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BurmaNet News January 26, 1997

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

The BurmaNet News: January 26, 1997
Issue #621

Noted in Passing:

		They want to show the people they could crush them at any 			time. -
Rangoon-based diplomat re: SLORC tanks in 			downtown Rangoon


January 21, 1997

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1100 gmt 21 Jan 97
Text of report by Burmese opposition radio

It has been learned that in her meeting with Mr Kjell Magne Bondevik,
Norwegian Christian Democrat Party chairman, opposition leader Aung San Suu
Kyi urged the international community to take action against the SLORC
[State Law and Order Restoration Council] because the political situation in
Burma is deteriorating.

Mr Bondevik is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Norwegian
parliament, a former foreign minister, and is active among international
parliamentarians involved in the restoration of democracy in Burma.
His attempt to visit Burma last year did not materialize because of SLORC's
refusal to grant him a visa. He entered Rangoon as a Christian pastor on
16th January, however, and held a meeting with opposition leader Aung San
Suu Kyi for over an hour on Friday afternoon [17th January] at the house of
U Kyi Maung, National League for Democracy [NLD] vice-chairman.
Mr Bondevik recounted his meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi to the Democratic
Voice of Burma. He said that the SLORC currently seems a little bit nervous
after all the student demonstrations and has further oppressed the NLD.  He
said Aung San Suu Kyi has urged the international community to exert more
pressure on SLORC to hold a dialogue with the NLD.

Mr Bondevik said he has also explained PD-Burma, an international
Parliamentary Delegation on Burma striving to achieve democracy there, to
Aung San Suu Kyi. PD-Burma was formed in 1996 with 15 international
parliamentarians. He said Aung San Suu Kyi hopes the new UN
secretary-general will be more active and try to implement all the UN
resolutions on Burma. He said Aung San Suu Kyi also called for US economic
sanctions against the SLORC, for a repeal of the low tariffs on Burmese
goods in Europe, and for ASEAN to refuse Burma as member.

Mr Bondevik has also explained his meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi to the
current Norwegian foreign minister. The Norwegian government has decided to
continue pressuring the SLORC and to actively participate in the
international community for democracy in Burma. 

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi thanked the Norwegian government for its recognition of
Burma' s democracy movement by awarding her the Nobel Peace Prize and the
Rafto Memorial Prize.

Mr Bondevik noted the situation in Rangoon is still tense, with many police
and soldiers visible. He said 20 people allegedly accused of involvement in
recent student unrest had been sentenced to seven years in prison, and
family members were not even allowed to attend their trials.

He remarked it is time for international action against the SLORC. Aung San
Suu Kyi has expressed her readiness for dialogue and mentioned that the
Defence Services will also play a significant role under a democratic


January 24, 1997

RANGOON, Jan 24 (Reuter) - The tanks in the street say it all -- public 
demonstrations against Burma's military government will not be  tolerated. 

The ruling generals may have no immediate plans to use the five tanks 
which have been parked in front of City Hall since student protests in 
December. But diplomats say their presence is meant to intimidate people 
and remind them who is in charge. 

``Why do you think they are there?'' asked a diplomat. ``It's a mind 
game. They're playing psychological games with the people. 

``They want to show the people they could crush them at any time, and 
constantly remind them of that,'' he said, noting the tanks are parked 
in the middle of Rangoon near the Sule Pagoda. 

``It's intimidation.'' 

Burma's State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) has made it 
clear it does not want a repeat of last month's demonstrations when 
several thousand students took to the street in a week-long series of 
protests against the government. 


Some diplomats say the SLORC might fear the demonstrations and the 
bombing of a Buddhist shrine on Christmas Day are connected and part of 
a plot to try and topple the SLORC. 

``If these two incidents are part of a larger master plan, then they're  in
trouble,'' an Asian diplomat said. ``If they are just isolated  incidents
it's not so bad. 

``But I certainly think there are some elements in Burma that want to 
destabilise the SLORC,'' the diplomat added. 

In order to avoid international outcry, the SLORC has opted for a 
``soft'' approach, diplomats say. 

