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Breaking News Of The Day

Breaking  News
1) 19 Burma Opposition Members Forced to Resign 
2) Malaysia Drops Burma in ASEM
3)   Burma's  exiled government calls on ASEAN to confront junta
4) Gas Pipeline Behind Schedule
Agence France Presse 
                          December  14, 1997 07:16 GMT 

HEADLINE: Nineteen  Burma  opposition members forced to resign, says party 
Burma's  military authorities have forced 19 members of the main opposition
National League for Democracy (NLD) in the country's northern Kachin state to
resign from the party, a top party official said Sunday. 
    "They give too much harrassment to our members, particularly among the
ethnic groups, and they are forced to resign," said the official, a close
associate of party leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 

   An official information sheet issued by the Burmese junta Sunday said the
from Myitkyina township of Kachin state had sent a letter of resignation to
party chairman Aung Shwe in Rangoon on Friday. 
   The reason for their resignation was not clear, it said and cited party 
sources as saying copies of the resignation letter had also been sent by the
Myitkyina organising committee to the local election commission office. 
   The NLD senior official said the party had yet to receive any such letter
the Burmese capital. 
   He charged that party representatives from the Kachin state had been 
prevented from attending an NLD congress at the Rangoon home of Aung San Suu
in September. 
   The NLD members had faced persecution from the authorities, the official 
said, adding their families had also suffered, being denied schooling and
care because they were relatives of party members. 
   The government regularly announces the resignation of NLD party members and
elected parliamentarians, invariably saying they have stood down from the

   On Friday, Rangoon reported that NLD co-vice chairman Kyi Maung, 79, had 
resigned from the party because of a disagreement with Aung San Suu Kyi. 
   On Saturday Kyi Maung, who acted as party chairman when Aung San Suu Kyi
under six years of house arrest 1989-95, denied he was quitting, but planned
lighten his workload with the party because of old age. 
   The NLD won the last general elections held in  Burma  in 1990 by a 
landslide. The junta ignored the result. 

                              Agence France Presse 
                          December  14, 1997 07:52 GMT 

HEADLINE: Malaysia drops insistence that  Burma  attend Asia-Europe summit 
Malaysia on Sunday backed down from its previous insistence that  Burma  be
allowed to attend an Asia-Europe summit in London next year. 
   "It is not a region-to-region kind of meeting. It is not an ASEAN-Europe 
meeting," Foreign Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told a news conference.
is therefore no automatic membership especially for  Myanmar. " 

   But for meetings between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the
European Union, "our stand is very clear," he said. "For this matter, all
members are involved." 
   ASEAN admitted  Burma  in July despite protests from several western 
countries and the European Union which cited the poor human rights record of
Burmese junta. 
   Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sparked a furore in September
he said ASEAN might boycott next year's summit if  Burma  were barred.
who boycotted an Asia-Pacific summit in the United States in 1993, said that
discrimination against  Burma  would amount to discrimination against ASEAN. 
   But British officials ruled out Burmese attendance due to EU sanctions
deny visas to officials from  Burma,  renamed  Myanmar  by the junta which 
seized power in 1988. 
   Other ASEAN members had maintained that ASEAN membership did not 
automatically qualify a country to join the Asia-Europe summit because
take part on an individual basis. 

   The Asia-Europe meeting in Bangkok last year grouped the 15 nations of the
with 10 East Asian economies -- the seven ASEAN nations at the time (Brunei, 
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) plus 
China, South Korea and Japan.  Burma  joined ASEAN along with Laos in July. 

Agence France Presse 
                          December  12, 1997 09:16 GMT 

HEADLINE:  Burma's  exiled government calls on ASEAN to confront junta 
Southeast Asian leaders should use the upcoming ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur 
to put pressure on the Burmese junta to step down, the country's government in
exile said Friday. 
   The exiled body urged the region's leaders to use the Association of 
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, beginning Sunday in Malaysia, as an 
opportunity to push the military regime towards democracy. 

