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BurmaNet News: November 5, 2001 (r)
- Subject: BurmaNet News: November 5, 2001 (r)
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 05:10:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
November 5, 2001 Issue # 1912
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
INSIDE BURMA _______
*Kyodo: Than Shwe hints at possible role for Suu Kyi in Myanmar
*Agence France Presse: Aung San Suu Kyi property suit to resume this
*Narinjara News: A Kaman Muslim Woman fails to obtain Justice
*DVB: NCGUB claims junta still holding over 3,000 political prisoners
*Network Media Group: ICRC suggests some prisoners not suitable for hard
*Network Media Group: Pegu Monastery reopened
*Voice of America: Japan Gives Burma $15 Million in Debt Relief
*New Straits Times Press: Padiberas signs second deal with Myanmar
*DVB : Burma lifts import restrictions on 15 Thai products Burma lifts
import restrictions on 15 Thai products
*Burma Courier: Junta Pinning Investment Hopes on Energy Sector
*Narinjara News: The State-owned Power House grounds hired to Karaoke
*AP: One monk killed, one injured by land mine on Thai-Myanmar border
*Independent Mon News Agency: NMSP states opinions against a new Mon
splinter group, led by Col. Pan Nyunt
*AFP: Myanmar forces seizes huge drugs haul on Thai border
*Reuters: Japan urges Myanmar to do more on democracy
*Maykha: Medicine is Politics
*Lindsey Merrison Film: Friends in High Places--the Art of Survival in
Modern Day Burma
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
Kyodo: Than Shwe hints at possible role for Suu Kyi in Myanmar
By Naoko Aoki
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Nov. 5, Kyodo - Myanmar junta leader Senior Gen.
Than Shwe hinted Monday that he will not stand in the way of
pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi playing a major role in the
country should she be chosen by the people of Myanmar in the future, a
Japanese government official said. Than Shwe told Japanese Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi that the ruling junta will not intervene if
Suu Kyi is chosen as a leader in a possible election sometime in the
future, the official said.
''If Suu Kyi is chosen in an election, that is democracy and is not
something for us to intervene in,'' the official quoted Than Shwe as
saying in the meeting.
The leaders of the two countries were meeting on the sidelines of the
annual summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) and its three Northeast Asian partners in Brunei.
Than Shwe made the remarks after Koizumi urged the Myanmar leader to
promote democracy in the country, adding that the international
community is focusing on what role Suu Kyi would play in the future.
There have been signs of a thaw in the confrontation between the
National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel laureate Suu Kyi and
the junta since the two sides began confidential talks in October last
The NLD won Myanmar's last general election in 1990 by a landslide, but
was never allowed to govern. Many NLD politicians were subsequently
detained, but the government has begun freeing them in batches since the
Koizumi urged Than Shwe to continue the release of such prisoners in
their talks on Monday, the official said.
The premier also told the Myanmar leader that the two countries should
work together in combating terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks in the United States, according to the official.
Monday's meeting was the second summit talks between the two countries
since Myanmar's military government seized power in 1988. The first
meeting was held in 1999 between Than Shwe and then Prime Minister Keizo
Obuchi on the sidelines of the ASEAN-plus-three summit in Manila.
Agence France Presse: Aung San Suu Kyi property suit to resume this
November 2, 2001 Friday
A Yangon court Friday postponed a property suit brought against
democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi by her brother, who is fighting for
partial control of her lakeside residence.
Judge Soe Thein of Yangon divisional court set the next date in the
prolonged trial for November 15. Aung San Oo is fighting for
half-ownership of the lakeside residence where Aung San Suu Kyi has been
held under loose house arrest restrictions by the junta since last
The suit is a potential irritant as the democracy leader and the junta
proceed with landmark talks that may be paving the way for political
reforms in the military-run country.
The legal action is believed to be driven by Aung San Oo's wife,
motivated more by a family rift than by political concerns.
Narinjara News: A Kaman Muslim Woman fails to obtain Justice
Cox's Bazaar, 5 Nov 01: A retired Muslim Woman teacher of the ethnic
Kaman community lost her life's savings in a business partnership with a
Ko Pauk, another Kaman businessman, according to a trader from Maungdaw
available at Cox's Bazaar, the southern town of Bangladesh. The Muslim
woman, Daw Su Su Khaing, got engaged into a legal joint venture
partnership with the man, exporting bamboo and nipa palm to Bangladesh.
