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BurmaNet News October 13, 1996

"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: October 13, 1996
Issue #540

Noted in Passing:

		If a long pole were to be stuck straight into the earth from 
		Myanmar town of Katha it will reach an American town in 


October 11, 1996
Aung Zaw

The war office in Rangoon received a troubling message from the
Burma-India border recently. It was a report of a largescale
defection of Burmese soldiers who are believed to have taken
refuge with Chin rebels.

Since August, between 300 to 400 soldiers deserted their units
and fled to the India-Burma border," said a Burmese dissident
based in New Delhi.

Even though details remain sketchy several sources including
Calcutta-based journalists and Indian intelligence officers on
the border confirmed the defection.

"At least 100 soldiers are there," a dissident source said,
adding that the soldiers have joined up and established the
Patriotic Burma Army (PBA) or Myanma Myo Chit  Tatmadaw. 
More people are likely to join in the next couple of days," one
Indian journalist said. "They are very much inside Burma. These
soldiers are going to stay on the Burmese side of the border
being sheltered by the Chin National Front and local rebel
groups," the source said.

The news of the new army presents a fresh headache for the
Burmese generals who have governed under the motto: "No matter
who tries to divide us, we will always remain united."

What they cannot deny is in every form of human society there can
be disagreement and different opinions, and obviously there is a
crack [in the armed forces]" said an analyst in India.

According to sources in India, the defectors are predominantly
ethnic Chins. This is significant as the Chins have traditionally
provided a reliable source of recruits to  the Burmese army and
been active in anti-guerrilla warfare.

The previous Ne Win regime was fond of deploying Chin soldiers.
The reason: most Chin soldiers don't speak or understand Burmese
very well. In the 1970s, Burma's special Chin regiments were
brought into Rangoon to suppress student uprisings.

But according to sources, a number of the junior commissioned
officers are Burmans. They named Major Aung Kyaw along with Cpl
Aye Lwin and Tin Win as the leaders of the breakaway PBA.

The reason for the defection?

Says Subir Bhaumik, a correspondent for the BBC world service in
eastern India: "The soldiers are very upset with the [government's] 
treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi - they are influenced by mainstream 
Burmese political issues." They have also brought weapons and radio 

The Chin rebel group is also giving them assistance such as food
and other support, he said.

A former member of the National League for Democracy who is still
active in New Delhi claimed: "These soldiers voted for the NLD in
the 1990 elections and they want to see national reconciliation."
The NLD won a landslide victory in that election but the junta
did not honour the result.

The government in New Delhi, which was previously a staunch
supporter of the Burmese pro-democracy movement, has not made any
official comment about the defection. Indian officials are tight-lipped 
about the development and observers in New Delhi predicted the 
government would push them back if they came across the border.

"This is something that Burmese dessidents now realise, that
India is not a welcoming home shelter but is actually trying
to soothe its relations with Slorc," said Subir Bhaumik, a
Calcutta-based journalist with years of experience reporting on
the Burma-India border.

Bhaumik said that New Delhi is counting on support from the
Burmese army for its own counter-insurgency operations in
northeast India because many of the anti Delhi rebels, such as
the Naga, and Manipur, have their bases inside Burma. The Burmese
army has never exercised much control over these areas.

"It is important to get the support of the Burmese army to attack
the other side of the border when various rebel groups in
northeast India try to flee  back across the border," he said.

In 1980, New Delhi and Rangoon agreed to some limited military
cooperation. But ties deteriorated after New Delhi  backed the
1988 pro-democracy movement in Burma, which was crushed by the army. 
Many Burmese democracy activists fled to the India-Burma border.
India offered moral assistance to democracy activists and turned
a blind eye to anti-Rangoon rebels staying on Indian soil.

In the years after 1988 the relationship between New Delhi and
Rangoon became strained and official All India Radio was highly
critical of the junta's human rights violations and political persecution.

However, in the l990s there was a new player - China. Beijing
began to develop a special relationship with Burma and became a
major arms supplier to the Slorc. That raised eye-brows in the
region, especially in India. Analysts said New Delhi's strong
support for the democracy movement pushed the junta into the
hands of the Chinese and it urged New Delhi to initiate a dialogue 
with the generals.  Slowly but surely New Delhi reversed its policies.

