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BurmaNet News: October 8, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
          October 8, 2001   Issue # 1894
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*AP: Myanmar frees five opposition members as U.N. human rights expert 
*Arakan News Agency: Conversion into Christianity en masse in north 
*AFP: Cambodian FM in Myanmar 
*BBC: Investigators silent after Burma visit
*Chin Human Rights Organization: Junta disbands Christian 
infrastructure, restricts access to theological studies abroad 
*Chin Human Rights Organization:  "No English, We are Burman"

MONEY _______
*Singapore Business Times: Myanmar Airways cuts flights after US attacks 

*Narinjara News: Rice mills forced to shut down in Ponnagyun
*Narinjara News: 6000 bottles of foreign liquor seized in Ctg
*The Myanmar Times: New garment factory to employ 1000

*Bangkok Post: Third Army commander to visit Tachilek
*Narinjara News: A Rakhaing Mother denied justice for the death of her 
*Independent Mon News Agency: Train blast in Ye Township
*DVB: Intelligence directive aims to prevent leak of critical speeches 
Intelligence directive aims to prevent leak of critical speeches 

*Bangkok Post: Burma bridge to be finished by next year 
*The Star (Malaysia): Myanmar forgers nabbed 
*The Nation: Currents of suspicion still run 

*Irrawaddy online: Burmese Muslim Group Speaks Out on Afghan Attacks
*Chin Forum: On the passing of  Pu Mang Tling

*Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships: Training for Print Journalists 

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

AP: Myammar frees five opposition members as U.N. human rights expert 

October 8, 2001

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Myanmar freed five more opposition members from 
jail Tuesday in a ``goodwill gesture,'' to coincide with the arrival of 
a U.N. human rights expert to assess civil and political rights in the 
military state. 
 The government also said it will extend full cooperation to the United 
Nations human rights rapporteur, Paula Sergio Pinheiro, who is leading a 
three-member team on a two-week visit. 
 The team is expected to meet with top government officials, opposition 
leader Aung San Suu Kyi and travel to the provinces to assess the 
situation on the ground. 

 The military junta has faced intense international criticism for rights 
violations, including large scale arrests of members of Suu Kyi's 
National League for Democracy party and for suppressing virtually all 
political activity. 

 The junta, which took power in 1988 after crushing a pro-democracy 
movement, refuses to acknowledge the results of the 1990 general 
elections that were won handsomely by the NLD. Instead it jailed many 
representatives elected as Member of Parliament. 
 An official statement said five of the MPs were released Tuesday. 

 ``As a goodwill gesture by the government, 5 NLD MPs elect were being 
released from various correctional facilities this afternoon,'' the 
statement said. It said all are in good health and were reunited with 
their families. 

 It did not say why they were jailed or on what charges. But the five 
were believed to have been serving jail terms ranging from three to 20 
 Their release raised to 174 the number of political prisoners freed 
this year while the junta has been holding closed-door reconciliation 
talks with Suu Kyi. 

 Rights groups have estimated there are more than 1,800 political 
prisoners in the country.
 The talks with Suu Kyi have been seen as an expression of the junta's 
willingness to end the 13-year political deadlock. The regime also has 
shown it is opening up in other ways after resisting outside scrutiny 
for decades. 

 It first allowed Pinheiro to visit the country in April, the first time 
a U.N. human rights rapporteur visited Myanmar in five years. 

 He did not travel outside Yangon on that occasion except to survey a 
Thai-Myanmar gas pipeline in Kanbauk in southeastern Myanmar. 

 Also, an International Labor Organization team wrapped up an 
unprecedented three-week visit to Myanmar on Saturday. It was allowed to 
travel outside Yangon to find out if regulations issued by the 
government to stop the use of unpaid civilian labor were being put into 

 In neighboring Thailand, Foreign Ministry spokesman Rathakit Manathat 
said Tuesday that the political situation in Myanmar had improved and 
the military's ``distrust'' of the international community had lessened. 


