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The BurmaNet News, October 27, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------          
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"          
The BurmaNet News: October 27, 1997             
Issue #853

Noted in Passing:

When they start releasing political prisoners and removing the barricades
then we'll know there's been real progress.



September 27, 1997
[new email account after November 1, 1997: <images@xxxxxxxxxxxx>]	


Outside of National League for Democracy (NLD) circles, foreign companies
and governments have expressed concern that there is little known about the
NLD's economic policy.  Foreign governments and corporations have and may
continue to interpret this silence to mean that the NLD is 'anti-business'
and 'anti-foreign investment'.  Observers have also suggested that the NLD
has failed to produce a coherent economic policy, or that they are reluctant
to disclose their plans to the State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC), which itself lacks well-trained economic advisers and a sustainable
economic policy.  

The real explanation may be much simpler.  The NLD produced their first
economic policy report in 1990, and have periodically produced economic
updates since then.  The most recent of these is an extensive economic
report outlining the economic situation of Burma under SLORC, and
formulating policy and objectives for a free-market economy in cooperation
with the SLORC in a future democratic Burma, produced for the ninth NLD
congress held on September 27th 1997.  However, although the economic
reports have been discussed and read at NLD meetings, under the SLORC's
draconian censorship laws the NLD have been refused a publishing licence,
therefore the reports are not allowed to be published and distributed widely
in Burma or internationally.       

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD members have frequently expressed their
desire to meet with representatives of foreign corporations which are
already engaged in or are considering doing business in Burma.  Most of
these corporations have refused to meet with NLD representatives in order
not to jeopardise their existing or future projects, as the SLORC makes
their access almost impossible.  Only those from more powerful companies
with big investments in Burma have met with the NLD.  These companies are
widely believed to have done so to avert growing consumer pressure, possible
economic boycotts, and legal proceedings implicating them in contributing to
the shocking human rights situation in the country.

Images Asia is pleased to have obtained a copy of the preamble to the NLD's
new economic report.  The full economic report will be available as soon as
the NLD are able to copy and release this information according to the law.
--Images Asia



Economic Report submitted to the Annual General Meeting of The National
league For Democracy held on Sep 27-28, 1997

[One and a half page preamble reiterating excerpts from Economic Policies
laid down in the Party's Manifesto in Oct 1988 and in 1989]

The Present Economic Situation

Only government statistics and figures are available for any economic
discussion. Those figures do not truly reflect the present economic
situation. For example, the figures put out by the Central Statistical
Organisation on consumer products in Yangon are totally different from what
housewives are actually having to pay in the market. They also cannot
accurately project price rises. There is also a discrepancy in the figures
given for Import/ Export values, government revenue and expenditure and
such. Be it as it may, the reality in the economic situation the people are
facing is:-

(a)	The cost of goods and transport is exorbitantly high
(b)	The Cost of Living per family has multiplied
(c)	The general public and civil servants suffer malnutrition due to
insufficient meat in diets
(d)	The gap between the have and the have-nots has never been greater in the
post independence period
(e)	The haves wheel and deal in real-estate, cars, jewellery & gems, gold
and foreign exchange to safeguard their wealth. Wealthy Myanmars have again
started running from the Kyat. Previously, people were wary of holding Kyats
because of sudden demonetisation. Today, people fear their Kyat depreciating
from one day to the next.
(f)	Affluent people with money to invest cannot enjoy a stable economy due
to the abrupt direction changes of the government policies which leaves the
potential investors groping around in the dark. Under these circumstances,
they are reluctant to sink their money in production or regular and stable
trading. There is no base for long term National Industry.
(g)	Foreign investment goes mainly into Oil & Gas development and
construction of hotels. Only a very small amount of capital comes into the
basic production sector. There are more enquiries and scouting out the lie
of the land than actual investments.

