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The BurmaNet News, November 21, 199

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------           
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"           
The BurmaNet News: November 21, 1997              
Issue #873

November 20, 1997

RANGOON: The military government has arrested a landlord who agreed to
rent an office to democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's political party. 
Thaung Aye, owner of a building in the South Okkalapa township of
Rangoon, was arrested on Wednesday. The chairman of the Okkalapa branch
of Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), Chit Khin, was also

Ms Suu Kyi had visited the township on Sunday to find a party office. 

The military government, which has ruled since 1962, says it is promoting
democracy in Burma. It did not respond to queries about the arrests. 

The military has blocked recent attempts by Ms Suu Kyi to conduct
meetings at various NLD offices around Rangoon by barricading the
locations, detaining her supporters and confining her movements. 

She is permitted to travel around the city provided she is not conducting
political work. 

The military has said it insists she conduct political meetings inside
her compound. 

Ms Suu Kyi has invited 800 members, families of political prisoners and
diplomats to attend a celebration at her home on Monday for Burma's
national day. 

The holiday commemorates a student uprising against British colonial rule
in 1920. 

In advance of the holiday, the NLD issued a statement on Thursday renewing
its call for the military government to engage in a dialogue with the party
aimed at solving Burma's political, social and economic problems. 

``Almost 50 years have passed since Burma gained independence, but Burma
is still lacking in democratic freedoms and human rights,'' it said. 

It urged the people to support the NLD in its struggle to bring democracy
to Burma. 

The recent shake-up of the military government weeded out corrupt
ministers and promoted some army officers, but was unlikely to yield
major policy changes soon, analysts and diplomats said. 

Burma's surprise creation of a new ruling body, the State Peace and
Development Council (SPDC), replacing the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (Slorc), was more of an effort to change the government's image
than to revamp its policies. 

``The name change is better and some people here are quite hopeful,'' one
Rangoon-based diplomat said. ``There are a lot of reasons for the
changes. But we haven't seen anything on new policies at all.'' _


November 20, 1997

 With effect from 1st October 1995 National League for Democracy Party
rented the No. 302, Thanthumar Road, No.(5) ward South Okkalapa Township to
open its Township Head Quarters. The landlady Daw Tin Myint agreed to the
lease of her house for one year. At present, the lease as exceeded one year,
the landlady wishes to sell her house, she requested that her house be
vacated by the NLD.
But, up to now the NLD South Okkalapa Township Head Quarters have refused to
comply with her request, as a result of which the landlady is very much
annoyed. It is learnt that if the NLD continues to violate the term of the
agreement she is making arrangement to bring a suit against them in court.


November 20, 1997

Typhoon Linda which flattened homes and killed a number of people in its
wake in southern Thailand, has substantially damaged an underwater section
of the Yadana gas pipeline and damaged two ships that were laying the
pipeline for the French oil giant Total.
According to local people who recently crossed the border into Thailand, the
typhoon which passed through Burmese waters in early November cut loose some
underwater sections of the pipeline. Some 22 people on board the two ships
sustained injuries, some serious, including four foreign engineers.
According to the sources, the four engineers were sent to a hospital in
The typhoon destroyed most of the deck on both ships, and a helipad on one
ship was rendered useless. Some of the 36-inch pipeline piled up on the
ships' decks was also blown away by the typhoon.  
The damage to the pipeline and the ships has not been revealed by either
Total or the Burmese military regime. It is understood that if the typhoon
had hit while gas was flowing through the pipeline the damage would have
been enormous. 
The two damaged ships are owned by an Italian company known as SAIPEM which
won the contract to lay the pipeline for the project. A 63 kilometre onshore
stretch of the pipeline laid by Total, from the shoreline to the Thai-Burma
border, has already been completed. 
According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between SLORC (SPDC),
Total and the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTTEP), the gas is supposed
to be transported to Thailand from July 1, 1998. 
The company Total estimated that the laying of the 346 kilometre offshore
pipeline would be finished by the end of this month. However, it is
understood that because of Typhoon Linda, the laying of the pipeline is
unlikely to be completed on time.    
There have been delays to the project on the Thai side of the border because
of repeated protests by the local community and environmental groups who are
concerned about the impact of the pipeline. 
All Burma Students' Democratic Front 
For more information please call 01-923 1687 or 01-654 4984.


