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BurmaNet News May 1, 1996

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

The BurmaNet News: May 1,1996
Issue #396

Noted in Passing:

		When you show people that by buying a burrito at Taco 
		Bell (owned by PepsiCo) they're helping to prop up a 
		military regime that uses forced labor, that's what hits 
		home for people. - Naomi Mudge, University of Arizona 
		Free Burma Campaign organizer 


May 3, 1996
from brelief@xxxxxxx

Democracy Activist Suu Kyi argues for a boycott

Myanmar's ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) has a 
hard time relating to its most vocal critic, Nobel Peace laureate Aung
San Suu Kyi. Since releasing her from nearly six years of house arrest last July,
the junta has refused to engage in a dialogue with her. Earlier this year, it ousted 
her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), from the group drafting
a new constitution. The NLD had won a landslide victory in 1990 national elections,
but the military refused to recognize the results.  Nevertheless, Suu Kyi remains a 
powerful political force. She continues to address crowds outside her compound 
on weekends, and videotapes of these addresses circulate clandestinely throughout 
the country. Bangkok - based Contributing Reporter Dominic Faulder talked
with her by telephone on April 17 about her standoff with SLORC.


Are you getting out to talk with people? 
- Well, I do go out of the house, if that's what you mean, but you must
have heard about the contretemps yesterday.  The ordinary Burmese
are very supportive, which is exactly why the SLORC does not want
us to be in contact with the people. 

Can you describe what happened yesterday during Thingyan [Buddhist
New Year]? 
- The NLD was planning to have a fish - releasing ceremony. This is what
we usually do on New Year's Day; we release fish as a way of gathering merit 
for the New Year. The NLD informed the authorities concerned just before
Thingyan that we would be having a ceremony, and that we would be
walking from my house to the place where the fishes were to be released. They
informed us only on the 15th that this was not going to be permitted. So we
thought in that case, we would go ahead with our arrangement to pay respects 
to our elders. This would be held in [my] house. But yesterday they started
putting barriers across the road in front of the house and stopping people from 
coming in.

Why do you think the government did that? 
- I see it as a sign that SLORC is very much aware that our public support is 
very strong, and I think they are afraid that this support will be demonstrated
clearly for all the world to see. So they wanted to stop us from doing anything 
that would give the people a chance to show how much they supported us.  Of 
course, their excuse was that they wanted to prevent unrest. But I do not for
a moment believe there would have been any unrest of any kind. There would 
have been a great demonstration of public support for the NLD, and of course the
thought of that really frightens them. 

Some people say that economic development will in time bring the sort of 
democratization you want to see. What do you think? 
- Burma is not developing in any way. It is not developing economically. Some
people are getting very rich. That does not constitute economic development. 
Certainly there has been no progress towards democratization, so what is the 
progress? I think the human rights record of SLORC is so bad -- and it's getting
worse -- that even those who might have wished to have better relations with 
SLORC for purely economic reasons find themselves unable to do so. 

Those who invest in Burma or do business with Burma at the moment will 
find that they are not going to make the profits that they hoped for. I don't 
think anyone doing business with SLORC is interested in exerting moral 
leverage, anyway. No business that wishes to exert moral leverage would 
be engaged in Burma under the present circumstances. 

Visit Myanmar Year is coming up. Some argue the country might benefit from 
more exposure, so that people would be less isolated and have a better 
understanding of what is going on. Do you support that? 
- No. I think the Burmese people have a perfectly good idea of what is going on, 
otherwise they would not have voted for democracy in 1990. There is nothing 
the Burmese people need to be taught about democracy, as some people claim. 
I think it is just an excuse for engaging in Burma. We understand well enough
what democracy means and we know what we want. 

So would you support a boycott, and ask people not to visit? 
- Certainly I would. 