Arakan News Agency: Conversion into Christianity en masse in north 

By our Special Correspondent

Buthidaung, October 5: Over 300 Rakhine Buddhist men, women and children 
belonging to 65 families from newly established Pyin She Buddhist 
village under Buthidaung township in occupied Arakan State in southwest 
Burma have reportedly been converted en masse to Christianity in the 
month of August. 

According to reliable sources the mass conversion occurred following a 
bitter quarrel between two groups of Rakhines of the said village over 
the appointment of village Chairman and Secretary. The aggrieved party 
accused the Township Peace and Development Council of siding with the 
other group, which is in minority, after taking huge bribe. Although a 
complaint was lodged with the District Peace and Development Council no 
action has reportedly been taken. 

Disappointed and frustrated over the unjust behaviour of the government 
officials, all 65 households went to the recently built Christian church 
adjacent to Ywa Thit Ywa Muslim village west of Buthidaung town and 
voluntarily embraced Christianity en masse. 
On being informed the Chairman of the Township Peace and Development 
Council summoned the converted people and given them one month to 
reconsider their decision. However they told that they would stick to 
the new faith till their death. 

In a related incident a Buddhist monk belonging to the same village was 
sentenced to 3 years imprisonment in the same month of August for 
allegedly conspiring against the State. 

Abdur Rashid
Chief Reporter
Arakan News Agency


AFP: Cambodian FM in Myanmar 

BANGKOK, Oct 8 (AFP) - Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong arrived in 
Yangon late Monday for an official goodwill visit, state-run television 
 Namhong, who is heading a group of senior Cambodian officials, was 
welcomed at the airport by his Myanmar counterpart, Win Aung, TV Myanmar 
said in a dispatch monitored here. 

 Namhong, who is also a special envoy to Prime Minister Hun Sen, will 
call on Myanmar military leader General Than Shwe and other senior 
figures during his two-day trip, a Cambodian foreign ministry source 
 The visiting delegation will also hold meeting with Myanmar foreign 
ministry officials before they winding up the visit. 


BBC: Investigators silent after Burma visit

 Saturday, 6 October, 2001, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK 

By Larry Jagan in Bangkok 

A high-level delegation from the International Labour Organisation has 
finished a three-week investigation of the use of forced labour in 

The team, led by former governor general of Australia, Sir Ninian 
Stephen, was trying to assess whether a government-ordered ban on forced 
labour was being complied with.  
The delegation met the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi - currently 
under house-arrest - before they left.  

Unpaid labour 

It has held talks with government officials, opposition leaders and 
representatives of ethnic political parties involved in labour matters.  

Human rights groups have accused the Burmese Government of forcing 
citizens to do unpaid manual labour on public works projects and as 
porters for the army.  

The ILO has been tight-lipped about everything on this trip.  
They continued to give no details of the visit, as they left the 

However western diplomats believe the investigation has been extremely 
In the past three weeks the ILO team has also spoken with the country's 
military leader and the opposition National League for Democracy.  

They have also consulted UN officials and representatives of 
international aid agencies based in Rangoon.  

Most importantly they have travelled around some of the border areas 
where there have been recent reports of forced labour.  
They appear to have been given access to all the people and places they 
wanted to visit.  

But some analysts still fear the military authorities will have ensured 
that the delegation did not see the real situation for themselves.  

The Burmese military government was stung into action last November when 
the ILO condemned Burma for its use of what the international community 
calls slavery.  

The ILO called on members to implement what would in effect be an 
international economic boycott of Burma.  

With its economy plunging deeper into crisis, this is the last thing 
that the Burmese generals want to see happen.  

The Burmese government officially outlawed forced labour and circulated 
the directive throughout the country immediately afterwards.  

The mission's main objective is to assess to what extent forced labour 
has been stopped.  
But the ILO is well aware that what is really needed is a permanent 
presence in Rangoon to continually monitor the situation.  

Sources in the ILO believe this will be the main recommendation of the 
ILO team when it makes its reports to the organisation in November. ?


