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BurmaNet News: July 19, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
           July 19, 2001   Issue # 1847
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*BBC: Burma's Suu Kyi stays away

MONEY _______
*Reuters: India seen selling 50,000 tonnes wheat to Myanmar
*TheSpleen.com: Out of the Jungle, Pt. III [Smuggling]

*Bangkok Post: Strings on Amraam purchase questioned
*South China Morning Post: US missile sale 'agreed before border 

*AFP: Press group hails Myanmar's liberation of journalist
*Reuters: Malaysia lauds Myanmar moves, awaits news
*AFP: Myanmar accepts it must move to democracy, says Malaysian FM 
*Mizzima: Burma citizens are majority at a shelter home in India's North 
East state 
*Myanmar Times: Alphabet gets ISO approval 

*Xinhua: Foreign Diplomats Visit Photo Show on CPC History
*The New light of Myanmar: The one-sided harmonious slander of ABC 

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

BBC: Burma's Suu Kyi stays away

World Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has failed to appear at a 
national ceremony marking the assassination of her father. 
It was the first time in six years the pro-democracy activist has not 
turned up at the Martyr's Day event in the Burmese capital, Rangoon. 
Correspondents say Aung San Suu Kyi's absence could indicate that talks 
between the opposition and the military government are not going well. 
Aung San Suu Kyi remained at her home and gave no explanation why she 
had not attended.

'Her decision'

There was no indication the government barred her from going. 
Aung San Suu Kyi is not formally under house arrest, but has stayed at 
her residence because of restrictions on her meetings and movements. 

Ms Suu Kyi stayed at her home in Yangon during the ceremony 
Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was represented at the 
ceremony by members of her National League for Democracy [NLD]. 
An NLD spokesman said: "This is her decision. She asked us to go there." 

The party won elections in 1990, but Burma's ruling generals refused to 
let Aung San Suu Kyi take power.

The NLD has been in negotiations with the government since October 1990, 
but no information has been released as to their progress.

Detainees released

Foreign diplomats who have had access to Aung San Suu Kyi said the talks 
appeared to have stalled earlier this year, but the NLD has nevertheless 
won some concessions.

The Burmese Government has released 151 NLD detainees and the party has 
been given permission to reopen 18 of its offices.

Eleven NLD activists, including four elected members of parliament and a 
prominent journalist, were released from jail on the eve of Martyr's 
The occasion commemorates the assassination in 1947 of Aung San, Burma's 
independence leader and its first prime minister.



Reuters: India seen selling 50,000 tonnes wheat to Myanmar

By Atul Prakash 

 BOMBAY, July 19 (Reuters) - India is likely to export about 50,000 
tonnes of wheat to Myanmar in August-September, traders said on 
 ``We received some enquiries from Myanmar traders about Indian wheat 
but they had some concerns about the quality of the grain,'' an official 
at a state-run firm told Reuters. 

 But the Indian company had assured them about quality and sent samples, 
he said. 

 ``They appear satisfied with the quality of our wheat.'' 

 India is also expected to export wheat to countries like Korea, the 
Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia in the next two months, 
traders said. 

 Philippines firms on Thursday bought a total of 44,000 tonnes of Indian 
wheat at below $117 per tonne C&F, industry sources in Manila said. 

 India is likely to export about 750,000 tonnes of wheat in the second 
quarter of the current fiscal year ending March 2002, traders said. 

 The country sold about 700,000 tonnes of wheat on the world market 
during the first quarter. 

 Since October 2000 India is estimated to have shipped 2.4 million 
tonnes of wheat out of a total contracted quantity of 2.7 million. 


 Wheat exports may rise significantly this fiscal year if the government 
reduces prices, a Delhi-based trader said. 

 In early July, Food Minister Shanta Kumar said the government was 
evaluating a demand to lower the price of wheat sold to exporters to 
globally competitive levels. 

 The government's price is now 4,300 rupees per tonne. It sells grain at 
a subsidised rate through the state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI), 
which has stocks of 40 million tonnes, about 60 percent of the country's 
annual wheat output. 

 The Indian market price of wheat is much higher, at 6,000 rupees per 

 ``At present we are trading on a very thin profit margin and are 
exposed to price fluctuation risks,'' a trader said. 

 Indian exporters' competitiveness could increase if the price per tonne 
was lowered to 4,000 rupees, he said. 


 Iraq's rejection in the past few months of some wheat shipments on 
quality grounds hurt exports, but fresh enquiries showed that 
perceptions of Indian wheat were changing, traders said. 