What is the state of the National League for Democracy at the moment? If
circumstances were different, would it be able to rule? 
- Why not? The NLD was successful in the 1990 elections. I think you will 
find that there are some very, very capable people there, with a lot of experience
both in administration and in the professional world. Of course  there
is a lot of learning to be done, and we are ready to learn. And because we 
are ready to learn, we will be able to cope with whatever problems we have 
to face. I am not saying that we will be able to overcome or resolve problems 
easily, but we are prepared to face difficulties. 

The NLD has been criticized for not having a coherent economic strategy.  
- I think those who use that argument are the ones already engaged in
business in Burma, and they want to use this as an excuse for not supporting 
the democratic cause. The economic program that the SLORC is trying to
follow is that which was laid out by the NLD in 1988, without the framework 
that we foresaw for such a program. 

Looking back over the last eight years, is there anything that is taking the 
country in a better direction and encourages you? 
- The election was a good thing. It was free and fair. It was a pity they did not 
honor the result. That's the only thing. 


April 29, 1996
from Carol@xxxxxxx

"Old Songs"
Letter from Burma (No. 23) by Aung San Suu Kyi

	Some days ago two young Japanese women studying Burmese at Osaka
University of Foreign Studies came to see me at a very opportune time. 
U Kyi Maung and I wanted help in translating a couple of Japanese songs. 
A few weeks ago U Kyi Maung had spoken at one of our weekend public
meetings about these songs which he had learnt as a young soldier.  Many
of the songs of the armed forces of Burma date back to the days of World
War II and have Burmese lyrics put to Japanese tunes.  Thus visitors
from Japan who watch Burmese television today hear sounds associated
with the days of militarist fascism and tend to ask with surprise and/or
derision: "Why do you play these old fascist songs in your country?"
	U Kyi Maung explained that there was nothing intrinsically
fascist about the original Japanese words of some of the songs and
mentioned two which are well known in their Burmese versions.  As I
expressed an interest in learning more about such songs, he acquired
from an old friend of his military academy days a couple of sheets of
paper on which were printed, in prewar-style Japanese, a number of the
songs he had been taught as a young solider.
	With the help of the two young Japanese women we translated
hesitatingly, the words of a song entitled /Hohei no uta/ [Infantry's
 "The color on my neckband is that of the blossom of the many-branched sakura
 As the flowers of Yoshino drop in the wind,
 Those born as sons of Yamato
 Fall courageously on the frontline like flowers.
 The gun that measures one /shaku/ is no weapon.
 A remnant of sword can achieve nothing.
 It is the spirit of Yamato, instilled repeatedly
 Beyond the realms of memory
 Since over two thousand years ago,
 That keeps two hundred thousand soldiers
 In seventy stations,
 Defending their flag,
 Never surrendering their position,
 Not even in their dreams."

In another song, /Aiba Shingun Ka/ [March for My Lovely Horse]:
	"How long ago is it since I left my country
	Prepared to die together with this horse?
	Old horse, are you feeling sleepy?
	The reins I hold are as a vein that
	Links your blood to mine."

	What, U Kyi Maung queried, is there about such words that is
fascist or even particularly militaristic?  An evocation of tender
cherry blossoms, an emphasis on the spirit rather than on weapons, a
sentimental ditty about an old horse.  But because these songs were sung
repeatedly as the Japanese army marched across Asia in obedience to the
commands a fascist military government, leaving devastation in its wake,
the very tunes have come to be regarded as inauspicious sounds
reverberating with the army; his discipline, self-sacrifice and love of
nature, were wiped out by the deeds he was made to perform at the behest
of leaders who had swept aside liberal values and chosen the way of
military aggression to gain their ends, indifferent to the suffering of
	March 27, 1945 was the day when the people of Burma rose up in
resistance against fascism.  The National League for Democracy (NLD)
commemorated Fascist Resistance Day this year with a lecture at which
several people spoke of their personal experiences during the resistance
movement.  The first speaker was Bohmu Aung, a hale octogenarian who had
been one the Thirty Comrades, a group of young men led by my father who
received military training from the Japanese army on Hainan Island in
1941.  Then U Tin U and U Maung Maung Gyi, another member of the NLD,
spoke of events during the early months of 1945 from the point of view
of those who were at the time merely junior officers in the Burmese
armed forces.  The last two speakers were a widely respected literary
couple, U Khin Maung Latt and Daw Khin Myo Chit.  Their modest and witty
recollections of the part they as civilians had played in the resistance
movement were particularly valuable.  It reminded us of the crucial
contribution made by the ordinary citizens of Burma toward the success
of the struggle to free our country from both fascist domination and
colonial rule.  There are some things that we should not forget.
	It is the love of ordinary people, in Burma, in Japan or
anywhere else in the world, for justice and peace and freedom that is
our surest defense against the forces of unreason and extremism that
turn innocent songs into threatening chants of war. 