Chin Human Rights Organization: Junta disbands Christian infrastructure, 
restricts access to theological studies abroad 

CHRO Human Rights News

October 4, 2001

According CHRO source, Chin Christian ministers face a limited access 
for their further studies in foreign countries especially in the United 
States. Even though the ruling military junta in Burma do not explicitly 
imposed law on restriction on Christian minister for their further 
studies, many Chin Christian ministers were rejected their application 
for passport for unknown reason. 

The majority of Christian pastors who come for further studies in the 
United States from Burma are Chins. According to sources, Chin Christian 
ministers make about two third of the population among those who come to 
the States for further Studies in the field of theology. 

The American Baptist Missionary come to Chinland in late 19th Century 
and majority of Chins converted to Christianity by the end of 20th 
century. The United States is the most favoured place for Christian 
ministers for further studies. 

Since 1995, Christian institutions in Burma can not get permission from 
the authority to build Christian infrastructure such as Church, seminary 
and Christian school. According to the rule and regulations imposed by 
the ruling military junta, any religion in the country can apply 
permission at the ministry of Home and Religions Affairs to build the 
institution?s infrastructure. However, the ministry always rejects their 

After bribing a good deal of money to the lower level, township or 
district level, authority, Christians institutions are allowed to 
repair, extend or build their infrastructure. 

Further more, Christians are prohibited to held worship service in their 
home. According to the order no. 100 ( HTWE ) 10/TTP-345/ KL-2000 dated 
26 May 2000 release from the office of township directorate office of 
religious affairs in Kalay Myo, Sagaing division, there will be no more 
home worship service, religious meeting and training outside of the 
church. The order warned that anyone who does not abide by the order 
will be put on trial. 

( Note: CHRO have original coppy of order no 100 (HTWE ) 10/TTP-345/ 
KL-2000 dated 26 May 2000  



Chin Human Rights Organization:  "No English, We are Burman"

CHRO: October 4, 2001

The Burmese military regime ordered that any sign board written or named 
in English should be replace with Burmese. In Chin state and many other 
Chin inhabited areas in Burma, the name of the street, Church and the 
welcome sighboards such as " welcome to......" are written in English. 

The directorate office of religious affairs Kalay township released 
order no 100/ HTWE ( 60 ) TTN- 226/KL -99 dated September 22, 1999. 
According to the order, all the English name whether a street, or a 
church should be replace with the Burmese name. 

The order further suggested that all the citizens of Burma should show 
their patriotism by using their own "Burmese names" and not to fall prey 
of Western pro-colonialists. 

( Note: CHRO have original copy of order no 100/ HTWE ( 60 ) TTN- 226/KL 
-99 dated September 22, 1999.) 


Singapore Business Times: Myanmar Airways cuts flights after US attacks 

October 8, 2001
Air & Land Transport News

It is also collecting surcharge from passengers 

(YANGON) Myanmar Airways International has trimmed back its schedule of 
flights in line with moves by other carriers following the Sept 11 
terrorist attacks on the United States, the Myanmar Times newspaper 

In its edition to be published today, the weekly said the carrier issued 
a revised flight schedule last Monday showing reduced services to 
Bangkok and Singapore.  
Direct return flights to Bangkok have been reduced to one a day while 
the carrier's morning service to the Thai capital has been scrapped. 
Also, direct return flights to Singapore have been cut from five to 
three a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  
Flights to Singapore which stop over in Kuala Lumpur on the return leg 
have been reduced to one a week, on Sundays. Before the change, the 
service was available on Thursdays and Sundays.  

However, Myanmar Airways International has introduced a direct return 
flight to Kuala Lumpur on Thursdays.  

The international carrier has also changed its schedule for flights to 
Hong Kong, which now operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays, instead of 
Mondays and Fridays.  

Meanwhile, the Myanmar Airways International has begun collecting a US$2 
surcharge from passengers to meet higher insurance premiums arising from 
massive losses by insurers due to the terror attacks.  