 ``Quality concerns were raised only by Iraq, which gave a bad name to 
Indian wheat,'' said an analyst. ``No other country has complained about 
its quality.'' 

 But the Food Corporation's wheat did need proper cleaning, he said. 

 Three private trading firms have plans to set up wheat-cleaning 
equipment at Kandla and Mundra ports in the western state of Gujarat. 


TheSpleen.com: Out of the Jungle, Pt. III [Smuggling]

June 2001

TEASER: How did gemstones get mixed up with junkies? Not surprisingly 
both the CIA and the British East India Company had something to do with 
it. Part II of a series on the smuggling culture of the Thai-Burmese 
border area. 

As noted, prominent Thai military figures made long-lasting connections 
with Upper Burma opium producers during World War II. With the Chinese 
crackdown on smuggling, Thailand stepped in as the prime conduit for 
illegal Burmese exports. With the gem trade, another factor was equally 
important: Thailand, having largely depleted its own gemstone deposits, 
made a smooth transition from gem source to the world's top large-scale 
gemstone treatment, trading and processing center. 
Burning and Looting

This was at least partly due to the quality of the goods being smuggled 
out of Burma. The way gemstone mining and trading operations usually 
work in places like Mogok is that a private concern will enter into a 
joint venture contract for a mine lease with the government (with 
Rangoon retaining a 51.4 percent interest) and then hire or subcontract 
diggers to work the plot. The high-grade rubies and sapphires produced 
are reserved for the government-sponsored gem auctions in Rangoon, 
unless the private concerns are willing to pay a tax equivalent to 20 
percent of the gems' value to the government. In the latter case, the 
gems are legally retained by the private concern, and freely traded and 
sold to foreign buyers in Mandalay or Rangoon. The buyers must make 
their own arrangements to either get the stones out of the country 
legally or to avoid duties, smuggle them out. The inferior stones are 
sold by the joint venture to the traders in Mogok. These form the bulk 
of the gems that are smuggled into Thailand at key points. 
Mong-Hsu, where ruby has been mined since 1991, runs on a very different 
system. The joint ventures are between a military-owned company and 
ethnic insurgents. The rules are different, but the results are the 
same: A large quantity of low-grade material is smuggled into Thailand. 
Most of the Mong-Hsu ruby winds up in Maesai, where gem broker "Kobra" 
Joe St. Esparza says he's "never been offered a certificate proving a 
parcel [of gemstones] left Burma legally or even an attempt to convince 
me" in over 10 years of trading in the border town. 

With a steady stream of inferior gems entering the country from Mogok, 
the Thais were faced with a problem: How to make a profit. They turned 
to technology -- fine tuning the heat treatment of rubies. This created 
a market shift similar to that wrought by the cultured pearl producers 
-- suddenly gemstones previously only available to the very wealthy 
could be purchased by everyday consumers. 

The profits rolled in, and more goods were smuggled into Thailand. The 
businessmen of each country held a trump card on the other: The Burmese 
wouldn't allow the Thais (or any foreigners) to officially invest in the 
actual mining operations, but neither would the Thais reveal their ruby 
enhancement secrets. The Thais, meanwhile, were constantly expanding to 
other gem-bearing regions. For example, in the 1970s they descended upon 
Sri Lanka and bought up milky, silky "geuda" sapphires for a pittance, 
stuck them in the ovens and hit the market with fabulous gems. And while 
serious gemologists may scoff at some of the methods employed by the 
Thai "burners," it has to be said that they've probably fooled more of 
the people more of the time more than anybody else in the trade. 
Smuggling Today

The Thai economy has taken a massive turn for the worse over the past 
few years, the Burmese junta has gained more control over the smuggling 
areas and the ruby trade has been hurt by increased consumer awareness 
of treatments. A trip to the border towns confirms that smuggling is 
less lucrative than in the boom years of the 80s and early 90s. "Mr. 
Ming," an ethnic Chinese who fled Burma in the 1960s and became a gem 
dealer in Thailand, says the Singaporean, Taiwanese and Hong Kong buyers 
who used to turn up in Mae Sot now buy in Mandalay. This is corroborated 
by sources who regularly visit Mandalay. One source adds that whereas a 
few years ago customs officials "checked every piece of luggage 
thoroughly" at Mandalay airport, leading to "three hour waits while your 
bags were being rifled through for smuggled rubies," passengers can now 
"breeze through customs." You have to wonder just who's profiting from 
this happy change of circumstances. 