Deficit Of the SLORC Budget

The key to the inability of the wealthy to work in a stable business
atmosphere and the hardship of the poor is the State Law and Order
Restoration Council's (SLORC) Budget. The SLORC government is the sole body
in Myanmar creating money. Through many years, the government has not been
able to balance their income and expenditure causing a deficit every year.
The Central Government's funds should be cut. There must be strict
discipline. No one must be allowed to overstep the bounds of the budget
(allotment). State enterprises which are a legacy of the Socialist era, have
also always shown deficits. That is why the NLD Manifesto declares that all
nationalised enterprises shall be returned to their original private owners
or sold off barring those that may cause economic chaos or massive
unemployment. The global trend today is to transfer state enterprises to the
public. In Myanmar, the goods produced are third rate, outdated and
expensive. The Central government has always had to subsidise these
enterprises creating a situation in which the consumer squanders the
taxpayer's money. It is high time this burden was lifted from the people's
shoulders. It is high time that State Enterprises were separated from the
National Budget. The chronic inflation problem will never be cured so long
as the Central Bank is required to continue to churn out money to cover the
budget deficit. To remedy inflation and create a stable economy, the SLORC
will have to balance it's budget and live within an income and expenditure
balanced system.

Monetary Policies

The government needs to have monetary policies and figures which may be used
for balance projections. The responsibility for this should be given to the
Central Bank. The government should accept the advice of the Central Bank
and support and regulate its work. Besides being the bank holding the State
coffers, the Central Bank should take on the monetary responsibility of the
economic systems. The duties of the Central Bank should be estimating volume
of currency, controlling the volume of currency to maintain stable market
conditions, setting interest rates, supervising the balance of capital of
banks and overseeing banking, banking policies and monetary policies of
banks. There should also be supervision of currency circulation, investment
and the setting of reasonable interest rates on savings. There is a Central
Bank Act. However, the bank has yet to fulfil the requirements of the law.

Value Of The Kyat

Money should be not only for payment for goods or services but a valuable
commodity to keep as well. The Myanmar Kyat today is the former but no more
the latter. The downward slide of the Kyat took a sharp dip in mid-1997. The
government introduced the FEC to facilitate the Foreign Currency problem but
this created more confusion with the government's fixed exchange rate and
two other exchange rates. Currency speculation became intense. The private
market rate dealt with two thirds of the currency while the government rate
was used only by the government and others working with the government.
Chaos in the domestic market and in establishing income, expenditure and
profit and loss was caused by imports and exports being calculated at three
different exchange rates. The different rates also created speculation,
seeking of special privileges and corruption. The government must devalue
the Kyat in the foreign exchange rate to a certain rate determined by the

Systematic Devaluation

A firm system is required to allow the free movement of the exchange rate
once the Kyat has been devalued to deter a parallel rate developing. Import
and Export Regulations ought to be reviewed, revised and coordinated in
advance to promote the quick flow of imports and exports. Expenses for
popular export items will rise generating a larger Kyat income for exports.
Required are revision of salaries, adjustment of low salary earner's income
and maximum costs of commodities, advance adjustment of prices for paddy.
The government's complete budget should be reviewed in advance for maximum

Stabilisation Fund

At the time of devaluation, wide ranging economic surveys and situational
reports on finance & revenue, income & expenditure should already have been
carefully checked and analysed. Experienced full-time staff are required for
this task and they should work in close association with independent experts
assigned expressly for this work by the United Nations. Advance coordination
and discussion should also be made with other international or financial
organisations with aid potential. A crucial requirement in these talks must
be for a Stabilisation Fund to buttress the foreign exchange deficit
stemming from the adjustment of the rate of exchange. The Stabilisation fund
will be a joint effort.

The above should not be taken as fixed or rigid policies or projects. This
report is only to focus attention on the requirements for a stable economy
in a developing country; a country whose economy is based on agriculture, a
country striving to enter the global market, a country in need of more
export force.

We invite the advice, analysis and criticism of NLD members, the people,
large or small business people, local or foreign experts to input more
practical or realistic ways in keeping with the current changes of the
situation. We also invite expertise, knowledge, figures and statistics and such.

Commerce Department
The National League For Democracy

September 27th, 1997


September 27, 1997
[new email account after November 1, 1997: <images@xxxxxxxxxxxx>]	


Report submitted to the Annual General Meeting of The National League For
Democracy held on Sep 27-28, 1997 on the current Social & Economic Situation
prevailing in Myanmar and Requirements

1. 	(A) The Social Norms presently prevailing in Myanmar are even lower than
the norms enjoyed in the period leading up to the Socialist era,
particularly in the Education and Health Sectors
	Very few children can attend Primary Schools; the cost is too high and the
school buildings are dilapidated. The number attending Middle and High
Schools is even less than those at the Primary Schools. Costs are higher and
various fees are raised each year.