An airline official told the Myanmar Times it had been collecting the 
surcharge, which has been introduced by many other carriers worldwide, 
since Oct 1.- AFP 


Narinjara News: Rice mills forced to shut down in Ponnagyun


Cox's Bazaar,Oct 9 :  Privately owned rice mills have been forced to 
shut down as a result of the opening of new rice mills by Military 
Intelligence Agents in Ponnagyun township, in the northern part of 
Rakhine State, in western Burma. According to a goldsmith from Ponnagyun 
who recently crossed to Teknaf, a border town in southern Bangladesh, 
the local MI department and a police inspector in Yotoyoke, under 
Ponnagyun Township, have established two new rice mills.  The two law 
enforcement officers have passed a verbal order to the people in the 
area that, the rice husked in the rice mills owned by the villagers 
shall not be allowed to be taken outside the village for sale unless the 
villagers mill their rice in the two rice mills owned by the two 
officials.   Since the villagers have no other alternative to the 
'order', five other rice mills in the area have been forced to shut down 
and the owners of the mills finding no people coming to their mills now 
face very difficult days and are compelled to quit the trade.  The names 
of the rice mill owners are:  U Hla Phaw, Kyaw Zan Oo, Maung Mra Thein, 
U San Gyaw Pru and U Aung Phaw.   The name of the police inspector is 
Maung Maung Soe [48].  The other rice mill is owned by the local MI 


Narinjara News: 6000 bottles of foreign liquor seized in Ctg

>From Prothom Alo newspaper (Bangladesh)


CHITTAGONG, Oct 7: An anti-smuggling team of Bangladesh Navy in early 
this morning impounded two mechanized boats from outer anchorage of the 
Chittagong port and seized huge quantities of liquor worth about TK 37 
lakh, reports BSS. The team recovered 6,000 bottles of Whisky and Dry 
Gin made by Myanmar from boats in a pre-dawn swoop, a navy press release 
said. Steps were taken to deposit the liquor and a case was file with 
port police in this connection, the press release added.   


The Myanmar Times: New garment factory to employ 1000

Volume 5, No.83 
October 1 - 7, 2001 

New garment factory to employ 1000 

By Myo Lwin   

A SOUTH Korean company has begun recruiting employees for a new  garment 
factory being built at Bago, about 50 miles northeast of  Yangon. The 
Myanstar company is seeking nearly 1000 employees for a  suit and coat 
factory involving a US$5 million investment registered  with the Myanma 
Investment Commission last July. The recruitment drive  comes amid 
reports of retrenchments and production slowdowns at other  garment 
factories in Myanmar. Myanstar, which has head offices in  Seoul, is a 
sister company of the Indonesian-based PT Starnesia  Garment. Myanstar's 
job vacancy advertisements indicate that it  expects to begin production 
in December. Basic salaries at the factory  will range from K5000 to 
K40,000 a month, depending on qualifications  and experience, according 
to a source close to the company.  

Myanstar is reported to have contracted with a Japanese supplier to  
make US$1 million worth of clothes a year on a cut, make and pack  
basis. The garments will be shipped to Japan. Myanstar also has plans  
to make men's and women's coats next year, which will require  
recruiting about another 1000 workers. In common with some other South  
Korean textile companies, such as Myanmar Yes, Opal and Glogon,  
Myanstar has confidence in the stability of markets in Japan and  
Europe. "We have no problem as our products are not destined for the  
United States," said a Myanstar official in a reference to legislation  
being considered by the US Congress to ban all imports from Myanmar.  
The US move threatens about 300,000 garment industry workers in  
Myanmar. Like most of the 400 garment factories in Myanmar, almost all  
of Myanstar's raw materials will be imported from Japan. 


Bangkok Post: Third Army commander to visit Tachilek

Bangkok Post, Monday 08 October 2001

Third Army commander Lt-Gen Udomchai Ongkhasingh has accepted an 
invitation to visit Tachilek. 