April 29, 1996     by Joe Urschel

Activists make inroads with U.S. companies

        This time, the whole world is not watching.
        Nevertheless, a tiny campus protest movement, taking place almost
entirely outside the media glare, is engaged ina 60's-style revolt that has
universities, corporations, and international political groups snapping to
        Using the interconnectedness of the modern cyber-university, a
failed Hollywood movie and the business savvy of socially concious investor
groups, protestors are bringing worldwide pressure on the insular and
brutally repressive nation of Myanmar--formerly known as Burma.
        Last week, PepsiCo. became the latest U.S. company to announce it
was extricating itself from ties there, and the United Nations formally
denounced the country's human rights abuses.  A bipartisan bill barring
further U.S. investments there and imposing sanctions is pending in Congress.
        But few students took to the streets to shout about the victory.
No campuses were shut down; no armories torched.
        The e-mails were burning up the Internet, though, as a modern-day
student rebellion celebrated its accomplishments not with bullhorns and
fist-pumping, but with the furious clatter of fingers on the keyboard.
        At Harvard, a $1 million Pepsi contract has been cancelled in part
because students contend the company's investments help prop up Myanmar's
repressive regime.
        At Stanford, students stopped Taco Bell (owned by PepsiCo) from
opening in the student union.  At Northwestern, students pressured the
Alumni Association to halt its Myanmar trips.
        Given all the wars, all the troubles, all the large-scale repression in the 
world, how did the USA's campuses come to turn Myanmar into the 
South Africa of the 1990's?
        "Seldom do you have a case as clear cut as Burma," says Harvard's
Marco Simons, 20, head of that school's Free Burma Coalition.  "There's a
very clear connection between government and oppression."
        "The military regime is committing every known form of human rights
violation known to humanity: imprisonment without trial, torture, campaigns
against villages and ethnic minorities," says Jane Jerome of Amnesty
International.  People "are beaten and raped, children are snatched from
the streets."
          Still, the country got little notice in the media or on campus
until the past year or two.  Then it just seemed to balloon.  Bewildered
parents found themselves confronted by "Free Burma" and "Boycott Pepsi"
banners as they escorted their high school-age students scouting
prospective schools.
        Meanwhile, the Clinton administration condemned Myanmar's military
dictatorship, and placed the country on the list of international "outlaws"
that includes Libya and Iraq.
        American companies such as Eddie Bauer, Levi Strauss, Liz
Clairborne, and Macy's began severing their business ties.
        The genesis of the movement appears to be a single student at the
University of Wisconsin.  He is a 32-year old Burmese exile named Zarni,
who fled his homeland in 1988 after the military government arrested and
killed about 3,000 opponents, including pro-democracy student activists
like himself.
        Now a doctoral student, Zarni (one word, though it is often spelled
Zar Ni), heads an umbrella group called the Free Burma Coalition.  He
founded it in September 1995, promoted it in October at a student
environmentalists' conference, and by Oct. 27, choreographed "Burma Action
Day" at dozens of campuses.  The group now has chapters at 70-90 U.S.
        Myanmar scholar Edith Mirante, of Portland, Ore., in part credits
the movie "Beyond Rangoon" for glamorizing the cause.
        The story of the 1988 massacres, told through an American tourist
played by Gen-X actress Patricia Arquette, might have been a box office
dud, but it ignited campus idealists with its docudrama depictions of the
crushing of the democracy movement an its saintly potrayal of Aung San Suu
Kyi, the opposition leader who was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.