	Expenses for attending Universities and Colleges are very high and the
quality of education is greatly lowered because the Universities are closed
for long periods. Overall, drop-outs are increasing. The number of students
who, for various reasons, cannot continue their education after finishing
high school is also on the rise. There is a need to introduce some form of
non-formal education for those who cannot complete their formal education.

	The situation in the Health Sector is going from bad to worse. Although
there are hospitals and clinics there is a lack of Doctors, Nurses and
medicines and facilities, especially water and electricity. There are
insufficient hospitals and clinics in relation to the whole country.
Particularly terrible is the malnutrition of infants and infirmity of the
mothers. The mortality rate is rising.

	The malaise of the Education and the Health Sectors has been continuing for
quite some time now. It would be difficult for the State to put them back on
their feet on its owns. As the issue is vast, it would be necessary to get
relief aid from the United Nations and its organisations and local & foreign
NGOs. A Recovery Programme must be charted out with the help of these
organisations and with the State setting out systematic campaigns and
projects till a normal situation is attained. The 'normal' situation should
be clearly defined beforehand as a target.

	Management and the related fields of Transport and Construction need to be
coordinated to support the implementation of the work in the above two
sectors. The first essential is for the whole matter to be considered as a
grand humanitarian scheme. The scheme needs to be carried out across the
country with the aid and support from the United Nations and its
organisations and local & foreign NGOs.

2.     (A)	Another vital necessity is for the general Economic and Social
situation of the country to be analysed systematically for stability. Hasty
development should be avoided. The minimum requirement ought to be taken
into account. State coffers must be managed systematically. Revenue
increases should be sought and a Stabilisation Fund established. To this
end, Finance and Revenue policies must be set out systematically and goals
set for the various sectors in relation to those (policies). The funds must
be guarantied for individual sectors. Funds must be built up. In the present
circumstances, (we) think that the State is unable to build up such funds.
No other means except loans can fulfil the requirements in a short period.
The World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund
and other organisations have to be approached for aid to develop a
Stabilisation Fund. The aid package will take off when the State can assume
responsibilities emerging from discussions with the organisations providing
the aid.

(B) This is a crucial period. Discipline is essential in revenue collection
in line with the policies laid down and for expenditure to be systematic. To
this end, there has to be good and precise programmes and projects laid out	
as well as competent management. There is, presently, a dearth of qualified
personnel who have expertise in these matters. A request for experts could
also be made to the WB, ADB and IMF together with the approach for aid in
establishing a Stabilisation Fund. There has been precedent for this in
Myanmar (the Pyi-daw-thar Project ). India, Korea, Indonesia - nations much
larger than Myanmar - have also gone through this process.

	A Consultative Group for Burma of the WB, the ADB and the IMF also helped
the country during the Socialist era. Although there is the wish to develop,
it is not yet necessary to try and keep pace with the city development
projects of larger, richer nations. All-weather housing with reasonable
transport facilities and roads ought to have priority.

	It is important to focus on building up schools so that the education
level stays abreast with the times. It is important for all Basic Education
Schools to be fully equipped with the necessary facilities and teaching
aids. One aim is for the burden of maintenance of the school to be taken off
the shoulders of the parents.

	For all hospitals to be fully staffed with doctors and nurses and fully
stocked with medicines.

	For the trend of selling off raw material to be changed to selling finished
products to push towards the aim of earning more revenue.

3.     (A) To take time to work out the details in close discussions to
implement the work of approaching the WB, the ADB, the IMF and the UN for
(a) the Relief Programme and (b) the Stabilisation Fund.

	It remains for work to be carried out according to the Economic Policies
constituted in the 1988/89 Policy Papers of the National League For
Democracy. However, should there be any modifications necessary in relation
to the times and the prevailing situation, matters will be brought up at
meeting of the relevant body and guidance will be complied with.

	(B) A separate report is attached regarding work carried out.

Commerce Department
The National League For Democracy

September 27th, 1997


October 26, 1997

RANGOON - Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi plans a series of
visits to help organise young members of her National League for Democracy
(NLD) in the capital and surrounding townships, an NLD source said yesterday.
"Aung San Suu Kyi has personally taken on the task of organising the youth
members of the party to shape them into a cohesive group," the source said.
The Nobel laureate visited the Rangoon satellite town of Thaketa last
Tuesday to visit young people at a party office. She plans a series of
visits to NLD offices in Rangoon division townships to meet youth members there.


