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BurmaNet News: November 5, 2001 (r)

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
          November 5, 2001   Issue # 1912
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*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 

MONEY _______
*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 
talks started.  
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 
deteriorate further.  

[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 
ICRC left. 

[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 
Buddhist lent.  

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

VOA News
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 
dam project.  

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 
this year. 


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 
Statistical organization.

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 
cement plant.

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 
No. 292) 

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 
State Army.

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) 
from Bangkok. 

 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 
of NMSP.

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. 

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

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 
than sanctions. 

 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 
Chris Beyrer)

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 
per test. 
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 
World, 2001.

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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