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BurmaNet News: June 28, 2001
- Subject: BurmaNet News: June 28, 2001
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 07:58:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
June 28, 2001 Issue # 1834
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
NOTED IN PASSING: ?Aung San Suu Kyi was with us when we were suffering
in hell. Now that we have overcome that hell, we must not forget her.?
East Timor?s independence leader Xanana Gusmao. See Suara Timor Lorosae
(East Timor): Xanana declares solidarity with Aung San Suu Kyi
INSIDE BURMA _______
*Asiaweek (On line edition): A Settlement Looms in Myanmar
*Burma Media Association: Regime Tightens FECs with New Order
*Burma Courier: Sigma Cable Boosts Revenues of Asia-Pacific Wire
*Mizzima: Burmese soldiers looted Arakan village in Indian border
*Electronic Telegraph: Ex-headhunters guard Burmese 'speed' factories
*Suara Timor Lorosae (East Timor): Xanana declares solidarity with Aung
San Suu Kyi
*Bangkok Post: Border panel to work on mending ties
*AP: 300 Myanmar People At Thai Refugee Camp Face Legal Action
*Bangkok Post: Warning credibility could be stretched-'Some issues just
can't be ignored'
*The Hindu (India): 24 Myanmar nationals held
*Khao Sod (Bangkok): It's not all media's fault
*The Nation : PM hands junta a few ace cards
*Burma Media Association: "Traitor journalists" charge leveled by
*New Light of Myanmar (SPDC): Press Conference on Myanmar Delegation's
Attendance to ILO Conference and Thai Prime Minister's Official Visit to
*Myanmar Information Committee (SPDC): [Denying regime ignores AIDS]
*PD Burma: Burma Calendar of Events
*Center for Burma Studies/NIU: Joint Faculty Position Announcement
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
Asiaweek (On line edition): A Settlement Looms in Myanmar
Wednesday, June 27, 2001
Web posted at 05:35 p.m. Hong Kong time, 05:35 a.m. GMT
A Settlement Looms in Myanmar
The two sides will be shaking hands by the end of the year
By ROGER MITTON
Visiting Myanmar recently, it became evident that a political
breakthrough is imminent. I had suspected this some time ago, but was
prevented from checking it out because the military regime refused to
give me a journalist's visa. Apparently, some of my stories had incurred
displeasure, notably one about the mistreatment of National League for
Democracy MP-elects in Pathein and another about the regime's business
cronies. For more than six months, I could not get in. Then, toward the
end of April, the authorities relented. I booked a flight immediately.
As usual, once in Yangon, I sought to speak to people both in the regime
and in the National League for Democracy (NLD), as well as businessmen,
diplomats, NGO representatives, lawyers, doctors, journalists, religious
leaders and members of the ethnic minorities. All of them, without
exception, were thrilled that the regime was engaged in discussions with
the NLD leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, aimed at ending the political
stalemate. I learned that Maj.-Gen. Kyaw Win, the deputy director of the
Office of Strategic Studies at the Ministry of Defense, was meeting
regularly with Suu Kyi. I sought to find out more about him.
It was not easy. Kyaw Win is a private person and does not give
interviews to the press. One thing is certain: He is not a typical
military man. Kyaw Win is a respected painter (his works are often
exhibited at one of the galleries in Yangon's trendy Golden Valley
suburb), an avid photographer (earlier this year, he was scouting round
for a good digital camera) and a keen sportsman (once a month, he brings
together all the military attachés at the foreign embassies to play
tennis, badminton, golf or some other sport).
Kyaw Win's interest in arts and culture is one of several things he has
in common with Suu Kyi. Intriguingly, they are both the same age, 56,
and both lost their father at a very young age. Hers, the modern
nation's founder, Gen. Aung San, was assassinated when she was two years
old. Kyaw Win's died soon after he was born, and he was raised with the
help of monks in Mandalay. Both then attended school in Yangon at the
same time -- she at the Methodist School, he at St. Paul's. It is said
that the two get along well. In 1995, when Suu Kyi was released from
house arrest, Kyaw Win told her: "I believe I'll be the one to negotiate
with you sometime in the future." He has said that he finds her
"congenial and nice," and that their "discussions on transition are
going very well."