Indo-Burmese ties improved after India's then foreign secretary
JN Dixit paid a low-key visit to Burma in March, 1993 and the two
countries exchanged occasional delegations. New Delhi
subsequently has sent more business missions to Rangoon. The
outcome is the two are back in business.

In 1995, India's northeast local commanders came to an
understanding with their Burmese counterparts and the Indian army
launched the "Golden  Bird" operation against the rebels.

The Indian army encircled a group of 200 rebels in northeast
Mizoram state and the guerrillas suffered heavy casualties when
fighting broke out.

"It was the most successful military operation against anti-India
rebels." said Bhaumik. About 40 rebels were killed and 180 of
them were captured and injured. The success of the operation was
due in part to to cooperation from the Burmese.

But there was a tinge of irony. Right in the middle of the
military campaign the Indian government announced it was giving
the country's most prestigious prize, the Jawaharlal Nehru Award,
to Suu Kyi who was then under house arrest.

Needless to say, that upset the generals in Rangoon. The Burmese
pulled out of the operations and the remaining rebels managed to
escape. The Indian army blamed the government for acting stupidly.
"[Burma's pull-out] created enormous problem," said Bhaumik.

Since then the Indian army and intelligence agencies have been in
regular contact with local Slorc officials in an attempt to
restore their counterparts' trust. As a result, the Mizoram-based
Chin rebels fighting against Rangoon have come under increased
pressure from the local authorities.

In the last three months, Mizoran police and Indian military
forces have regularly attacked the Chin guerrillas.

"The Indians are trying to tell the Burmese, 'We will not protect
your rebels and we will thrown them out if you do the same for
us'," said the BBC correspondent.

It worked and the Burmese army has stepped up pressure on Naga
rebels inside Burma. It now remains to be seen how the defection affects
Indo-Burmese ties.

"The government of India certainly did not want to disturb the
present level of relations with the Slorc which were slightly
improving," said the analyst.

A few months ago, a group of former Burmese soldiers who defected
in 1995 managed to travel to New Delhi and applied for refugee
status. But they were pushed back to the border. Since then no
one has heard of them.

Moreover, unlike the recent past, passage to India is now quite
risky. The Indian army has launched an antiguerrilla campaign and anyone
attempting to cross the border runs the risk of being caught and returned.

Border sources said that since the defection the intelligence
officials of both India and Burma have been in touch everyday.
Rangoon has made no reaction to news of the defection.


October 5, 1996
David Wolfberg <freebrma@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Trade: 'Selective purchasing laws' pose tough decisions for a roster of
international companies.

by Evelyn Iritani, Times Staff Writer

Motorola Inc., Swedish giant LM Ericsson and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries share one thing that has put them on a collision course with a
tough new law passed by the city of San Francisco.

They're accused of doing business in a troubled Southeast Asian nation
called Myanmar, which could jeopardize their bids for a $40-million
emergency radio communications system and a $140-million light rail system
for San Francisco International Airport.

Commercially speaking, Myanmar is not exactly South Africa.  But human
rights abuses in the country formerly known as Burma have spawned a
potentially costly web of selective purchasing laws at the local and state
levels that recall the effective anti-apartheid boycott of South Africa--and
they are posing tough economic decisions for an international roster of

While Clinton administration officials debate whether to levy tougher
economic sanctions against Myanmar's military rulers, multinational
companies are already running afoul of so-called selective purchasing laws
passed by seven U.S. cities and states in the last two years.

Thus Apple Computer Inc. just pulled out of Myanmar to keep its name off a
prohibited list being drawn up by Massachusetts, which last month became the
first state to pass a similar law banning business with companies that have
investments or employees in Myanmar.

And Unocal Corp., the largest U.S. investor in Myanmar, faced a review this
summer of its contract to provide bus fuel for Santa Monica.  The City
Council eventually agreed to continue the contract after determining that a
suitable replacement could not be found.

While El Segundo-based Unocal has held firm, others, including Levi Strauss
& Co., Eddie Bauer, European brewers Heineken and Carlsberg and financier
George Soros, have already pulled money or employees out of the country.

There is also evidence that the campaign to undermine Myanmar's repressive
military government has picked up steam since last weekend's arrest of up to
800 members and supporters of the opposition party headed by Nobel laureate
Aung San Suu Kyi.

