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The BurmaNet News: November 10, 199

Subject: The BurmaNet News: November 10, 1998

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

The BurmaNet News: November 10, 1998
Issue #1135


6 November, 1998


BOSTON -- A federal judge's decision to strike down a Massachusetts law
preventing state government from dealing with companies doing business in
Burma could affect purchasing laws in 46 states.

The state expects to decide by today whether to appeal the decision handed
down by US District Judge Joseph Tauro on Wednesday.

"If this ruling stands, taxpayers and local governments around the country
will lose the right to decide whether to do business that supports brutal
regimes like Burma," said Byron Rushing, the Boston state representative
who wrote the law.

"If selective purchasing had been banned 10 years ago, Nelson Mandela might
still be in prison today," Rushing said.

Tauro ruled that Massachusetts' Burma law "impermissibly infringes on the
federal government's power to regulate foreign affairs."

The lawsuit was brought by the National Foreign Trade Council, which
represents major US corporations that it won't name for fear consumers will
boycott them.

The legal challenge has been called the first salvo in an international
battle to eliminate local sanction laws.

According to Robert Stumberg, law professor at Georgetown University, 46
states have laws for domestic, environmental and minority purchasing that
would be affected if the US Supreme Court ultimately upheld Tauro's
decision. Cities in California and Colorado have Burma laws, while the
states that lack purchasing laws are Arizona, Kentucky, Nebraska and New

In the United States, 23 cities -- including New York, San Francisco and
Portland, Ore. -- have laws prohibiting municipal governments from dealing
with companies doing business in Burma, also known as Myanmar.

The town of North Olmsted, Ohio, has a law forbidding the local government
from buying goods made by slave labor.

Pennsylvania has a so-called "McBride Principle" law requiring state
pension funds to make sure companies in Northern Ireland don't discriminate
before investing in them.

"If it {the court decision} applies to the Burma laws it certainly would
apply to the McBride legislation," said Kevin Muldowney, board member of
Pennsylvania's Ancient Order of Hibernians. "I think it's outrageous."

Frank Kittredge, NFTC director, said he shares concerns about reported
human rights abuses in Burma.

"However, our system of government was not designed to allow the 50 states
and hundreds of municipalities to conduct their own individual foreign
policies," he said.

Kittredge said at the outset his goal was to get a decision that would stop
state and local sanctions around the country.

Los Angeles has been considering a sanctions law against Burma, and
opponents routinely mention the Massachusetts lawsuit, said Kevin Rudiger,
spokesman for the Los Angeles Burma Forum. 


7 November, 1998 

YANGON (Nov. 7) XINHUA - "Human rights for a third world country like
Myanmar mean the rights to enjoy the basic human requirements such as
security, food and shelter," a latest Myanmar official report said.

The report on the political situation of Myanmar, issued by the Office of
Strategic Studies of the Defence Ministry, commented that human rights mean
to various nations with different economic, social, historical, cultural
and traditional values.

"Myanmar is at the moment trying to fulfil these basic essential
requirements and after that it will move on to another set of necessities
such as health and education followed by economic development," the report

Challenging the United States in its commitment and obligation in
fulfilling the basic human rights, the report said that security can never
be guaranteed in most of the U.S. cities, citing security after dark,
starvation on streets and death of homeless people during the winter season

The report claimed that Myanmar does not have homeless people who die of
being neglected by their own government which is implementing the project
called "From Huts to Proper Houses Scheme."

It pointed out that the Western's nations theory of democracy has not only
failed in many developing countries but created instability and chaos.

"Myanmar must and will start to build up her democratic institution with a
solid foundation first and from there on it will expand and develop into a
much higher level," it stressed, saying that no country in the world can
expect to achieve a functioning democracy in a reverse way like expecting
or forcing a child to run first before learning how to walk properly.

It also charged that in the U.S. the basic universal human rights such as
security and protection of citizens, properties and lives have been
overshadowed and sidetracked by other individual rights.

Criticizing the sanctions and other pressures imposed by the U.S. and the
European Union (EU) on Myanmar, the report said these moves indicate the
West's real intention, which is "hypocrisy but not democracy and might is
right but not human right."

The U.S. imposed economic sanctions on Myanmar in May 1997, banning new
investments in the country, while the EU restricted visa issue in 1996 to
Myanmar high-level officials, freezing on contacts at ministerial level and
on an embargo on the sale of military equipment to the country. The EU
sanctions were extended to further six months since April this year.

Regarding the internal political situation in Myanmar, it predicted that
the demand for the freedom to exercise full political rights will come when
Myanmar reaches a more mature stage where the unity of the 135 ethnic
groups living in the country becomes stronger and when the fundamental
needs of the population have been fulfilled to a much higher level.