Certainly, he appears well suited to the negotiator's art, having
studied psychology at the University of Yangon. He was there during the
student protests of July 1962, when troops shot dead a large number of
students. After graduating, he attended officer training school in
Yangon. He then saw anti-insurgency action in the field and likes to
joke that an abdominal scar resulting from a botched appendix operation
is a war wound. He was later assigned to the intelligence corps and
became an acolyte of Than Shwe, now the nation's paramount ruler.
Kyaw Win's dialogue skills were honed during the early 1990s, when he
was a key figure in the talks that led to landmark ceasefire agreements
with all but one of the nation's warring ethnic minorities. Now deputy
head of the intelligence services -- only Khin Nyunt ranks higher in
this department -- he has been entrusted by Than Shwe to deal with the
Suu Kyi negotiations. If they reach an accord, it will be a tremendous
achievement for both him and Suu Kyi.
It is now nine months since they began talking. Admittedly, that is a
very short time to resolve the political morass that this nation of
almost 50 million has sunk into after half a century of misrule. But
they are making progress -- if they were not, the talks would have been
cut off long ago (both Suu Kyi and Kyaw Win are principled, no-nonsense
types, who would not waste time talking unless something substantive
were being achieved). The external signs are favorable. Since the
dialogue began, large numbers of NLD members have been released from
detention (including a new batch last week). In addition to its busy HQ
on Yangon's Shwegontaing Road, the NLD has reactivated other branch
offices. An apparent rapprochement with the International Labor
Organization over the use of forced labor seems to be on the horizon,
with the regime likely to allow the ILO to station a delegation in
Myanmar to carry out first-hand checks on alleged abuses in sensitive
border areas. Some Western governments have also been reassessing the
effectiveness of their economic blockade, with the new U.S. Secretary of
State Colin Powell saying that in broad terms he has doubts about the
efficacy of sanctions policies anywhere in the world. Even now,
multinationals are studying Myanmar for opportunities and already
Canada's Ivanhoe Mining has announced a $400-million investment plan.
Ralph "Skip" Boyce, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state and
incoming ambassador to Indonesia, visited Suu Kyi in February with the
head of the American mission in Yangon, Priscilla Clapp. Later, Clapp
said there were "rays of hope" for an end to the political stalemate.
Soon after, the United Nations Human Rights rapporteur, Paulo Sergio
Pinheiro, paid a call on Suu Kyi. Afterwards, he said: "There are
several signs that indicated evolution leading to an eventual political
opening." Translated from diplospeak, that means: Prepare for a
breakthrough. If that were not enough, Boyce said a few weeks ago, when
passing through Bangkok: "[The dialogue] has been going on for eight
months. We expect to see a concrete result in a short while." Such
statements from top U.S. officials would have been tantamount to
sedition a year ago.
Meantime, ASEAN has been forging ahead and the fruits of the Thai Prime
Minister's visit last week show that a new mood is in the air. Trade
tariffs between Myanmar and Thailand will be cut to foster trade, a key
northern border crossing has already been reopened, and steps to combat
the drug trade were agreed upon. If this pace continues, it is almost
certain that before the end of the year, the world's press will carry
pictures of Than Shwe and Suu Kyi shaking hands. As the saying goes, you
cannot cross a chasm in two small jumps. Suu Kyi and Kyaw Win have had
the courage to take a massive leap. They deserve to reach the other
side. And they will. Soon.
Burma Media Association: Regime Tightens FECs with New Order
By Tin Maung Htoo (Canada)
June 26, 2001
With the downfall of Burmese currency Kyat, the ruling military
government has been helpless over the past months. However, now a
radical effort has been set forth, issuing an order restricting the
holding and trading of Foreign Exchange Certificates (FEC), according to
inside sources familiar to the markets.
The order was issued on June 21 after rounding up hundreds of people
involved in the markets and terminating of their trading licenses. The
guidance was also reportedly sent to foreign banks in Burma, instructing
all transfer accounts including Burmese working abroad to be passed
through Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB).
Most observers regard this latest direction as the devastation for all
people involved in the market, as well as an embarrassment for foreign
businesses. But for some it's an inevitable choice to bring down the
troubled currency into under control while no backup is sustainable to
dollarize the Kyat in accordance with the prevailing market rate.