When Ko Pauk misappropriated the money of the woman, fleeing into the
Bangladesh territory, Daw Su tried to go to the law and lodge a
complaint against the man at Maungdaw in vain. The Military
Intelligence 18 stationed at Maungdaw, the western town of Myanmar close
to Bangladesh, took a bribe of 500,000 kyat from the accused and
secretly sent him to Yangon, the trader told Narinjara. Daw Su finding
no other alternative broke down into sobs and returned home to Kasey
Quarter, Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State.
DVB: NCGUB claims junta still holding over 3,000 political prisoners
Text of report by Democratic Voice of Burma on 1 November
The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma [NCGUB] said
today that there are as many as 3,000 political prisoners still
remaining in jails. The NCGUB Human Rights Division today issued a
detailed list of SPDC political prisoners including 30 who needs
immediate medical attention. Furthermore, it claimed 22 MPs are still
languishing in the prisons and criticized the release of a few political
prisoners by the SPDC military clique asserting it is still far from
being over. DVB contacted U Zin Lin, NCGUB Human Rights Division chief,
and inquired about the prisoners' situation. U Zin Lin, a member of
Rangoon Division National League for Democracy [NLD] Staff Office and a
leading member of the NLD prisoner protection group, was jailed from
1991 to 1997. He explained the following to DVB about NCGUB's prisoner
[U Zin Lin] When the ICRC opened its office in May 1990, I went on a
field trip for about a month as part of my assignment to collect the
data of political prisoners inside various jails in Burma. I was able to
give one set of documents to the ICRC and another set to the NLD.
[Soe Win Nyo] According to the latest list that you have compiled, how
many political prisoners still remain in the prisons?
[U Zin Lin] Well, Amnesty International estimates between 1500 and 1800
political prisoners but according to the statistics that we have
compiled the number of political prisoners exceeds 3,000. The reason
being many NLD members were arrested under various pretexts in the
districts and that number alone is over 1,000. Simply because they
happened to be NLD members they were framed and arrested under the
gambling, trade, and other laws. So if you put into consideration those
arrested NLD and other opposition political party members then the
number is well above 3,000.
[Soe Win Nyo] According to ICRC's statistics there are only about 1,800
political prisoners in Burma.
[U Zin Lin] Yes, that was the figure which included mostly the political
prisoners detained under section 5-J of the Emergency Provisions Act.
Some MPs, as you know, were arrested and sentenced under other laws.
Because they are MPs and NLD members holding executive positions in the
various state, division, and township NLD parties their names were
included but the names of ordinary NLD members from far-reaching areas
who were arrested for various reasons have not been included.
[Soe Win Nyo] According to the breakdown of your list, 30 political
prisoners currently need medical treatment, 22 are MPs, 90 are women, 66
had died in prisons, and the release of 60 have been overdue. Can you
explain about the condition of some political prisoners that urgently
need medical treatment?
[U Zin Lin] Well, most are suffering from traumatic experiences. Among
the worst is Dr Zaw Min, who could not even remember his family. The
other one is Thiha Tint Swe from Myaungmya jail who was mentally
affected. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in 1989 and under
normal circumstances without any reduction in his sentence he should
have been released in 1999. At that time he was expecting to be released
and with support from his family he health became much better. But when
the time came for his release he was imprisoned again under Section 10-A
of the Emergency Provisions Act which in turn made his situation
[Soe Win Nyo] What about ICRC's protection of political prisoners?
[U Zin Lin] We learned that ICRC saw him once and gave him the necessary
medicines. But unfortunately the ICRC did not follow up the case. He
felt better when ICRC came but the situation returned to normal once
[Soe Win Nyo] Well, the SPDC has been releasing political prisoners this
year and the number has reached 170-180 prisoners. What is your view on
[U Zin Lin] In my opinion, I think the SPDC lacks some goodwill in
releasing the prisoners. They did not release the prisoners with a
genuine desire but as a form of tool to let themselves out of a tight
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 1 Nov 01
Network Media Group: ICRC suggests some prisoners not suitable for hard
Fugitive cases continue in hard labor camps
November 2, 2001
Some of the prisoners are going to be sent back to original prisons from
hard labor camps of number one "new life project" near Indo-Burma border
due to suggestion of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Local Burmese doctors will under take the prisoners from Thanan,
Myothit, Bandula and Razagyo number two camps a medical check up before
ICRC's visit to these camps. Those who are not in suitable health
conditions will be sent back to original prisons for food substitution,
rest and medical treatments, mentioned in an order released by
Directorate of Prison Affairs under Ministry of Home Affairs on October
Prisoners who are in good health from Kalay prison will be replaced in
these sent back prisoners, also mentioned in the order.