"Myanmar must and should be at her very stage of development prioritizing
national unity, peace, stability and developing her economy with an aim of
creating a strong middle class," the report emphasized. 


6 November, 1998 

Stability, unity and peace pre-requisite for national development and
progress Endeavors made already yielding benefits being enjoyed by the people

Senior General Than Shwe calls upon youth to further improve abilities &
carry on with might and main

YANGON, 6 Nov-The Union Solidarity and Development Association Special
Refresher Course No 3 and Management Course No 15 for USDA Executives
concluded at the Central Public Relations Unit in Hmawby today with an
address by Patron of the USDA Chairman of the State Peace and Development
Council Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Than Shwe.
  Also present were members of the Panel of Patrons of USDA Vice-Chairman
of the State Peace and Development Council Deputy Commander-in-Chief of
Defence Services Commander-in Chief (Army) General Maung Aye, Secretary-1
of the State Peace and Development Council Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, Secretary-2
Lt-Gen Tin Oo, Secretary-3 Lt-Gen Win Myint and the Council members, Deputy
Prime Ministers Vice-Admiral Maung Maung Khin and Lt-Gen Tin Tun,
ministers, the Chief Justice, the Auditor-General, the Chairman of Civil
Service Selection and Training Board, other members of the Panel of Patrons
of USDA, members of the Central Executive Committee of USDA, deputy
ministers, senior military officers, director-general and managing
directors of departments and enterprises specially invited guests,
Course-in-charge Lt Col Myo Myint, supervisory officers and trainees.

Points from address delivered by Senior General Than Shwe

-USDA courses are being conducted for the member youths to develop from
quantity to quality and uplift their physical and intellectual caliber as
well as national defence spirit.

-No ideology or system would succeed if it could not fulfil the
requirements of the national people.

-Myanmar people are striving hard towards a peaceful, modern and developed
nation; the entire people are working hard to build the nation on
self-reliance; and patriotism, the spirit of never submitting to alien
political, economic and social interference and domination is strong and

-Kachins, Kayahs, Kayins, Chins, Bamars, Mons, Rakhines and Shans
participating in the USDA have now been imbued with unity of conviction,
unity of concept based on unity of national political thinking, and this
contributes greatly towards national solidarity.


22 NLD members of Myitkyina resign

YANGON, 6 Nov-Twenty-two members of National League for Democracy of
Myitkyina Township resigned from the party on 30 September 1998.

As the 22, members of NLD who are U Phaw Thaw Ladwe, Ahhsi (2), Daw Ngha
Mi, U Lu Kiyo, U Hsa Mu Ri, U Ngha Hta, U Ngha Lu, U Ngha Pa, U Di Simei, U
Si Puche, U Ar Di, U Hi Lu Mei, U Khaw Hsi, U Kong Kaung, U Laphyaw Dong
Kong, U Lahton Dong Ju, U A Bawm Lein, U Jun Zan Lun Dai, U Yaw Htein, U
Houng Zei, U Zi Kong Htan and U N Khun Naw, have no more wish to
participate in political activities of NLD, they on their own volition had
made the resignation by sending letters of resignation to Township
Multi-party Democracy General Election Commission Office and the respective
party chairman and resigned. 


7 November, 1998 from <shan@xxxxxxxxxxxx> 


Reinforcement to an under-strength Shan resistance unit ran into junta
troops' Encirclement and Annihilation campaign which resulted in the Shans
coming out on top, said a SHAN source in Mongpan.

As the rainy season came to a close, part of the Shan troops that were
training and fighting under the command of Yordserk had been sent to
reinforce the 757th Brigade commanded by Khurhlao in Mongpan, a town about
60 miles north of the Thai border. They were intercepted by the SPDC units
that had prepared a bloody welcome for them. However, the ambush must have
been a badly prepared one for the ambushers were badly mauled during the
fight and a unit, Battalion 333, reportedly went out of commission.

According to the source, the local inhabitants of Mongpan, who for years
have not seen a fight, were greatly exulted by the turnout of the battle.
But their exultation might be shortlived, said the source, because "the
Burmese know a hundred ways to make a Shan's life miserable".


7 November, 1998

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Bangladesh security forces said
on Saturday they killed one person and arrested another during a raid on
Myanmar Communist Party hideout near the country's southeastern border with

"The raid was conducted on definite information... Many intruders have fled
but one was killed and another arrested," a security official said.

He said a big cache of arms including AK-47 rifles and ammunitions had been
seized during the raid on the hideout of Myanmar Communist Party at Amchhari.

On Friday, Bangladeshi police arrested two members of an Islamic militant
group, Harkatul Mujahideen at Ukhiya, 30 km (18 miles) from the
southeastern resort town of Cox's Bazar.