Ming says the most expensive item he ever saw in Mae Sot was a large 
cabochon of exquisite jadeite which fetched $400,000. That was more than 
a decade ago. These days it's a motley assortment of low-grade nephrite 
jade dyed in Burma or Thailand, semiprecious stones and ruby rough 
either heated in Mogok or Mae Sot and as greased up for luster as the 
deep-fried chicken feet for sale just outside the gem exchanges. 

To get Mogok ruby to Mae Sot, the mostly female smugglers (known as 
lan-pewzars or street brokers) make a two-day journey from the mining 
town by rail, car, motorcycle and sometimes overland by foot to the 
border, paying safe-passage fees at checkpoints or smuggler's camps held 
by various insurgent groups, drug warlords and corrupt Burmese Army 
officials. Boat passage across the Moei River and into Thailand at a 
"smugglers' gate" is about $2; from there it's a 25 cent bus ride into 
town. The other option is to pay the syndicated smuggling rings 30,000 
kyat ($80) to transport the goods, take the same trip (without the 
bribes) and meet the courier in Mae Sot. 

After speaking with several smugglers, the courier option sounds like 
the only sane one to make. U-Than sometimes crosses the Moei on the 
unofficial ferry "when the GIs [Burmese Army] want to talk to me" about 
his activities in Thailand. He bears facial scars from two short stints 
in Insein Prison prior to the 1988 uprising. He is educated, but 
scrambles to make a living in a schizophrenic police state where the 
lack of a gun makes him fair game for the predators. Capture by the 
authorities in Burma, according to U-Than, can mean being put on the 
roof of a prison for three straight days in an open cage with the sun 
beating down and a bottle of saltwater placed at your feet by 
considerate guards. 

U-Than claims that the Burmese Army planted landmines along the prime 
smuggling route between the Dawna range in Karen State and the Thai 
border after defeating the Karen State Army (KSA) in the 1980s. That 
claim is backed by several other smugglers. The deserted smuggler's camp 
at Wan-Kha, once a bustling depot for raw materials leaving Burma and 
manufactured goods entering, is testimony to the fierce fighting between 
the smugglers and the Burmese Army -- who burned the site to ground in 
the 80s. 

It seems insane to risk life and limb for the average smuggled parcel, 
worth a couple hundred dollars at most. Yet as U-Than says, "money knows 
where the landmines are." Whether this means that the smuggling rings 
have purchased safe passage maps or that they are willing to throw their 
couriers up against fragmentation bombs, he leaves for us to decide. 

Pure Adam Smith

Mae Sot is a rough place. It harbors everyone from non-governmental 
organization workers at the UN refugee camp just outside town to CIA and 
DEA observers who might be the earnest young man sipping a beer next to 
you. There are the Burmese (and Karen and Mon, etc.) who file across the 
official bridge and unofficial river each day for Thai wages. Then 
there's the dubiously motivated, loosely organized band of "military 
instructors," largely French, who aid the KSA in their struggles against 
Rangoon. One toilet stall in a popular bar features a graffiti debate on 
the merits of racist, ultra-rightwing French politician Jean-Marie Le 
Pen. The Karen, despite their steadfast refusal to finance their 
military with drug money, tend to attract these sorts of friends more 
than "legitimate" foreign intelligence operatives, who prefer to back 
such stalwart anti-communist crusaders as the KMT. 

In the middle of this madness, bordered on either side by Thai soldiers 
sporting assault rifles, the dealers ply their trade on the street of 
gems. In the established exchanges, buyers may sit for hours sipping 
tea, smoking cheroots and chewing betelnut, waiting for their requested 
goods to turn up so they can haggle back and forth with the seller. The 
exchange dealers have their own goods, but also get a cut for brokering 
a deal between a buyer and one of the many runners toting gem parcels up 
and down the street. 

Maesai is similarly chaotic, but less aggressively so. There is a more 
ethereal quality to the town, nestled in the mountains just a few miles 
from the actual Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Burma 
and Laos meet. It is a tourist town of stunning scenery and fewer 
hassles than Mae Sot. Both trading centers are full of great "deals" for 
the unwary - "genuine antique" gemstone scales freshly unearthed from a 
six-month stint buried in mud, "rubies" that a dealer will hard sell up 
to and including the point where you scratch them with another piece of 
ggled goods simply pour into these towns. In Maesai, a raft rigged to 
rope guides makes frequent trips across the shallow Maesai River a few 
hundred yards from the border check at a spot controlled by "Khun Yai" 
(literally, "Mr. Big" in Thai). In Mae Sot inner tubes and long-tailed 
motor boats ford the Moei within shouting distance of the official 
checkpoint. Daytime crossings generally ferry passengers and legal goods 
like rice, cement and plastic-ware. But at night, suspicious trucks pull 
up to odd places on the river and mobile phone usage on both sides of 
the border shoots up dramatically. 
The Unbroken Circle