The United States issued a ban on visits by members of Myanmar's ruling
State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), which responded Friday by
banning U.S. visitors.

Now New York, Tacoma Park, Md., and California's Alameda County are
considering selective purchasing laws.  And the European Union is debating
whether to cut off trade privileges to Myanmar.

The selective purchasing strategy is being pursued by other human rights
groups.  The city of Oakland has targeted Nigeria's military government
along with Myanmar.  And 22 states and 33 cities and counties have
provisions barring them from investing in companies that practice employment
discrimination in Northern Ireland.

This acceleration of unilateral economic sanctions is viewed with alarm by
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Foreign Trade Council and other
business organizations.

John Howard, the chamber's chief international strategist, argues that such
measures don't achieve their goals because they simply penalize U.S. firms
while freeing up the targeted markets for foreign competitors.

"It remains to be seen if Burma compares to South Africa in the interest it
generates," he said.  "But collectively, [these sanctions] add up to a big

Even foreign comapnies are beginning to voice concerns, albeit much more
quitely, because some of these measures are nationality-blind.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), one of the Congress' most outspoken
human rights proponents, said these laws send a powerful message to giant
Japanese firms such as Mitsubishi and Mitsui that have played a key role in
Myanmar's economy.

"There are many Asian investors who are looking to do business in the United
States," she said.  "If they do business with the SLORC, then they have less
opportunity here."

The Washington-based Investor Responsibility Research Center said it has
experienced a jump in calls from executives worried about appearing on its
widely disseminated list of companies doing business in Myanmar.

Ken Bertsch, director of the center's social issues program, said his group
gets lobbied by companies wanting to be taken off the list.  But he said his
group simply collects information, which it always attempts to verify before
passing it on.

"Looking back at the campaign against apartheid in South Africa, the
selective purchasing laws had the most impact because it hit companies where
it hurt," said Simon Billenness, a senior analyst at Boston-based Franklin
Research & Development Corp., a firm promoting socially responsible investing.

Over the last two decades, globalization has given these laws more bite,
because U.S. companies are increasingly dependent on overseas markets and
foreign companies have a larger stake in this country.

In its effort to grab a larger share of the global telecommunications
explosion, Schaumburg, Ill-based Motorola frequently finds itself in
countries where the political and economic stability fluctuates from day to day.

Larry Barton, Motorola's director of international operations, said his firm
follows the federal government's lead on doing business abroad and does not
believe city or state governments should venture into this complex arena.

Motorola, which does business in 45 countries, has had "very small sales" in
Myanmar and has one employee there evaluating the market, according to Barton.

The company's immediate stakes are much higher in San Francisco, where it is
bidding against Ericsson Inc. for a $40-million emergency radio system.
Ericsson's parent company, LM Erocsson of Sweden, also does business in Myanmar.

San Francisco is reviewing both bids in light of their ties to Myanmar.  The
Myanmar selective purchasing law can be waived if its imposition would cause
major financial harm to the city or if there are no other qualified bidders.
The city also is reviewing Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America's bid for
a $140-million airport light rail contract.


October 14, 1996  (slightly abridged)
from zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
by Kevin Whitelaw

Is the world ready for 7,284 secretaries of State?

The City Council of Madison, Wis., makes the whole world its business.  A
pioneer in the campaign against apartheid in South Africa, the city council
has most recently taken on human rights abuses in Myanmar (Burma).  In the
past, the council has taken positions on issues in places like El Salvador
and Haiti; it even came close to a resolution urging local police not to
help track down deserters from the armed forces during the gulf war.  "The
city isn't a city unto itself,"  declares former City Alderperson Bert
Zipperer, who says the resolutions represent the "collective conscience" of
the town.  "We deserve a say in how we will deal with other parts of the world."

What began as an exercise in self-righteousness in small, liberal college
towns like Madison has blossomed into a major cottage industry for
activists of all stripes. From Oakland, Calif., to the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, local and state governments are increasingly intruding into
an area once reserved for the State Department, targeting everything from
labor practices in Northern Ireland to military repression in Myanmar.
Last week California got into the act with a law banning state contracts
with companies that have purchased or used goods made with slave labor.
Inspired by Chinese human rights activist Harry Wu, the law is aimed
primarily at products made in Chinese prisons.