        Castle Rock, the film's distributor has given the Free Burma
Coalition permission to use the film.
        "I was leafletting outside movie theaters and people would make
donations right away because they were horrified," says Simons.
        But mostly, the cause has spread on the Internet.
        "The Internet is really the mainstay," says Zarni, who spends 15
hours a day at his computer, Net-working with other campus activists.
"It's really cheap" --perfect for a shoestring movement with no cash for
phone and fax bills.
        The Free Burma Coalition Home Page
(http://danenet.wicip.org/fbc/freeburma.html) offers wouldbe activists a
little of everything: Order information for "Boycott Pepsi" stickers,
congressional testimony, interviews and speeches by Aung San Suu Kyi, and
links to far-flung campus leaders.  WebActive, a Seattle based on-line
journal that appraises Internet activism, recently named Free Burma's home
page its site of the week.
        "We saw the information on the Internet, but we don't have any
comment on that," said a spokesman for Myanmar in Washington, who 
declined to speak for attribution.  The country offers no reaction to the 
protestorsor their claims.
        "It's become one of the first cyber-campaigns," says Simon
Billenness, senior analyst with Franklin Research and Development in Boston,
an investment firm that handles about $450 million for institutions.  "The
students are all hooked up to the Net, so they all talk to each other."
        Billeness helps coordinate shareholder pressure in conjunction with
activists on campuses, and pushes municipalities for selective purchasing
        Four cities have passed laws barring contracts with any business
that has interests in Myanmar, he says.  The companies include Texaco Inc.,
Unocal Corp., Atlantic Richfield and PepsiCo.  So far, Berkeley and Santa
Minica, Calif.; Madison, Wis.; and Ann Arbor, Mich., have such laws.
        Billeness had been tracking the situation in Myanmar for years, but
when Zarni and the Internet came along, awareness of the issues there grew
almost instantly.
        "If something happens in Rangoon, I'm going to know about it the
next day by reading my e-mail," he says.  "The Internet has proved to be an
invaluable tool for organization."
        It enables even small cadres of activists to effectively push their
cause on campuses nationwide.
        Protestors continue to pressure Pepsi, despite its decision to sell
its bottling plant in Myanmar, because the drink will still be sold there
through a separate licensing agreement with a businessman they say is
connected with the military.
        Pepsi denies it is bowing to pressure by selling its plant.  "We
made the decision that we felt made the most business sense," says
spokesman Keith Hughes.
        But business experts think Pepsi had more to lose by staying in.
"Boycotts can be very damaging," says Al Ries, a New York marketing
consultant.  "The last thing a company like Pepsi wants is to alienate
college students.  Especially since its positioned as the soft drink ...of
the young generation."
        Still, the protests continue.
        Doug Steele, 30, a first year law student at Georgetown, has
introduced a resolution to the student government urging them not to do
business with companies that do business in Myanmar.  Today, a university
committee will vote on whether to bar investment in companies with ties to
        At Stanford, Free Burma member Nick Thompson says, "Our main goal
is to convince Stanford to vote its proxy shares in favor of the Burma
resolutions presented to all the shareholders who have money in Unocal,
Texaco, and Pepsi."
        And all of it pretty much goes back to one man who fled his country
and started the large first revolt in cyberspace.
        Zarni shows "why this couldn't have worked without the Internet,"
says Thompson.  "He's one Burmese guy sitting in Wisconsin and there's
probably not a Burmese guy within 300 miles.  E-mail got people talking to
him.  It didn't matter that he was in Wisconsin and everyone else was in

