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အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ က်ဆံုးမွ တတိုင္းျပည္လံုး စစ္မွန္တဲ့ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို ခံစားရမယ္

Archive for July 4th, 2008

Analysis: Junta’s information black-out

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Source: Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB)

Tai Kyaw

Jul 4, 2008 (DVB)�Burma�s military regime is still keeping quiet about an incident following Cyclone Nargis. It is a minor incident, but one that would surprise the people of Burma and the international community.

Relief supplies provided for Burma�s cyclone victims from China included 2000 radios. They were handed over to the junta authorities. Low-ranking officials were in a difficult situation when they received those cheap radios because they were not sure if they should give them to refugees or hold them back, so they asked their superiors what to do.

The information about the radios pushed high-ranking officials into a tight corner. They seemed to be worried about affecting the relationship with China if they did not give the radios out. On the other hand, if they distributed the radios, the 2000 people who received them would be able to listen to foreign broadcasting services such as BBC, VOA, DVB and RFA, which they did not want their citizens to be able to access. Finally, an order came through that radios should be distributed to cyclone victims only after they had been adapted so that they could not be used to listen to foreign broadcasting services.

As a consequence, engineers and officials at the Communication Department faced a heavy workload. They had to remove the short wave tuning system used by foreign broadcasting services to air their programmes from each radio. Engineers working for the Communication Department in Rangoon Division spent a lot of time on these radios worth US$ 5 each. After the radios had been adapted, the authorities gave them out in Irrawaddy division for people to listen to weather news, took photos of their donations and then sent the photos back to donors in China.

When village headmen and others received the radios, they were unable to tune into foreign radio broadcasts because the short wave system had been disabled. They were also unable to listen to City FM since they were far away from Rangoon. As a result, they all ended up only being able to listen to programmes from Myanmar Radio and Television Department, the state-controlled radio station transmitted on medium wave.

The way the military regime dealt with the donated radio shoes the lengths to which it will go to black out information and stop its citizens listening to news broadcasts.

The military regime was able to take preventive action because those radios were given to them directly. However, they could not do anything about aid directly provided to UN agencies and INGOs inside Burma by international governments and organisations.

In an attempt to limit and control the movements of UN agencies and INGOs working on relief efforts for cyclone victims, the junta issued 10 operating guidelines on 10 June. According to the guidelines, detailed lists of the type and quantity of aid donated from overseas must be submitted to the relevant government ministry, permission must be requested prior to aid distribution and relief supplies must be stockpiled in Rangoon. When permission to distribute aid is granted by the junta another request must be made to township authorities where the aid will be given out and supplies can only be distributed when permission from local officials has been granted.

The regime still keeps imported communication apparatuses that are meant for UN agencies and INGOs. None of those organisations have been allowed to use satellite phones donated by the Thai government. This indicates that the regime is trying to obstruct smooth communication and information flow between the UN, NGOs and the people. Despite the restrictions, private donors including comedian Zarganar distributed radios among cyclone victims in Irrawaddy divisions, infuriating the junta, who later arrested them.

Irrawaddy division had never been a restricted area for tourists until it was devastated by the cyclone. Bassein, Ngwe Hsaung and Chaung Thar were regular tourist destinations. Even a week after the storm stuck the delta the military regime had not taken any special measures to restrict tourism in the region. The junta only stopped allowing any foreigners to visit Irrawaddy division when the international media carried news items about the cyclone and displayed pictures of corpses.

The reason was simply to black out information. When the regime shut down the area, they treated it as if it was a military zone. They placed many more checkpoints on the Rangoon-Bassein road to check if there were any foreigners in the passing vehicles. When foreigners were found, they were questioned and sent back to Rangoon. As a result, international experts and aid workers were unable to reach the affected areas to carry out relief operations and the difficulties for cyclone victims were doubled.

Foreign journalists looked for alternative ways to reach the delta when they were not allowed to use the main route, the Rangoon-Bassein road. They tried instead to enter the region on the Rangoon-Kaw Hmoo-Kongyankone-Daydaye-Pyarpon road. In response, the military regime deployed thousands of riot police along the way, in addition to the numerous checkpoints. In Rangoon, foreign journalists were under constant surveillance. According to a special police officer from Rangoon airport, at least 10 foreigners were sent to the airport from their hotels or the streets and deported within the month after the cyclone ravaged the country.