   It will be the first ASEAN summit  Burma  will attend as a full member
it was admitted to the grouping in July. 
   "We would like to urge the ASEAN leaders at the summit to study the
and political situation in  Burma,  and embark on a process of constructive 
intervention for an early revival of democracy in the country," a statement
the government in exile said. 
   "In the case of  Burma  there is an urgent need for a change in
it added. 
   The exiled body warned ASEAN leaders that now  Burma  had been admitted to 
the regional grouping, the fate of their own economies was closely tied to the
political and economic situation in  Burma.  
   The National Coalition Government of the Union of  Burma  is made up mainly
of politicians who fled the country after a 1990 electoral victory, the
of which the country's powerful military junta ignored. 
   Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy
(NLD) won the poll with a landslide, but the junta clung onto power and later 
launched a campaign of repression against pro-democracy groups. 

   The exiled government, which includes members of the Burmese opposition 
leader's NLD, has operated from headquarters in Thailand, India and the United
States since its members fled  Burma  after the polls. 
   The statement issued by the exiled group warned that the Burmese junta's 
recent reshuffle did not change the fact that it was not democratically
    Burma  will stride into the upcoming ASEAN summit on the heels of the 
military regime's biggest shake-up in nine years which most analysts agree
make little difference to the the way it governs. 
   It was admitted to the grouping at a meeting in July which boosted ASEAN's 
membership to nine countries. 
   Regional economic turmoil is expected to dominate the agenda of the 30th 
anniversary summit to be held in Kuala Lumpur December 14-16, with controversy
over  Burma's  membership of ASEAN on the backburner. 
   Senior General Than Shwe, chairman of the ruling junta, will lead the 
country's first ever delegation to attend ASEAN as a full member. 

   Western nations, notably the United States and the European Union, opposed 
 Burma's  admittance into the regional body, preferring international
of the junta because of its poor human rights record. 
   While other ASEAN states were likely to keep up the effort to nudge  Burma 
towards acceptance of its democratic opposition, Rangoon officials said
that domestic politics were not an important issue at the annual gathering. 
   "The ASEAN leaders are well aware of the changes that took place in
 (Burma)  recently ... and are not in the habit of interferring in other 
countries' internal affairs," a Rangoon spokesman told AFP on Thursday. 
   The government spokesman said ASEAN leaders already understood the "actual 
situation" regarding the opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi and "would not
this issue up." 
   The recent changes in the regime, with the formation of a new junta under
name State Peace and Development Council in November, have not yet signalled
significant change in political policy. 
   This week, the official press announced that seven prominent NLD members, 
including elected MPs, had been sentenced to six-year jail terms after trying 

to organise unauthorised political meetings. 
    Burma's  military authorities are holding at least 1,200 political 
prisoners, according to a recent Amnesty International report. 
   ASEAN includes Brunei,  Burma,  Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. 
Intelligence Wire   

                               December  12, 1997 

HEADLINE: Gas Pipeline Behind Schedule 
 The Thai- Myanmar  gas pipeline is unlikely to be completed by April 1, 1998
as scheduled, to commence gas transmission on July 1, making the Petroleum 
Authority of Thailand (PTT) liable for damages of 16.5 billion baht a year, 
according to PTT Gas President Piti Yimprasert. 
    "If PTT was subject to the damages in full it could go broke because its 
annual profit is only about 7 billion baht," Piti said. 

    PTT is currently laying the 260-km pipeline from power plants in
province to the Thai- Myanmar  border. The project has faced opposition from 
local people citing its impact on the environment in addition to safety 
    A source at PTT earlier said the project's environmental impact assessment
had been thoroughly prepared and received Cabinet approval on March 12. 
    Of the total distance of 260km, 210km would run along main and back roads.
Most of remaining 50km was through abandoned mining and logging areas, with
being through fertile forest. 
    Construction work would take place within a 20-m strip and the entire
area to be affected would total 625 rai (100 hectares), he said. 
    PTT is wholly responsible for the construction on the Thai side with an 
investment of 16.5 billion baht. 
    Piti said PTT had been unable to hand over the land in the forest to the 
contractor to commence construction. 

    "The project will not be completed in time for gas transmission," he said.
    Of the 16.5 billion baht a year damages, Piti said 75 percent would have
be paid to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) which would
need to buy diesel instead of gas for power generation and 25 percent would be
paid to the  Myanmar  government. 
    He said the contractor was also entitled to compensation of $ 40 million
PTT failed to hand over the land and the project failed to go through. 
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