Later this month he will meet Maj-Gen Thein Sein, Burma's Triangle 
Region chief, and Brig Gen Myint Swe, Southwestern Region commander. 

Lt-Gen Udomchai said Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh instructed 
him to concentrate on promoting personal relations with Burmese leaders. 

The Third Army commander said his drug suppression policies would be 
much more aggressive than those of his predecessor, Gen Wattanachai 
He said he would allow Burmese soldiers to deal with drug production 
plants inside Burma while Thai soldiers concentrate on blocking 

Meanwhile, army chief Gen Surayud Chulanont said the Third Army's Task 
Force 399 has begun its drug suppression operations along the border. 


Narinjara News: A Rakhaing Mother denied justice for the death of her 


Cox's Bazaar 8 October 01:  A Rakhaing mother from Maungdaw has become  
mentally unsound due to denial of justice for her son killed by the 
Nasaka  border police fire.  According to a trader from Maungdaw 
available at  Teknaf border town of Bangladesh, the mother went to all 
the higher  authorities in the area, demanding the justice for her son 
shot dead by  Nasaka in February this year.

Pauk Sa [40], the son, was a well-known businessman in Maungdaw who also 
 carried out smuggling in collusion with the Military Intelligence 18  
stationed in Maungdaw. At night the Nasaka troops shot at the smuggling  
boat of Pauk Sa as he only paid illegal tolls to MI and not Nasaka. Pauk 
Sa  was instantly killed and his dead body was found floating two days  
later.  The mother has repeatedly tried to lodge a complaint to the law  
enforcement agencies but failed till today, eight months after the 
murder. Pauk Sa left behind a wife and three daughters.   They live at 
Boat wharf  at Maungdaw.  


Independent Mon News Agency: Train blast in Ye Township

On October 2, 2001 a train from Mawlamyine the capital of Mon state, 
bounce to Ye was bombed between Lamine village and Toung Bone village in 
Ye township. 

A source in the area said no armed group admitted to the blast but 
possibilities include the Karen National Union or a Mon Splinter armed 
group which operates around this area. 


DVB: Intelligence directive aims to prevent leak of critical speeches 
Intelligence directive aims to prevent leak of critical speeches 

Text of report by Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) on 4 October 

DVB has learned that the SPDC Directorate of Defence Services 
Intelligence [DDSI]  has issued a directive to employees of departments 
under the Ministry of  Home Affairs that severe action would be taken to 
those responsible  personnel in connection with the leakage of SPDC Home 
Minister Col Tin  Hlaing's speech to foreign radio stations. 

The speech delivered by Home Minister Col Tin Hlaing at a July meeting 
was  smuggled out of the country by corrupt employees and some foreign  
broadcasting stations broadcast the news. The directive reminded that 
this  leak tantamount to breaching the country's security act. The DDSI 
directive  also stated that the disclosure of the country's secret is 
the same as high  treason. Some foreign radio stations and political 
opposition groups based  in Thailand bribe government employees 
including junior officers by giving  them twice their government 
salaries and attempt to obtain copies of  important speeches by cabinet 
ministers. The DDSI directive urged all the  heads of departments to be 
always watchful of their junior officers.  

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 2330 gmt 4 Oct 01  

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

Bangkok Post: Burma bridge to be finished by next year 

October 08, 2001

Government to pay for construction 
Saritdet Marukatat 

A new bridge linking Mae Sai with Tachilek in Burma will be ready for 
use by next year, the foreign minister said. 

Surakiart Sathirathai said the government would pick up the tab for the 
structure and renovations of a road on the Thai side. 

Mr Surakiart and Transport Minister Wan Muhamad Nor Matha attended a 
meeting yesterday with Burmese junta first secretary Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt 
and Foreign Minister Win Aung. 

Mr Wan Nor said the bridge would cost 25-30 million baht and take eight 
months to complete. It would be the responsibility of the Highways 
Department, he said. 
The two ministers visited the construction site along the Mae Sai river, 
about 4km east of the present bridge. 