Trying to monitor the foreign policy of 50 states and 7,284 municipalities
is, to put it simply, a nightmare for companies and national governments
alike.  "There's no way we can keep track of all the individual actions,"
admits one State Department official.  To be sure, many of the actions are
nonbinding resolutions with no effect beyond assuaging the earnest
consciences of activists who have taken to heart the maxim of thinking
globally and acting locally.  (At least one chamber of 42 state
legislatures has declared support for U.N. representation for Taiwan, for
example).  Other measures have arguably created more consternation at home
than behavior modification abroad: San Francisco is currently attempting to
upgrade its 911 system system, and the only two bidders with technological
wherewithal to handle the $40 million project, Motorola and Ericksson, both
run afoul of the city's Myanmar-or-us law banning contracts with companies
that deal with that country's military regime.

Yet such "selective purchasing" laws have had a bite.  They create a
serious "hassle factor" for companies, says Suzanne Harvey, director of
Prudential Securities' Social Investment  Research Service.  "If you are a
large state, you can have a profound effect."  Last week, Apple announced
it would stop selling computers in Myanmar as a result of Massachusetts's
selective purchase law; Amoco and Eddie Bauer have also pulled out under
pressure.  Besides Massachusetts, seven cities including San Francisco have
passed similar laws.  All are modeled on bills adopted in the mid-1980s
that targeted South Africa's apartheid government.


October 10, 1996 (Madison, WI paper)
by John Nichols

In an increasingly cynical and disengaged political environment, it is easy
to imagine that there are no clear truths, no absolute battles for justice left.

But on the other side of the planet, in the southern  Asian nation of Burma, 
the struggle for truth and justice is playing out with a clarity and urgency 
that makes each day's events a vital challenge to the rest of the world.

This week, a group of University of Wisconsin students and local elected
officials met that challenge. And now it rests with all of us to make the
issues they raised a part of the national dialogue in this election year.

The peaceful struggle to free the people of Burma from an oppressive and
violent military regime has been going on for more than a decade now.  It
seemed to have met with a measure of success in 1990, when an election gave
the National League for Democracy, led by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung
San Suu Kyi, 82 percent f the parliamentary seats.

But six years after that election, Burma's dictatorial State Law and Order
Restoration Council continues to refuse to acknowledge the will of the
people.  And in recent months it has launched a campaign of repression that
has threatened Aung San Suu Kyi and the arrest of more than 800 supporters
of the movement for democracy and social justice.

This repression comes with a U.S. trademark. A merican corporations, such
as PepsiCo and the oil companies Unocal, Texaco and Arco, which do business
in Burma, provide a vital underpinning for the murderous regime.  Aung San
Suu Kyi said last month,"Companies such as Unocal and Pepsi, Arco, and
Texaco only serves to prolong the agony of my country by encouraging the
present military regime to persevere in its intransigence."

The struggle for a Free Burma is indeed the 1990s equivalent of the
struggle for a free South Africa in the 1980s, the struggle for a free
India in the 1940s and the struggle for a free United States in the 1770s.
But it will only succeed if Americans send a powerful message to the
corporate sponsors of Burmese repression.

That's what happened this week when several several dozen UW-Madison
students joined students from more than 50 colleges across the U.S. in a
two-day international fast to alert the world to the current wave of
repression in Burma.

In Madison, the fast wasjoined by State Rep. Tammy Baldwin and Madison City
Council members Mike Verveer, Brent Sieling and Barbara Vedder.

The high level of involvement in Madison is a result of the determined work
of Zarni, a 33-year-old UW doctoral candidate who fled Burma during a wave
of repression in 1988.

Zarni, who like many Burmese uses one name, says, "The situation is getting
worse in Burma.  People are jailed for the 'crime' of possessing a fax
modem because the SLORC does not want the truth to get out."

Well, the truth is out.

We know the crimes of the Burmese dictators; they have been well documented
by Amnesty International.  And that knowledge requires us to act.

In Madison, we can begin by pressuring the University of Wisconsin to
divest itself of investments in firms that do business in Burma.

On Nov. 7, Zarni will meet with the Business and Finance Committee of the
UW Board of Regents to press his case.  He should be welcomed by the
regents as a man who offers the university an opportunity to cleanse itself
of involvement with corporations, that by their actions in Burma, soil
their own reputations and that of any institution that holds stock in them.