So far the intimidation and increased police presence on the streets has 
worked -- at least outwardly. Most major universities have been closed 
since the protests and students have not had an opportunity to plan any 
future demonstrations. 

But most diplomats say the sudden nature of the protests, and the way 
they were staged one after another in different parts of the capital 
Rangoon showed they were well-organised and likely to resume. 

``The students have been quiet for so long,'' said one diplomat. ``There 
must be someone behind it, and I don't think we've seen the end of it  yet.'' 


The protests took many by surprise, including the SLORC. 

``You would think with their intelligence ability they would have sensed 
something was going on,'' said the Asian diplomat. ``But the students 
caught the SLORC by surprise. They have been in power for so long, maybe 
they were over-confident.'' 

The SLORC has accused democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National 
League for Democracy (NLD) party of being involved in and politicising 
the unrest. Suu Kyi has denied involvement but said she supports the 
students' quest for justice. 

Some top government officials have also hinted there might be a 
connection between the unrest, the bombings and the NLD. 

The demonstrations, held partly to protest police brutality and demand 
the right to form students unions, were the largest act of defiance 
against the government seen since national demonstrations in 1988. 

The SLORC seized power in 1988 after crushing the uprisings in a bloody 
crackdown that left thousands dead or in jail. 

Since then, most democracy supporters have been afraid to take to the 
streets or publicly admit their abhorance of the regime and their 
support for Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi. 

``We are afraid to speak the truth here,'' said one Burmese man who 
supports Suu Kyi but like many others will not show it publicly. 


The protests, which angered the SLORC even more because they were staged 
just a month after it launched ``Visit Myanmar Year,'' are a sign that 
people are growing increasingly weary of the military leaders and their 
way of governing, diplomats said. 

Suu Kyi, who has been under virtual house arrest since the December 
unrest, has also said she is fed up with the SLORC's repressive tactics 
and its failure to hold talks with the opposition. She has vowed the NLD 
will be more aggressive in its quest for democracy this year. 

Suu Kyi, who was released from six years of official house arrest in 
July 1995, says the NLD plans to continue its work despite repeated 
crackdowns and arrests of NLD members. 

The NLD will even begin to actively seek to increase the party's 
membership this year, despite a 1991 law banning parties from increasing 
in size, Suu Kyi says. 

Diplomats say this move, on top of the bubbling student unrest, paints 
an uneasy picture for the SLORC in coming months. 

``I don't know what this all means,'' said one diplomat. ``But something 
is going to happen here. This will not just go away.'' 


January 24, 1997

BANGKOK: Burma's ruling junta has ordered 1,000 people to build a
road along the Thai-Burmese border opposite Mae Hong Son province
in an apparent attempt to utilize the route in its new offensive against
Karenni rebels in Kayah state, according to a Thai military source.

The military regime is rushing to complete the road which will
serve as a route to transport food and weapon supplies to its
troops stationed in the area. Begun only last month, the
construction is coming to a close; the source said.

Burmese troops are currently waging a war to eradicate the
Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) in Kayah state
following a breakdown of cease fire agreement last year. 'I he
agreement was reached in March 1995.

Members of ethnic Karenni, Karen, Mon. and Arakanese groups have
been coerced to work on the road's construction, said the source. 
Human rights groups have repeatedly alleged that the Burmese
junta is using forced labor to build a number of construction projects.
The source said it is expected Rangoon will use the road to
inspect the illegal logging trade between the KNPP and Thai
merchants. Both sides have been fighting each other for the
control of lucrative logging business in the border areas.

KNPP Supreme Commander Gen Ba Thu said his troops were
well-prepared for future attacks by Rangoon's troops, the source
quoted the KNPP leader as saying.
Clashes in the months leading up to the road's construction have
resulted in heavy loss of life on both side.


by Dennis Bernstein and Leslie Kean
January 24, 1997

"The attack was a deliberate attempt to harm u sbadly or even kill us," said
Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's Nobel laureate and democracy leader, over a
scratchy phone line from Rangoon.  She was referring to the Nov. 9 attack on
her car by a stone-throwing mob of 200, who also smashed her windows with
iron bars.