The new bridge will be wider than its 20-year-old predecessor, to cope 
with increasing trade. 

Thailand hopes the bridge will boost business along the border and 
absorb the expected rise in traffic when international trade grows with 
the completion of a road linking Tachilek with southern China. 

``It will improve not only the Thai economy but also that of our 
neighbouring country,'' Mr Surakiart said. 

He said Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt promised to speed up decisions by the Burmese 
government on the lifting of a ban on 15 Thai commodities and the easing 
of restrictions on joint fishery investment. 

Thai investors complained Rangoon's restrictive measures would make it 
difficult for them to re-enter the fishery industry with the Burmese.


The Star (Malaysia): Myanmar forgers nabbed 

Sunday, October 7, 2001

KUALA LUMPUR: Eight Myanmar nationals, who were believed to be running a 
syndicate specialising in printing forged travel documents, were 
arrested by Immigration authorities during a special operation on 
Wednesday night.  They were detained during a raid at an apartment in 
Pandan Indah here.  

Immigration department director (enforcement division) Zainuddin Ab Hadi 
said forged travel documents including work permits were seized from 


The Nation: Currents of suspicion still run 

Published on Oct 7, 2001 

Don Pathan

Every day a group of 75 to 100 men gather by the loading dock at Chiang 
Rai's Chiang Saen district waiting to offload hundreds of boxes of goods 
sent down from southern China via the Mekong River. 

It's a back-breaking job, and the pay is low - about Bt100 per day on 
average- but the men are not complaining. A job is a job, they say. 

Ten to 15 cargo ships, ranging from 75 to 100 tons, dock at the Chiang 
Saen pier daily, but the workload will get even heavier in coming days 
as more and more cargo ships arrive.  

In May, Thailand, Laos, Burma and China's Yunnan province took a major 
step towards strengthening regional economic cooperation by entering 
into an agreement - after five years of negotiation - to allow cargo 
vessels to navigate freely on the Mekong. 
Local Thai officials said the Chinese merchants and sailors, with their 
vast experience from navigating the Mekong and other great rivers were 
looking to make the most out of the recently signed agreement aimed at 
facilitating commercial navigation along the Mekong. 

Unlike in the past when the absence of a standard operating procedure 
gave rise to unscrupulous practices by customs and port officials, the 
agreement that came into effect in May put in place the necessary rules 
for safe and free navigation along an 886-kilometre stretch of the 
river. This extends from Simao port in Yunnan to Luang Prabang, a world 
heritage site and popular tourist destination in northern Laos. 

Considering the political turmoil of the past decades, the agreement is 
indeed a major step towards regional cooperation. In the post-World War 
II period, the Mekong was divided along geopolitical lines, with 
Communist China in the upper reaches being sidelined from development 
schemes funded by Western powers. The move was aimed at preventing 
communism from reaching the river banks of the non-communist states 
south of China. 
Decades later, following the fall of the Vientiane royalist government 
in 1975, the upper-lower line became blurred. As a result, the portion 
of the Mekong that separated pro-US Thailand from Communist Laos became 
a bitter dividing line between the two countries. For the hundreds of 
thousands of Indochinese refugees fleeing Communist rule, the river 
became the last hurdle before reaching the so-called free world. 

Today, the gathering of porters at Chiang Saen's port is indeed a 
testimony of how political and economic realities have evolved over the 
years. Though the changes are welcomed, not all parties are completely 
sold on the idea that this is a "win-win" situation. For some, the heart 
of the problem is the issue of sovereignty. For others, the problems lie 
elsewhere - namely security and environmental degradation.  

Laos and Burma, which stand to gain only a fraction of what Thailand and 
China are reaping economically, have consistently pointed out that the 
great Mekong is not an "international waterway" and that the agreement 
does not constitute forgoing one's sovereignty for the sake of the 

Vientiane is also concerned that the dredging of the river to facilitate 
the movement of larger ships, as proposed by China, may exact too high a 

In a recent interview with The Nation, Phongsavath Boupha, Lao deputy 
foreign minister, said dredging the Mekong was likely to have a wide 
range of effects, from environmental degradation to the shifting of the 
current border demarcation and riverbanks. 