In the grip of the military

        The military-controlled government of Burma, known as the State Law
and Order Restoration Council, or SLORC, seized power in 1988.  It is
accused of killing thousands of peaceful demonstrators in the process.
        Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, intelligence chief, is considered the brains
behind the crackdown.  Gen. Than Shwe is the head of state.
        The SLORC changed the name of the country to Myanmar, and its
capital from Rangoon to Yangon, to better reflect the country's ethnic
diversity rather than favoring the dominant Burman group. The country has
about 45 million people.
        Elections were allowed in 1990, but the government refused to honor
the results, which would have removed the military.  The government put
opposition leader and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi 
under house arrest.  She was released in 1995 but still cannot meet with

The fight in campus

        Only a few people can turn one quiet cause into a nationwide campus
crusade.  A sampling:
        --  Northwestern University: "Our group is about four people,
including two of us who've really only been spending a lot of time on it,"
says Free Burma member Don Simpson.  Wednesday, they'll meet with
university oficials to seek creation of a board to check whether the
university makes "socially responsible investments."
        -- University of Arizona: Free Burma's core is about 10-15
students, says coordinator Naomi Mudge.  Last week, members met with
university officials to try to get Pepsi products off the menu.
        They also want the university, which owns PepsiCo stock, to urge
the company to change its investment policies or divest.
        Mudge thinks Burma has become a cause celebre because "'think
globally, act locally' has pervaded everybody's thoughts.  When you show
people that by buying a burrito at Taco Bell (owned by PepsiCo) they're
helping to prop up a military regime that uses forced labor, that's what
hits home for people."


April 29, 1996.

  Georgetown University's Committee on Investment and Social 
Responsibility met this morning to vote on several subjects, including 
whether to vote the University's shares in Pepsi in favor of the 
shareholders resolutions on Burma.  The Committee voted unanimously 
both to support the reporting resolution and the resolution on disinvestment.

  In addition, the Committee voted to draft a letter to Pepsi asking for
more information on two subjects: whether Pepsi can distribute its
products in Burma without using infrastructure built with forced labor
and second, to explain how its counter-trade in Burma works. 

Pepsi's use of counter-trade in Burma has been criticised by the Karen
Human Rights Group.  Counter-trade, which is how Pepsi repatriates its
profits from Burma involves purchasing local agricultural products in
local currency, exporting them and selling them abroad for hard
currency.  The KHRG alleges that those products are often produced 
using forced labor.  This cumbersome process is necessary because Burmese 
money is no convertable and has little value outside the country.

 The letter to Pepsi is being drafted now and will be finalized at the
next meeting of the Committee in May. 

  Pepsi has a significant presence on the Georgetown campus, including 
a monopoly on campus machines and both a Pizza Hut and Taco Bell 
franchise on the main campus.


April 29, 1996

	Burmese Students in Australia protest against Tourism Film Night
	On 24th April 1996, Burmese students from All Burma Students 
	Democratic Organisation (ABSDO) and Australian students from
	National Union of Students staged a strongly protest against
	Tourism Film Night organised by Travel Indo-China company under
	the name of Conncorde International Company.

	The company held the opening ceremony of Tourism Film Night and
	had a plan to show a film which intended to encourage Visit 
	Myanmar Year 96. At the time, Burmese and Australian students
	were distributing leaflets against Visit Myanmar Year 96 and
	shouting the slogans and holding the placards. "Boycott tourism....,
	Boycott Burma.........., Boycott Visit Myanmar Year 96.............
	and Free Burma, now.....Boycott....Boycott.....Boycott.............
	Students' protest was finished sucessfully after the director of 
	the company said that the Tourism Film Night have been cancelled.
	Students will be pushing the Tourism company to cancel any 
	further film nights which support Visit Myanmar Year 96 and
	any visit to Burma.


May 2, 1996

Guide to Burma by Nicholas Greenwood. Bradt Publications,
41 Nortoft Road, Chalfont St Peter, England. 12.95 pounds.
Burma: The Alternative Guide by the Burma Action Group,
Collins Yard, Islington Green, London. 3.99 pounds.