The UW must choose between morality and greed.  It is a simple choice
between right and wrong, and we in Madison are blessed to have been
reminded of it this week by Zarni and his comrades.


October 10, 1996  (Ithaca, NY)  (abridged)
>From hag2@xxxxxxxxxxx

Protesting PepsiCo's economic involvement with the ruling faction
in Burma, approximately 15 people from various enviromental and social
justice organizations assembled in front of the proposed Taco Bell
restaurant on Dryden Road in Collegetown yesterday afternoon.

According to Htun Aung Gyaw, a former political prisoner and
student leader in the Burmese pro-democracy movement, PepsiCo helps
support martial law by maintaining economic ties with the Burmese Government.

"All the money that Pepsi pays to the country is eventually used
by the oppressive government to buy more ammunition and more arms to kill
their own people," he said.

Gyaw added that the Burmese  have no rights under the present
regime.  They can be captured at any time and used for forced labor
without pay and without food.

'Socially Inept Practices'

"PepsiCo needs to know that citizens will not stand for their enviromentally 
and socially inept practices any longer," said Kristin Rutether '99, as prostesters 
waved posters and chanted "Free Burma Now"" in the background.
The local protest, organized by the Free Burma Coalition and the
Cornell Greens, was part of a lager nationwide effort led by the Student
Enviromental Action Coalition (SEAC).  Following opening remarks, ten
members of the local group-who had fasted for 48 hours-broke bread together.

"This was a nationwide effort.  People all over the country broke the fast at 
12:15 pm to show solidarity with the people in Burma," said Jonathan Mawdsley 
grad, a member of Free Burma Coalition and organizer of the event.

The purpose of the demonstration was to inform the public and
increase awareness, according to its organizers.  Participants
distributed fact sheets to passers by and answered questions.

"As consumers, we don't always exmine what we buy, where the products 
come from and what the companies which we are helping are supporting.  
Consumers need to know what PepsiCo is doing," said Joseph Buttafuoco'99.


October 10, 1996

This is the gist of events that have occured during the last month.

As the SLORC offensive against the Shan United Revolutionary Army and the people
in Central Shan States continued, our leader, Col. Yawtsuk went to Hseng Keo,
the Headquarters of the Shan State Army that had ceasefire agreement with SLORC
since 1989 to talk with both the SSA and SSNA  ( Shan State National Army )
there. On 13 Sep, it was unanimously resolved by the three sides to combine
their military forces into one single armed force --the Shan State Army and its
political wing, the State State National Organization. The decision was also
taken to re-offer peace to SLORC in order to facilitate the process of ending of
our people's immense sufferings under SLORC's four cuts campaigns and to
facilitate negotiations that shall lead to the resolution of problems both in
Burma and the Shan States.

Accordingly, the SSNO leaders delegations headed by President Sai Nawng and Vice
President Kaifa travelled to Rangoon to negotiate with SLORC leaders. Though the
details of the meetings are still unclear at present, the SLORC's general
response to this latest development in the Shan States is clear : Stay split and
disunited if the Shans want SLORC to stop its inhuman campaign.

Meanwhile the four cuts campaign and the divide and rule policy continued,
resulting in the surrender of 300 of the SSNA's Brigade 275 and Brigade 8. As
for SURA, faced with imminent  annihilation, it was forced to defend itself.

On 28 September, a SLORC convoy was intercepted by a unit from Brigade 758 at
Nam-oi on the Kunhing- Namzarng road. During the brief but fierce engagement,
the Shans killed 6 SLORC soldiers -- a captain among them, wounded 7-8 of them
and destroyed two SLORC vehicles.

As for the SURA liaison group, until further instructions from the authorities
in the Shan States, it shall continue to use the same designation, and report
the developments as they come.

Notes :
The Shan State Army ---leader-Sai Nawng, official ceasefire group.
The Shan State National Army --- leader- Karnyord, unofficial ceasefire group.
The Shan United Revolutionary Army --- leader - Yawtsuk, the group still on
armed struggle.


October 11, 1996

DUBLIN, Ireland (Reuter) - The European Union is considering suspending
trade benefits accorded to Burma because of human rights abuses in the
Southeast Asian country, according to the EU's Irish presidency.