Carefully orchestrated by the military junta known as SLORC--the State Law
and Order Restoration Council--the violent ambush took place in an area
tightly controlled by government forces, which in this case stood by without

Not surprisingly, Suu Kyi was confronted by SLORC's thugs on her way to a
meeting with supporters of the National League for Democracy, Burma's
elected democratic party.

As urgently acknowledged by Suu Kyi in a telephone conversation from Rangoon
on Jan.10, the time has come for the imposition of US sanctions.  The SLORC
is escalating its repression against her party, committing gross human
rights violations and incorporating its booming heroin trade into the
permanent economy of the country.

"If the restrictions on the work of my party and on me personally are not
removed in the very, very near future--in a matter of days--I think the US
should start thinking seriously of sanctions," Suu Kyi said.

In September, President Clinton signed the Cohen-Feinstein amendment of the
omnibus appropriations bill, which included provisions setting a new policy
course for Burma.  The bill authorizes the administration to impose
sanctions "if the Burmese government has physically harmed, rearrested for
political acts or exiled Aung San Suu Kyi or has committed large-scale
repression of or violence against the Democratic opposition."

Suu Kyi believes these conditions have already been met.  "It had been more
than a month sicne my road has been blocked off," she said.  "The situation
is as bad as now as it has ever been."   About 100 members of her party have
been arrested in the last two months alone.

Through decisive action, the United States could also address the
devastating impact of Burma's booming drug trade on Americans and other
countries around the globe.

Burma is the largest heroin exporter in the world, responsible for 60
percent of the heroin sold in the United States.  Heroin exports have more
than doubled since the SLORC takeover eight years ago, and the junta is
working publicly with major drug traffickers.  Narco-dollars fund 50 percent
of teh export economy, as reported by the US Embassy in Rangoon.

A year ago this month, the SLORC struck a deal for the "surrender" of
legendary drug kingpin Khun Sa and provided him with profitable business
opportunities in Rangoon.

Suu Kyi indicated that she has doubts that counter-narcotics assistance from
the United States or other counteries can be productive.  "It's very
difficult to have any faith in the sincerity of SLORC's interest in stamping
out drug baron," she said.  "They are far more aggressive in their attitude
toward the National League for Democracy than against drug traffickers."

Tragically, the upsurge in heroin use has been accomplished by a burgeoning
AIDS epidemic--not surprising in a nation in which dozens of addicts share a
single needle.

According to  a fomer SLORC mining official, workers at
government-controlled jade mines are paid with drugs insted of cash.

Suu Kyi is concerned about the widespread use of heroin on Burma's
university campuses.  "The implication is that the government is more
interested in stamping out political activities on campus, but they seem to
be able to get away with taking drugs, which are easy to obtain."

Time is running out.  The longer the United States and other nations
hesitate, the more entrenched the SLORC becomes.  As the drug trade becomes
increasingly embedded itself while keping the nation addicted to drugs.

Althogh Aung San Suu Kyi has just made her strongest request yet for
sanctions, it is up to President Clinton to follow through on the sanctions
law that he signed more than three months ago.

Since the conditions for its implementation have been met, American
credibility is being damaged while the SLORC acts with impunity in its
challenge to US resolve.  Through sanctions, Clinton must send a clear
message to Burma's ruling generals that repression pf democracy and drug
trafficking will not be tolerated by the world community.
Dennis Bernstein is an associate editor with Pacifica News Service. Leslie
Kean is coauthor of "Bruma's Revolution of the Spirit: The Struggle for
Democratic Freedom and Dignity."


January 21, 1997
As reprinted in the Japan Times on January 23, 1997

[BurmaNet Editor's Note: A comparison of Indonesia and Burma is instructive.
In both countries, the authoritarian regimes have sought to isolate the
leaders of the pro-democracy movements by arresting and intimidating the
leaders' important, but internationally unknown, supporters rather than the
leaders themselves.   By doing so, they are able to limit international
condemnation yet still weaken the opposition movements.]