However, some observers pointed the immediate effect of the raising
price in terms of limiting the market consumption. "We ordered 100 air
conditions from a foreign company but only allowed to buy ten," a
Rangoon-based businessman who requested to be an anonymous said.
According to other sources, only five FEC trading licenses have been
issued to Burma's four major private banks after abrogating hundreds in
recent. Sources closed to banking sector said Kabawza Bank obtained two
licenses, Mayflower, Roma, and Thonggu (from upper Burma) got one for
It is also reported that Kabawza Bank has just opened a new office in
Rangoon and now buying up FECs - one-dollar equivalent FEC with 500
Kyat. But there is no report of FECs on sale. Some observers predicted
the regime could eliminate the use of FECs in Burma. It was initially
introduced for foreign tourists as a mean of exchange with the U.S
dollar when they arrived at Burma's Airports, but it's not for such a
widespread use in the market.
However the FECs became popular among Burmese - although a painful
burden for tourists. Thereafter, the value of Kyat became useless with
daily decline. And now the regime is so ardent to get rid of the FECs as
a factor of plaguing the Kyat while other aspects of fetching more
tourists into Burma and earning U.S $300 from each foreigner has been a
Burma Courier: Sigma Cable Boosts Revenues of Asia-pacific Wire
Based on a Business Wire story: June 21, 2001
NEW YORK -- The Asia Pacific Wire & Cable Corporation Limited reports
that operating revenues for the first quarter of 2001 increased 34% to
US$ 43.3 million compared with $32.4 million in the same period of 2000.
The company says the increase reflects improved sales in Thailand and
Singapore resulting from price adjustments, and increases in sales
contributions from operations in Australia, China and Myanmar.
The company's wholly owned Myanmar subsidiary operates under the name of
Myanmar Sigma Cable Co. Its factory, located in an industrial zone in
the Rangoon suburb of Hlaingthaya, was opened in February, 1999. It has
capacity to produce over 4,500 metric tons of copper cable annually.
Mizzima: Burmese soldiers looted Arakan village in Indian border
Aizawl, June 26, 2001
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)
Burmese soldiers crossed the international border and looted an
Arakan refugee village situated in Mizoram State of India last month,
reports reaching Aizawl today said.
On May 18, six soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion No. 20 based at
Myeit Wa village in Burma's border entered into Indian territory and
looted valuables from villagers living at Hmawngbuchhuah village in
Chhimtuipui District in Mizoram State. About two hundred Arakan refugees
are living in the village, which is located across the border in India
After entering into the village, the Burmese soldiers beat the refugee
villagers and took away valuables and food including a VCP, Indian rupee
1700, and some fish-cans, chickens and a cassette.
Hmawngbuchhuah is an Arakan village established after 1990 when the
Arakan refugees left their villages in Chin State and Arakan State of
Burma due to forced porter and tax-collection by the Burmese army units.
The transport and communication from the village to the nearest town of
Lawngtlai in southern part of Mizoram is difficult due to the porous
terrain. The villagers complained that Burmese soldiers often intruded
into the Indian territory and looted whatever they could see in the
villages. There are four Arakan refugee villages in the area along the
Electronic Telegraph: Ex-headhunters guard Burmese 'speed' factories
Wednesday 27 June 2001
By Alex Spillius in Doi Kew Hung
SCAN even the most detailed map and you will be lucky to find the town
of Mong Yawn. There is certainly no hint of a bustling community with
its own army and barracks, a school, a hospital, a casino and a
hydro-electric power plant. Yet the town, in the heart of the notorious
Golden Triangle, is one of the region's biggest success stories. The
reasons are clearly visible to the Thai soldiers peering through
high-powered binoculars across the border into what is nominally Burma.
Clearly visible in the valley ringed by craggy mountains are a pair of
large, shed-like buildings where, the Thais claim, up to 300,000 pills
are manufactured every day.
Consisting chiefly of caffeine and the common cold cure ephedrine, the
pills are sent across the border into Thailand's Chiang Mai province,
carried by ant armies of smugglers along hundreds of forest trails.
Burmese officials claim that the buildings are rice warehouses. If so,
it must be a particularly expensive strain of rice. Until recently
little more than a simple bamboo settlement, like the surrounding
villages that it now dwarfs, Mong Yawn now has a population of some
60,000 and is expected to grow to 80,000 within two years.