October 24, 1997

Rangoon responds to EU offer to boots ties

Burma's ruling military junta yesterday denied reports that Philippine
Foreign Secretary Domingo Siazon had met opposition figurehead Aung San Suu
Kyi during a visit to Rangoon last week.

It also said it was ready to boost contacts with European nations, but only
on condition they did not "interfere" in Rangoon's internal affairs by
"dictating" how it should run the country.

The denial of the Siazon meeting came a day after diplomatic sources in
Manila and Rangoon said the Nobel laureate had visited the Philippine
embassy during a state visit to Burma by Philippine President Fidel Ramos.

"No such thing took place," a top military official in Rangoon said, when
quizzed about the reported meeting last Friday and over whether the Burmese
authorities had granted permission for it to go ahead.

A diplomatic source in Manila, who refused to be named, said on Wednesday
that the meeting had happened, but neither Mr Siazon nor Mr Ramos would
comment on the claim.

"I do not know anything about it," Mr Ramos told a news conference, while Mr
Siazon said: "I cannot comment on that" out of "mutual courtesy to everyone."

The Philippines is the current Asean chairman, and Mr Siazon had said on
Wednesday that it was his job "to see if the democratic reforms are underway".

Rangoon meanwhile welcomed an offer by German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel
for boosted European Union contacts with Burma, but on condition that Europe
refrained from "interfering" in Burma's "internal affairs".

"Myanmar is willing to enhance cooperation with any nation provided that no
conditions are set and that her internal affairs are not interfered with,"
the military official said in a statement.

He called for "mutual respect" among nations and for countries to "refrain
from dictating terms to one another.

Mr Kinkel, during a brief visit to Thailand this week, said the European
Union wanted to reopen contacts with Rangoon but that the EU wanted to see
key changes in the country.

He called for the release of political prisoners, an end to military rule,
for democratic parties to be readmitted to the political process and for a
democratic constitution to be enacted.


October 24, 1997

BANGKOK, Oct. 24 (Kyodo) - Myanmar's military government released a
statement Friday saying pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's movements
would not be restricted provided she conducts her political activities
''within the
framework of the law.''

Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the 1991
Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Tuesday made her first political trip outside
Yangon since being released from six years of house arrest in July 1995 to
speak to supporters in Thakata, on the outskirts of the capital.

''There is no government restriction on her movements. In fact, the
authorities concerned have only requested her to be careful in her activities
outside her compound for her own security, and conduct political activities
within the framework of the law and within the established regulations
governing such activities so that peace, tranquillity and stability will not
be disturbed,'' said the statement faxed to Kyodo News.

Myanmar became a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) in July, and a Thai diplomat said ASEAN could claim some credit for
the apparent change in the junta's attitude in allowing Suu Kyi to make her
trip because of its ''constructive engagement policy'' toward Myanmar.

''Since Myanmar became an ASEAN member, it has had to take its image into
account,'' the diplomat said. ''Myanmar can no longer ignore ASEAN's
political suggestions when it is trying to open itself to the international
community and boost investment in the country.''


October 26, 1997
By Deborah Charles 

BANGKOK, Oct 26 (Reuters) - In Burma, where every event and article in
official newspapers is carefully scrutinised for hidden meanings, analysts
and diplomats see a possible easing of tensions between the military
government and the opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi. 

Last week Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace laureate, was allowed to make her
first political trip outside Rangoon since being released from house arrest
more than two years ago. 

The trip to Thakata Township to speak to supporters and organise the youth
wing of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party was the first to be

``It's definitely positive,'' said a Rangoon-based diplomat. ``I think it is
a warming of relations.'' 

``This could signal an opening up,'' agreed another diplomat. ``A lot has
happened lately.'' 

The decision to allow Suu Kyi and other top NLD officials to visit Thakata
comes amid other signs of easing of the government's iron grip on the party. 

Last month the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) allowed the
NLD to hold a two-day meeting at Suu Kyi's house to mark the ninth
anniversary of the party's founding. 

The previous year the SLORC stopped a similar gathering by setting up
barricades and arresting hundreds of NLD officials and party members who
were planning to attend the meeting. 

Top SLORC leaders, including powerful military intelligence chief Lieutenant
General Khin Nyunt, have also held talks with top NLD officials although they
have not included Suu Kyi. 