"Experts who carry out the study on the impact will have to be well 
versed in a wide range of areas as the dredging will affect a wide range 
of things," Phongsavath said. 
The Chinese government is reportedly looking to invest US$5.6 million 
(Bt250 million) dredging the 331-kilometre section from the No 243 
demarcation point between China and Burma to Houyxay in Laos.  

If all goes to plan, the project will start in December. Once completed, 
this stretch is expected to allow passage of 100-ton ships all year 
round, Liu Daqing, a leading technician in charge of the project, was 
quoted by China's state-run People's Daily as saying.  

And by 2007, 300-ton ships are expected to be able to navigate this 
stretch even in the dry season, the daily said. Currently the annual 
navigation capacity of the Mekong is four million ton and is expected to 
reach 10 million tons by 2007. 
As for the generals in Rangoon, high on their agenda is the issue of 
security. Not only is the area on the Burmese side of the Mekong River 
rugged and not firmly within the grip of authority, the area is slowly 
being taken over by units of the United Wa State Army (UWSA).  

And although Rangoon and the 20,000-strong UWSA entered a cease-fire 
agreement over a decade ago, the arrangement is still a far cry from a 
meaningful and lasting peace settlement. Any development that enhances 
the standing of the Wa, said Thai army officers, is definitely a point 
of concern for both Thailand and Burma.  
The UWSA, dubbed the world's largest armed drug-trafficking group, has 
been declared "public enemy number one" by the Thai government. 
Checkpoints leading to the UWSA settlement and units have been ordered 
shut, while troop presence along the border has been beefed up to stop 
the flow of drugs into the Kingdom. 

One good thing that has come out of the Wa's presence in the area, said 
a Thai border official, is the decline in banditry and river piracy. 

But with or without the Wa, the face of the so-called economic 
quadrangular development zone - its social and economic landscape - is 
certainly changing. 
"A handful of people may be involved in the drug trade and other illicit 
activities," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, 
"but the real force that is shaping the area is the cross-border trade 
among the four countries." 

Besides enhancing trade between northern Thailand and southern China, 
strengthening economic cooperation in the region will essentially 
enhance Laos' international standing, the official said. 

The landlocked country that in the past served as a buffer between 
Thailand and suspicious Vietnam and China is today trying desperately to 
become a land-link nation. Along the way, it is also looking to become 
the "battery" for Southeast Asia through the sale of hydroelectric 

"A strong Laos would be good for Thailand," said the official. "We 
wouldn't want a mass migration from up north [China] pouring down to 
this area." 

As pointed out by Nawin Thepawong, the chief of Chiang Rai's commerce 
office, cross-border trade between Thailand and Laos continued at the 
height of the regionwide economic crises. He said Thai exports to Laos, 
especially electrical appliances, were climbing steadily throughout the 

Said the Thai official: "Don't underestimate the Laotians. They are good 
salesmen. Much of what they have purchased from Thailand is resold to 
China and Vietnam." 


Irrawaddy online: Burmese Muslim Group Speaks Out on Afghan Attacks

By Maung Maung Oo and Ko Thet

October 8, 2001?A Muslim group from Burma has expressed its perspective 
on attacks being carried out in Afghanistan by the United States and its 

Thet Lwin Oo, a spokesperson for the Muslim Information Committee of 
Burma (MICB) said that the Muslim people might be consolable if this war 
ruins only Afghanistan?s military targets and terrorist training camps.  

"But if this war hurts the innocent people of Afghanistan or results in 
other unnecessary bloody events, it will be more difficult for Western 
countries to solve the terrorist problem. If there are other unnecessary 
consequences, reprisals would follow, because in Islam, all Muslims are 
brothers," he said.  

