ rapidly gave way to anarchy. In 1989 Burmas military regime, SLORC, moved
to quell the chaos by negotiating in earnest with Shan states insurgent armies.
It opened the Chinese frontier at Mu Se and invited Wa and Shan guerrilla
leaders to become border traders. According to the government, nearly 95 percent
of the 157,000 rebels it inherited from former strongman Ne Win have returned to
the legal fold. Still, the region is hardly pacified, since yesterdays insurgent
commanders now fight over distribution rights, venture capital and prime
locations for commercial development. Instead of real war we have uncontrolled
capitalism, explains Myo Aung, a 36-year-old engineer with the Mandalay City
Development Committee. 


   Border trade has made Mandalay (pop. 850,000) a boomtown. Trucks loaded with
Chinese consumer goods clog the narrow streets leading to the citys moated
Citadel. At the foot of Mandalay Hill, a Thai-Burmese joint venture is
developing the $ 30 million Novotel Mandalay hotel in preparation for this years
Visit Myanmar Year. Singapore Technologies Industrial Corp. is investing $ 360
million to construct a new international airport capable of handling wide-body
jets. A new Japanese factory slated to produce roof tiles is going up. Mandalay
even has an upscale suburb, a satellite community of 200,000 unimaginatively
named New Town.

   The Mandalay City Development Committee is spending $ 166 million on
infrastructure improvements that include two dams it hopes will produce an
additional 60 megawatts of power, but for now electricity remains in short
supply. Recently, neighborhoods were divided so at least half the population
could have electricity every other day. But brownouts persist. Explains Thein
Zaw, general manager of Warazein Electric Co.: You never know if youll get
electricity on your designated day, but you can be certain youll never get it on
the off day.

   Mandalay may be the heart of Burmas resource-rich Irrawaddy Plain, but it
would wither quickly without the Burma Road, a tenuous, yet vital, artery
linking the city to China. Between Mandalay and Maymyo, the road, built as a
vital supply route by the Chinese after Japans 1937 invasion of eastern China,
winds through stands of golden teak in a dramatic series of switchbacks. But
beyond Maymyo, an old British hill station, Burmas high road to China gradually
disintegrates as it advances across the Shan Plateau. The road is so bad in
parts that trucks from Mu Se take six days to travel the 300 kilometers (as the
crow flies) to Mandalay. But the volume of traffic has reinvigorated an area
largely denuded by illegal logging.

   Nowhere is the transformation more apparent than in Lashio. A remote Shan
market town 195 km from Mandalay once used as a holiday resort by opium warlord
Lo Hsing-han, Lashio roars to life every morning at 6 a.m. when the first of 300
trucks loaded with everything from consumer electronics to automobile tires
begins rolling through the city along Nan Phat Kha Road, a four-lane
thoroughfare divided by freshly painted planter boxes. The flow of commerce has
attracted hundreds of new merchants who this year doubled the size of the
central market, opened four new restaurants and expanded tourist facilities at a
nearby hot springs. Lo Hsing-hans cinderblock house still perches on the
hillside, a reminder of the towns outlaw past. But the aging warlord now lives
in Rangoon, where his scions sell cakes and cookies, instead of opium, at the
family-owned Kokang Confectionery.


   Burmese developer Win Houng is so optimistic about the future that hes
building a motel at Mu Se and spending $ 80,000 to double the size of his New
Asia Hotel in Lashio. Once the road is improved, tourists from Yunnan will flock
to Lashio, he predicts. We have beautiful landscapes, a Chinese joss house and a
good market. Ill charge Westerners $ 6 for a room but Chinese can stay for 150
kyat [$ 1.25 at the black market rate]. 

   In preparation for Visit Myanmar Year, army engineers are widening the
Burma Road. Truck drivers routinely are ordered at gunpoint to unload their
vehicles so they can be used to transport crushed rock and other building
materials. The army returns the truck but it never offers to protect the cargo
thats left dumped along the roadway, complains Ohn Myint, a driver with the Car
Gyi Gate trucking syndicate. Villagers also are expected to willingly contribute
their efforts, and woe to those who resist. Recently, 60 residents of Se Zone, a
small (pop. 400) village northeast of Maymyo, were ordered to spend two weeks
widening the road, equipped with nothing more than their hoes and hands. It
would be nice if we get some benefit, says one mud-caked peasant. Maybe it will
help us get our beans to Mandalay faster.

