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BurmaNet News: July 19, 2001
- Subject: BurmaNet News: July 19, 2001
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 21:18:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
July 19, 2001 Issue # 1847
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
INSIDE BURMA _______
*BBC: Burma's Suu Kyi stays away
*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
*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.
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.
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,
``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,
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.
EXPORTS MAY RISE
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
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]
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
By JAMES POLLARD in Bangkok
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.
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
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
?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
Author :A Myanmar citizen in sydney
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