ICRC visited to so call "New Life Projects" in Kabal valley near
Indo-Burma border from September 1 to September 19 and suggested more
than 130 prisoners in these camps were not suitable for the hard labor.
The ICRC delegation visited Oak-pho, Sayasan and Razagyo number one
camps in the same new life project number one.
More than 120 prisoners from these three camps were sent back to their
original prisons and about 200 prisoners from Monywa prison were
replaced in the camps, NMG reported in a previous article.
Although ICRC visited and suggested for better situation in hard labor
camps, five prisoners from Razagyo number one camp ran away on October
25, while they were doing their work under tight security. The security
guards rearrested those run away prisoners and beat them, a source from
Indo-Burma border reported. All of five prisoners as well as other 6 who
were alleged to discuss for escape were put in shackles and halters.
ICRC made two visits during September to hard labor camps and made
suggestion on the situation of the camps, mentioned in leaked reports.
ICRC found out that the food given to prisoners were not good enough in
both quality and quantity, drinking water is not safe, prisoners do not
get rest including who suffering from illnesses, improper health care
system and prisoners are frequently beaten. ICRC suggested to prison
authorities of Burma to improve these conditions, NMG learnt from the
reports leaked out.
All together eight "New Life Projects", all over Burma, were opened for
the prisoners, who are charged for imprisonment with hard labor, with
the instruction of Senior General Than Shwe in 1994.
Burmese regime is using these labors to implement its long-term
agricultural projects. The mortality rate in these hard labor camps
ranges from 24 to 30 percent because of continuous hard labor, malaria
and insufficient food, according to the prison authorities reports.
Network Media Group: Pegu Monastery reopened
Chiang Mai, November 3, 2001
The monastery in Pegu, which was ordered to close after the religious
riot occurred in Pegu, was recently allowed to reopen and monks learning
Buddhist Scriptures in monastery were allowed to re-register on October
28 and 29.
The monks re-registered in the monastery will be let stay at "Sasana
Mandaing" and "Vipatsana" buildings. Although the monastery was allowed
to reopen, authorities in Pegu ordered security forces to closely watch
the movement of the monks, said an inside source.
The monastery was ordered to close by authorities after religious riot
occurred on October 18 and the monks who were learning Buddhist
Scriptures were sent back to their hometowns even during the period of
Some monks and security police got injured in October 18 riot and
authorities had to issue curfew order in Pegu.
Although some of the monks were amongst the arrested in the riot, the
exact number of arrested monks has not yet known.
Thirty-four prisoners who were arrested in the religious riots occurred
in Pyi, Taunggu and Pegu were sent to remote Khamti prison and they
reached Khamti on November 1, a source reported to NMG.
Voice of America: Japan Gives Burma $15 Million in Debt Relief
2 Nov 2001 13:59 UTC
The Japanese embassy in Rangoon says the agreement was signed Thursday
by Ambassador Shigeru Tsumori and Burma's Deputy Finance Minister Than
Japan is Burma's largest aid donor. It halted non-humanitarian aid to
Rangoon after the military takeover in September of 1988, but earlier
this year announced plans for a $28 million financial aid package for a
Before 1988, Japanese financial assistance to Burma made up about 60
percent of the southeast Asian country's foreign aid.
The United States and European Union have extended economic sanctions
against the military government in Rangoon, despite nearly year long
talks with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Aung San Suu
Kyi's National League for Democracy won Burma's general elections in
New Straits Times Press: Padiberas signs second deal with Myanmar
November 04, 2001
Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) signed a second counter agreement with
Myanmar Agriculture Produce Trading (MAPT) yesterday to further improve
and strengthen their trade ties.