The Thais and international experts estimate that one billion pills will
leave Mong Yawn and about 30 other factories in Burma this year. Two
thirds of them will be consumed in Thailand, which is fast becoming a
nation on "speed". Mong Yawn is controlled by an obscure guerrilla
force, the United Wa State Army, a segment of the small but ferocious Wa
tribe that gave up headhunting only a generation ago.
They were never mastered by the British colonial authorities or by the
military regimes of independent Burma. Now the Thais are finding them
equally hard to defeat in a war against the drug methamphetamine. A
Bangkok-based expert describes the UWSA's operation as a "country within
a country" and the Wa as the new kings of the Golden Triangle, the
mountainous region where Burma, Thailand and Laos converge.
For Thailand, the effects are horrendous. The press is filled with
stories of unemployed men wild on yaa baa (crazy medicine), as
methamphetamine is known, committing serious acts of violence. Schools
have introduced urine testing to combat rampant abuse, while a tenth of
novice monks have sought help for addiction. An infuriated Thai army has
reinforced its border patrols, seizing 18 million pills this year and
provoking serious clashes with the UWSA and regular Burmese forces, who
have pledged to defend the guerrillas against Thai "incursions".
Last week, Thaksin Shinawatra, the Thai Prime Minister, ended a two-day
visit to Burma which he described as "very successful" with an agreement
jointly to fight drug production and to resolve border tension. But
there is a lot of patching up to do. The two sides have engaged in
months of mutual recrimination, with senior officers of both armed
forces accusing each other of profiting from drugs.
The Thais have accused Rangoon of turning a blind eye to the UWSA's
activities as a reward for ending their guerrilla war 12 years ago. For
all the commitments of both the Thais and Burmese to wiping out
narcotics, Wei Hseuh-kang, the mastermind of the UWSA, travels freely
between the two countries, is a citizen of both and is able to exploit
corrupt officialdom on either side.
He also has a large house in Chiang Mai, the northern Thai capital.
Whenever he leaves Mong Yawn, he can rest assured that an army of
20,000, equipped with automatic weapons, artillery and heat-seeking
surface-to-air missiles remains to protect his interests.
"We would like to arrest him," said a Thai army intelligence officer,
"but somehow it is difficult."
Suara Timor Lorosae (East Timor): Xanana declares solidarity with Aung
San Suu Kyi
Thursday 21 June 2001
(front page third lead)
[Suara Timor Lorosae is a newspaper printed in Dili, East Timor. This
article is translated from Bahasa Indonesia]
East Timor?s independence leader Xanana Gusmao yesterday declared the
country?s solidarity with Burma?s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi who
is currently under house arrest.
Xanana made this announcement at his birthday party in Dili. ?Not many
people know that Aung San Suu Kyi has worked hard for democracy and has
forged solidarity links with the East Timorese people. Because of that,
it is my responsibility to reciprocate that solidarity and thank and
encourage her on her continuing struggle,? Xanana told his guests.
Xanana also inaugurated the ?Friends of Burma? group in Dili, to
campaign for democracy in the military-ruled Southeast Asian nation.
Friends of Burma is led by Xanana?s wife, Kirsty Gusmao, and its office
premises are in the Xanana Reading Room  a popular spot in the
capital. ?Aung San Suu Kyi was with us when we were suffering in hell.
Now that we have overcome that hell, we must not forget her,? said
Bangkok Post: Border panel to work on mending ties
June 27, 2001.
The Regional Border Committee will meet in Pattaya in August in a bid to
restore Thai-Burmese relations.
Maj-Gen Prasart Luewattananon, head of the Joint Operation Command-103
Centre, said Burma's Regional Triangle Commander Maj-Gen Thein Sein and
Third Army chief Lt-Gen Watanachai Chaimuanwong would be present. A
recent Township Border Committee meeting agreed the generals would meet
unofficially over a game of golf in Chiang Rai beforehand, and that the
TBC would meet twice a month, he said.
Relations would return to the state they were in before Thai-Burmese
border skirmishes in February.