The junta not only restricts and keeps an eye on foreign journalists in the country but also prevents them from coming in. It has even imposed restrictions on the issuing of tourist visas. As a result, the number of foreigners visiting the country in post-cyclone period noticeably decreased. As a consequence, hotels in Rangoon received fewer tourists and those dependent on foreign guests in Ngwe Hsaung and Chaung Thar had to close down. Air Mandalay and Air Bagan also had to stop all their overseas flights.

The military regime was still focusing on its mission to black out information even after UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon visited Rangoon. The regime issued visas for some UN and INGO officials but continued to restrict their visits to Irrawaddy division. Those who were permitted to go there were only able to visit a limited area. For instance, a Japanese medical team could only stay in refugee camps in Latputta and was not allowed to visit the surrounding areas. The team was told to leave within 10 days on the pretext that their visas had run out.

The military regime also cut cyclone-related information out of imported newspapers and magazines on a large scale. They distributed the Times, Newsweek, the Economist, the Straits Times, the Bangkok Post and others only after they had torn out news about Burma�s cyclone.

One of the latest attempts by the military regime to restrict the flow of information was its raids on satellite stores in Rangoon. Some store owners were forced to sign papers promising to stop selling satellite dishes. As a result, the reinstallation of satellite dishes in post-cyclone Rangoon was temporarily halted.

The military regime in Burma has been seriously trying not to let the people of Burma and the international community become aware of what is happening in Irrawaddy division and the rest of the country. As for news that is already in media, the regime tries its best to suppress it so its own citizens, and particularly soldiers in the army, will not hear about it.

It seems that the generals believe they can cling on power for a long time by stopping the flow of information. However, as recent incidents have shown, the military will not succeed in its endeavour to black out information as long as journalists and citizens are brave enough and able to use modern digital equipment to disseminate news and information.

http://english.dvb.no/news.php?id=1505

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 4, 2008 at 6:20 pm

ရုရွားက အကူအညီေပးေနတဲ့ ျမန္မာအႏုျမဴစီမံကိန္း – ေထာက္လွမ္းေတြ႔ရွိခ်က္မ်ား

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Download (original article): russia1.doc

Download (translation) : translation-russia-burma-nuclear-intelligencec2a0report

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 4, 2008 at 7:10 am

(ရွင္းလင္းခ်က္ႏွင့္ ဓါတ္ပံု): ရုရွားက အကူအညီေပးေနတဲ့ ျမန္မာအႏုျမဴစီမံကိန္း – ေထာက္လွမ္းေတြ႔ရွိခ်က္မ်ား

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I would like to request all Burmese-army scholars in Russia, China, North Korea, India and Pakistan as well as those who trained there and anyone who are interested in Burma’s nuclear program to make good comments on it.
You can post your publicized comments here, or send your email directly to me <2007jals@gmail.com> in any language.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 4, 2008 at 7:04 am

Veteran Journalist U Win Tin- World’s longest serving prisoner of conscience

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Director-General renews request for release of U Win Tin, imprisoned for the last 18 years
U Win Tin, The winner of the 2001 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

By – Zin Linn

U Win Tin is the world’s longest serving “prisoner of conscience” and a “veteran journalist of Burma”.

Two press freedom associations, Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association issued a statement calling for the release of the veteran journalist, who has spent 19 years in solitary confinement under the inhumane detention camp of Burmese junta. His health has deteriorated in the past few days.

“It will be exactly 19 years on 4 July since Burma’s military arrested Win Tin,” the groups’ statement highlighted. “The government, which has a responsibility to protect the life of its citizens, should now release him,” the group statement urged.

The famous imprisoned journalist has constantly refused to sign a confession promising to abandon his political career as a condition for his release. The 79-year-old journalist admitted to the hospital for second surgical treatment to hernia in January 2008. The first treatment to his hernia was in March 1995.

Former editor-in-chief of The Hantharwaddy Daily of Mandalay was awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, the World Association of Newspapers’ Golden Pen of Freedom Award and award from the Reporters without Border/Foundation de France Prize for his efforts to defend and promote freedom of expression.