    ``The European Union is giving active consideration to further possible
restrictions in relation to Burma,'' Irish Foreign Minister Dick Spring said
in a statement released late Thursday.

    He said the EU Commission was completing an inquiry into possible future
suspension of trade benefits available to Burma under the generalized system
of preferences.

    Spring said he deplored ``the practice of torture, summary and arbitrary
executions, forced labor, abuse of women, political arrests, forced
displacements of the population and restrictions on the fundamental rights
of freedom, of speech, movement and assembly which have been reported in the
recent past.''

    The EU recently adopted a declaration deploring wide-scale detentions of
supporters of Burma's National League for Democracy and the blockading of
access to the residence of its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

    ``The European Union called for the immediate and unconditional release
of all those who have been detained and to allow for the resumption of
normal activties by the National League for Democracy,'' Spring said.


October 9, 1996

   A human rights group on Wednesday urged globe-trotting Germans to boycott
Burma, saying tourist money spent there would go to help stabilise the country's
military government.

   "Wait a bit with your visit, supporting the policies of the military government 
now is wrong," The Society for Threatened Peoples appealed to Germans
now booking exotic winter holidays.  

   "With its hard currency from tourism, the Burmese military junta will buy new
weapons to strengthen army rule."

   Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has urged foreign tourists to
boycott the "Visit Myanmar (Burma) Year" campaign Rangoon plans to run between
November 1996 and April 1997 to lure more visitors to the long-isolated country.

   Rangoon's tourism minister said in June the bad image the country had in the
world press had hurt the tourism industry just before "Visit Myanmar Year" was
to begin.

   Ulrich Delius, Asia analyst for the group, told journalists in Bonn that
Burma had used over two million forced labourers in the past four years to
renovate tourist sights such as the wall and moat of the former Royal Palace in

   Several thousand died annually in the drive to build or improve roads, train
lines and airports, he said.

   Travel agents said big tour companies were promoting Burma this year as a new
winter tourist destination with attractive offers of eight or 12-day package tours.

   Burma, one of the world's poorest countries, hopes its campaign will attract
up to 300,000 rich visitors this year after only 150,000 in 1995.


October 11, 1996
Bangkok Post, Agencies, Phnom Penh

Cambodia and Burma will  sign a tourism cooperation pact and an
accord making the historic sites of Angkor Wat and Pagan sister cities 
when the head of Rangoon's military junta visits Phnom Penh next week.

Senior General Than Shwe, who is Burma's prime minister and
chairman of the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC), will pay a four-day official visit to Cambodia from
October 16, the Cambodian foreign ministry said yesterday.

The Burmese leader is due to meet co-Premiers Prince Norodom
Ranariddh and Hun Sen, National Assembly President Chea Sim, and
be granted an audience by King Norodom Sihanouk during the visit.

The agreement making Angkor Wat and Pagan sister cities will be
signed when the Burmese delegation, which includes Foreign
Minister Ohn Gyaw, tours the 12th century temple complex in
Cambodia's northwestern province of Siem Reap.

Cambodia and Burma re-established diplomatic relations in August 1994.

The Burmese leader previously visited and Laos and Vietnam, and in
August was Malaysia's guest. But he has yet to pay an official visit to 
Thailand, although he took part in an informal summit in Bangkok in 
December 1995 of 10 Southeast Asian leaders.


October 7, 1996  (excerpts)
by Pe Kan Kaung:

[BurmaNet Editor's Note: It is ironic that the New Light would use the example 
of Adoniram Judson, an American missionary to Burma in the early 1800s, as 
symbolizing good American-Burman relations.  Judson was not treated warmly 
by Burmese officials at the time, particularly during his imprisonment.  Achieving 
no successes prosyletizing among Burman Buddhists, he turned to animist 
Karens, who converted in large numbers.  Missionaries after Judson wrote 
frequently of Burmese officials arresting and torturing Karen villagers who had 
become Christians.  Even today, Christians face persecution and in the Chin 
hills, Burmese authorities have tried to forcibly convert Christians to Buddhism. 
In one recent instance, after a Christian converted a Buddhist monk to Christianity 
both were arrested and thrown in jail.]

It can be said that Myanmar and the United States are the farthest and at the
same time the nearest countries. For the United States, Myanmar is the most 
distant country in the world. Either from the east or west course from the US, 
one has to travel 6,000 miles to reach Myanmar.