With 1996 designated as Visit Myanmar Year by the Burmese
government, a number of guidebooks to the country have been
published, and not only the ordinary, glossy kind with smug
pictures of the Shwedagon pagoda and sunsets over Inle Lake.
Nicholas Greenwood, who has had a long - time love affair with
Burma, dedicates his guide to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Burma: The Alternative Guide, a 36 - page booklet, struggles
with the moral issue of visiting a country under firm military
rule. It has maps indicating the distribution of forced labour in
Burma and even a "democracy map of Rangoon" showing the
places where people were killed during the pro-democracy uprising in 
1988. It actually recommends that people stay away from Burma or, if 
they must go, to learn about the current political situation there. 

In his Guide to Burma, Greenwood also quotes people who
have been employed as forced labourers on such projects as
dredging the moat at Mandalay Palace or hacking through
malaria-infested swamps to build a new railway from Ye to
Tavoy in the southeast. But he does not recommend a tourist
boycott of Burma; on the contrary, he himself has travelled
more extensively in the country than any other foreigner. Greenwood 
describes off - beat places such as Tavoy, Arakan, Putao in northern 
Kachin State and the wild ruby - mining town of Mogok.

His descriptions of these places are not always flattering. Even
the ancient royal capital of Mandalay gets a beating: "Mandalay
was once a beautiful city, the cultural heartland of Burma. But
it was also a repressed, forlorn city, with a spirit stifled by
succession of battles, kings, fires and governments."

What should have been a romantic trip by steamer on the
Irrawaddy River turned out to be "41 hours and 40 minutes of
sheer hell. No cabin, no bed, no food, no toilet, just the captain's
table to sleep on, a watermelon hurled at me by a drunken
soldier and a plastic bag in which to pee."

But precisely because of his honesty, and his deep affection for
the country, Greenwood's book is probably the best guide to
Burma ever written.  It also contains a wealth of information
about Burmese history, festivals and politics, in addition to the
standard tourist information.  A chapter about Burmese culture
written By Zar Ni, a former student at the University of
Mandalay who now lives in exile, adds to the book's value.

Given the country's underdeveloped infrastructure, Visit
Myanmar Year may not bring in the hundreds of thousands of
tourists the government is hoping for.  But it has encouraged
many to air their feelings about travelling or not travelling -- to
Burma.  Ironically, even the introduction to The Alternative
Guide sounds inviting: "Burma is a country of breathtaking
beauty -- golden pagodas and temples beyond description,
countryside as varied as snow - capped mountains, lush green
paddy fields and white sand beaches."  Bertil Lintner

Bertil Lintner is a Review correspondent based in Bangkok


April 29, 1996  (abridged)

    MAE SOT, Thailand, April 29 [IntelAsia] - Delegates from Burma's Karen
guerrilla army travelled from their jungle zone to a southeastern Burmese
city for a fresh round of talks aimed at ending their 46-year war, guerrilla
officials said on Monday.

    A six-member delegation led by Karen National Union (KNU) joint general
secretary, Mahn Sha Lar Phan, set off for the city of Moulmein on Sunday
evening for the third round of talks since December, the guerrilla officials
said. One rebel official said it was possible a ceasefire could be signed
during the delegation's trip.

    The KNU has long said it wants a comprehensive peace agreement with the
Rangoon military govenment, including political concessions, and not just a
ceasefire, but the government has so far refused to discuss any political


April 25, 1996

        Statement of CRDB regarding the appointment of new 
     Burmese ambassador to the United States - April 25, 1996

The Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in Burma was shocked and
disappointed to learn that the United States Department of State has approved
the request of the Burmese military dictatorship to replace its ambassador in
Washington.  Acceding to the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)
in this matter appears to be at odds with the publicly expressed U.S.
administration opposition to a regime which is considered to be one of the
most oppressive and corrupt in the world.