Will the smuggling cycle ever be halted? Conditions on both sides of the 
border suggest it's unlikely in the near future. In Myawaddy, across 
from Mae Sot, dozens of Mon, deported for working illegally in Thailand 
in the wake of the Burmese embassy siege in Bangkok last year, hole up 
in the temple enclave of popular Buddhist monk Oo Zing Win Sein, waiting 
to return to $4 to $6 a day jobs on the Thai side. Poverty begets 
desperation, and desperation leads to smuggling. 
In Tachilek and Maesai, big hotels and glitzy tourist shops selling 
antiques, gems and exotic items like tiger skins catch your eye, as do 
the Lisu, Shan and Kachin children carrying their undersized baby 
siblings in cloth slings, hands outstretched. In Myawaddy and Mae Sot, 
U-Than points out the big houses with television antennas -- owned by 
prominent businessmen on the Thai side and military brass on the Burmese 
side -- and the wood and dried leaf shacks tucked in behind them. What 
is striking about the border area is the massive disparity in wealth on 
both sides. 

The Burmese junta has been soundly criticized for human rights abuses, 
shackling incipient democracy and stifling the flow of trade. Thailand 
is praised for a free press, a popularly-elected government and a 
"positive investment climate." Burma is derided for an official 
investment exchange rate of 6.5 kyat to the dollar while the real 
economy operates on the government-sanctioned "unofficial" rate of 360 
kyat to the dollar. Thailand is lauded for sticking to tough IMF 
"economic medicine" as the country claws its way back into the ranks of 
the not-quite-industrialized nations. 

Burma bad, Thailand good -- yet the majority in both countries dwell in 
the kind of poverty that makes a $6 a day job in a sports apparel sweat 
shop a viable option for survival. Authoritarian military dictatorship 
and cut-throat capitalism played to the tune of Western interests seems 
to have the same result: A very few get very wealthy and most families 
earn far less in their lifetimes than the fluctuation in Bill Gates' 
wealth in 20 seconds of Wall Street trading. Smuggling is a ticket to 
the fast track -- maybe a Toyota HiLux truck or a flashy new satellite 
dish. The history won't go away, and as long as borders remain borders, 
Burma and Thailand will dance in a smugglers' embrace. 

Damon Poeter is a journalist based in Bangkok, Thailand. Ted Themelis is 
a gemologist and author. 


Bangkok Post: Strings on Amraam purchase questioned

Logistics and need must be considered

July 19, 2001

Post Reporters 

Questions of timing, logistics support, price and necessity loom over 
the purchase of advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (Amraams) from 
the United States, a security specialist said yesterday.

Addressing a panel discussion on regional security issues at the US 
embassy, Panitan Wattanayakorn said the government had left many 
questions unanswered.

Mr Panitan, director of defence studies at the Institute of Strategic 
and International Studies and security adviser to former prime minister 
Chuan Leekpai, said Thailand was buying 20 Amraams at 20 million baht 

The US is holding on to the missiles, which Mr Panitan likened to 
bullets for F-16 fighter planes, until there is a security threat, in 
what is seen as a bid to prevent a regional arms race.

But several military officials have doubts about the 48-hour period 
required for delivery of the Amraams, as security threats require action 
within minutes, Mr Panitan said.

The need for Amraams was questionable at a time when the country was 
still in economic crisis, he said. Moreover, they had been on the market 
for only 10 years and were likely to be available for many more.

But Singapore is said to have ordered 100 Amraams, and Taiwan 200, a 
security source noted.

The government should have secured a "better bargain" for the Amraams, 
which were being bought with money freed up by the government's decision 
to call off the purchase of F-18 fighter planes, or about 130 million 
baht, Mr Panitan said. Eric Sandberg, US embassy political counsellor, 
said agreement on the Amraams had been reached on July 13 and there 
would be questions if there was a change of mind.

Mr Panitan stressed the purchase of weapons was a delicate matter that 
required careful consideration, as military modernisation plans could be 
misunderstood by neighbours.