At the party congress last month Suu Kyi thanked the SLORC for allowing the
gathering to take place and urged continued cooperation. 

``I am firmly convinced that the NLD and the authorities will be able to
cooperate holding hands together to work for the country,'' she said. 

But she also called for the release of about 1,000 political prisoners being
held by the government, and demanded the SLORC honour the results of the
1990 general election, where a sweeping NLD victory was never recognised by
the military. 

Diplomats and local analysts, who all agreed that change would inch along
very slowly in Burma, warned that this apparent easing of relations was only
a first step. 

``When they start releasing political prisoners and removing the barricades
then we'll know there's been real progress,'' the first diplomat said. 

``I look at it all somewhat cautiously. It is still too early to say for sure
how relations are between the two sides,'' a Burmese political analyst said. 

``Future progress will certainly depend on both sides; they must be willing
to cooperate.'' 

Both Suu Kyi and the SLORC have been stubborn over the past few years,
unwilling to budge in their convictions. 

But diplomats think maybe both sides now realise compromise is necessary. 

``She's made some conciliatory gestures,'' a diplomat said in reference to
Suu Kyi's comments at the September NLD meting. ``Now they're building up
trust between the two sides.'' 

``They've been slinging mud at each other for so long it will take time.'' 

Diplomats said some low-level talks between the SLORC and the NLD would
likely be the next step. 

Although Suu Kyi has made it clear she must be included in any real dialogue
with the SLORC, diplomats said the NLD realises groundwork could be laid by

``I think the NLD is coming around to the idea that they can have low-level
meetings without her as long as the intention is to have Suu Kyi involved in
the end,'' one diplomat said. 


October 26, 1997
By Bit Irom

Namphalong (Burma), Oct. 25: Thirty nine-year-old Khangebam Rajesh has
been lucky. Arrested by the Burmese police on March 11, 1996 at Namphalong
for smuggling items used to manufacture drugs, he was released recently
after the military court in Burma found him not guilty.

However, two other Meitei smugglers in their forties, arrested with him,
were sentenced to 70 years imprisonment each. These men were arrested in
December 1995 and are now serving sentences at Rangoon Jail.

Burma's military junta, the State Law and Order Restoration Council, has
initiated various measures to contain the drug menace in the country
following international pressure to curb drug production and trafficking
along the border. Burma produced 250 metric tones of heroin in 1996.
Fifteen per cent of this was exported to India through the border town
of Moreh.

A SLORC official told the Asian Age, that Rajesh, who was released on
drug-related charges, was released on Tuesday. He was handed over to Indian
officials at the Moreh Gate No. 2. Two others, Manu Nepali, 19, and Man
Bahadur, 23, were also arrested with Rajesh and the fate of these two
prisoners is still unknown.

According to the official, SLORC is making all efforts to prevent smuggling
as well as preparation of heroin from poppy seeds. The smuggling of poppy
seeds, among other things, has increased ever since trade along the border
town was closed due to arson in Namphalong market.

Freedom did not come easy to Rajesh. His trial was an extended one and he
was lodged at the Tamu township about 4 km from Moreh. Talking to the Asian
Age, about his experience in the lockup, Rajesh said: "While I was in
prison, three persons, including a woman Majannu, arrested by the Burmese
police on charges of drug smuggling, died in custody". According to Rajesh,
extreme torture and malnutrition led to the death of these prisoners.

"SLORC authorities only provided a bowl of rice per day to prisoners in
police custody in all Burmese police stations", he said. About 15 Indians
arrested from different places along the Indo-Burma border are now in
different jails in Burma at present.

Rajesh, who is also fluent in Burmese, said: "Most of those arrested are
currently lodged in prisons in Rangoon, Mandalay, Monywa and Kalaymyot.
There are many as Manipuris in Rangoon Jail at present". Three Manipuri
youths were recently released but their trucks were impounded by Burmese

The youths ran a teak business along the Indo-Burma border. Illegal felling
of teak is an offence in Burma. SLORC authorities are just as concerned
about teak felling and smuggling as they are about drugs.

As of now, while many who were arrested with him have either been sentenced
for life or have died unable to bear the hardships of prison life, Rajesh
wants to start life a fresh.


October 24, 1997

RANGOON - Lufthansa Service Holding AG (LSG) said yesterday it has signed an
agreement with Burma a civil aviation department to open an aircraft
catering service in Rangoon.