Burma has been called “the world’s largest open prison for prisoners of conscience” including political prisoners and journalists. Burma’s distinguished prisoner of conscience, U Win Tin is one of Burma’s most popular journalists and executive member of the National League for Democracy (NLD). He has spent 19 years or one fourth of his life time in prison. U Win Tin suffers from a serious heart condition and is being treated at the Rangoon General Hospital where he is confined to a tiny box-cell designed for political prisoners.

U Win Tin has been imprisoned since 4th July 1989 in a special cell at the infamous Insein Prison in Rangoon. The former editor-in-chief of Hantharwaddy Daily , was the vice-president of the Burmese Writers and Journalists Association. He was convicted and sentenced to three consecutive prison-terms to a total of 21 years in prison. One of the charges against him stems from his 1995 human rights abuses report in prison to Mr. Yozo Yokota, the then United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma..

U Win Tin was also imprisoned because of his senior position as key advisor of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD). He was thrown into jail for additional years because of attempting to inform the United Nations about human rights violations in prisons under the military rule. Military rulers also accused him of writing political commentaries and poems to be circulated among political prisoners in Insein Prison, where the possession of writing materials was forbidden.

The journalist told a friend who was allowed to visit him in 2007: “Two prison officers asked me at a special meeting last week whether I would resume political activities if I were released. I told them that I will definitely do so since it is my duty as a citizen to strive for democracy.”

In 1996, in the notorious Insein Prison, the military intelligence personnel regularly visited U Win Tin in order to examine his political stand. They took him to their office in the prison and questioned him on various topics. They frequently tried to persuade him to join the junta. But U Win Tin always turned down their offers.

U Win Tin narrated to this the writer, who was in the same cell-block at that time in notorious Insein Prison, about an incident with the authorities. “It happened in 1991,” he said. “They took me out of my cell to an exhibition – The Real Story under the Big Waves and Strong Winds – held at Envoy Hall in Rangoon. “The aim of the exhibition was to deplore the 1988 uprising as a riot, created by destructive elements and terrorists,” said U Win Tin.

He recounted that there was a big poster placed at the main entrance of the exhibition centre, saying, “Only when the Tatmadaw [military] is strong, will the nation be strong.” There were many galleries in the show. Each gallery highlighted the role of the army and emphasized that it was the sole force that could defend the nation.

The show also described the junta’s discrimination against the role of the democratic institutions and societies. “The final conclusion was that no one except the generals can control the unity of the nation including the country’s sovereignty,” said U Win Tin.

After witnessing the show, the authorities asked U Win Tin what he thought about the exhibition and asked his opinion and attitude toward the stratocracy. They gave him some paper and a pen and told him to write down his opinion about the show. “I wrote down my criticism. I used 25 sheets of paper. It was a blunt commentary. I made my explanation in a sense of sincerity and openness. But it irritated them severely,” he told me later.

First of all, he criticized the army’s motto, “Only when the army is strong will the country be strong.”

“It’s the logic of the generals to consolidate militarism in Burma,” he explained to me later that “Their logic tells us that they are more important than the people and they used to say they are the savior of the country that’s why they grab the sovereign power. That means they neglect the people’s desire.”

Thus he wrote: “The slogan tells us that Burma is going against a policy of peace and prosperity.”He went on to explain his understanding of the role of the army as guardian of the nation but no obligation to involve in the administrative affairs.

He said, “The real thing is that the military comes out of the womb of the people. Thus, the slogan must be like this: ‘The people are the only parents of the military.’ Anyone who does not care about his own parents is a rogue,”he pointed out to the generals.

He also emphasized that if the generals really loved peace and wanted prosperity for the nation, they needed to truthfully reflect on their limitations. The generals might want what’s best for the country, but they did not know how to handle the entire state of affairs. They are accustomed to mismanagement.

“Eventually, I came straight to the point: The army must go back to the barracks. That will make everything better in Burma,” he narrated to me plainly.

The junta was very furious with his criticism and accused him of advising Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to launch civil disobedient campaign in 1989. Then, they made another lawsuit against him and increased additional 11 more year’s jail-term.

They confined him in his cell. The cell was 8.5 x 11.5 feet. There was only a bamboo mat on the concrete floor. Sleeping, eating, walking and cleaning the bowels were done in the very same place. He could not see the sun, the moon or the stars. He was intentionally barred from breathing fresh air, tasting nourishing food and drinking a drop of pure water. The worst thing was throwing the old writer into solitary confinement in such a cage for two decades.