Police said the two people had links with international Islamic militants
and reportedly fought alongside Talebean forces in Afghanistan.


3 November, 1998 from Chan Mya

The Letters

The Commerce Secretary, Mr. P. P. Prabhu of India and the Deputy Minister
for Commerce of Myanmar, Commodore Myo Tint signed a bilateral trade
agreement on October 30, 1998. What is surprising and disappointing is that
India, the largest democratic country in the world, and the most repressive
military junta in the world have agreed on a bilateral trade agreement.

Western nations such as the USA and EU are imposing and extending economic
sanctions, arms embargo against the Burmese regime. Even the Association of
South East Asian Nations, ASEAN is now reviewing their Constructive
Engagement policy towards Burma and the UN is expected to put pressure on
the regime in the ongoing session.

Amidst all this India's stance is incomprehensible. Why is it so
indifferent to the appeals of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi who was also
conferred the Nehru Award for International Understanding?

Chan Mya, New Delhi


8 November, 1998 by Cheewin Sattha, Mae Hong Son 


A planned evacuation of Karen refugees, including long-necked tribes
people, to two refugee camps near the border has sparked protests from many
tourism operators and hoteliers who have claimed the move will affect tourism.

Poolsak Sunthornpanit, chairman of Mae Hong Son provincial chamber of
commerce, voiced strong objection to the planned evacuation, saying the
move would discourage tourists from viewing the long-necked Karens in new
places located near the border.

Mr Poolsak said the presence of the Karens from the Padaung tribe helped
boost tourism in this northern province.

He said: "All tourism-related businesses such as hotels, restaurants and
transportation services would be badly hit by the evacuation.

"Long-necked Karens are the star attraction to draw tourists to visiting
our province," he added.

Earlier, the Thai-Burmese border committee resolved in September to move
over 4,000 Karen refugees, of which 100 are long-necked Karens, from Ban
Mai Naisoy camp in Muang district to Ban Pang Khwai and Pang Tractor
temporary shelters for better control and security reasons.

The two shelters are about three to five kilometres from the old site and
about five kilometres from the border.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will finance the
evacuation, which will cost about six million baht.

Sources said tourism operators and long-necked Karens would unite in
protesting against the planned evacuation.

The Karens also fear their lives will be in danger if they are moved to the
new sites, which are vulnerable to border attacks.

Manang, 43, a long-necked Karen woman at Ban Mai Naisoy camp, said many
Karens strongly opposed the planned evacuation.

"We have lived in this camp for more than 10 years. We don't want to move
to the new places," said Mrs Manang.

Mada, 17, a Karen girl, has appealed to Thai authorities not to move them

"The new sites are very close to the border. If we are evacuated there, we
may soon become victims of border attacks," said Miss Mada.

Despite protests from tourism operators and Karens, provincial authorities
insisted that they would go ahead with the evacuation.

Amornphan Nimanand, Mae Hong Son deputy governor, maintained that the
evacuation would proceed as planned.

"The move is made for the sake of the national security. Our province is
rich with natural tourism attractions, arts and culture.

"I see it unnecessary to use the long-necked Karens as a selling point to
draw tourists. If the tourists want to view the tribes people, they are
allowed to see them in the new camps," said Mr Amornphan.

The long-necked Karens are among 30,000 Burmese refugees who fled fighting
inside Burma about 11 years ago. They are now living in Ban Nam Phiangdin
camp in Pai district, Ban Huay Seuthao camp in Muang district and Ban Mai
Naisoy camp in Pang Moo district.

By tradition, tribal girls aged 10 years begin by putting one or two brass
rings around their necks, arms and  below the knees. More rings are added
each year until the number reaches 20-25.

It is their unusual long necks which are a curiosity for outsiders.

Tourists reportedly pay between 250-300  baht each to view the long necked
Karens in the three camps.

There are about 50-100 tourists visiting the camps a day. During the
tourism reason, the number of visitors rises sharply to about 200-250 a day.

The display of the Karens yields about  12,500-25,000 baht a day or
50,000-75,000 baht during the tourism season.

A tour operator said the income from this business was shared among tour
operators, local officials and the Karens.

"To share the income, tour operators will deduct 750 baht from 2,500 baht
fees received from 10 tourists. The remaining 1,750 baht will go to those
who organise the display. The organisers will pay monthly fees to local
immigration, district, police and military authorities," said the tour
operator, who declined to be named.

The presence of the long-necked Karens has also benefited other
tourism-related businesses.

The Reunban Huaydeu Boat Operators' Club, which operates boat services
along the Pai River, earns 24,000-30,000 baht a day from taking tourists to
Bah Nam Phiangdin camp. Restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops also enjoy
huge incomes.