Lufthansa Service-Sky Chefs will build a $3 million facility near Rangoon
International Airport to supply food catering services to airlines touching
down in Rangoon.

The airline catering firm currently operates more than 190 catering
facilities in 150 cities, serving 75 major airlines. the catering unit of
the German holding company said.

Up to now, hotels in Rangoon have provided airlines with catering services
or airlines carry extra meals from the countries of origin, Transport
Minister Gen Thein Win said at a signing ceremony at the International
Business Centre in Rangoon. 


October 30, 1997

A recent trip to Burma by three former high-ranking U.S. government
officials Morton Abramovitz, Richard Armitage and Michael Armacost, was
ostensibly an attempt to initiate a dialogue between the country's military
and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 

So said the former officials themselves. But some observers see more to the
trip than an attempt to find a solution to the political stalemate in Burma.
They point to the fact that the trip was sponsored by the Washington-based
Burma/Myanmar Forum_which receives much of its funding from the American oil

U.S. oil firms have invested heavily in Burma and are opposed to the
sanctions President Bill Clinton imposed on the country in April. The oil
firms also fear the Burma Sanctions Act may lead to similar actions against
Nigeria, Indonesia and perhaps even China. U.S. companies are reported to
have paid vast amounts of money to Washington lobbying firms to oppose the
use of economic sanctions for political ends.


October 25, 1997
By Deepan Dasgupta

The government has refused to recognize an office that the pro-democratic
National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma minister-in-exile
wanted to set up in Delhi.
The NCGUB, headed by Noble Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, comprises of
legitimately elected members of Parliament from the 1990 general
election held in Burma who were not allowed to take office by the military
junta which has seized power Burma's reins since 1988.
Subsequently, the NCGUB ministers fled the country as a junta crackdown
began. Today some of them, including the Prime Minister Sein Win of the
government-in-exile are in the US; some ministers have found refuge in
Thailand while others are in India.
The three ministers-in-exile in India are the South Asian affairs minister
Tint Swe, Health and Education minister Zahlei Thang and Social Welfare
minister U Tha Noe.
Speaking to the Asian Age on Friday, Dr. Swe said that in June, Burma Info
Group offices were established by the ministers in exile. In August, Dr.
Swe told the US-based Radio Free Asia in an interview that information
centers had been set up in Bangkok and Delhi simultaneously.
Immediately after that, the external affairs ministry called the
minister-in-exile and expressed the (Indian) government's reluctance to
permit the center. Dr. Swe who was summoned by the ministry, says he was
first escorted by the director (Burma-Siri Lanka-Maldives) cell, Ms Sushmita
Ganguly, who objected to the NCGUB credentials on the letterheads and
visiting cards. Then the under-secretary Rajan Mathai told the minister, "It
cannot be set up without the permission of Indian government."
In 1995, when Ms Aung San Suu Kyi was interviewed by the United News of
India in Rangoon, she acknowledged India's support to the movement of
Burma: "It (is) indeed great that the people of India recognize our
movement for democracy ... Though I understand the government of India's
difficulty in this regards, we like India to do whatever possible for
restoring democracy here." According to former US Congressman Tom Andrews:
"India has practical obligation to support the (Burma) democracy
The former Indian ambassador, Dr. I. P. Singh adds that the centers would
only bring out the news from a suppressed Burma, thereby activating the
process of drumming up further support to oust the oppressors. What has
India to lose then, by formally encouraging the pro-democratic movement
started by Ms Suu Kyi - the same world leader of whom Indians and Indian
press wrote so much about after she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, all
aimed at digging out her India connection?
One theory is that the Indian government as scared of inviting Beijing's
ire. Even Ms Suu Kyi had acknowledged that China remains a key ally of the
Burmese junta's State Law and Order Restoration Committee, supplying it
with arms and aids.
"Why does Burma need arms?" Dr. Swe asks. "Its neighbors are not hostile!"
Burma is sandwiched between India, China and Thailand. According to him,
human rights abuse is rampant. The basic rights of the people continue to
be suppressed and censorship in media is high.
He says, "Yesterday, I was told a prominent NLD member U Kyaw Din died in
prison." The Slorc claims he has died of hypertension and renal failure.
He has not known to have heart or kidney problems. "Pages in magazines and
books are often cancelled with black or silver ink... The only newspaper
in English and Burmese language in Rangoon, the New Light of Myanmar is
government-run, Dr. Swe says.