In 1994, US Congressman Bill Richardson met U Win Tin in Insein Prison. Since that time, he has continuously suffered from various health problems such as spondylitis, hernia, heart disease, failing eyesight, arthritis and hemorrhoids. It surprised everyone of how tough this gallant journalist coped up with so many health problems.

For the junta, U Win Tin is really a man of steel. Although they wish to defeat him, they could never do it.

U Win Tin’s case is a good example for human rights violations under inhumane regime. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) says: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

But, 79-year-old-man has been suffering a variety of inhumane tortures and languishing unjust punishments for 19 years, now entering into two decades. The United Nations must take responsibility to flex its muscles on issue of breaking the principle of UDHR by such unmanageable regime in Burma.

Zin Linn is a freelance Burmese journalist in exile. He spent nine years in a Burmese prison. He works as an information director at the NCGUB East Office. He is vice-president of the Burma Media Association (BMA), which is affiliated with the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF).

– Asian Tribune –

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 4, 2008 at 2:50 am

Towards a total human rights outlook

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Antony Loewenstein gave the following speech at the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2008 in Budapest today:

NGO’s and on-the ground activists: Defending the Voices

How can NGOs seeking to advance freedom of expression most effectively work with on-the-ground free speech activists to combat censorship?

As a journalist, author and blogger living in Sydney, Australia, the opportunity to be involved in this Global Voices event is a privilege. I thank the organisers for the opportunity.

My country may be a democracy of sorts, but internet censorship is a creeping problem in every country of the globe, including my own. Late last year, with new Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd just elected after more than a decade of conservative rule under John Howard, the government announced measures to supposedly offer greater protection to children from online pornography and violent websites. Similar ideas have been implemented in France and proposed in Scandinavia.

Australia’s Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy said in December: “Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of the internet is like going down the Chinese road. If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.”

Conroy said that anybody wanting to opt of the system, to be implemented by ISPs, would have to notify authorities.

The system has not yet been imposed, but NGOs, web companies and free speech advocates have been loudly campaigning against the moves, arguing that the plan would cripple the already slow speed of broadband in Australia.

The high-profile NGO, Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA), issued a blistering press release in response to the proposal and motivated the local blogosphere to quickly mobilise its resources, namely online noise, writing letters to government ministers and the media. The statement read, in part:

“Australia is supposed to be a liberal democracy where adults have the freedom to say and read what they want, not just what the Government decides is ‘appropriate’ for them. These announcements smack of the condescending paternalism which contributed to the downfall of the Howard government. The proposals threaten the free speech rights of every Australian, and our concerns will not be silenced by Government sound bites equating free speech with access to child pornography.”

It continued: “EFA has previously raised concerns about Australia joining North Korea, China and Burma in the club of nations who censor their citizens’ access to the internet. While the Minister makes no apologies for this alarming development, he has given us little reason to put our faith in his bureaucrats to administer such a system competently, transparently and fairly. Who decides what is ‘appropriate’ for adult Australians to read on the internet, and according to what standards? What will happen if the Government decides that information about abortion or gay marriage is ‘inappropriate’ at the behest of [Christian conservative] Family First Senator Steve Fielding?”

Stephen Dalby, chief regulatory officer with Australian ISP company iiNet, said in mid-June: “This whole notion of taking a technological solution to what is otherwise a social issue really has some problems…Our only concern is that the government may push this through, raise their hands and say ‘right, we’ve done something about it.’ Let’s hope there’s some sincerity in looking at fixing the community problems associated with this more intently.”

That may be wishful thinking. Equally concerning is the lack of transparency about which websites will be blocked. I’m less concerned about filtering child pornography than websites that allegedly celebrate violence or terrorism. Does this mean, for example, that the website for the Palestinian group Hamas may be censored because the US and many Western countries regard them as terrorists? Likewise with Hizbollah or even al-Qaeda? Do we not have the right to view information that some people may find offensive but a free society should both tolerate and protect? Sadly, censorship is no longer just a problem in non-Western nations.

The “war on terror” has emboldened those in Western societies who cloak their censorship under the guise of “protecting” citizens from supposedly harmful online material. As we’ve seen during the Bush administration years, intrusive governments are increasingly willing to legislate what they deem we can and cannot see and watch. Free societies are never truly free and eternal vigilance is essential. A disturbing future is already being imagined for us.