November 20, 1997 [abridged]
Supamart Kasem, Tak

Refugees forced back to their camp

A total of 49 illegal Burmese immigrants and Karen refugees were arrested
yesterday in three separate raids.

In the first swoop, a combined border patrol and local police team
surrounded a forest reserve in Tambon Khanecheu, Mae Ramat district where
they found 105 illegal Burmese immigrants living in 30 makeshift shelters.

The Burmese, including men, women and children, were caught and sent to the
immigration office before they are repatriated.  During the search, the team
found three sets of dynamite at the shelter of a Burmese man, Naing Di, who
also faced another charge of possessing explosives.

In the second raid, another 70 Karen refugees living in Ban Khanecheu near
the forest reserve were caught.  The Karens, who had escaped from Mae La
refugee camp in Tha Song Yang district to earn their living, were sent back
to the camp.

In the third raid, the same team arrested 320 Karen refugees along the Mae
Sot-Mae Sariang route.  They were sent back to Mae La refugee camp.

Pol Lt-Col Paisarn Suravasri, who led the three raids, said the influx of
illegal immigrants had posed a threat to national security, adding the
immigrants and Karen refugees had also cleared forests to build shelters.


November 20, 1997


The Karen National Union (KNU) Statement on Current Situation of 
                      the Karen Refugees

Following is the KNU statement regarding the shooting and forced relocation
of the Karen refugees at Kwee Ler Taw on 15-11-97.

1. Over two thousand Karen refugees who are residing at Kwee Ler Taw, Lay
Taw Ko, Htee Saw Shee in the vicinity of Umphang are escaping from the
brutal suppression by State Peace and Development Council, formerly known as
State Law and Order Restoration Council, of Cha-in-seik-jee township. The
majority of the refugees are elderly persons, women and children.

2. The shooting of the Karen refugees at Kwee Ler Taw by the Thai army
battalion No(44) on 15-11-97 that resulted in the death of several refugees,
the forced relocation of the said refugees to Baw Ner Hta and the remaining
refugees at Lay Taw Ko, Htee Saw Shee who are also to be relocated
forcefully are great mistakes and inhumane practices. The KNU expresses its
grief and deeply concerns over the current shooting and killing of the Karen
refugees which have never occurred in past. On this current situation the
KNU would like to express its concern to the Thai government and the Thai

3. Currently, among the Karen refugee camps in this region, there have been
prevailing conditions of confusion, fear, instability. Reports of refugees
running away from the camps are worrisome. Therefore, the KNU would like to
appeal to the Thai government and Thai army to immediately stop this kind of
treatment of the refugees, not to forcefully return the refugees to Burma,
to render protection to the refugees according to the international law, to
give access and freedom to the rescue workers and organizations concerned
with helping the refugees, and to avoid the forced turnover of the Karen
refugees to Burmese control against the wishes of the refugees.

KNU Information Center


October 16, 1997 [excerpts only]
Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights

[BurmaNet Note: This report was posted in its entirety on burmanet-l  by
darnott@xxxxxxxxxxx, and will also be posted to the burmanews-l list.  Here
the BurmaNet News is reproducing excerpts from the ?Rights pertaining to
democratic governance? section, which offers details on the situation
political opposition members working in Burma face.  In a forthcoming issue
the section on citizenship will be included in BurmaNet News.  
The UN report also offers a lengthy treatment of other subjects such as
human rights abuses in ethnic areas and forced labour.  Please consult the
full text for more information.]

Fifty-second session
Agenda item 112 (c)

                  Note by the Secretary-General
 The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of the
General Assembly the interim report on the situation of human rights in
Myanmar, prepared by Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah, Special Rapporteur of the
Commission on Human Rights, in accordance with General Assembly resolution
51/117 of 12 December 1996 and Economic and Social Council
decision 1997/272 of 22 July 1997.