October 24, 1997


                LSG Lufthansa Services Enterprises Ltd, a Hong Kong-based
firm, and Department of Civil Aviation have agreed on 23 October to set up a
factory to launch aircraft catering services on board international
airlines. MoU was
signed between the two at the International Business Centre to set up the
factory under BOT system near Yangon International Airport.

                Under the contract, LSG, which is catering food to 75
airlines for aircraft catering services, will build the factory within one
year. The factory will produce 2,500 food packets daily in accord with the
international standard ISO 9000. Eighteen international airlines are opening
regular runs and chartered flights to YIA, which is handling more and more
passengers and freight yearly. LSG will invest three million dollars to
operate aircraft catering services for ten years in Myanmar before
transferring the business and the factory to DCA.

                DCA is building Hanthawady International Airport and
Mandalay International Airport and has plans to upgrade airports at
Bagan-NyaungU, Heho and Thandwe to become world class facilities by the year


                Today, gem merchants purchased altogether 188 jade lots
valued at US $850,196. Jewellery and jade figurines sold at fixed prices
fetched US $
46,801. Jade lots will also be sold by tender on 24 and 25 October at the
emporium which 411 local and foreign gem merchants are attending.


(A)             Chairman of Work Committee for Development of Border Areas
and National Races Secretary-1 of the State Law and Order Restoration
Council Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt received Chairman of New Mon State Party (NMSP)
Nai Shwe Kyin, General Secretary Nai Yattha and members, and peace
negotiators at Tatmadaw Guest House on Inya Road on 23 October.
                Present also were Minister for Progress of Border Areas and
National Races and Development Affairs, Minister for Finance and Revenue,
Minister for Health, Deputy Minister for Mines, Deputy Minister for
Forestry. They
discussed smooth transport, education, health and development of the region.


October 24, 1997
Supamart Kasem - Tak

Encroached patch is Treasury, public land

Authorities here are seeking legal action against more than 10 businessmen
who have encroached on the Treasury Department's land and public land in Mae
Sot district.

Governor Pongphayom Wasaphooti inspected an 8-rai plot near the Thai-Burmese
Friendship Bridge in Ban Rim Moei, Tambon Tha Sai Luad, yesterday after he
was informed that some merchants had had buildings and stalls built in the
land without official permission.

The encroached area consists of a plot owned by the Treasury Department and
a public land plot.

Mr Pongphayom said he would call a meeting of local officials, Tak treasury
office chief, police and customs officers to seek solutions to the problem
on Monday.

He also ordered relevant agencies to seek legal action against the
encroachers and to find out if any officials were involved.

"Nobody is allowed to make use of public land in border areas, but plots
owned by the Treasury Department can be leased out with its permission.
However, the authorities have never leased out this plot to anyone," he said.

A provincial treasury office official said the office would ask the police
to take legal action against the encroachers immediately after consultations
with the governor and relevant agencies.

An initial investigation indicated the encroachers were backed by a senior
district official, he said.

A number of merchants had earlier encroached on this plot and turned it into
a border market. Fire destroyed the market three years ago. Authorities then
prohibited the use of the land.

Twenty-two people had been charged earlier with encroachment on the land.

The Treasury Department once planned to have 12-storey commercial buildings
and 166 stalls constructed on the plot, but the 50-million-baht project was
scrapped on the order of Amnuay Viravan, the then finance minister, for fear
a border dispute could erupt between Thailand and Burma.


October 24, 1997

Dialogue Scheduled This Week!

Burma.net now makes it easy to "chat" online with friends, hold private
meetings, or engage in tri-partite dialog!  Everyone is welcome.

               Just go to http://freeburma.org and click on "chat".
               Go to http://burma.net/chat

All you need is netscape or internet explorer (or telnet).  (If you have
installed the ichat plug-in from www.ichat.com then things work even

The preliminary chat schedule is:
Every Monday and Thursday at 2:am GMT   (6:pm PST, 9:pm EST, 8:am Bangkok)

This is a new chat program (like- real commercial grade).  It works much
better and faster than the previous.  Hope to see you there.  If anyone or
any group would like to use the chat for their own meetings, please go ahead
and organize.  It's open 24hrs.