This counter trade agreement sees Bernas supplying padi processing
equipment, spare parts for factories producing bran oil, insecticide and
laboratory equipment. In return, Bernas will purchase rice and other
commodities including onions, dried chillies and beans from MAPT.
The signing ceremony was held in Yangon.
Bernas Group managing director Yahya Abu Bakar said the total rice
import from Myanmar is expected to increase to 20,000 metric tonnes next
The company imported more than 10,000 metric tonnes of rice from Myanmar
DVB : Burma lifts import restrictions on 15 Thai products Burma lifts
import restrictions on 15 Thai products
Text of report by Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) on 3 November
DVB has learned that import restrictions on 15 items from Thailand have
been lifted. Restrictions on the items were imposed in accord with
Commerce Ministry's Notification No 9/99. DVB correspondent Myint Maung
Maung filed this report:
[Myint Maung Maung] The Tenasserim Division Commerce Department issued a
directive on 26 October citing Commerce Ministry's Notification No
106/2001 to the District and Township Commerce Departments, Border Trade
Departments, and Customs Department. The directive also stated that in
accord with the policy of allowing imports equal to the value of Burmese
exports the 15 restricted items could be imported from Thailand. The
items mentioned in the directive are: 1. Personal, household, and
office electrical goods; 2. jute bags; 3. leather suitcases; 4.
handbags; 5. paint; 6. fisheries-related plastic products; 7. ceramic
tiles; 8. assorted household nails; 9. agricultural equipment; 10.
steel rods and steel bars; 11. machinery; 12. assorted brands of cement
bags; 13. marble slabs; 14. garments; and 15. approved household
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 3 Nov 01
Burma Courier: Junta Pinning Investment Hopes on Energy Sector
Based on news from Xinhua, Myanmar Times, Myanmarpyi.com: November 1,
RANGOON - Foreign investment projects approved for Burma totaled only
about US$ 50 million up to the end of August, down by 35% over the same
period last year, according to figures released this week by the Central
The current total is a far cry from the amount of close to two billion
that was approved in the heady days of fiscal 96-97. Since the opening
up of the country to foreign investment after 1988 coup, projects worth
a total of US$ 7.4 billion have been approved by the national investment
commission, the stats bureau reports. But, during the ten year period
between 1989 and 1999, only about 42% of the investment total that was
approved actually reached the country.
Surprisingly, more than half of the investments approved in 2001 have
been from Thailand, all during the first half of the year when border
tensions were at their highest.
Foreign investment in Burma, particularly in the energy sector could
pick up dramatically over the next year, if recent developments reported
in the press are any indication.
Supplies of natural gas piped ashore from offshore fields in the Gulf of
Martaban and the Andaman Sea, that are available for use inside Burma,
have been attracting attention recently. In its edition of Oct 21, the
Myanmar Times quoted a Dr. Mya Thida Swe of Services International, a
private enterprise registered in Burma, as saying that her company
wanted to get at least some of the 125 million cu ft/day from the Yadana
field, available for domestic use, set aside for projects that SI has
"If we are able to use the gas, then [an] electricity generator and [a]
urea fertilizer plant will be built in Tanintharyi Division by a Chinese
company, Chengda Chemical Engineering Corporation," she told the Times.
Chengda's vice-chairman , Sun Zhi, met on two different occasions with
the junta's Minister of Light Industry U Thaung in October. Plans for
building plants to produce caustic soda, soda ash and ammonia plants
have been under discussion with Chengda for more than a year now.
Chengda is currently working with a subsidiary of Halliburton Oil on the
engineering for what will become China's largest ammonia and urea
fertilizer plants on Hainan island.
Some of the gas from the Yadana field will soon be put to use in a
gas-fueled electric generating station at Thaton in Mon state and will
provide the power needed for a huge new cement plant at neighbouring
Myaing-gale in Karen state. A Japanese company, possibly Mitsui, has
been mentioned as being a source of the capital needed to develop the
Also with an interest in using surplus quantities of offshore gas is
Malaysia's national oil company, Petronas, which wants to develop a US$
100 million extraction plant that could produce butane and propane at
Kanbauk, according to the junta's Minister of Energy, Lun Thi (Courier
The business press in India has indicated that a decision is expected in
November on plans for two state-owned companies, ONGC Videsh and the Gas
Authority of India, to get involved Korea's Daewoo International in
developing a promising looking gas field in Burmese waters offshore from
the Arakan coast.