13. In the absence of any improvement in the overall situation of human
rights in Myanmar, the Special Rapporteur must state with regret that his
previous conclusions relating to the causes of human rights violations in
Myanmar remain valid.  The Special Rapporteur had previously emphasized that
the core
of the problem in Myanmar lay in the absence of respect for rights
pertaining to democratic governance insofar as that absence implied a
structure of power that was autocratic and accountable only to itself, thus
inherently resting on the
denial and repression of fundamental rights.
14. The politico-legal structure of Myanmar has not changed in the past
year, and the exercise of power under such a structure continues to be used
in a manner and to an extent that persistently violates basic and
universally accepted civil and political rights.  The laws in place in
Myanmar, on which the Special Rapporteur commented in his previous reports,
continue to be used together with a host of executive orders to criminalize
many aspects of normal civilian conduct, especially political activities.
In that regard, the Special
Rapporteur continues to receive information that gives rise to grave concerns. 

15. Members of political parties are not allowed to leave their locality
without prior permission from the authorities, otherwise they risk arrest
and interrogation by the police or military intelligence agents.
16. Numerous reports indicate that although Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is no
longer under house arrest, her freedom of movement, association and
expression nevertheless continue to be severely curtailed by the presence of
military roadblocks outside her residence.  The objective of the roadblocks
is to
prevent or deter people from seeing her and to put a stop, since the end of
last year, to her weekly meetings and addresses to the members of NLD, its
sympathizers and the citizens of Myanmar generally.  The reports further
indicate that she is subject to vilification and unsubstantiated allegations
by certain officials of the regime and the government-controlled media
without the
possibility of defending herself.