   Burmas use of slave labor outrages Western human rights organizations as well
as Rangoons foreign diplomatic corps, but the government says it has nothing to
apologize for. Soldiers have been fighting since 1962 to preserve the union,
says Maj. Hla Min, aide-de-camp to SLORC First Secretary Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt.
Every month dozens die from wounds or malaria because our army lacks the trucks
to get them to hospital. Were doing the dying. Is it unfair to ask civilians to
contribute a few days of labor?

   Unfortunately, Burmas army occasionally asks for more than citizens can be
expected to give. Early last year, Mandalay's military commander decided to
eliminate traffic congestion by widening roads adjacent to the old walled city
by precisely 7 meters. Families with houses extending into the roadway were told
to chop them off or suffer the consequences. Residents complied without

   After 33 years of bizarre government, Burmese have learned to make the best
of bad situations. That's why Mandalay travel guides, after taking visitors to
the obligatory temples and antique factories, now end their tours by showing
their city's new slice houses.

Letters to the editor regarding this article can be e-mailed to
<editors@xxxxxxxxxxxx> or faxed to (852) 2851-0180.


February 19, 1996
>From simon_billenness@xxxxxxxxxxxx


We have recently discovered that Unocal has hired a local lobbyist. His
mission: to defeat the Burma selective purchasing legislation that is
pending in the Massachusetts legislature.

The lobbyist is Christopher Gregory of Holway & Associates in Cambridge. On
behalf of Unocal, he has already met with staff of Senator Cheryl Jacques.
Senator Jacques is Chair of the Senate Steering & Policy Committee, which is
currently reviewing H2833, the Burma selective purchasing legislation, prior
to referring the bill to the Senate floor for its second reading. Mr.
Gregory also attended the February 15 briefing at the State House for
Massachusetts legislators on the Burma bill.

Unocal clearly considers H2833 a serious threat to its business. We should
treat Unocal's hiring of a lobbyist as a serious threat to this bill.


We need to treat this news as a wake up call.

Unocal's deep pockets can be defeated if we continue to use our power as
citizens to lobby our State Senators and Representatives in favor of H2833.
But if we fail to mobilize our support, Unocal will win by default.


1.      If you have not yet written your state Senator in support of H2833,
write a            letter today. (If don't know who your state Senator is,
contact Julia Carpenter         at CPPAX at the number below.)

2.      Each week, make a point of asking one or two friends, family and/or
co-workers         to write their state Senator.

3.      If you don't receive a reply from your state Senator, call the
Senator's               office or even set up an appointment with the
Senator or his/her staff.

4.      Help out the CPPAX phone bank. CPPAX is ready to call on its 3,000
members to          write their state Senators. But it won't happen unless
people volunteer to make         the phone calls. Contact Julia Carpenter at
CPPAX at the number below to find          out how you can help.  

Julia Carpenter
Citizens for Participation in Political Action (CPPAX)
25 West Street, Boston, MA 02111
(617) 426 3040



February 15, 1996

[Editor's Note: Some sources in Thailand suggest quite the contrary - the
Thai army is very concerned about the presence of Burmese troops along
the Northern border and is sending more troops into the area.]

AN army commander yesterday dismissed reports that the presence
of Burmese troops at the ill-defined border area at Doi Lang
opposite Mae Ai District was intended to challenge the Thai military.

Maj-Gen Prayuth Thapcharoen was referring to the Burmese troops'
occupation of a former Mong Tai Army stronghold following drug
warlord Khun Sa's surrender earlier this year.

Thailand and Burma, holding different maps, have claimed
sovereignty over a 32 square kilometre area of Doi Lang.

Currently, neither Thailand nor Burma uses the disputed area,
said the commander of the Fourth Infantry Division under the
Third Army Region.

On Tuesday five infantry units from the Seventh Infantry Regiment
and an artillery company started a field exercise in the border
areas of Fang and Mae Ai districts, near Doi Lang.

The exercise was presided over by the Fourth Infantry Division
commander, said a border source.

The reinforcement of troops near the disputed area was intended
to prevent interference by a third party, said Maj-Gen Prayuth.
"Burma has also dispatched soldiers to the area, but I can say
troops of the two countries still enjoy friendly relations.  We are
not using the forces to confront each other," he said.

"The current border situation is not tense. The Fourth Infantry
Division is still able to control it," he said.

He said questions relating to the border line are a matter for
the Foreign Ministry.


February 14, 1996

[Editor's Note: The Thai government is primarily concerned about
protests against the SLORC at the ASEM meetings.  It is likely that
the SLORC has asked the Thai government to block human rights
activists from attending or protesting the meetings.]

SECURITY officials have blacklisted  10 foreigners from entering
the country until after the meeting of Asian and European
Union countries, an intelligence source said yesterday.