According to the well-connected business journal, Myanmarpyi.com,
Burma's largest single corporate investor is not one of the
international oil giants, nor the military's many-tentacled Economic
Holdings company, nor even Lo Hsing-han's legendary Asia World empire.
That dubious honour, the on-line news service reported in a recent tem,
belongs to the Hongpan company, which has used capital garnered from the
drug trade conducted by its shadowy corporate parent, the United Wa
With thousands of armed "security men" on its payroll, as well as
thousands more working in its agriculture, livestock-breeding,
manufacturing, construction, mining, banking, and transportation
operations and the narcotics laboratories in which it is invested, the
Wa corporate empire is indeed an impressive one.
Narinjara News: The State-owned Power House grounds hired to Karaoke
Maungdaw , Nov 4 : The state-owned power house grounds have been hired
to a privately owned karaoke joint for lack of funds to run the only
government Power House in Sittwe, according to an officer of the State
Power House at Maungdaw who wished to remain anonymous. Government
fund shortage to run the powerhouse regularly has compelled the
authority to take the latest initiative. Daw Thaung Ma, wife of a
retired army personnel hired the grounds from the State Power House
authority to run a sophisticated karaoke joint. The shop opens from six
in the evening to twelve midnight.
Beer and various alcoholic drinks are sold in the joint, besides
'illegal' but openly understood prostitution after nine in the evening.
While most of the general people can hardly afford to buy enough food
for the family, thirty-six karaoke joints in the town are mostly
attended by the army personnel, some of the members of the law enforcing
agencies, and top 'businessmen' otherwise known as smugglers. The
official further added that, even in the interior remote places of
Rakhine State, there are a number of karaoke joints operating
unofficially under the direct supervision and godfathership of the law
enforcing agencies. Underage girls as young as thirteen and fourteen
are seen to loiter in those joints soliciting customers
AP: One monk killed, one injured by land mine on Thai-Myanmar border
November 5, 2001
MAE SOT, Thailand (AP) _ One Buddhist monk was killed and another lost a
leg in a land mine explosion at the Thai-Myanmar border as they walked
to a religious festival, villagers said Monday.
The accident happened Sunday 2 kilometers (1.3 miles) outside the
monks' village of Mae Htaw Ta Lay in Myanmar's eastern Karen State,
which lies on the river border with Thailand's northwestern Tak
The surviving monk is being treated in hospital in Myanmar, said
residents of Mae Htaw Ta Lay, speaking on condition of anonymity in the
Thai frontier town of Mae Sot. Mae Sot lies 370 kilometers (230 miles)
The monks had been walking to a festival in a nearby village to mark
the end of Buddhist Lent. They were making the journey in defiance of
travel restrictions imposed on villagers by the Myanmar army because of
guerrilla activity in the area, the villagers said.
The Thai-Myanmar border, scene of a half century of insurgencies, is
littered with land mines planted by Myanmar military and ethnic
Independent Mon News Agency: NMSP states opinions against a new Mon
splinter group, led by Col. Pan Nyunt
With dated October 31, New Mon State Party (NMSP) issued a statement on
a NMSP-splinter group, led by Col. Pan Nyunt in early September, and
expressed to Mon people that the group leader have involved in some
corruption and then split out from NMSP, while Col. Pan Nyunt claimed
the aim of split is to resume fighting against Burmese army and SPDC for
the oppressed Mon people.
In NMSP statement, it mentions that the group leader, Col. Pan Nyunt,
forcibly collected about 1.5 million Kyat of money from the village Mon
civilians in Ye Township, Mon State and took that money for his own use.
Then, NMSP also accuse he also made loss of a gun. Because of this
corruption and the loss of a gun, NMSP HQs asked him to complain the
case, but he refused according to the Statement. It added that he also
organized his subordinate and split from the party
Soon after the split, some Executive Committee members had a meeting
with group leader, Col. Pan Nyunt and organized him for a return to NMSP
again. However he and his followers refused. But the Statement claims
that if his followers would like to return to NMSP, they would welcome
them until the end of 2001. It also asks to new splinter that they
must not enter into NMSP control area and interrupt the administration
About 70 troops of Mon army with full arms and ammunitions split out
from Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA) which is arm faction of NMSP,
on September 9 and promised to the Mon people, patriots, and Mon monks,
they must fight against the Burmese Army and military regime.