Last night the United States and its allies started their war against 
terrorism with air strikes on targets in Afghanistan. Afghanistan?s air 
defenses and terrorist redoubts in the capital Kabul and other cities 
were hit by Tomahawk cruise missiles. 

According to reports, Osama Bin Laden, the millionaire Saudi exile 
accused of financing and masterminding attacks on New York and 
Washington on Sept 11, escaped the air strikes, as did Mullah Mohammed 
Omar, leader of Afghanistan?s Taliban regime.  

The Irrawaddy asked Thet Lwin Oo if he believed there was a danger of 
the US war against terrorism turning into a religious war. "As long as 
this war lasts, it could change," he replied. 

"I think it is early to have a war against Afghanistan because America 
cannot show any concrete evidence of Bin Laden?s involvement in the Sept 
11 attacks," he said when asked if he felt the war against Afghanistan 
was fair or not. 

The MICB spokesperson said that most Muslims in Burma know little about 
Bin Laden, but believe that he is carrying out a war to defend the 
Muslim people. "But if he is responsible for the Sept 11 attacks in 
America, which claimed thousand of lives, we, Burmese Muslims, would not 
be support him," he added. 

Most Burmese Muslims, he said, regard Burma?s military government as the 
real terrorist group because of their practice of demolishing mosques 
and persecuting Muslims.


Chin Forum: On the passing of  Pu Mang Tling

The sudden departure of Pu Mang Tling, one of the founders of the CHIN 
FORUM,  has touched our hearts deeply. As a Member of Parliament of the 
Union of Burma  during our country's short-lived democracy period he 
joined the the democratic  forces lead by the former Prime Minister U Nu 
in the 1970s to fight against the  military dictators that took power by 
force in 1962.

When the revolution failed and many others of his colleagues retuned to 
Burma,  Pu Mangtling, along with other respected leaders like U Thwin 
etc. opted to  carry on the struggle and remained in Thailand and the 
liberated areas. During  the ten years of his refuge in Thailand Pu Mang 
Tling's residence had been a  place of solace and meeting points for all 
Chins of various parts of Chin State,  who, for various reasons, 
happened to come to Bangkok or travelled elsewhere  enroute Thailand.

Even at his old-age he had never given up his determinations to keep on 
the  light of democracy burning and help the younger generations of the 
Chin  democracy forces by enthusiatically helping them form up the CHIN 
FORUM in 1998  at Ottawa, Canada.

Pu Mang Tling - your name will live forevermore in the history of the 
Union of  Burma and in the hearts of the Chin people you have so dearly 
loved. You have inspired us as an examplary leader in many ways, and 
your iron heart  have an immense impact and inspiartion on us - the 
young generations. We  solemnly pledge to carry on the unfinished 
struggle for freedom and democracy  until we all reach the goal you have 
envisioned ever since your youthful days. 
May you live in PEACE.



Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships: Training for Print Journalists 

Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001 10:23:10 EDT

competition open to mid-career, professional print journalists from 
developing and transitional countries. Approximately twelve reporters 
and editors will be selected to spend six months in American newsrooms 
as reporters. Since 1984, AFPF has hosted 202 journalists from 71 
developing countries. An applicant must have an excellent command of 
written and spoken English, early to mid-career status (between the ages 
of 25 and 35) with at least three years experience as a print 
journalist, a demonstrated commitment to a career in journalism in the 
home country, and current employment as a journalist with an independent 
print media organization in a developing or transitional country. The 
Fellowship covers all costs of program-related international and 
domestic U.S. travel, and provides a monthly stipend to cover basic 
living expenses. The program begins in June in Washington, DC. After a 
two-week orientation program Fellows are deployed to  U.S. host 
newspapers. Applications are due February 1 for the program beginning in 
June of that year. For more information and/or an application, visit 
AFPF's website, www.pressfellowships.org 
or contact AFPF by January 1 at: 

2000 L Street N.W., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20036-4997; 
Telephone: (202) 416-1691; 
Fax: (202) 416-1695;

E-mail: afpf@xxxxxxx


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