17. It was reliably reported that 11 men and 6 women members of NLD left
Prome by train on the evening of 11 February 1997 to attend the NLD Union
Day celebration at Yangon.  When the train stopped at Tharawaddy station,
soldiers and policemen arrived, arrested 15 NLD members (two of the women
were not arrested) and took them away by car to the quarters of the
thirty-fifth regiment.  The four women arrested were Daw Myint Myint Khin,
Daw Tin Hlaing, Daw Than Than Nu and Daw Aye Mya San.  The men were U Aund
Myint, U Myo Thein, U Aung Myo Myint, U Shwe Thein, U Myint Than, U Paik
Tin, U Myint Htwe, U Chit Tin, U Win Naing, U Aung Thein Win and U Thein
Zaw.  Seven people who had come from Prome and Kama by car to attend the NLD
Union Day celebration were also reportedly arrested in
18. Fifty-eight others, including U Aye Than, U Ohn Naing, U Khin Maung
Myint, U Min Aung, U Tin Myint, U Ohn, Ko Tin Oo, Daw Tin Tin Hla, Daw San
Yee, Daw San San Myint, Daw Sein Sein, Ma Tin Than Oo, Ma Tin Than Aye, Daw
Khin Kyu and Ma Aye Aye Mar, were also arrested while they were on their way
to attend the Union Day celebration in Yangon.  U Khin Maung, U Chit Than, U
Pe Win and U Thein Han were also arrested while on the way to attend the
Union Day celebration.  U Thaung Aye, a member of the NLD Irrawaddy Division
organizational committee, was told to sign an undertaking not to go outside
Maubin.  Because he refused, he was sentenced to three months in prison.
19. Gatherings of political parties are routinely repressed; NLD members and
their sympathizers are prevented from attending the gatherings.  They are
methodically arrested either on their way to such meetings, as mentioned
above, or after attending the gatherings.
20. U Soe Hlaing, Chairman of the NLD organizational committee of Thanatpin,
U Tin Tun, Secretary, and U Soe Nyunt, Joint Secretary, were reportedly
arrested because they attended the NLD Union Day celebrations.  U Tin Tun
was released, while the others were charged under section 5(e) of the 1950
Emergency Provision Act and sent to Pegu jail.
21. Dr. Hla Win, NLD Member of Parliament representing Kyaungon, Mahn Tin
Win, interim Chairman of the NLD organizational committee of Kyaungon
township, U Wa Toke, U San Shein and U Thein Han attended the Union Day
ceremony.  After they went back to Kyaungon, a township meeting was held
on 15 February 1997.  While the meeting was in process, two carloads of
policemen and military intelligence officers arrived and ran into the NLD
office.  Hla Win and U Saw Lwin were handcuffed and taken to the police
station with 14 other members of the organizational committee.  A
certificate and other papers were taken away.  All 16 were held at the
Kyaungon police station until 17 February, when all except Hla Win, U Saw
Lwin, U Thein Han, Mahn Tin Win, U Wa Toke and U San Shein were released.
Charges were brought against the six, who are reportedly still under house
22. According to reports from a number of sources, the harassment and
arrests culminated during the third week of May 1997 when more than 300 NLD
members were arrested as a pre-emptive attempt by Myanmar authorities to
prevent a party congress commemorating the seventh anniversary of the NLD
victory in the 1990 elections.  Those arrested included at least 60 elected
Members of Parliament and senior party members.  Many of the arrests took
place in the Mandalay and Sagaing divisions as the NLD members were
preparing to travel to Yangon to attend the congress.  In other parts of the
country, such as Ayeyarwadey Division and Shan, Mon and Kayin (Karen)
states, it was further reported that a dozen others were detained in their
homes and have been told that they would be arrested if they attempted to go
to Yangon.  The congress was due to take place on 27 and 28 May 1997 at the
home of the NLD General Secretary, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
"26. Distribution of party literature to the public is not allowed, and
political parties are generally forbidden to use any means such as
videotapes or printing equipment for the reproduction and distribution of
their bulletins, pamphlets
and statements.  In this situation, it is difficult to assume that open
discussion can possibly take place in Myanmar.  The expression of political
views is not permitted unless it is in support of the present military
regime.  Thus, in Minchaung village of Inle Lake in Nayungshwe, U Nhaung, U
Aung Ba, U Soe
Win and U Chit Pwe were reportedly sentenced to two years' imprisonment each
for watching a videotape that featured Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
27. U Hla Myint, NLD Member of Parliament representing Maubin, was given a
prison sentence of two years on the ground that he had spoken
disrespectfully to Township Law and Order Restoration Council (TLORC).  U
Win Shein, chairman of the NLD township organizational committee, was kept
in prison for six months for making a speech and flying the NLD flag.  U San
Myint, NLD Member of Parliament for Laymyetnha, was sentenced to two years
in prison under the videotape act. 
28. The Special Rapporteur continues to receive reports alleging that SLORC
continues to harass and keep the NLD supporters under pressure by sentencing
their members under made-up charges when they decline to resign.  Thus, U
Khin Tun was reportedly told by SLORC to resign from his position as
Secretary of the NLD organizational committee in Maubin.  He refused to
resign and was consequently sentenced to three months in prison. 
29. U Saw U Re was reportedly forced to resign from NLD and also from