Col. Pan Nyunt, group leader have refused the reason he split from NMSP
is not because of corruption, he said he would like to resume fighting
against the regime, SPDC and the Burmese Army. In an open letter that
he sent to senior Mon monks in Mon State, the group leaders claimed that
during 6 years after NMSP-SLORC/SPDC cease, there has been no
improvement. The Mon people are still refused by regime even to
maintain their literature and culture, and the regime has not interested
to solve the political problems by means of politics as NMSP expected.
He also added, SPDC and the Burmese Army have restricted against NMSP
grudually and deployed more troops close to ceasefire zones to block the
activities of NMSP and its arm faction, Mon National Liberation Army
(MNLA). He added the oppressed conditions have escalated in Mon State,
the regime and army confiscated many thousands acre of valuable lands
from Mon civilians and NMSP itself could not protect these types of
He said as he is a Central Committee of NMSP and army commander, he
realized that ceasefire was meaningless and decided to split from NMSP
and fight against racist military regime. He promised he will not make
any attempt against NMSP although tactics for national liberation are
different. Then, the group also asks the Mon people to support their
Mizzima: NSCN-K wants Indian govt. to start dialogue
By Our Correspondent; Mizzima News
Guwahati, Nov. 4: Disappointed with Government of India's stand on the
ceasefire agreement, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang
(NSCN-K) General Secretary N Kitovi Zhimomi hinted that the situation of
eastern Nagaland (western Burma) would be more volatile if the
Government of India ignores the Khaplang faction in the ongoing peace
The militant group, operating from different hideouts in Burma, had
reached a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India in April last
to pave the way to the vexed insurgency problem in Nagaland. Zhimomi's
resentment was apparent, as the government of India is yet to initiate a
formal discussion with the Khaplang faction after the ceasefire pact.
Zhimomi, who is also the self-styled 'Prime minister of the Government
of People's Republic of Nagaland' claimed that it is enjoying support
from the majority of people of the state and so Government of India
should start dialogue as early as possible.
His disappointment lies on the fact that, the Union government has
already held several rounds of talks with the National Socialist Council
of Nagaland -Issac-Muivah faction (NSCN-IM). "Since the NSCN-IM has
failed to woo support from the people we should be taken into confidence
by the Government of India", the self-styled Prime minister claimed.
Despite a unity move initiated by different organizations in the state
with an eye to solve the perennial militancy problem, the two groups
seem to be indifferent refusing to come together .The situation of the
hilly state is getting more complicated now due to the hatred among the
cadres of the two militant groups. The hatred came to the fore on
October 24, when a group of armed militants of the Khaplang faction
attacked the ceasefire monitoring office of the NSCN-IM located at
Dimapur in Nagaland.
Giving the rational behind the attack, Zhimomi claimed that "it was
misused by the NSCN-IM cadres for extortion, kidnappings and killings."
"The attack was a warning to the Muivah faction so that it could learn a
lesson "We have sent feelers through Naga Baptist Church Council (NBCC)
with an eye to remove our hatred", he added.
The NSCN was divided into two groups in 1987 following a clash. Since
then they have been launching operations and counter operations. Zhimomi
also admitted that people of Nagaland want a peaceful solution to the
problem, as they are completely disappointed with prolonged insurgency
Meanwhile political observers monitoring the ceasefire agreement said
that the situation of Nagaland would be more complicated if both the
groups do not give up their hatred. "The result of the ceasefire
agreement entirely depends on their patience that is how much they can
restrain from killing each other", an observer added. The Naga Ho-Ho
is learnt to have started a process of unification of both the groups
for a permanent solution to the problem.
AFP: Myanmar forces seizes huge drugs haul on Thai border
BANGKOK, Nov 3 (AFP) - Myanmar authorities have made a major drugs haul,
seizing more than two million amphetamine pills in raids on a border
town near Thailand and arresting eight suspects, state media reported
late Saturday. The two raids by a combined anti-narcotics force of
police and military intelligence agents, were carried out on October 27
in Tachilek, near the northern Thai border, TV Myanmar said in a
dispatch monitored here.