We are puzzled by this action.  The United States has refused to send an
ambassador to Burma as a protest to the brutal oppression of supporters of
multi-party democracy and the genocidal policies of the Burmese army against
the ethnic nationalities. The military regime has openly defied U.S. efforts
to bring Khun Sa, a notorious drug warlord, to justice. There is credible
evidence of SLORC active involvement in narcotics in the Golden Traingle.

The thugs in Rangoon have refused to transfer power to the civilian government 
elected in May 1990.  Although SLORC released Nobel Peace Laureate
Aung San Suu Kyi from six years of house arrest, she is not at all free. She
cannot move freely in her own country. SLORC has imposed all kinds of
restrictions and has harassed her in many ways. Despite repeated calls by Suu
Kyi for dialogue, SLORC has ignored her and continues to crack down on
pro-democracy activists. According to both International Labor Organization
and UN's Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma, Professor Yozo Yekota,
SLORC regularly uses forced labor for infrastructure projects.

We are puzzled as to why the United States should "reward" SLORC for such
criminal behavior.

Committee for Restoration of Democracy in Burma
P.O.Box 39045
Washington, DC 20016
Cc: President Bill Clinton
      Members of Senate Foreign Relations Committee
      Members of House International Relation Committee


April 30,1996

Senior European diplomats have urged Rangoon to release an 
ailing Burmese who is close to Aung San Suu Kyi.
The diplomats visited Rangoon last week but were refused 
access to James Leander Nichols, 65, who was arrested this 
month without charge.

The Swiss and Danish ambassadors to Bangkok and the Norwegian 
charge d' affairs to Singapore, who is also accredited to 
Burma, were also refused a meeting with Foreign Minister Ohn 
Gyaw even though he was in Rangoon.

Instead they were met by the head of the Europe Division of 
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who declined to discuss 
their request to see Mr Nichols.

The diplomats, who submitted their request before the visit, 
are concerned about Mr Nichols' health. 
One of the group said: "The Burmese Government should take 
into consideration his old age and failing health and let him 
go. Our contact with the Burmese Government was unsuccessful."

Mr Nichols, of Scottish, Greek, American and Burmese origin, 
has served as honorary consul-general for Norway and also 
represented or served as "contact person" for Denmark, 
Finland and Switzerland.

He is known to be close to democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi 
and her family, but has no link with her National League for 
Democracy party nor is ho involved in activity against the junta.

Mr Nichols, who is Mrs Suu Kyi's godfather, telephoned her in 
England in 1988 to tell her to return home to take care of 
her ailing mother. 

Charges against Mr Nichols remain unclear but he was being 
accused of possessing two fax machines and bribery.

The diplomat said developments will be monitored closely and 
contact will be kept with the junta. Diplomats in Rangoon 
have expressed concern about tension in the political scene, 
with the junta threatening more basic freedoms and rights. 
The junta is also restricting the activities of Mrs Suu Kyi, they said. 


April 30,1996  (slightly abridged)

Oakland and San Francisco California, have passed laws to bar 
or restrict city business with companies operating in Burma.

The city authorities took the action against Burma's ruling 
State Law and Order Restoration Council, according to the Bay 
Area Burma Roundtable, a citizens' group monitoring human 
rights in that country.

Alameda County is preparing a similar law that will be voted 
on next week. The Oakland law is the most stringent, barring 
the deposit, investment or use of city or county funds with 
banks, financial institutions or investment firms that do 
business with the government or private sector of Burma.

San Francisco plans to amend its ordinance to add a 
divestment provision soon. Bat Area Burma Roundtable and 
Progressive Asset Management, and Oakland brokerage firm, are 
the main proponents of the Oakland and Alameda County 

The Roundtable and Citizens Trust, an investment company 
(formerly Working Assets common Holdings) initiated the 
legislation in San Francisco.

Large US companies with operations in Burma such as Unocal 
and United Parcel Service will be affected. San Francisco has 
a US$98,000-a-year contract with Unocal and Oakland is an 
occasional purchaser of petrol from Unocal.