Parliament and then sentenced to 17 years' imprisonment. 
30. NLD members who refused to resign and who have not been arrested, and
their families, are reportedly facing other harassments, such as being
forced to vacate apartments.
31. U Nyunt Win, an NLD Member of Parliament representing the Yeki
constituency, was told by SLORC to resign from his position.  Because he
refused, he was told by the Town and Village Housing Development Board,
which claimed that its action was in accordance with the directive dated 6
November 1996 of the Irrawaddy Division Law and Order Restoration Council,
to vacate the State-owned apartment where he and his family lived. 
32. U San Pe, a member of NLD, had allowed an NLD office to be opened in his
house.  His wife, Daw Ohn Kyi, had a small restaurant on the grounds of
Shwebo College.  She was told that her husband was not free from party
politics and was made to shut down her shop in October 1996.  U Aung Kyaing,
NLD Member of Parliament representing Nyaungdon, was pressured
to resign from NLD and from Parliament.  His daughter, a schoolteacher, was
threatened with dismissal if her father did not resign.
33. It would appear that, as a result of harassment or pressure from the
authorities, a considerable number of NLD Members of Parliament have
resigned in the period from 1991 to 1996.
34. The following NLD Members of Parliament have reportedly resigned since
the beginning of 1997:  U Aung Tin, representing Shadaw, Kayah, and U Boe
Thin, representing Loikaw, Kayah, on 13 January; U Thaung Ye, representing
Danubyu, Irrawaddy, on 21 January; U Maw Ni, representing Yesagyo, Magwe, on
11 February; Daw Sein Tin, representing Shwegu, Kachin, on 23 February; Dr.
Thaung Tin, representing Wundwin, Mandalay, on 25 February; U Saw Htun Lwin,
representing Hlaingbwe, Karen, on 5 March; U Pu Htwe, representing Bhamo,
Kachin, on 17 March; U Tin Ohn, representing Padung, Pegu, on 21 March 1997;
U Kyaw Win, representing Htigyang, Sagaing, on 8 May; and U Than Kywe,
representing Hlaingthaya, Yangon, resigned on 18 June.
36. The Special Rapporteur has received information that on 21 February
1997, in Taungu, Pegu Division, 18 members of the Taungu NLD Township
Organizational Committee were taken away by the police and members of the
Ward/Village Law and Order Restoration Councils without any reason given.
Those taken away were U Myat Thu, U Saw Tun Nwe, U Maung Win, U Myint
Thein, U Thet Tun, U Kyaw Win, U Tin Thaung, U Kyaw Myint, U Tun Tin, U Tin
Soe, U Pe Win and U Kyaw Win.  Those arrested were taken away in army
vehicles on 22 February. According to reports dated 24 February, the
arrested people were seen in an army camp near Tabye village in Htandabin
township.  Later, U Saw Tun Nwe was found dead at a roadside in the vicinity
of his native village. 
37. The following members of NLD in Kyaungon township have, according to
information received by the Special Rapporteur, been sentenced to prison: U
Tin Aung (NLD Member of Parliament for Wakema), U Kyaw Din (Chairman of NLD
Organizational Committee), U Ko Wai (Secretary), U Aung Kywe (Joint
Secretary), U Win Kyi, U Tun Shwe, U Tin Nyein, U Maung Kan, U
Yu Wai, U Pe Tin and Daw Khin Yee are reported to be serving time in
Maungmya Jai.  They were charged under section 5(e) of the 1950 Emergency
Provision Act for having taken a prominent part in the funeral of a one-time
member of the NLD Organizational Committee.
Due process of law
38. The Special Rapporteur, in his previous report to the General Assembly
(A/51/466, paras. 62 to 71), analysed the notion of due process of law in
Myanmar.  He came to the conclusion that neither is due process of law
respected nor is the rule of law upheld.  The information received during the
past year confirms that there is consistent failure to respect due process
and the rule of law, as the following examples demonstrate.
39. In January 1997, the trial of 20 people was, according to reports
received by the Special Rapporteur, held in a closed session in Yangon and
the accused were denied access to legal counsel.  The group, which included
six NLD members was jailed for seven years for allegedly "inciting students
and non-students during December 1996 student demonstrations".
40. It was reported that U Thaung Tin, the Chairman of the NLD
Organizational Committee at Palaing village in Shwebo township, was
arrested, summarily tried on the same day and given a two-year prison
sentence.  He was accused of inciting farmers to refrain from selling rice
to the authorities.
41. The Special Rapporteur has received information that U Hla Min, an NLD
Member of Parliament for Kawthaung, Tenasserim, was denied access to legal
counsel and was not informed what he was accused of.  He was sentenced to
seven years in prison under section 5(e) of the 1950 Emergency Provision Act.
42. Another reported case of an unfair trial has been brought to the
attention of the Special Rapporteur.  At Insein prison, 22 political
prisoners were refused access to legal counsel.  There were also reports
that beatings and torture were used as a means of obtaining confessions for
use as evidence against some of the accused.  The prisoners (Myo Myint
Nyein, Zaw Tun, Nyunt Zaw, Soe Htet Khaing, Aung Kyaw Oo, Zaw Min, Phyo Min
Thein, Win Thein, Aung Myo Tint, Htay Win Aung, Yin Htway, Win Tin, Hla
Than, Ko Ko Oo, Kyi Pe Kyaw, Kyaw Min Yu, Myat Tun, Sein Hlaing, Zaw Myint
Aung, Soe Myint, Ba Myo Thein) were charged under section 5(e) of the 1950
Emergency Provision Act for writing and distributing allegedly false
information. They all received an additional sentence of seven years with
hard labour.