They can also be described as the nearest countries. It is because one is situated 
on one side and another on the other side of the globe; they are touching back to 
back though they are facing opposite directions. If a long pole, for instance, were 
to be stuck straight into the earth from Myanmar town of Katha it will reach an 
American town in Texas State.  Moreover, a clear evidence is that almost all the
rich resources and minerals exploited in the US are found in the earth here in Myanmar. 

The peoples of the US and Myanmar have been of one mind maintaining friendly 
ties.  If we recall the history of Myanmar-American friendship there is evidence 
that the two nations have maintained friendly relations since the founding of the 
US.  After setting themselves free from the Spanish, French and British rule the 
Americans established the United States of America. In the process, they made 
efforts concentrating on their religious belief. Americans were intelligent and
they served the interests of the human race. They performed religious duties and 
then laid the foundation for Myanmar- American friendship. 

An ocean- going ship, Georgiana, arrived in Yangon River during the night of 
12 July 1813. A 25-year-old American youth got off from the ship. He was Mr A 
Judson who was later well known among Myanmar people as Saya Yudathan 
(Teacher Judson). He first laid the foundation of Myanmar-American cultural 
exchange programme for promoting friendship between the two nations. 

After securing a place to live, the first thing they [Judson and his wife] did was 
learning to speak Myanmar language. Realizing that only speaking was not 
enough, Judson also tried to learn Myanmar written language. After three years 
he had been able to compile a Myanmar grammar.  He also noted down English 
words of Myanmar definitions. As a result, he compiled the Myanmar-English 
Dictionary which is still in use. 

The first English-Myanmar war broke out in May 1824 and English forces annexed
Yangon.  Due to the war, foreigners in the kingdom had to be detained and Saya 
Judson was among the English detainees. He was in custody for 11 months.

While carrying out missionary work, he compiled translations. Saya Judson who 
had lived in Myanmar for 37 years, from 1813 to 1850, left a colossal, secure legacy 
for Myanmar literature and Christianity. The New Testament translated by Saya 
Judson was first printed at the Thathana  Printing Press in Mawlamyine in December 
1832. The Old Testament was printed in 1835. The two Testaments still remain as the 
manuals of the Christian faithful in Myanmar and will also remain so in future. 

So, Myanmar still honours and lauds Judson, in fond memories up to this day, 
Judson College, Judson Church and Judson pillar still exist in his honour. 


October 9, 1996  (New Light of Myanmar)

Secretary-2 Lt-Gen Tin U of the State Law and Order Restoration Council 
met leaders of Shan State National Army, SSNA, U Kanna, U Phumar and 
U Aik La and party at Myanma Science and Technology Research Department
of the Ministry of Science and Technology at 0730 today.  Members of the SSNA 
returned to the legal fold on 27 September in Manphu Village in Mongkai Township. 
They cordially discussed regional unity, stability and development.  Minister at 
the Office of the Chairman of the State Law and Order Restoration Council Acting 
Minister for Industry-2 Lt-Gen Min Thein, Minister for Science and Technology 
U Thaung and officials of the Office of the State Law and Order Restoration Council 
were also present. 


October 11, 1996

A work committee has been set up in Myanmar in an effort to reduce crime and
carry out education in this aspect.  According to today's official paper "The
New Light of Myanmar," the committee, headed by a deputy minister for Home
Affairs, will begin operation on October 15.  Tin Oo, second secretary of the
Myanmar State Law and Order Restoration Council, Thursday called for effective
prevention of crimes and exposure of criminals for the stability of the state
and peace and tranquillity of the community and for bringing down criminal
offenses.  "At present, crimes threatening community peace and breaking of law
have emerged due to instigation and influences by local and foreign political
interferences," he noted at a meeting to coordinate the work of crime reduction
here.  "Authorities have exposed some of the crimes and taken action against the
criminals," he added.  He stressed the necessity to adopt new means to reduce
the crime rate and win public trust.