He said Thailand's purchase of Amraams from the US and Burma buying 
Mig-29 fighters from Russia were not "so related", as both systems would 
take time to be set up.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said he has no objection to the air 
force buying the missiles.

"I have been informed that the Amraam procurement is an old project 
initiated during the past administration.

"It will not require a big budget and is a weaponry system suited to 
F-16 jets," he said.

The air force is buying 16 used, but refurbished, F-16 fighter jets from 
the United States.

"Previously, the US refused us the missiles we need for the F-16 jets, 
but now they agree.

"The US will deliver the Amraams within 48 hours, when the situation 
justifies it. It's like having boats that need paddles, without which 
the boats will be useless," he said.


South China Morning Post: US missile sale 'agreed before border clashes'

SCMP, Wednesday, July 18, 2001


An agreement by the US Government to sell air-to-air AIM-30 missiles to 
Thailand was a long-planned move that preceded recent border clashes 
with Burma, a spokeswoman at the US Embassy in Bangkok said yesterday. 
The sale of advanced medium-range air-to-air (Amraam) missiles to the 
Thai air force - signed in the US on Friday - had been discussed since 
last year, the spokeswoman said.

It was unrelated to recent news that Burma had signed a deal with Russia 
to purchase 10 MiG-29 jets, she added.

The Burmese-Russian deal, said by Jane's Defence Weekly to be worth 
US$130 million (HK$1 billion), is reported to have been struck after 
clashes in February between Thai and Burmese troops in and around the 
northern Thai border town of Mae Sai.

Rangoon signed a contract to buy eight MiG-29Bs and 2 MiG-29UB trainers, 
Jane's reported earlier this month.

The US-Thai deal, which officials were unable to put a figure on, was 
seen as a response to Burma's purchase of the MiG warplanes.

But the US spokeswoman said: "The process for buying arms is really 
long. We have been talking to Thailand about Amraam missiles since the 
fall last year. There is a period that Congress has - about three 
months, I think - to raise an objection and that time period was up last 
week, so they were free to sign an agreement."

The company building the Amraam missiles normally sold them in lots of 
32, she said, and "special permission" was needed for the Thai air force 
to purchase eight.

Washington had made a policy decision not to introduce Amraams into the 
Southeast Asian region unilaterally, so the weapons had to be stored 
outside those countries, she said.

The missiles would be quickly delivered to Thailand when the country was 
under threat or when it was appropriate to release them, the spokeswoman 

Thailand has F-16 jet fighters, while Burma has 42 Chengdu F-7M and 
Nanchang A-5C aircraft from China. The Russian MiGs are seen as a "cheap 
equivalent" to the F-16s for the cash-strapped Rangoon junta.

Thai government officials and defence analysts have so far played down 
the impact of the deals, saying both purchases were legitimate and not 
likely to spark a regional arms race. However, US Senator Mitchell 
McConnell voiced concerns over the Burmese deal in Congress last week.

Thai military sources, quoted in the Nation newspaper, said it was 
"possible the US sees Burma's MiG-29 purchasing plan as tilting the 
equilibrium of the regional arms structure and could cause an arms race 
in the region". 

"McConnell also said Thailand and the US should be concerned about the 
move, which he said has the potential to destabilise Southeast Asia," 
the paper said.

The Burmese plan was disturbing, but not unexpected, Thai defence 
analyst Professor Panitan Wattanayagorn was quoted as saying. "It is 
worrisome because it's happening at a time the region is plagued with 
political and territorial conflicts," he said.

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

AFP: Press group hails Myanmar's liberation of journalist 

PARIS, July 18 (AFP) - The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) hailed 
Wednesday the liberation of prominent Myanmar journalist San San Nweh 
and called for Yangon's military regime to release other detained 

 "We're grateful to Myanmar's military junta to have finally seen the 
necessity to free San San Nweh," the director general of the 
organisation, Timothy Balding, said. 

 He added that the regime should now also free "other journalists 
imprisoned in Myanmar, among them U Win Tin, the co-founder of the 
National League for Democracy." 

 San San Nwe, 56, was arrested in 1994 and sentenced to 10 years in jail 
for allegedly giving "false news reports" to foreign journalists. She 
was accused of "causing misunderstanding of the government" with her 
reports, and of having contact with the democratic government-in-exile. 

 As Myanmar's leading woman journalist, she has been recognised by press 
advocacy groups, and last year, she was a co-recipient along with 
another U Win Tin of WAN's Golden Pen of Freedom award. 

 WAN, which has its headquarters in Paris, represents 17,000 newspapers 
around the world. 