November 8, 1997

Buddhist heroine gives CAFOD lecture

"Heavenly abodes and human development" was the theme chosen by the Nobel
Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi for this year's Pope Paul VI Memorial
Lecture in London.  In it she described the Buddhist approach to charity and
social justice.  It is the first time that a non- Christian has given the
lecture.  As the leader of Burma's pro-democracy movement she is not
permitted to travel abroad by the country's military regime, so the lecture,
organised by the Catholic aid agency CAFOD and sponsored by The Tablet, was
delivered by her husband, Dr. Michael Aris, of ST. Anthony's College, Oxford.

>From a Buddhist perspective, Aung San Suu Kyi said, compassion and common
sense should underlie the struggle for social justice.  She sincerely
believed that "all peoples and creeds can coexist in peace, that whatever
our race or religion we can all learn to agree on certain basic values
essential for the development of human society".  She spoke, she said, as an
"ordinary, imperfect human being with an ordinary, average knowledge of the
religion into which she was born".  But though not an expert, she was "a
concerned participant in the process of human development".

Besides its economic, social and political aspects, true development should
include spiritual cultivation, she argued.  She described the "heavenly
abodes" or divine states of mind which Buddhists recognize.  The first,
metta, or loving kindness, she linked to Christian love.  It was, she said,
"a love that seeks to give and to serve, rather than to take and demand".

Those with responsibility for development projects should bear in mind that
people need "the balm of loving-kindness to withstand the rigours of human
existence".  "Projects undertaken for the sake of upping statistics", she
said, "or for love of grandiosity or praise, rather than for the love of
live human beings with bodies that can be hurt, minds that can be damaged
and hearts that can be bruised, seldom succeed in fostering the kind of
development that enhances the quality of life."

"Charity" meant "love" she pointed out, and nothing could make up for the
lack of it ? "no amount of money or technical expertise or scientific
knowledge or industry or vision."  Perfect metta could not fail, for it
implied a balance, "a state of mind that embraces all beings with loving
kindness, favouring neither oneself nor others."

The second "heavenly abode" was compassion, karuna.  It had been defined as
"the quivering of the heart in response to others' suffering, the wish to
remove painful circumstances from the lives of other beings".  It was one
aspect of Enlightenment; the other was wisdom.  "Compassion must be balanced
by wisdom and wisdom must be balanced by compassion."  She told the Buddhist
story of a dragon-king who lived at the foot of the Himalayas.  One day, a
holy man, or Bodhisattva came by who showed no fear of the dragon-king's
penchant for turning people to ashes, and gave him "a brief sermon on the
joys of non-violence and compassion".  The dragon- king was converted.

When the children who lived nearby learned how peaceful the dragon-king had
become, they grew in confidence and began to ill-treat him.  When the
Bodhisattva came again, the dragon- king complained how unhappy he had
become as a result of his new-found non-violence.  The Bodhisattva replied
that "this had come about because the dragon had not balanced compassion
with wisdom: when the children became unruly he should show his fire to stop
them from proceeding to cruel acts."  Aung San Suu Kyi noted that in the
world of charities and development work,  compassionate people who lack
wisdom can be taken advantage of.

The third "heavenly abode" was sympathetic joy or mudita.  Aung San Suu Kyi
said that development projects should lead to greater happiness, and that
those who planned them should feel mudita about the good fortune of the

Fundamental to the sort of development which enhances the quality of life is
justice, she said; hence the importance of the struggle for human rights in
which she had been so deeply engaged.

Democratic development meant "development of the people, for the people, by
the people".  It was "the antithesis of the idea that development should be
defined and directed by governments".  There were people in East and West,
she said "who think the worth of a society is measured by its material
wealth and by impressive figures of growth, ignoring the injustices and pain
that might lie behind them".  But development "must be measured in terms of
human happiness, of peace within the community and of harmony with the

She declared: "All barriers of race and religion can be overcome when people
work together on common endeavours based on love and compassion.  Together
we can help to develop a happier, better world where greed and ill will and
selfishness are minimised.  This is not impractical idealism: it is a
down-to-earth recognition of our greatest needs."