The Former US House speaker, Newt Gingrich, said in 2006 that free speech may have to be curtailed in the fight against terrorism. “Either before we lose a city or, if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city”, he said, “we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the internet…” The authoritarian impulse is alive and well in the West.

Australia’s proposals are likely to be realised before the end of the year, but I suspect some ISPs, though unlikely to ignore the directives, may balk at rules and regulations that are likely to constantly change according to the whims of the day.

We often presume that people who live in a repressive regimes do not want Big Brother deciding their online habits, but a recent study by Pew Internet & American Life Project found that the vast majority of Chinese web-users supported their government controlling and managing the internet. “Our” values are clearly up for discussion and should never be imposed on others. It almost beggars belief that Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently told The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta that he never anticipated repressive regimes would begin imposing internet censorship at the router level. Perhaps he temporarily forgot his own company’s complicity in China’s extensive web filtering. Just who is imposing whose values on whom?

During my travels to various non-democratic countries over the last years, including Cuba, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Sri Lanka, I’ve met countless bloggers, dissidents and NGOs determined to circumvent government censorship, imprisonment or filtering. Most of them are under-funded, often scared of being caught and looking for international solidarity. Just being heard is half the battle. I was highly conscious in nations such as Iran, China and Cuba that talking to a Western journalist could endanger a blogger or activist.

My forthcoming book, The Blogging Revolution, gives voice to a world still largely ignored in the Western media. For me as a journalist, one of the key things we can do, with the assistance of like-minded NGOs, is allow bloggers to speak for themselves and not automatically classify them as suspect, non-English speakers. For example, in Australia, more than five years after the start of the Iraq war, Iraqi voices are still virtually ignored. It is as if only Westerners, usually middle-age men, have the right to speak for the occupied people.

NGOs should work with news organizations and reporters to educate a Western media that remains highly suspicious of bloggers and the apparent inability to check their credentials. I regularly encounter editors in Australia and overseas who question my use of blogger quotes but don’t look twice if a government official is cited. This is gradually changing but remains mired in conservative, so-called objective reporting rules. NGOs can help in this transition to a more responsive and worldly kind of networked journalism.

I’m currently working with Amnesty International Australia on its China campaign in this Olympic year. Its Uncensor website aims to highlight the extensive use of internet repression in China and hook into growing concerns in Australia and elsewhere over the country’s human rights abuses. Amnesty has hosted many “Tear Down the Great Firewall of China” events across the country, giving citizens the opportunity to learn the ways in which Western multinationals are assisting web repression.

The Uncensor website highlights the cases of well-known imprisoned Chinese activists and displays real-time examples of what internet searches, such as Tiananmen Square and 1989 Democratic Movement, look like inside China. The campaign has generated solid media coverage. Chinese activists in Australia, with many contacts back home, also write regularly about the mood on the streets in Beijing, Shanghai and beyond.

After Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd admirably told students in Mandarin at Peking University in April that, “we…believe it is necessary to recognise there are significant human rights problem in Tibet”, public opinion firmly swung behind strong pressure being placed on Beijing and Olympic sponsors. A majority of Australians polled in April favoured the country’s Games’ sponsors speaking out strongly against China’s abuses with four out of ten saying they would be more likely to purchase a product from an outspoken sponsor. Sympathy for the Tibetan cause was paramount and NGOs such as Amnesty are central to keeping the stories of human rights infractions in the media.

One of the central myths that NGOs should counter is the idea that citizens in non-democratic nations are craving American-style democracy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course, freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of the press are central to any modern, democratic state, but embracing unregulated capitalism is not largely welcomed. As John Lee, a fellow at an Australian think-tank, recently wrote about China:

“The rise of an alternative to the Western liberal model of development – the so-called Beijing consensus – has been the unexpected consequence of China’s rise and is proving a difficult ideational challenge for the West. Where once we placed our hopes on the me generation to push for political change, we must now confront the fact that China’s young elites believe working within a one-party state is the better bet for their and the country’s future.”