Few people outside Indonesia have hard of Muchtar Pakpahan, but his problems
are a good index of how the country's democrats are faring.  The government
is carrying out the most severe persecution in years of independent
organizations and leaders such as Pakpahan, who is the head of the nation's
largest independent labor union.  

There has been little international outcry, and most of that from trade
unions, partly because the Suharto government is currently not bothering
Megawati Supkarnoputri, the daughter of Indonesia's first president and the
leader of the opposition to President Suharto.

When the government engineered Megawati's removal as head of her party last
June, Indonesians rioted.  Afterward, she was repeatedly called in for
questioning.  Since she has come to symbolize Indonesia's democracy
movement, as Aung San Suu Kyi does in Myanmar, her safety is taken
internationally as a sign that all is well.

The current trials of political opponents are evidence of the government's
anxiety over Indonesians' support for the opposition, especially because
parliamentary elections are scheduled for May.

The government arrested Pakpahan on July 30, just after the riots, and
charged him with inciting them.  Unable to find evidence for the charge, the
government is instead trying him for subversion.  He faces a long prison
term and possibly the death penalty for criticizing Suharto's rule.
Indonesia's brutal occupation of East Timor and the nation's economic gap
between the rich and poor.

Pakpahan is important not just as a political activist but as head of an
independent trade union in a country that has repeatedly used troops to put
down attempts by workers to strike or unionize.

Besides Pakpahan, 12 labor or student leaders are being tried on charges of
subversion.  The government is putting pressure on Pakpahan's lawyer,
Bambang Widjojanto, to testify against his client.  The government is also
monitoring the activities and auditing the books -- in one case going back
to the 1970s -- of environmental and human rights organizations.

Harassment of nongovernmental organizations is not the kind of repression
the world gets excited about.  Americans, especially, like to think of
political events in terms of their effect on people we have heard of.  But
the real measure of a country's political health is the fate of those the
world does not know.


December 2, 1996
Report by "contributing writer" Rachel Sacks]

Myanmar [Burma] has recently joined the regional front against the HIV/Aids
epidemic. Unusually blunt comments have recently emerged from the head
of the Myanmar National Aids Program, denouncing human rights abuses against
people living with Aids (PWA) and insufficient attention to HIV in Myanmar.
This vocalization builds upon the tentative steps taken over the past year
by Myanmar-based Catholic agencies toward partnerships with Thai and other
international Aids organizations. Such outreach represents the latest stage
in the regionalization of national responses to Aids in Asia.  National
efforts are being increasingly absorbed into regional programs to more
effectively confront the fluid nature of the epidemic's spread.

While no single country has yet succeeded in winning the war against Aids,
Thailand's success in controlling its spread within the country's borders
offers an international  model of integrated response. Long ago placing the
Prime  Minister as the official head of the National Aids Program, Thailand
boldly asserted the urgency of structural response to HIV/Aids as a national
issue which requires ongoing attention.

This demonstration of the urgency of action has been heeded by Myanmar's
Catholic infrastructure. Throughout  1996, the Myanmar Council of Churches
(MCC) has increasingly cultivated relationships with international agencies to
assist the development of the National Aids Program and the NGO response to
Aids in Myanmar.

One recent effort was carried out by Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), at the
invitation of the MCC. NCA assembled a team of experienced Aids prevention
and care workers to evaluate Myanmar's immediate programming needs. Susan
Lindner, a member of the NCA needs assessment  team, is a Planning Officer
for the Chiang Rai branch office of the Population and Community Development
Association (PDA), a Thai-based non- governmental organization (NGO)
specializing in integrated rural development programs.