All temporary border checkpoints and crossings in Chiang Mai and Chiang
Rai had been reopened, except San Ton Du checkpoint in Chiang Mai
opposite the Red Wa's Mong Yawn town, and San Ma Khet checkpoint in
The Mae Sai-Tachilek checkpoint reopened last week but a change of
Burmese officials there has caused problems for goods moving from
Thailand into Burma.
Meanwhile, a military source said Burma was going ahead with plans to
build a power plant in Tachilek, despite concerns of residents.
Burma said modern technology would ease pollution concerns and that
there were no plans to sell power from the new plant to Mong Yawn.
Television commercials for a brand of tonic drink depicting ancient
Thai-Burmese battles at Bang Rajan village were withdrawn after Burma
protested, the source said.
AP: 300 Myanmar People At Thai Refugee Camp Face Legal Action
Wednesday June 27, 12:34 PM
BANGKOK (AP)--A camp for Myanmar refugees will be closed down this year,
and about half of its inmates will be prosecuted for entering Thailand
illegally, a Thai official said Wednesday.
About 300 of the 600 inmates at Maneeloy holding center in Ratchaburi
province "will face legal action in accordance with the Immigration
Act," Khachadpai Burusapatana, the secretary general of the National
Security Council, told reporters.
The center was established in 1995 to house Myanmar dissident students
who were given refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees. Several hundreds have already been resettled in third
countries, Khachadpai said.
However, over the years many more Myanmar people have sneaked into the
camp illegally and haven't been recognized as refugees by the UNHCR, he
"The center will definitely close by the end of this year, and the
immigration division will deal with those who entered illegally before
the camp closes," Khachadpai said.
If convicted, they face fines, jail or deportation.
A UNHCR official in Bangkok said the people who are in the camp
illegally may apply for refugee status with the High Commissioner. Some
may have already applied and been rejected, the official said, speaking
on condition of anonymity.
The UNHCR grants refugee status to those who are persecuted in their
country on the basis of nationality, race, political opinion, religion
and membership of a social group.
Bangkok Post: Warning credibility could be stretched-'Some issues just
can't be ignored'
June: 28, 2001
By Achara Ashayagachat
The government will be hard put to keep its credibility with the Burmese
opposition parties now that it has kissed and made up with the ruling
junta, academics said yesterday.
Surachart Bamrungsuk, a Chulalongkorn University political scientist,
said the government could not avoid dealing with the issues of
democratisation and national reconciliation in Burma. The previous
government had advocated democratisation as its main policy towards
Sunait Chutintaranond, an expert on Burmese history, said Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra now had to prove his ability to deal with other
political forces in Burma, such as the National League for Democracy and
"Mr Thaksin is now riding the tiger and all eyes are watching how he
will move from this point to advocate concerns like human rights and
humanitarianism in the neighbouring country," Mr Sunait said.
The premier's 25-hour visit to Rangoon last week, he stressed, could not
be expected to solve Burma's structural problems affecting Thailand
including a long-time quest for national unity.
There were also the problems of refugees, economic migrants, and drugs,
which had been systematically developed like a legal business since
pre-independence days, Mr Sunait said.
The fishing ban on Thai trawler operators did not only involve a fishing
concession, "but the issue of long-term natural resources management".
The reopening of the Tachilek-Mae Sai border was no sweet deal but an
exchange for the lifting of tariff barriers, he said.
Towards better ties, Thailand and Burma must understand each other's
limitations: Burma's inability to control the Wa, and Thailand's to
control the media.
Mr Surachart stressed the need for Thailand to manage relations with
neighbours like Burma properly as small states could not afford to go to
war with each other.
To this end, he proposed:- Reactivation of operation-level dispute
mechanisms like the Township Border Committee and the Regional Border
Committee would help.
- Encouragement of cross-border contact between chambers of commerce and
local communities as alternative channels in the event of a military
- Employing more than maps to negotiate border demarcation since that
could put the country at a disadvantage.
"We may have to exchange certain pieces of land with each other to
really settle the remaining non-demarcated 2,351-kilometre borderline,
or, we may have to build up an additional database from annexed
protocols or treaties other than maps," he said.