The officials seized four pistols along with one kilogram (2.2 pounds)
of caffeine and 0.6 kilograms (1.3 pounds) of ephedrine powder, the
report said. Ephedrine is the main chemical used in the refining of
amphetamines. The eight suspects, including several women, were charged
with narcotics trafficking, which is punishable by death in Myanmar.
On Tuesday, TV Myanmar also reported that more than 4.7 million
amphetamine tablets were seized in a nationwide anti-narcotics
operation in September during which 361 people were arrested.
Myanmar's ruling military junta has come under harsh international
criticism for its alleged involvement in the narcotics trade and its
failure to clamp down on illegal drug producers. The regime however
denies the charges.
Reuters: Japan urges Myanmar to do more on democracy
By Elaine Lies
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi said that he welcomed recent efforts by military-ruled
Myanmar to release political prisoners, but believed more must be done
to push for democracy.
Myanmar has been freeing political prisoners steadily, most recently on
October 26, and its military has been engaged in talks with
pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The talks have shown
no results but have served to build confidence.
In a meeting with Myanmar ruler Senior-General Than Shwe, Koizumi was
quoted by a Foreign Ministry official as saying: ``We welcome your
efforts for freeing political prisoners and we ask for you to
``International society is closely watching the role of Aung San Suu
Kyi,'' he was quoted as adding. ``We hope you will recognise this and
make further efforts for democracy.''
In reply, Than Shwe was quoted as saying that Myanmar will continue to
work towards democracy, adding that what sort of position Suu Kyi might
be in in the future is no concern of theirs, the official said.
``If Suu Kyi were to be elected in an election, that is democracy and
not something we could interfere in,'' he was quoted as saying.
It was not completely clear in what context the comment was made, but
the Japanese official said it was apparently made in a hypothetical
sense and no specific time frame was expressed.
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won elections in 1990
by a landslide but has never been allowed to rule. Instead, her
supporters have been detained and harassed.
Suu Kyi herself was under house arrest for six years and in the past
was frequently reviled by the government for her actions.
Koizumi met Than Shwe on the sidelines of a two-day meeting of leaders
of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nations plus
Japan, China and Korea that began in Brunei on Monday.
Tokyo has generally taken a softer approach than the West towards
Myanmar, especially on the question of aid, opting for engagement rather
In July, Japanese Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka told her Myanmar
counterpart, Win Aung, that Japan would continue to provide Myanmar with
economic aid to improve the country's hydroelectric power generation.
Japan, which used to be Myanmar's largest aid donor, suspended
assistance -- including yen loans, grant aid and technical assistance --
in 1988 after the military crushed a pro-democracy uprising.
However, it has provided limited assistance since Suu Kyi, who favours
sanctions, was freed from six years of house arrest in 1995.
Maykha: Medicine is Politics
Posted on the Maykya mailing list
Maykha: Medicine is Politics
In 1847 Rudolf Virchow was only 26 years of age but he was already one
of Germany's greatest scientists. In that year, the Berlin City Council
asked Virchow to investigate an epidemic of typhus which had broken out
in upper Silesia (currently located in Poland). Virchow concluded that
the cause of the epidemic was "mismanagement of the region by the Berlin
Virchow's recommendations included full democracy for Silesia, allowing
Polish as the official language of the region, the separation of church
and state, shifting the burden of taxation from the poor to the rich, a
program for road construction, the improvement of agriculture, and the
establishment of farming cooperatives. The Berlin council was very
unhappy with Virchow's report. The Council criticized Virchow for
producing a political document rather than the scientific report which
they thought they had commissioned. Virchow then made his famous
statement which still resonates 155 years later:
"Medicine is a social science and politics is nothing but medicine writ
Virchow further claimed that if medicine were to be successful then it
must enter political and social life because diseases were caused by
defects in society. He claimed that, "If disease is an expression of
individual life under unfavourable circumstances, then epidemics must be
indicative of mass disturbances".
It is now well accepted in public health circles that the Burmese HIV
epidemic is one of the world's fastest growing and most pervasive.