It might be necessary to defy despotic governments, to stand up to
oppression.  The planet could be made a better place "by constructing the
heavenly abodes of love and compassion in our hearts".  Beginning with that
inner development, people could go on "to the development of the external
world with courage and wisdom."

The annual Paul VI Memorial Lecture was started by CAFOD to commemorate Pope
Paul VI's encyclical letter Populorum Progressio ("On the development of
peoples") Previous lectures have included the then President of Ireland,
Mary Robinson; Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns of Brazil; ;the then president
of the European Commission, Jacques Delors; the liberation theologian Jon
Sobrino SK; and the late Archbishop Derek Worlock of Liverpool.


November 20, 1997 [abridged]
By Deborah Charles 

BANGKOK, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Burma's surprise creation of a new ruling body,
the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), replacing the State Law and
Order Restoration Council (SLORC), was more of an effort to change the
government's image than to revamp its policies. 

``The name change is better and some people here are quite hopeful,'' one
Rangoon-based diplomat said. ``There are a lot of reasons for the changes.
But we haven't seen anything on new policies at all.'' 

Most diplomats agreed the main thrust of the changes was to improve the
image of a government accused of rampant corruption as the country suffered
a severe economic slump. 

But although several new ministers are seen as capable, the fact few
technocrats were given portfolios showed the generals' main motive was not
to change economic policy. 

``If they'd wanted a solution to the economy they would have promoted more
technocrats,'' the first diplomat said. 

Four of the country's more prominent ministers dealing with financial issues
were removed from the ruling council and put on a newly-created 14-member
Advisory Council. 

They include ex-SLORC member Lieutenant General Kyaw Ba, the former tourism
minister. He was often used as a spokesman for the SLORC as he worked to
make tourism one of the biggest money-making sectors for the country. 

The other three were former trade and commerce minister Lieutenant-General
Tun Kyi, former forestry minister Lieutenant-General Chit Swe and the
previous agriculture minister Lieutenant-General Myint Aung. 

``All those ministries had a lot of possibility for kick-backs and
payoffs,'' said another Rangoon-based diplomat. ``Even within the government
here they were considered corrupt.'' 

Diplomats and analysts said the role of the Advisory Council -- made up of
several former SLORC members, most of whom were over the age of 60 --
was not certain. 

``Nobody's sure what the Advisory Council will do but it includes 14 people
who were not wanted in the government,'' the second diplomat said. 

``It will be interesting to watch not only the Advisory Council but what
happens to these people. There's talk here that they are under house arrest,
and talk they are in total shock and don't know which way to turn.'' 

The main question after the shake-up was whether or not the hardliners
within the old SLORC -- said to be at loggerheads with Than Shwe and
powerful military intelligence chief Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt -- had
gained ground. 

``It's still a bit too early to say who's who and who's in which camp,'' the
second diplomat said. 

 But the newly created post of Secretary Three was given to Lieutenant
General Win Myint, who was seen as loyal to General Maung Aye, the hardline
vice-chairman of the SPDC. 

The new government had not given any hint as to any changes of policy, and
the SLORC's old objective and policy statements were being run as usual in
official media. 

Diplomats said a key test for the government would be next week when the
National League for Democracy, led by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San
Suu Kyi, holds a party gathering. 

``Under this new lot it is more likely that it will be held,'' the first
diplomat said, noting that could help relations on both sides. The SLORC has
down on Suu Kyi's activities recently, leading to fresh condemnation from


November 20, 1997

Coup Within a Coup

The recent change in Rangoon has been dubbed by the local people as a coup
within a coup, according to a S.H.A.N. source.

Some of the ministers and commanders were still doing their jobs when, out
of the blue, they learned they were already out of their jobs. Many
expressed anger at being dismissed without warning, not to mention a formal
meeting beforehand. Some were being informed on their way to their offices
that they had been occupied by their successors. There wasn't any instances
of formal handover of duties and responsibilities between the outgoing and
the incoming ministers and commanders. Consequently, some of the most
powerful "ex-es" are definitely looking for trouble now, said the source.