Reuters: Malaysia lauds Myanmar moves, awaits news

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 (Reuters) - Malaysia praised near-neighbour 
Myanmar on Thursday for progress towards reconciliation between the 
government and its political foes, attributing it to the soflty-softly 
school of diplomacy. 

 ``We are very happy with the development that's taking place in 
Myanmar,'' Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said during a 
briefing on next week's ASEAN foreign ministers meeting. ``The most 
important thing is that there have been signs, indications of 
reconciliation between the two parties,'' he added. 
 Malaysia was among the main backers of Myanmar's accession to the 
Association of South East Asian Nations in 1997, causing diplomatic 
ructions between ASEAN and European countries concerned with Yangon's 
human rights record. 

 Last April, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted a 
resolution praising Myanmar's generals for their talks with 
pro-democracy leaders but alleged major violations of human rights 
including executions, mass arrests and forced labour. 
 Myanmar's military regime has been in stop-start talks in recent months 
with the opposition, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, though with progress made 
being hard to ascertain. 

 Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won 1990 elections but 
the military refused to let her take power. 

 Syed Hamid, whose country provides the United Nations with its Myanmar 
special envoy Razali Ismail, predicted a progress report by Myanmar's 
foreign minister at ASEAN's meeting in Hanoi. 

 ``I believe that maybe we will be updated on the situation in 
Myanmar,'' he said, stressing the ASEAN tradition of non-interference in 
other members' internal affairs. 

 ``We believe that by engaging with all the countries, 
there will be change. 

 ``We have to allow Myanmar to evolve itself into a system that is 
acceptable. They accept that the democratic process is necessary.'' 

 ASEAN groups the countries of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, 
Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. 


AFP: Myanmar accepts it must move to democracy, says Malaysian FM 

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 (AFP) - Myanmar's ruling generals accept they must 
move towards democracy to engage with the outside world, Malaysian 
Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said Thursday. 

 "They accept that the democratic process is necessary. They want to 
find reconciliation (with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi). 

 "That is a positive move by Myanmar," he told a press conference before 
next week's meeting of regional foreign ministers in Vietnam. 

 Syed Hamid said Myanmar is expected to brief ministers from the 
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) about political 
 The junta Wednesday released prominent journalist San San Nwe along 
with 10 other political prisoners. 

 Aung San Suu Kyi has been held under de facto house arrest since 
September just before she embarked on landmark talks with the junta. 

 The talks were brokered by Malaysia's Razali Ismail, a special envoy of 
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. 

 Syed Hamid said ASEAN adheres strictly to the policy of 
non-interference in the affairs of members but believes that by 
"engaging there will be changes." 
 Since Myanmar has expressed its intention to bring changes, ASEAN 
should allow Myanmar to evolve into an acceptable system, he said. 

 "We cannot tell Myanmar what to do. It should do what it thinks is best 
for its country. 

 "Definitely, what is happening in the region and what is happening 
globally in terms of democratisation will have an influence on Myanmar's 
decision and the type of action it will take," he added. 

 After meeting among themselves, the ASEAN foreign ministers will hold 
talks with their counterparts from Australia, Canada, China, the 
European Union, India, Japan, North Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua 
New Guinea, Russia, South Korea and the United States. 

 The talks with their dialogue partners will be held under the umbrella 
of the ASEAN Regional Forum. 

 Syed Hamid said the gloomy world economic outlook would dominate the 
July 23-28 meeting. 

 "ASEAN faces an economic problem. We want to strengthen our economies 
to ensure the region remains stable," he said. 

 The Malaysian minister said stability in the Korean peninsula, the 
South China Sea and the situation in Indonesia were among potential 
regional "flashpoints" which would be discussed. 

 Developments in Indonesia were a real concern to ASEAN, he said. 



Mizzima: Burma citizens are majority at a shelter home in India's North 
East state 

Burma citizens are majority at a shelter home in India?s North East 
state Aizawl (Mizoram State)

July 19, 2001 
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com) 

Orphans, drug-addicts, mad persons from Burma occupy 70% of total 
residents of a ?shelter home? in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram State. 
?Thutak Nunpuitu Team (TNT)?, a Christian de-addiction center and a 
shelter for homeless, has been treating both Indians and Burmese 
citizens for the past eleven years in this remote place without much 
attention from the outside world.  

The TNT, situated in Zuangtui town (outside Aizawl) has about eight 
hundreds ?patients and orphans? and about 70 per cent of them are from 
Burma, which has international border with this mountainous state of 
India?s North East.  