The Hindu (India): 24 Myanmar nationals held
(27 June 2001)
Jopur, June 26
Twenty-four Myanmar nationals were arrested while trying to sneak into
Pakistan, crossing the international Border along Ganganagar district in
Rajasthan, the BSF source said today. The illegal migrants were
apprehended 3 km from the border in Anupgarh sector by a BSF patrol
party on Saturday, they said. (PTI)
Khao Sod (Bangkok): It's not all media's fault
[Translated from Thai and reprinted in The Bangkok Post, June 28, 2001]
When things go wrong, blame the media. So it came as no surprise when
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra asked the media to exercise caution in
presenting news about the conflict between Thailand and Burma.
The prime minister's concerns cannot be ignored. Media coverage has
drawn attention to the conflict, and some reports have been laced with
sensationalism. But the media were only doing their job. They would not
have spent days and weeks looking into the problem if it was not real.
The media did not make up the stories. Problems along the Burmese border
are real and well documented. They are rooted in a lack of understanding
between the two countries.
Media reports about the development of Mong Yawn, the Wa-controlled
township inside Burma, have been based on military documents. These were
made public at a drug conference chaired by Mr Thaksin in Chiang Rai two
months ago. Reporters were allowed to see and record a slide show of
Private media organisations have their own news sources, both in
civilian and military organisations. The state-run media also have their
It is fine for the government to seek the "co-operation" of private news
organisations, but there also must be cohesion between government units
dealing with Thai-Burmese issues.
There is bound to be problems when the defence minister and the
commander of the Third Army are saying different things.
Mr Thaksin must promote cohesion among the foreign and defence ministers
and the supreme commander of the armed forces, the army
commander-in-chief and the Third Army commander who oversees the
Without cohesion among these policy-makers, it will be difficult to
develop peace and friendship with our neighbour.
The Nation : PM hands junta a few ace cards
June 28, 2001
Will the prenuptial arrangement between Thailand and Burma brought about
by the visit of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to Rangoon last week
last? Or is it just a marriage of convenience, a foil for both parties
to be seen to be doing something? It should only take about three months
before we know the answer to that. This time-frame is sufficient for
both sides to show the level of their sincerity and willingness to
engage and work together to solve their mutual problems.
Certainly, the reopening of a major border checkpoint at Mae
Sai-Tachilek has taken some of the steam out of the simmering
relationship. In Thailand's case at least, it has eased some of the
domestic pressure from local traders who have been hurt badly by the
checkpoint closure over the past several months. On the other side of
the border, many Burmese who relied on the checkpoint to sell goods in
Thailand or purchase necessities unavailable at home are no doubt
feeling happier (regrettably, they have no free press to complain to or
to help them to put pressure on the Rangoon regime).
For the ruling authorities in both countries, the move is a smart one.
For the Thaksin administration, it makes it look as though the prime
minister is achieving some solid progress after much criticism. For the
junta, it serves the dual purpose of settling restive natives of the
district while making it look like they are prepared to be more
accommodating to the outside world.
But bilateral problems are more than just the opening of border
checkpoints or granting fishing rights. There are myriad other issues to
be resolved, such as drugs, migrant workers, minorities and other
cross-border problems which need structural changes for lasting
solutions. For the time being, both sides are still dilly-dallying about
cooperation in drug suppression and issues related to minority groups.
The resumption of border-related mechanisms such as the Joint Border
Committee is laudable as it provides a venue in which to address serious
problems. Time will tell if both sides are for real, however.
For the time being, Burma will exploit whatever gains it can get from
dealing with the Thaksin government. The most important outcome is a
further weakening of the international coalition opposed to the junta
(Thailand's critical position in the International Labour Organisation
is no more, for example). It will also provide incentives for other
countries to increase contacts and the level of assistance for Burma.
Whatever leverage Thailand has attained in recent years in regards to
the junta has disappeared, perhaps forever.
It will be no surprise if Burma responds in kind in the next few months
in a manner that is sufficient to create a momentum to extract further
concessions from Thailand. In return, Burma will offer Thailand
lucrative deals on oil and gas and other big projects that will please
the Thaskin government. Meanwhile, it is the responsibility of the Thai
government to see to it that drug smuggling and other illegal operations
are wiped out.
Thailand has pinned rather high hopes on the drug summit planned for
Kunming, China. Will it be the magic wand it seeks to resolve the drug
problem, though? China has agreed to Thailand's request to host the
summit, but eradication does require the cooperation of Burma and Laos.