October 7, 1996

Myanmar leader Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt stressed cooperation among
regional authorities in implementing projects for the development of remote
border regions.  Khin Nyunt, who is first secretary of the Myanmar State Law and
Order Restoration Council (SLORC), made the remarks here Sunday at a meeting of
the work committee for the development of border areas and national races.  
Khin Nyunt, who is also chairman of the work committee, disclosed that 
Myanmar has spent over 4.31billion kyats (718 million US dollars according to 
the official exchange rate) for border area development since 1988 when the 
SLORC took over power.  He said that special priority is being given to transport, 
education, health and agricultural works in the development of the border regions.  
Second secretary of the SLORC Lieutenant General Tin Oo, who is vice-chairman 
of the work committee, disclosed at the meeting that funds allocated for border area
development in 1996-97 fiscal year amount to 942.4 million kyats (157 million us
dollars).  Previously, some Myanmar border areas were dominated by internal
anti-government armed groups.  Now 15 of the 16 armed groups as well as 
drug king Khun Sa and his Mong Tai Army have returned to the legal fold.

[BurmaNet Editor's Note: The unofficial exchange rate has gradually gone
from about 100 kyat/dollar to 170 kyat/dollar over the past few years.
Calculated at the 170 kyat rate, this amounts to just $3.1 million per year for 
border area development.  Border area development plans for 1996-7 at the 
current exchange rate of $170kyat/$1 amounts to $5.54 million.  Also, there
are more than 16 armed groups in Burma.  The Chin and the Nagas, for 
instance, are not included in the 16, and armed Shan groups are continuing 
to operate in Northern Burma.]


October 3-12, 1996


A poll, conducted by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), followed
trips by 37 South Korean government and business experts to the five nations --
Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.  The survey found that 27 percent 
of those questioned selected Vietnam as the most promising investment site. Laos 
and Cambodia won 23 percent each, while 23 percent picked Thailand.  Only six 
percent favored Burma.


Air Mandalay, a Burma-Singapore joint venture, is now operating a twice-
weekly flight between Rangoon and Phuket.  Air Mandalay began operating in 
November, 1994, first flying domestically between Rangoon and Mandalay, and 
then expanding to Chiang Mai, Thailand in August, 1995.


Burma plans to produce 20 million tons and export 1 million tons of rice this year, 
said Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Myint Aung.  He called for higher
rice production not only to realize domestic sufficiency but also to earn income for 
the country.  He stated that monsoon rice had been cultivated on 4.98 million 
hectares of land by the end of September against the target of 4.86 million hectares.  
According to official statistics, in the 1995-96 fiscal year, Burma's rice output was 
more than 19 million tons, of which 353,100 tons were exported.

The country's other agricultural products are beans and pulses, cotton, sugarcane, 
rubber and jute.  The minister stressed the need to change rice species for boosting 
yields.  He also said that arrangements have been made to enable cultivation of
three crops a year.  The annual growth rate of Burma's agriculture in the past four 
fiscal years from 1992-93 to 1995-96 stood at 8.8 percent and it is targeted at 5.4 
percent annually in the next five fiscal years.


The state-run Myanmar Shipyards under the Ministry of Transportation and a
local private company, the Standard Myanmar Co Ltd.,  have entered into a 
contract to manufacture and sell finished wooden products.  The products will
be sold in Burma and abroad.  In March, the government established a furniture
zone in Dagon Myothit, a new town under development in the suburbs
of Rangoon, to produce value-added goods.  Local industrialists are invited to
invest and set up factories in the zone.  Myanmar has also set up joint-venture
furniture factories in recent years with some foreign companies including the 
Santi Forestry Co. Ltd. of Thailand, the Yangon Wood Industries Ltd. of France 
and the KOL industries Sdn Bhd of Malaysia.


Next month, Japan's Nissho Iwai Corporation will set up a financing unit in
Singapore to invest in bonds and equities trading on Asian markets. The firm, 
whose investment portfolio is estimated at 5 billion dollars, will focus on the 
Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Burma, according to company officials.


from simon_billenness@xxxxxxxxxxxx

CNN is producing a short segment on Burma selective purchasing laws.
The segment will likely appear on CNN, CNN Financial News and, probably,
also CNN Headline News. It will not start to appear before 5pm EST on
Sunday, October 13.

Interviewees will likely include Jane Jerome of Amnesty International and
the Bay Area Burma Roundtable and Miloanne Hecathorn of the Office of Budget
& Finance of the City of Oakland. 

CNN International also did a story on the current situation in Burma last 
week featuring Maureen Aung-Thwin, OSI's Burma Project Director.