Under the new Oakland law, no city funds will be invested in 
stocks, bonds or other obligations of the government of 
Burma, any corporation organised under the laws of Burma or 
any company conducting business in or trading with Burma.

No city funds can be deposited or invested in financial 
institutions making loans to Burma or doing business with 
firms operating in Burma (exceptions are provided when there 
are no alternatives or if a significant financial loss would result).

Both Oakland and San Francisco will establish a contracting 
preference for companies with no ties to Burma. (BP)


April 30,1996
(Compiled from Agence France-Press and the New Light of Myanmar)


The Burmese state-run Government Employees' Bank has loaned a 
total of one billion kyats to 120,000 employees and retired 
personnel in Rangoon since opening on April 1.
Almost 500 million kyats were borrowed in the two days 
preceding the water festival, the Thingyan. Finance and 
Revenue Minister Brig-Gen Win Tin said five percent interest 
would be repaid in 24 monthly instalments. (BP)


Assistant secretary-general of the UNDP Nay Htun 
and resident representative of the UNDP Siba Kumar Das 
visited Burma last week.

They met Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, Secretary-1 of the State Law and 
Order Restoration Council, and other ministers at the Defence 
Ministry. They also called on Forestry Minister Lt-Gen Chit Swe and 
discussed projects being implemented by the ministry with 
UNDP assistance. (BP)


Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister Nyunt Swe recently visited 
the Philippines at the invitation of its under-secretary of foreign affairs. 
The visit underlines Burma's wish to strengthen ties with the 
Association of Southeast Asian Nations. (BP)


Indian Air Chief Marshal S.K. Sareen paid a five-day visit to 
Burma earlier this month at the invitation of Burmese 
commander-in-chief (air) Maj-Gen Tin Ngwe. He met Gen Maung 
Aye, Slorc's vice-chairman and Defence Services deputy commander-
in-chief. Details of the talks were not available. The three-member 
delegation also went to Mandalay. (BP)


Chinese Deputy Minister for Labour Liu Yazhi recently visited 
Rangoon at the invitation of Burmese counterpart U Kyaw Aye. 
The Chinese minister held talks with Labour Minister Lt-Gen 
Aye Thoung but details were not available. During the stay, 
she also visited Pepsi-Cola Products Myanmar Ltd, a wood 
products factory and South Korean conglomerate Daewoo 
International Co. (BP)


Asian Development Bank executive director Syed Muhamad Abdul 
Kadir has visited Burma to discuss finance and progress of 
Burma's economy with Minister for Finance and Revenue Brig-
Gen Win Tin. Details of the talks were not available. (BP)


Switzerland and Burma discussed air services. Otto Arregger, 
deputy director of the Civil Aviation Department, led 
Switzerland's delegation while Burmese representatives were 
from various ministries and Myanma Airways International. (BP)


State Law and Order Restoration Council chairman Gen Than 
Shwe, visiting Lawkananda Tooth relic Pagoda in Bangan 
recently, said the government aimed to restore 120 ancient 
pagodas each year. The Archaeology Department has been assigned 
to supervise the restoration so that the pagodas' original aesthetic values 
will not be tarnished. (BP)


The Seventh Myanmar Traditional Regatta Festival will be held 
on November 20 with Burmese government support.
The event is aimed at boosting tourism in Visit Myanmar Year, 
according to Secretary-1 of Burma Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt. The 
festival will feature a re-enactment of the arrival of King 
Thayawady's fleet in Rangoon just over 150 years ago. (BP)


Germany's Hanns Seidel Foundation and Burma's National 
Commission for Environmental Affairs recently held a 
conference on the environment, cultural heritage and tourism.
Overseas participants included foreign government officials, 
tour operators and travel writers from Singapore, Japan, 
Vietnam, Laos, Thailand Canada and the United States, and 
representatives from United Nations' agencies. 
Founded in 1967, the foundation has been cooperating with 
Burma in promoting environmental matters since last year. 


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