The Thaksin government has taken a high-risk strategy in dealing with
Burma. It has been willing to ignore the sticky points and glide over
their common desires. Certainly, if there are to be any repercussions,
they will surface soon enough. Like it or not, Thaksin has handed the
Burmese junta a golden opportunity. The question that remains is: what's
in it for Thailand?
Burma Media Association: "Traitor journalists" charge leveled by
By Tin Maung Htoo (Canada)
June 27, 2001
In the second series of a contentious commentary "Media" on the
government's mouthpiece today's newspaper New Light of Myanmar, the
columnist named himself as Tekkoatho Myo Thu tries to portray
pro-democracy journalists as the "traitor journalists" under the
colonialists' influence and trying to destroy the nation.
The columnist especially resentful with award-winning journalists also
criticizes world media and press organizations for the lack of
recognition for patriotic media persons. "No western media organization
has ever supported the patriotic media persons trying to resist the
colonialist attacks, instead they are honoring and presenting prizes to
only the national traitor journalists under the colonialists' influence
who are making attempts to destroy the nation concerned." But the
columnist does not single out the name of the journalists that he tends
to tarnish their images.
In recent months, two prominent journalists, U Win Tin and Daw San San
Nweh who have been in prison for years were awarded several
international press freedom prizes by world media and media-watched
associations in recognition of their commitment for freedom of press and
Democracy in Burma. It is believed that the columnist especially intends
to attack these two imprisoned journalists.
However, the columnist got stuck with backfire with his unbalance and
bizarre two commentaries. In the first commentary published on June 26,
he stated that "...one has no right to defame other persons. No one has
the right to level groundless accusations at others," but he apparently
did in the second commentary, bluntly and badly accusing hundreds of
journalists who morally or physically support the cause of Democracy and
press freedom in Burma.
Moreover, the columnist criticizes the practice and ethic of western
media in the first commentary, saying, "some media (especially the
western media) do not report authentic news. They distort news and
publish false news, insulting news and accusations. They do not take
responsibility for their news report."
Ironically, a western trainer and professor from a well known news
agency revealed in recent that a spokesman (omitted the name) of Burmese
military government asked him to train and upgrade for Burmese media
style to become more attractive and sophisticated like a now popular
Chinese news agency Xinhua. A high-ranking Burmese diplomat also
admitted the style and news are boring and said required to renovate it.
"The aggressive, precipitant and endless government-supporting-written
style are only to diminish the quality and stand of media, and it's the
sign and evidence of how Burmese media under the military rule is moving
backward from modern media age into darkness age," said a veteran
Burmese journalist who lives in exile.
New Light of Myanmar: Press Conference on Myanmar Delegation's
Attendance to ILO Conference and Thai Prime Minister's Official Visit to
June 28, 2001
A press conference on matters relating to Myanmar delegation that
attended the 89th annual conference of International Labour Organization
held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 5 to 21 June and Prime Minister of
Thailand Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra's official goodwill visit to Myanmar
from 19 to 20 June was held at the Defence Services Guest House on Inya
Road on 27 June. The leader of Myanmar delegation that attended the 89th
annual conference of International Labour Organization Minister at the
Prime Minister's Office U Tin Winn said at the conference a meeting on
Application of Standard of Myanmar was held on 13 June. Before the
meeting Myanmar delegation met the director-general of ILO and the
chairman of Governing Body separately. They said they understood the
development of the agreement to send Objective Assessment Team for
cooperation in labour affairs with ILO. They said they would support the
issue regarding Myanmar and submit it to the conference and provide help
for success. In meeting with the Chairman of the conference Minister of
Labour the Philippines, he said he would discuss the matter based on the
joint communique of ASEAN Labour Ministers released after the meeting of
ASEAN Labour Ministers held in May. On 13 June, the delegates discussed
the Application of Standard of Myanmar. The US delegate said the
agreement between the government of Myanmar was a step towards the right
direction. The ILO should provide assistance to eliminate the practice
of forced labour but not punish Myanmar. Similarly, on behalf of Asia
and the Pacific countries, the delegate of Australia, standing on
Myanmar side, welcomed the agreement to send a high-level team to
observe developments in Myanmar in his discussions on the announcement
by Asia and Pacific countries. Myanmar's standards on labour affairs are
to be decided based on the findings of the team at the Governing Body
meeting to be held in November. Meanwhile, all are to wait and see the
situation. On behalf of ASEAN countries, the delegate from Malaysia
discussed the joint communique. He welcomed ILO's constructive approach
on Myanmar. Findings of the high-level team will be discussed in
November and action taken on Myanmar should be lifted. The leader of the
British Trade Unions also welcomed the US delegate's remarks that it was
a step in the right direction. The arrival of the high-level team will
be in the rainy season. He expressed his concern over the findings to
complete within three weeks. Minister U Tin Winn said the discussions
regarding Myanmar at the ILO conference were constructive and they led
to the positive trend. The ILO will decide the correct measures on
Myanmar's labour affairs in November depending on the findings of the
high-level team that will arrive in Myanmar in September.
