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Voice of America fears Burma jam

		Voice of America Fears Burma Jam 

                          By GENE KRAMER 
                          Associated Press Writer 
                          Monday, January 27, 1997 6:41 pm EST 

                          WASHINGTON (AP) -- A sharp decline in mail to 
Voice of America from listeners in
                          Burma is prompting concern that the Southeast 
Asian country's military rulers are imposing
                          new controls on the country's communications 
with the outside world. 

                          Burmese listeners' letters and postcards now 
arrive at the rate of only two or three a day,
                          compared to dozens daily until last November, a 
broadcaster with the U.S. agency said

                          Over the past decade, 1,000 to 1,500 pieces of 
mail came from Burmese listeners monthly,
                          but the monthly volume recently shrank to fewer 
than 100, said Khin M. Win of VOA's
                          Burmese service. 

                          A similar sharp drop was reported at British 
Broadcasting Corp. headquarters in London,
                          although exact figures were not immediately 
available. BBC and VOA broadcast in the
                          Burmese language 75 and 90 minutes a day, 
respectively, and invite listeners' written

                          A second U.S. government-backed broadcaster, 
Radio Free Asia, plans to launch daily
                          two-hour Burmese news broadcasts next week. 

                          Pro-democratic student activity and the 
withdrawal of foreign corporations from Burma are
                          creating uncomfortable pressure for the 
military regime, Burmese scholar Sein Win, the head
                          of a Burmese exile government in Washington, 
said during the weekend. 

                          The regime in Burma, which tolerates no public 
dissent, sent students home in December
                          and has closed Rangoon University and its 
affiliated technology and medical schools. 

                          PepsiCo Inc. announced Monday it is halting 
shipments of soft-drink syrup to its bottler in
                          Burma, severing its last business ties there. 
The $30 billion conglomerate is one of the
                          biggest firms to withdraw from Burma. 

[The Associated Press, 27 January 1997].