Meanwhile, another problem pops up between the SPDC and the cabinet. The
SPDC is made up of officers junior to those in the cabinet that is supposed
to implement the policies formulated in the former. "That is one thing quite
hard to swallow for the ministers", said the source.

However, the source concluded all sides might come to terms at least on
account of the 'Old Man', Ne Win, whose idea, as most believe, it was that
started the bedlam.



November 14, 1997


YANGON, 13 Nov-Japan-Myanmar Friendship Association today presented $ 
23,640 for  restoration of ancient religious monuments in Bagan.

 Secretary-1 of the State Law and Order Restoration Council Lt-Gen Khin 
Nyunt delivered an  address at the ceremony which was held at Sedona Hotel at 
6 pm.

November 20, 1997


YANGON, 19 Nov-Minister for Commerce Maj-Gen Kyaw Than clarified points on
purchase of paddy harvested in 1997-98 through sealed tenders at the
Ministry this afternoon.

 The meeting was attended by Deputy Minister Col Kyaw Shwe, advisers, the
directors-general,  managing directors and officials. The Minister said
bidders could submit their tenders for purchase of paddy at minimum 10,000
baskets. They would have to submit their tenders for the prescribed amount
of paddy for certain  areas, he said.

 He went on to clarify that bidders are to deposit K 100,000 at the Finance
Section of the Myanma  Agricultural Produce Trading or at the respective
States and Divisions.

 The deposit will be refunded to the unsuccessful bidders, he said, adding
successful bidders are to  carry on work after paying earnest money
equivalent to 5 per cent of the total amount within three  days.


November 20, 1997
Agence France Presse.

THAI and Burmese narcotics officials will hold talks early next month on
suppressing the trade in chemicals used to produce amphetamine-type drugs
now rife in Thailand, officials said yesterday.

Some 28 officials from Thai and Burmese border provinces will attend a
seminar on Dec 1-2 in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai.

Pornthep Iamprapai, narcotics chief in Chiang Rai, said that the meeting
would focus on how to suppress the flow of ephedrine, used to manufacture
methamphetamine which is a growing drug menace in the region.

"Ephedrine is the most common precursor chemical.  It comes from China, via
Burma and Laos into Thailand, sometimes down the Mekong River.  Some is also
produced in Bangkok," he said.

Stopping production of ephedrine is complicated by the fact that it has legal
commercial uses, such as in medicinal inhalants.  The meeting, during which
officials will exchange information and be trained in how to identify and
test for precursor chemicals, will focus on suppressing trafficking across
the border in three northern Thai provinces.

Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son are Thailand's blackspots for
production and smuggling of drugs, including heroin and increasingly
methamphetamine, which has been dubbed 'crazy drug" in Thailand. 


November 20, 1997 [abridged]
By Rene Pastor 

SINGAPORE, Nov 20 (Reuters) - ASEAN countries should set up formal links
between their armed forces so ASEAN can serve as an effective counterweight
to China, an Indonesian security expert said on Thursday. 

Dewi Fortuna Anwar, of the Centre for Political and Regional Studies, said
in a paper at a roundtable on the expansion of ASEAN it was time to consider a
region-wide security forum where all nine members of the group can take part
in joint military exercises.

Anwar, who is head of regional and international affairs at the centre, told
reporters formal ties linking the military establishments of all ASEAN
countries ``will go a long way to reducing existing divisions'' among members. 

Establishment of an ASEAN-wide security structure will improve the ability
of military forces in the region to work together as a collective unit even
though the region is still not ``able to stand up to China,'' she said. 

``But at least it could make it harder for China or Japan or the United
States to divide and rule ASEAN and to push it around,'' Anwar added. 

Under current arrangements, there is no ASEAN-wide security arrangement.
Most countries conduct bilateral or trilateral military exercises with one

At the moment, military officers only attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
but do not take part in other activities of the group. 

``Why don't we also bring military people into our ASEAN discussions?'' she
said. ``Close cooperation among military personnel is the most effective way
to remove mutual suspicions and promote transparency,'' the expert added in her

Anwar said it would take much time and resources to create security
arrangements to cover all nine members of the Association of South East Asian
Nations (ASEAN).