According to Dr Peter Piot, UNAIDS's Executive Director, Burma currently
has at least 500,000 to 700,000 people with HIV/AIDS-the second worst
AIDS epidemic in Asia after Cambodia. The Southeast Asian Information
Network and other non-governmental organisations have confirmed Piot's
estimate. The Burmese junta, however, claims that there are only 21503
confirmed cases of HIV infection and 2854 cases of AIDS in Burma. (Dr
The junta's refusal to recognize the epidemics clearly indicated that
this political and
humanitarian crisis is caused by their massive mismanagement, corruption
and policy failure.
Pro-military people who visited Burma would come back and say... now
Burma is progressing.. with how many hundreds of new hotels, how many
lanes of highways... etc. Are the number of hotels and night clubs, the
criteria for measuring the progress of one country?
Thirteen years ago, when we were working at Rangoon General Hospital,
the blood test for electrolytes (which is a basic and essential test for
management of renal diseases, strokes, snake bites, malaria etc.) can be
done in the hospital lab and even can request for urgent results if the
patient is ill. Nowadays, this test is done at the outside clinic, which
is located just across the road from the hospital and it cost 3000 kyats
While health is understood to include physical, mental and social
well-being, it is concluded that the violation or neglect of any human
right will impact adversely on health. In every nation in the world,
government is a key player in the health sector. Human rights regarding
health require that the state provide health care that individuals are
not able to obtain or provide on their own. The failure of SPDC to
acknowledge the HIV and other health problems in Burma is a well proven
factor that SPDC is not an elected/official government. Because they are
not the government, it is not surprising that they do not realize the
duty of the government. Unless the democracy is restored in Burma by
replacing illegal regime with elected government, the HIV/AIDS epidemic
in Burma is likely to spiral ever more out of control.
As Virchow so eloquently described 155 years ago, Medicine is Politics
Dr. Khin Saw Win
Lindsey Merrison Film: Friends in High Places--the Art of Survival in
Modern Day Burma
86 mins and 57 mins available, 35mm, Dolby stereo, Burmese with English
In Burma, where spirit worship has survived both the triumph of
Buddhism and the vagaries of a military dictatorship, a lively cult
peopled by talented mediums, many of them homosexuals, makes life under
one of the world?s harshest regimes more bearable. Shot on film without
a permit in Burma?s capital, Yangon, ?Friends in High Places? takes us
on a journey into the nat cult and into the lives of several mediums.
Guided by two lively Burmese women narrators in their early seventies,
we enter an unknown world of moving stories, extravagant costume,
ecstatic music and flamboyant dance where we discover the unique role
the spirit mediums play in Burmese society, as social worker and even
psychiatrist to people from all walks of life.
Merrison has created a light-hearted but delightfully sharp narrative on
the nats, their mediums and their believers. In Friends in High Places,
legends, theatre, faith and reality blend into a drama that may inspire
the viewer?s heart and tickle his sense of humour. (...). Merrison?s
best find are the two old ladies, who, sitting and smoking on the floor
of their small apartment, comment on life and the Nat cult with their
unassuming but ironic remarks. Every now and then the film returns to
them, as they produce, like a chorus, an unforgettable perspective on
life in Burma.
Miryam van Lier, Nyon International Documentary Film Festival Programme
?Marvellously photographed, impressive characters, plenty of humour ? a
fascinating insight into a world wholly unknown to us ...?
Toni Linder, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Bern.
?Just beneath the surface of Burma?s dictatorship, a whole world is
revealed to us which has real subversive power. The filmmakers?
proximity to her protagonists is palpable during every single moment of
the film and is also reflected in the superbly involved camerawork at
astonishingly close quarters. (...) ?Friends in High Places? succeeds in
revealing a compelling and utterly unknown world in moments that are in
fact a form of recognition ? a rare achievement indeed.?
Bettina Kocher, Curator, Hamburg Television Workshop on the Developing
Sales : Festivals & Awards:
Lindsey Merrison Film Official Selection, Visions du Reel, Nyon,
Ebereschenallee 15 Prize for Outstanding Scientific Documentary,
D-14050 Berlin, Germany XV. Pärnu Documentary Film Festival, Estonia
Tél: + 49-30-306 144 48 10th Brisbane International Film Festival
Fax : +49-30-306 144 47 Cork Film Festival, Ireland
merrison@xxxxxxx Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival, New York
www.merrison.de Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA.
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