These realities are arguably more attractive for Western multinationals to enter China and navigate the relatively open regulatory system. A recent report in Business Week magazine highlighted the role of Chinese firms assisting some of these foreign multinationals with the confusing Chinese blogosphere and netizens criticising firms for alleged slights against Chinese culture. The founder of one of these companies, CIC’s Sam Flemming, explained it well: “If it touches on nationalism, or if the client clearly made a mistake and disrespected a customer, that’s dangerous.”

The role of Western NGOs is essential in providing a bridge between on-the-ground activists and a sceptical media back home. Convincing the masses that censorship in, say, Iran, is relevant to the outer suburbs of Sydney, can only be achieved through the internet. The ease with which a web user anywhere in the world can campaign for campaigners in repressive regimes creates both a sense of community and protection, however slight. Online campaigning has exploded around the globe.

I’ve long believed that activism must be mainstreamed to be truly effective, rather than just the concern of a minority. Our job as journalists, activists, NGOs, bloggers or concerned citizens is to bring the stories of the world to a media that welcomes localism and shuns complexity. These rules of the game are ripe for change.

http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2008/07/02/towards-a-total-human-rights-outlook/

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 4, 2008 at 2:29 am

The shame of Africa and Asean

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It is sad that the outcome of the African leaders’ summit reflected anything but condemnation and shame on Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

Some African countries are ready to defend Mugabe, who rigged and stole the country’s general election held last week. It is amazing how some African leaders have the face to back a leader who suppresses his people and intimidates the opposition with violence, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. Last month, former South African president Nelson Mandela criticised Mugabe for his tragic failure of leadership. His comment should have paved the way for other leaders to take up similar positions. Unfortunately, not many African leaders can claim similar status to Mandela. Many are dictators who do not respect human rights and democratic values. Worse, they do not want to be labelled as allies of the West against Mugabe, who was also considered an African hero when he fought for independence of the former Rhodesia.

Since 2000 the African Union has done good work in peace-keeping and peace-building. AU troops have been dispatched to troubled countries throughout Africa with assistance from Western countries. Now the West is up in arms about African leaders who have failed to condemn Mugabe. France and the UK have issued strong words on Mugabe. France said the Mugabe government is illegitimate and British PM Gordon Brown urged AU members to reject the result. The UN Security Council is contemplating a resolution which would call for sanctions against the Mugabe regime. There are reports that Mugabe might consider a power-sharing government with opposition leader Morgan Tswangirai, who holed up in the Dutch Embassy in Harare after he withdrew from the election.

The AU leaders remind us of Asean leaders, who protect their pariah member, Burma. Since its admission in 1997, Burma has caused embarrassment and humiliation for the grouping, but Asean leaders always stand up for Gen Than Shwe’s junta. They prefer to suffer at the behest of their unruly member than take a moral stand on the international stage. It is the same AU rationale that Asean leaders continue to use to shore up support for Burma.

http://nationmultimedia.com/2008/07/03/opinion/opinion_30077134.php

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 4, 2008 at 2:25 am

World focus on Burma (4 July 2008)

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Burma’s tragedy, a people scared by nature and a cruel regime

AsiaNews.it, Italy –

Yesterday 38 people died when a ferry sank in the Ywan River in Burma’s cyclone-battered Irrawaddy Delta; 44 others were rescued. …

Aid groups face soaring rent prices

Mizzima.com, India –

New Delhi – House rents in Burma’s cyclone-hit Irrawaddy delta has hit an all time high as a result of humanitarian groups including United Nations aid …

Some progress in cyclone relief but help still needed

Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –

Jul 4, 2008 (DVB)–United Nations officials have said that progress is being made in delivering aid to victims in Burma two months after Cyclone Nargis …

Assault on innocence

The Australian, Australia –

Rice cited the example of Burma, where she said soldiers had regularly raped women and girls as young as eight. She also referred to widespread acts of …

Bush welcomes 72 new Americans in final July 4 appearance

Hindu, India –

… out a national of Myanmar who joined the growing ranks of American citizens. “One man with special appreciation for liberty is Mai Eso from Burma. …

So easy. You just smile, okay?