"Norwegian Church Aid would like to begin cross-border Aids programs in
Myanmar to share experiences gained in Thailand," Ms. Lindner explained,
illustrating the  importance of regional partnerships in Aids prevention. 
While the NCA team met primarily with church officials, the team consulted
with a number of Christian-based NGOs, church groups, private clinics, and
students' and women's groups in Yangon [Rangoon]. Based on these visits, Ms.
Lindner cited a "grave, urgent" need for more concentrated HIV prevention

"All people in Myanmar require basic Aids education, in addition to
counseling and care for PWA," she explained.  Yet, at present, programs
limit their focus to 
particular subpopulations considered "high-risk." Eleven NGOs are directing
their efforts to serve youth, commercial sex workers (CSWs), injecting drug
users (IDUs), and migrant laborers.

Aids is spreading rapidly in Myanmar. The National Aids Program has
estimated that 450,000 people are already HIV-positive, and yet the country
is still in the early stages of its response. For example, Myanmar cannot yet
guarantee its hospital population a safe blood supply. While most countries
have already confronted the repercussions of an insufficiently screened blood,
Myanmar's slow structural development has prolonged the inability of health
professionals to address this dangerous situation.

One Aids prevention and care specialist, Father Dan  Boyd, of Bangkok's
Welcome House, testified to the gravity of this problem In February of 1996,
he, too, was invited by the MCC to conduct a study tour of the Aids situation in
Myanmar. He visited Kachin state, becoming the second foreigner to set foot
in that area in 30 years.

"In Kachin state, I saw precisely four huge, horse- like sized syringes in
the Kachin hospital, Fr Dan related. These four syringes were used on one
patient after another, with no intermediate sterilization. Aggravating this
already shocking risk, the hospital was located near a jade  mine, at which
a large migrant labor force was served by a  fast-growing commercial sex
industry (CSI).

The link between migration and HIV is even more  evident and problematic for
Myanmar as it is for other countries in the Asian region. Myanmar's National
Aids Program preceded the conclusions of this month's international meeting
in Chiang Mai in its identification of labor migration as a major area of
concern. Referring to the high prevalence of HIV in Thai border towns and in
Mandalay, the National Aids Program has indicated the importance of
transient populations in the epidemiology of  the disease in Myanmar.

"Many NGOs are targeting border areas, which is appropriate with borders
like Thailand and India," Ms. Lindner observed. "However migration in Burma
is coming from even the most remote areas to border towns. It is imperative
that strategies be formulated for rural areas.  HIV/Aids programs must
become standard components of all health education for MDs and the general
population alike."

As with Thailand's experience in internal migration and the spread of HIV,
Myanmar's structural development can  provide a key to stemming the tide of
HIV infections in that country. PDA's own TBIRD (Thai Business Initiative in
Rural Development) program demonstrates the importance of private sector
involvement in national development and health efforts.

Yet, in the interim, a more immediate need for basic public education
exists. According to Ms. Lindner, training, IEC (information, education and
communication) materials, availability of condoms, and government support
and funding for Aids and medical infrastructure are all areas requiring
serious attention. While she saw billboard campaigns against Aids, Ms.
Lindner cited an official attitude of denial.

Today's international focus on the elusive search for a cure or vaccine has
not reduced the urgent need for ongoing prevention efforts within every
subpopulation for each generation. Regional efforts such as the UNICEF
Mekong Region project, new Unaids projects, and international NGO
partnerships are the best means to achieve this goal.  However, such
regional efforts require the interest and participation of national
structures.  In the case of
Myanmar, this participation is complicated by international responses
Myanmar's political situation. 

With so many obstacle overcome, can Myanmar hope to  control its Aids
epidemic?  "The Myanmar Council of Churches, with a membership of
600,000, has the potential to implement HIV/Aids projects effectively at the
village level," Ms. Lindner stated. Regional assistance and pressure is the
key to developing this potential.


January 24, 1997
>From Times Wire Services

Unocal reported a fourth-quarter loss of $497 million, or $1.98 a share, 
contrasted with net income of $49 million, or 16 cents, in the year-ago 
quarter. It also reported a loss from discontinuing operations of $500 
million, or $1.99 a share, relating to the pending sales of its 76 
Products unit, contrasted with a gain of $16 million from discontinuing 
operations, or 6 cents, a year ago.