Children of young age, homeless women and men, drug addicts and mad 
persons originally from Burma, mostly from Chin State are the majority 
?patients? in the center.  
The TNT (which means ?helping needy people is having a real life?) was 
founded by one-man mission by one Mizo national Mr. Sangthankima in 
1988. It had only one homeless person when it was founded but it has now 
become a home for more than one thousands help-needed persons both men 
and women.  

?We treat them through religion, with the help of God?, said Mr. 
Lalnuntluanga Fanai, a social worker who has been working in the center 
for the past three years. There are about 200 drug-addicts who are being 
camped in the center for de-addiction. ?They have to stay here minimum 
six months. During that period, they also treat themselves by sharing 
experiences, by listening to Jesus?, he added. The center?s motto is 
?God gives us daily bread?, he added.  

There are several Burmese immigrants, mostly Chin nationals, both men 
and women who are receiving the treatment and shelter in the center. 
Among them is a patient who is under going de-addiction treatment. He is 
from Chin State of Burma but he has been living in Mizoram for the past 
thirteen years. Before he came to the center, he worked as a hard 
laborer in Aizawl. He started using drugs a year ago. After some months, 
he changed to injection (of Proxyvon) and his right leg had to be 
operated due to drug injections. He has been in the center for two 
months and his condition is stable now.  
There are about 300 children in the center. The center provides them 
with education, food, and cloths until they can live by themselves in 
outside world. A few months ago, a Burmese who is working in Aizawl came 
to the center and kept two of his children, as he could no longer feed 
them. The two boys, who forget Burmese language now, are otherwise doing 
well.Notsurprisingly, noofficials from Burmese government have ever 
visited the center.  

?We don?t receive any assistance from governmental or international 
agencies. We run the center by the grace of God and with the 
contributions. People come and visit us everyday and they contribute 
money to the center?, said a voluntary worker. There are about 60 
voluntary workers in this center alone. There are two more centers under 
TNT in Mizoram State; one is in Lunglei and another is in Kolasib town.  



Myanmar Times: Alphabet gets ISO approval 

July 16 - 22, 2001 

By Moe Zaw Myint 

MYANMAR characters will be included in international computer font codes 
for  the first time, and moves are now afoot to lobby for the script's 
inclusion  in the next version of Microsoft Word. The Myanmar alphabet 
of characters has  been certified as ISO  10646 Unicode Standard Version 
3.0 by the  International Standards Organisation (ISO). The outcome is 
the result of  three years  of work by a group of IT professionals, 
linguists, literature  experts and historians. The group's achievement,  
and its consequences were  detailed at a seminar on the ISO Unicode in  
Yangon last week organised by  the IT standardisation committee of the 
e-National Taskforce and sponsored by KMD Computer Centre.  
"We have had various kinds of Myanmar font softwares so when we put them 
in  the web page, unless we have a standard character set, we will not 
be able to  read our characters," said U Pyone Maung Maung, managing 
director of CE  Technology and a member of the e-National Taskforce. But 
the team's task was  not yet complete, as it would "have to work on the 
implementation of the  rules" surrounding the ISO recognition. "We will 
also try to have our Myanmar  characters included in Microsoft's next 
version as a new font," U Pyone Maung  Maung said. 



Xinhua: Foreign Diplomats Visit Photo Show on CPC History

BEIJING, July 18 (Xinhua) -- "It is indeed a history of glory!" said 
Colonel Sein Gyawt, military attache of the Myanmar Embassy in Beijing, 
when he visited a photo exhibition marking the 80th anniversary of the 
founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Wednesday. Military 
attaches from 36 foreign embassies in China and their wives visited the 
photo show titled "Shoulder the Great Hope of the People." The show, 
which was opened June 20, has so far attracted more than one million 
visitors. Colonel Ramon G. Santos, defense and armed forces attache of 
the Embassy of the Philippines, said the Chinese people are great 
because they won their independence and prosperity with their own hands. 
Standing before the model of China's first jet plane made in 1956, he 
said that the Chinese people should be proud of what they have achieved. 
Great changes have taken place in China after the 20 years of reform and 
opening up, said a diplomat from the Republic of Korea. Some of the 
diplomats held the view that Beijing being selected to host the 2008 
Olympic Games means the world recognizes China's achievements and it 
will offer a good chance to show an even more beautiful China to the 


The New light of Myanmar: The one-sided harmonious slander of ABC 

Thursday,  19 July, 2001    

[BurmaNet adds---The Australian scholar referred to in this article as 
?Desmond Bog? is Desmond Ball, a specialist in signals intelligence is 
Asia. The New Light?s error is probably just a typo but is odd enough 
that it might be a juvenile attempt to mock his name.]