INTHEFRAY Magazine –

(Smile and laugh) I don’t know much about So’s life in Burma (now Myanmar ), but I suspect it wasn’t cushy, probably much like my friend on the train …

Myanmar sues 14 opposition members for birthday protest

Monsters and Critics.com –

… Myanmar have used Suu Kyi’s birthday to highlight the lack of democratic progress in the country, which was hit in May by Cyclone Nargis. The All Burma …

Analysis: Cyclone Nargis and the information black-out

Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –

Jul 4, 2008 (DVB)–Burma’s military regime is still keeping quiet about an incident following Cyclone Nargis. It is a minor incident, but the people of Burma …

The UN Must Set the Agenda

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

Six weeks have passed since Burma’s military leader, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, promised United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that he would grant …

Ferry sinks in Burma’s Irrawaddy delta killing 38

CTV.ca, Canada –

AP RANGOON, Burma — A ferry sank in a river in Burma’s cyclone-battered Irrawaddy delta, killing 38 people, state-media reported Friday. …

Support for a Stronger Civil Society

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

By YENI Believe it or not, Burma’s cyclone survivors are resiliently rebuilding their lives some two months after the cyclone disaster, despite a lack of …

Weekly Business Roundup (July 4, 2008)

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

Bangladesh is also feeling the effects of the cyclone: hundreds of millions of tons of Burmese rice booked for export were canceled after the cyclone.

Burma jails four activists

The Age, Australia

The plebiscite was delayed by two weeks after Cyclone Nargis slammed into the Irrawaddy delta and Rangoon, leaving more than 138000 dead or missing. …

Doubts hit bank’s corporate responsibility report

OneWorld.net, UK –

RBS’ involvement in activities in human rights hotspots such as Burma, West Papua and Sudan is undermining its commitment to being a good corporate citizen. …

Torch Relay The Torch Debacle Continues in San Francisco

Welt Online, Germany –

Tibetan and Burmese monks were among those demonstrating against China’s politics in Tibet and its human rights violations in Burma. …

LEAGUE OF DEMOCRACIES — YES: Democracies can react faster than UN

Grand Forks Herald, ND –

They have far different notions of freedom, democracy and human rights and, left to their own devices, they would create a world far less hospitable to our …

Bush-Led ‘Disaster Capitalism’ Exploits Worldwide Misery to Make a …

AlterNet, CA –

… already on the scene in Northern California’s wildfires, to land grabs in cyclone-hit Burma, to the housing bill making its way through Congress. …

38 killed as Burmese ferry sinks

The Press Association –

At least 38 people have died after a motorised ferry sank in a river in Burma’s cyclone-battered Irrawaddy delta. The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said …

Greener Games Backed

Washington Post, United States –

YANGON, Burma — A ferry sank in a river in Myanmar’s cyclone-battered Irrawaddy delta, killing at least 38 people, state-media reported Friday. …

School Children and Teachers Still Finding Hard to Concentrate

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

“We expect psycho-social training would be able to start soon for the teachers in the cyclone-ravaged areas,” an official from UNICEF/Myanmar told IRIN in …

Analysis: Cyclone Nargis and the information black-out

Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –

Jul 4, 2008 (DVB)–Burma’s military regime is still keeping quiet about an incident following Cyclone Nargis. It is a minor incident, but the people of Burma …

Ferry sinks in Burma delta

Independent Online, South Africa –

Yangon – At least 38 people died when their ferry sank in a river in Myanmar’s/ Burma’s cyclone-hit Irrawaddy delta, official newspapers reported on Friday. …

Burma: Country devastated by cyclone, says UN

آكي, Italy –

“Yet the people of Myanmar (or Burma) have proven resilient, picking up the pieces of their lives with a quiet determination,” WFP said in a media release …

Myanmar jails 4 activists for “no” vote campaign

Reuters India, India –

Western governments said the process was “fatally flawed” and were dismayed that the military, which has ruled the former Burma since 1962, went ahead with …

38 dead after ferry sinks in cyclone-battered Burmese delta

CBC.ca, Canada –

AP State media say a motorized ferry sank in a river in Burma’s cyclone-battered Irrawaddy delta, leaving 38 people dead. The New Light of Myanmar newspaper …

Dozens of Burma villagers drown after boat sinks

ABC Online, Australia –

… on the Yway River in the cyclone-hit Irrawaddy Delta when it was swamped early Tuesday morning (local time), the New Light of Myanmar newspaper said. …

WHAT FREEDOM MEANS

Florida Times-Union, FL –

“And in Burma, we be afraid about soldier.” Then Htoo grinned, the joy spreading all the way to his eyes, as the children – 10-year-old Eh, 7-year-old Ah …