Myanmar Information Committee (SPDC): [Denying regime ignores AIDS]
News Release published by the Embassy of Myanmar in London in its
Myanmar News Bulletin No. 3/2001
June 28, 2001
At the time of the UN/AIDS Conference in New York the negative western
media pieces in recent days (The Guardian, June 26 and Daily Express,
June 14) concerning '' hiding'' of HIV/AIDS situation by the Government
of Myanmar and the ''UN Declaration" of a particular area in Kachin
State of Myanmar as a "disaster zone" relied entirely on reports by a
"WHO Expert" that never came to the country through it's WHO
representative and a couple of reporters who smuggled themselves into
the jadeite-mining area to authenticate their fabrication of the
declaration that the UN never made. While in any epidemiologic
situation, the statistical data may be conflicting, the veracity of the
HIV/AIDS situation is that the health authorities in Myanmar, treating
this world-wide scourge as a top priority problem, are doing their level
best in cooperation with the WHO and the NGOs, to combat it. They
certainly are in no way "hiding" or even trivialising it.
The fact, however, remains that a humanitarian situation must be dealt
with as such by providing necessary assistance and not as a political
tool to derogate a country and it's 50 million people.
PD Burma: Burma Calendar of Events
June 28, 2001
 July : Belgium takes over EU Presidency
 July : 8th RFA Ministerial Meeting, Hanoi
 July : 34th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and Post-Ministerial
 July : ASEAN Summit
 Aug. 31st- Sep.7th : World Conference against Racism and Racial
Discrimination, Xenophobia and related intolerance, South Africa
 December 1st : Worlds Aids Day
 December 10th : 10th Year Anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize
for Aung San Suu Kyi.
 February 2002 : The fourth Bangladesh, India, Burma, Sri Lanka
and Thailand-Economic Cooperation (BIMST- EC) meeting, Colombo
Center for Burma Studies/NIU: Joint Faculty Position Announcement
ADMINISTRATOR-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR BURMA STUDIES-Graduate School
FACULTY-Assistant/Associate PROFESSOR, Historian of Asian Art-School of
ART HISTORY (half time) TENURE TRACK PROFESSOR, Art
History of Southern Asia. Southeast Asian specialist with Burma sub-
specialty preferred. CENTER FOR BURMA STUDIES (half time)
DIRECTOR. Salary competitive based on qualifications and experience.
RANK: ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OR ADVANCED ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
QUALIFICATIONS: Ph.D. in Asian Art History required. Southeast Asian
specialist with sub-specialty in the art of Burma (Myanmar) preferred.
Evidence of teaching experience and publication/professional record
RESPONSIBILITIES: Teach introductory, advanced and graduate courses in
the history of Asian Art and/or other courses in consultation with Art
History Division Chair. Advise students in Art History major and serve
on M.A. Thesis committees. Administer the Center for Burma Studies,
curate the Burma Art Collection, and serve as Managing Editor of the
Journal of Burma Studies. Continued personal, scholarly and professional
development and collaboration in a comprehensive school of art and
university are expected.
STARTING DATE: January 1, 2002
APPLICATION DEADLINE: September 28, 2001
APPLICATION: Send letter of application, curriculum vitae, three letters
of reference and examples of publications to:
ART HISTORY SEARCH COMMITTEE
ASIAN ART/BURMA STUDIES CENTER POSITION
School of Art
Jack Arends Hall
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Illinois University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action
Employer committed to diversity and recognizes dual career issues.
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