Of the television stations in Australia, ABC or the Australian 
Broadcasting  Corporation is the one that gives priority to airing 
technological and  historical facts. I am a regular audience of the 
Foreign Correspondence  section of the ABC. Its programmes always 
represent the political and social  situations of the global nations and 
the presenter Jennifer Burn is so  skilful at her job. But after 
watching the programme on the narcotic drugs in  Myanmar which was 
telecast at 9.30 pm on 13 June 2001, I felt as if I lost  enthusiasm in 
its past programmes which I had watched with admiration.  

When I had seen the so-called foreign correspondent and the so-called  
foreign resource person harmoniously launching the one-sided slanderous  
attacks against the Myanmar's narcotic elimination sector in a setup of 
the  TV programme, I felt it as an insult to Myanmar's sovereignty. In 
the  programme "The problem of narcotic drugs in Myanmar " of the 
Foreign  Correspondence section, it was presented and described that SSA 
was combating  the drugs; and that the narcotic drugs stored by the 
Myanmar Tatmadaw were  seized during capture of a Myanmar military 
outpost in a battle at the border  in April. It also said that the 
destruction of a large amount of seized  narcotic drugs in the presence 
of foreign diplomats and delegations by a  leading figure of the State 
himself was just a show. 

The programme ended with the words of Bertil Lintner, who is always  
launching slanderous attacks against Myanmar, and the so-called 
Australian  scholar Desmond Bog, which were injurious to the nation. 
Though the features  on other countries of the Foreign Correspondence 
programme reflect the true  situations, the programme " The problem of 
narcotic drugs in Myanmar' is no  more than a setup or a movie like " 
Beyond Rangoon " which was produced in  roundabout 1995, casting 
expatriate Aung Ko and group as the good guys. The  programme started 
with the marching of the members of SSA in full military  uniform. 
Beginning of the programme with such a scene strongly suggests that  the 
correspondent might have been bribed by the SSA with a handsome amount 
of  drug money to telecast its propaganda globally. The TV programme 
then showed  the scene of SSA members attacking the Myanmar outpost. 

Despite the SSA members'  fake demonstrations as if they had really 
captured  the Myanmar military outpost, the show was so illogical that 
it was no more  than an action movie. A Shan soldier gallantly firing an 
AK-47 at a trench  amidst flames was so much like a movie. Then followed 
the capture of the  military camp in the night battle. The TV programme 
also showed the  video-taping of the methaphine pills which were said to 
have been seized from  the outpost. 

In reality, the Shan rebels who are drug traffickers themselves had 
brought  the narcotics to the outpost and lied as if the drugs were 
seized from the  Myanmar military outpost. The ABC correspondent 
presented the fabrication to  the world as if it was a true event. 
Later, the programme presented torching  of the narcotic drugs in the 
presence of the Myanmar leaders, foreign  diplomats and representatives 
of the UN agencies, stating that it was just  for show. Despite the will 
to slander others, the correspondent even lacked  skill to differentiate 
between the rational and the irrational failing to see  a thing from 
every aspect. Besides. the correspondent also failed to present  the 
formal discussions with the officials of the Australian Federal Police  
who were sent to Myanmar by the Australian government. 

The correspondent knew that the officials of the Australian Federal 
Police  were sent to Myanmar to jointly combat the drug problem the two 
nation were  facing. If the correspondent from a TV station like ABC, 
which is set up by  the Australian government, had the real wish to 
gather official information  on Myanmar's anti-narcotic campaigns, he 
should hold discussions with the  officials of the Australian Federal 
Police who were formally sent to Myanmar  to join in her endeavours to 
combat the narcotic drugs. But he was beating  about the bush. He who 
was not able to enter Myanmar only interviewed Bertil  Lintner, who is 
always launching serials of slanderous attacks against  Myanmar, the 
so-called Australian scholar of ANU university Desmond Bog, who  paid 
visits to the border areas and posing himself as a real field  
researcher, the drug tsar Ywet Sit and the commander of the Third Army 
of  Thailand. Based on their slanders, the correspondent tried to 
tarnish the  image of the Myanmar Tatmadaw as if it is engaging in drug 
trafficking  business. 

Author :A Myanmar citizen in sydney 


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