The source said Thai embassies abroad will reject visa applications of 
the 10 until after the meeting, scheduled between March 1 and 2.

"On the list are two Nepalese, two Malaysians, three Australians
and one each from Japan, Cambodia and the Philippines," the
source said. 

"During the Asean Summit Meeting in December last year, the same
foreign activists came to Thailand and engaged in activities
involving human rights." 
Security officers have been instructed to arrest any foreigners participating in 
gatherings before and during the Asem, the source added.


IN THAILAND   (abridged)
February 18, 1996

THE Immigration Bureau will redouble its effort to stem the
influx of economic migrants from neighbouring countries and to
crack down on more than 500,000 illegal immigrants already living
in the country.
Pol Lt Gen Kiattisak Prapawat, commissioner of the Immigration
Bureau, said about 530,000 illegal immigrants, most of them
Burmese, are believed to be living and working in the country.
The commissioner said the number of illegal immigrants arrested
by the bureau has increased sharply, from 6,000 in 1994 to more
than 70,000 last year, resulting in overcrowding of jails and
prisons in Bangkok and provinces bordering Burma. The bureau
plans to build six holding centres for illegal immigrants
awaiting deportation. The first will be in the southern province
of Ranong, which borders Burma.
 The government has already set aside Bt l8 million for the construction 
of six holding camps. The camps will each hold up to 300 deportees.
One centre will be built in Chiang Mai and another in Chon Buri.
The sites of the other camps have not been determined, Kiattisek said.


February 9, 1996
By Caryn James

Beyond Rangoon
1995. Columbia Tri-Star. $97.51. Laser disk, $39.95. 99 minutes. Closed
captioned. R. Release date: Tuesday.

   John Boorman's film succeeds as both a thriller and a serious political
study. When a lapsed doctor named Laura Bowman (Patricia Arquette) travels to
Burma, she encounters the democracy movement led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi 
(Adelle Lutz), who was later placed under house arrest and won the Nobel Peace 
Prize.  Inspired and caught up in the turmoil, Bowman takes to the countryside 
with the guide U Aung Ko and becomes trapped when martial law is declared. 
After numerous perils, cut to the chase in "an elegant, fierce, absorbing movie"   
(Caryn James).


February 14, 1996     (abridged)

Dear All,

This is Zarni from Madison.

It has been brought to my attention that the disclaimer "we don't take any
stand on these measures" RE: monkey-ranching Pepsi machines, dumping oil,
etc.  can damage the image of the Free Burma Coaltion and will make us (me,
more accurately) liable for "mischevous" (quotes mine) activities other
people carry out in the context.

So please disregard the section "radical measures."

Ignorance on my part is, of course, no excuse. I should have been a bit
more thoughful before I wrote that section.

As far as Public Relation or legal implications (even after I post this
note), I and I, alone AM responsible for those words. The section in
qeustion does not necessarily reflect the Coalition as a grassroots
activist group.

My sincere apology to all of you, should that particular section cause any

Thank you.



February 17, 1996
compiled from information provided by C. Schlenker


	Major venture capital player Japan Asia Investment (JAI) has set up a fund
worth 6 billion yen to be allocated to enterprises in Japan and other parts
of Asia, including ASEAN, India and Burma.  The fund draws from about 60
parties, especially life and non-life insurers, city banks and security
firms, but also regional financial institutions and trust banks.  Of 25
general corporations, five of them may list their stock within three years.
Japan Asia is trying to muster investment in regional businesses from
distribution to health and welfare.


	Mitsubishi Corp of Japan will provide technology and machinery for
development of agriculture and irrigation works in Burma.  A five-member 
Mitsubishi delegation headed by President Minoru Makihara met with Myanmar 
Agricultural Minister Lt. Gen. Myint Aung.  The Mitsubishi delegation discussed 
providing technology and machinery for production of oil cereals, processing of 
agricultural products andconstruction of integrated irrigation works, including 
hydroelectric power plants.


	Eastern & Oriental Express has borrowed US$8 million (S$11.3 million) from
DBS Bank to finance its Road to Mandalay cruise ship investment in Myanmar.
	Nick Varian, chief executive office of Venice Simplan Orient-Express, 
said total investment is about US$15 million, with half of it coming from 
equity and the remaining from the DBS loan.  The Road to Mandalay is a 
luxurious cruise ship which has just started plying the Irrawaddy River in 
Myanmar. For DBS Bank, it is yet another loan to Myanmar's active tourism 
industry, having financed renovation of the deluxe Strand Hotel in Yangon.
the Road to Mandalay.