Despite the problems, USA is still a great country

Huntington Herald Dispatch, WV –

Has anyone noticed that despite widespread flooding in the Midwest, we have had far fewer deaths than Myanmar (also known as Burma) had following a series …

Disaster Capitalism: State of Extortion

Infoshop News –

… already on the scene in Northern California’s wildfires, to land grabs in cyclone-hit Burma, to the housing bill making its way through Congress. …

Helping to ease Burma’s suffering

CBC.ca, Canada – o

Michael Bociurkiw is a Canadian aid worker with UNICEF and was among the first to receive an entry visa to Burma following the devastating Cyclone Nargis …

Bulletin: Teddington School’s £1500 ‘fines’ buy shelter for …

Richmond and Twickenham Times, UK –

… deployed in Myanmar, formerly Burma, within days of the damage wreaked by Cyclone Nargis, The appeal was widened when China was hit by an earthquake. …

SO WHY PROTEST? Ask Palden Gyatso

Phayul, Tibet –

… Palden joins local activists praying not just for Tibet, but also for those who died in China and Burma, in the earthquake and cyclone. …

2008-09 First Quarter Ontario Finances

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia –

Executive Offices: An increase of $1.1 million for international disaster relief in response to the earthquake in Sichuan, China and the cyclone in Burma, …

Two months after Cyclone Nargis, condition of survivors still …

Mizzima.com, India –

New Delhi – Two months after the killer Cyclone Nargis lashed Burma, thousands of survivors said they still lack basic assistance including food, …

Mbeki Could Find Himself Stripped Of Being Key Mediator of …

DigitalJournal.com, Canada –

There will be the obvious protests of China’s record on human rights. There could possibly be protests because of what has happened in Burma. …

LAWRENCE J. HAAS: Democracies react faster than UN to threats abroad

Belleville News Democrat, USA –

They have far different notions of freedom, democracy, and human rights and, left to their own devices, they would create a world far less hospitable to our …

In ‘Your America’ average citizens take action

MSNBC –

… a new legal approach to go after an American corporation doing business in Burma, a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world. …

UNICEF’s World-Class Hypocrisy

Canada Free Press, Canada –

That’s fascinating, coming from UNICEF, where the 36-member executive board — which is its governing body — currently includes the regimes of Iran, Burma …

SO WHY PROTEST? Ask Palden Gyatso

Phayul, Tibet –

… Palden joins local activists praying not just for Tibet, but also for those who died in China and Burma, in the earthquake and cyclone. …

2008-09 First Quarter Ontario Finances

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia –

Executive Offices: An increase of $1.1 million for international disaster relief in response to the earthquake in Sichuan, China and the cyclone in Burma, …

Burma Intercepts Human Trafficking Victims

Voice of America –

By VOA News A report says Burmese police have intercepted more than 80 women and children from cyclone-hit regions who were being trafficked across the …

Children of ex-KMT GIs fight for legal status

China Post, Taiwan –

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Around 400 young people from the families of former army troops left in the bordering region of Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand following the …

From Refugee Camp to Austin Apartment

Weekend America, MN –

Reporter Tori Marlin brings the story of a family of refugees from Myanmar (formerly Burma) spending their first weekend in a place they hope will one day …

NLC rejects Gambari for N/Delta summit

Daily Champion, Nigeria –

Gambari had been a controversial mediator in Myanmar (Burma) or former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan had been a source of controversy in Kenya, …

Youngsters new to America enjoy Braves game

Atlanta Journal Constitution, USA –

The children, ages 11 to 18, are from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and Burundi, along with a pair of brothers each from Congo and Cuba. …

[ELD] Episcopal youth set to gather in San Antonio / Lambeth …

Worldwide Faith News (press release), NY –

… and Development (ERD) continues to provide emergency assistance to communities devastated by Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar (Burma) on May 2. …

Pecatonica meditation center helps people find balance

Rockford Register Star, IL –

SN Goenka brought back Vipassana meditation from his home country in Burma (Myanmar) back to India. He learned the meditation from Sayagyi U Ba Khin of …

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to assist recovery …

ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to provide emergency assistance to communities devastated by Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar (Burma) on May …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 4, 2008 at 2:18 am