January 24, 1997 (abridged)
By Brendan Intindola 

NEW YORK, Jan 24 (Reuter) - After years of fighting shrinking returns  in
the crowded restaurant market, PepsiCo has decided to return to its roots --
soft drinks and  snacks -- and meet rival Coca-Cola Co head-on overseas. 

Enrico told a conference call with analysts that the company chose to  spin
off to shareholders the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut operations in a single
company after "a great deal of reflection." PepsiCo's varied businesses were
"not benefitting with a common  corporate structure. The conclusion was we
would be limiting ourselves on both sides" as a single corporation, he said. 

Price wars and saturation of the domestic fast-food market with  mushrooming
outlets has stoked competition and pared margins, particularly in the last
two years,  analysts said. 

Enrico emphasized that the new PepsiCo, expected to emerge by the end  of
the year, will be particularly focused on strengthening Pepsi-Cola sales
outside of the  United States, a market long considered Coke's big strength. 
"We want to be aggressive on the international front. We are not  going to
catch Coke in Japan or Germany, but in places like China, India and Eastern
Europe, there  are billions of customers up for grabs and there is going to
be a whole new story there," Enrico told  the analysts. 

An international offensive would be well-financed, he added, since 
PepsiCo "will be flush with cash" after the spin-off because of an expected
special dividend the  restaurant company will pay to PepsiCo. 

PepsiCo, in turn, will deliver the combined fast-food chains to
shareholders debt-free. PepsiCo executives declined to say how large a
dividend from the new company  may be. 

Pepsico entered the restaurant business in 1977 with the purchase of  Pizza
Hut. Taco Bell was acquired in 1978, and KFC became part of Pepsico in 1986. 


January 24, 1997

Dear Friends,

The BurmaSong site has gotten a long-overdue updater. All of the songs, 
except for one to be introduced at the Free Burma Coalition Conference in 
about ten days, are now available as RealAudio files (texts will follow).

The links are there for ordering tapes from the Burma Relief Center, 
Japan. All funds go to help Burmese refugees.

Other RA files, English and Burmese, are there was well as a number of 
links (still growing) to other sites.

The URL is still:

Peace and Courage,



BurmaNet regularly receives enquiries on a number of different 
topics related to Burma. If you have questions on any of the 
following subjects, please direct email to the following volunteer 
coordinators, who will either answer your question or try to put you 
in contact with someone who can:

Campus activism: 	zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Boycott campaigns: [Pepsi] ai268@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx     
Buddhism:                    Buddhist Relief Mission:  brelief@xxxxxxx
Chin history/culture:        [volunteer temporarily away]
Fonts:                  		tom@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
High School Activism: 	[volunteer needed]
History of Burma:            zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
International Affairs: 	 Julien Moe: moe@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Kachin history/culture:      74750.1267@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Karen history/culture: 	Karen Historical Society: 102113.2571@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Mon history/culture:         [volunteer needed]
Naga history/culture: 	Wungram Shishak:  z954001@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Burma-India border            Aung San Myint: aungsan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Pali literature:            	 "Palmleaf":  c/o burmanet@xxxxxxxxxxx
Pipeline Campaign       	freeburma@xxxxxxx
Resettlement info:	refugee_help@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Rohingya culture		volunteer needed
Shan history/culture: 	Sao Hpa Han: burma@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shareholder activism:       simon_billenness@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Total - France		Dawn Star: cd@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
Tourism campaigns:      	bagp@xxxxxxxxxx     "Attn. S.Sutcliffe"   
volunteering: 		refugee_help@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
World Wide Web:              FreeBurma@xxxxxxxxx

Geographical Contacts:
Massachusetts		simon_billenness@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

[Feel free to suggest more areas of coverage]



This single page serves only as an easy to remember URL and departure
point to resources promoting the establishment of democracy in Burma.
Please write to FreeBurma@xxxxxxxxx to add a site or for further
information." - Glen, system administrator


to get involved in the Free Burma Coalition, send a message to:

or visit their homepage, accessible through: http:// FreeBurma.org

There is also an e-mail list-server especially for Free Burma activists


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