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News: 2/24/1995

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(1) Khun Sa Felled By Heart Attack

Associated Press 

BANGKOK - Opium warlord Khun Sa has suffered a heart attack and
is being treated by doctors and nurses sent to his jungle
headquarters by the Burmese government, an officer in the
warlord's army said yesterday. Details about the seriousness of
his condition are not yet known.

The rebel officer, who demanded anonymity, said Khun Sa is also
suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes.

The opium warlord surrendered to the Burmese government on Jan 5.
Since then more than 13,000 troops from his Ming Tai Army (MTA)
have given themselves up, according to Burmese state-run media.

Reports from dissident groups near the Thai-Burmese border say
that a rebel band of several hundred troops unhappy with the
surrender are still at large and trying to link up with other
ethnic Shan guerrilla groups.

Khun Sa funded his two-decade insurgency against the government
in Rangoon by trafficking in massive amounts of opium and heroin.
More than 60 per cent of the heroin sold in the United States
originates from the area where he operated: the Golden Triangle,
a mountainous no-man's land where the borders of Burma, Laos and
Thailand converge.

The US government has put a US$2 million (Bt50 million) bounty on
Khun Sa's head and asked the Burmese government for his
extradition, but Rangoon has refused. Since his surrender, Khun
Sa has not been charged.

The rebel officer also said the Burmese government is allowing
Khun Sa to build a modern 200-unit housing estate near Rangoon
airport where he and some of his followers will live.

His headquarters in Homong is being administered by a joint
council of three Burmese and three MTA officials. he said.

(2)Khun Sa's town gets new rule

DRUG warlord Khun Sa's former major township, Ho Ming, has been
declared a district of Loikaw province under the administration
of the Rangoon regime.

Thai official sources said the State Law and Order Restoration
Council has also named three former aides of Khun Sa to sit on
the six-man ruling committee to administer Ho Ming.

Khun Sa, said the sources, is still living at his village in Ho

The drug warlord is suffering from hypertension, heart problems
and diabetes. He is being cared for by a team of doctors and
nurses from Rangoon, said the sources.

In Washington, a US human rights group called on Britain to
cancel a trade delegation leaving for Burma.

Britain's Department of Trade and Industry is sponsoring a trip
by a group of more than 30 company representatives to Rangoon
February 25 - March 1, the first to Burma in five years, Human
Rights Watch said.

"The trade mission is taking place just weeks before the UN
Commission on Human Rights convenes in Geneva and considers
resolutions censuring the military government in Burma for
violation of human rights," it said.

The human rights organization argued that "any increased
investment now will only help prolong military rule in Burma and
the British Government should therefore not be promoting
increased trade links in this way."-Bangkok Post/ AFP

(3) Asia-EU NGO conference to mull issues summit chiefs shun
Agence France-Presse

MORE than 100 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are heading
to Bangkok before next week's Asia-Europe summit to discuss
controversial issues likely to be shunned by heads of state at
the summit.

Officials from the two continents have been going out of their
way to assure each other that sensitive issues will not interrupt
their familiarization during the Asem conference on March 1 and

But the three-day Asia-Europe NGO Conference, which ends the day
before Asem begins, aims to remind heads of state at Asem of the
impact that social, labour and environmental questions will have
on the people they left at home.

"We see the NGO conference as complementary to the official
conference. It will be very important to future relations between
both continents that the perspectives of their people be put
forward to Asem," Brid Brennan of the Netherlands-based
Transnational Institute told AFP.

The NGOs will examine trade and aid impacts, democracy and human
rights, peace and security, sex tourism and human trafficking,
labour and labour migration, deforestation and toxic waste
dumping, according to Focus on the Global South a Bangkok-based
research institute.

Somchai Homlaor, secretary general of Forum Asia, a Bangkok-based
NGO, said the parallel conference would also call on Asem to
protect the intellectual property rights of villagers exploited
for their knowledge of medicinal plants.

"We will develop a declaration of proposals to deliver to Asem,
and a framework for action on common issues" to coordinate the
work of NGOs on the two continents, Brennan said.

The Thai government has in the past interfered with NGO meetings
it felt impinged on the sensitivities of visiting leaders, but
foreign ministry officials said there would be no problem as long
as official activities were not disrupted.

None of the overseas speakers have reported any visa problems,
Brennan said, and the NGOs have several respected Thais working
to smooth relations with the government.

The NGO agenda includes several issues that have in the past
caused Bangkok to try to keep its own people quiet for the
comfort of powers-that-be in neighboring countries.

"Burma, East Timor and Northern Ireland are on the agenda of the
NGO conference," Brennan said.

Southeast Asian governments' approach to relations with Burma
give priority to economic ties in the hope that economic
development will bring an improvement in human rights.

Indonesia's 21-year occupation and annexation of East Timor, in
defiance of the United Nations, is also likely to be high on the
NGO agenda, though absent from the Asem.

Indonesia's foreign minister, Ali Alatas has said East Timor
would not be discussed in Asem because "it is irrelevant", but
Brennan said it was among issues which made the NGO conference a
vital complement to Asem.

"No matter how reluctant the leaders are to discuss these issues,
the people of both continents cannot afford to have them ignored,
as they are crucial to the peace, stability and development of
both regions, as well as to the development of democracy,"
Brennan said.

Asem will be attended by most heads of government from the
European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
along with China, Japan and South Korea.

(Typed by Research Department, ABSDF-MTZ)