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Archive for September 10th, 2008

(VBSW) Student Warriors lambast junta over false accusations

Than Htike Oo


Wednesday, 10 September 2008 19:43

Chiang Mai – An armed student rebel group – Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors (VBSW) – on Wednesday slammed the ruling junta for accusing opposition members and human rights activists of a bomb blast in Rangoon in early July.

VBSW, a group claiming to operate in Rangoon, in a statement reiterated that they were behind the blast at the government-backed civilian organization, Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), office in Rangoon’s suburban township of Shwepyithar on July 1.

The group also lambasted the junta for arresting members of the National League for Democracy and Human Rights Defenders and Promoters network (HRDP) for charges against the blast.

Despite claiming responsibility for the blast, the junta was unable to arrest its members, said the VBSW, adding that accusing and arresting members of the NLD and HRPD is an act intended to defame Burma’s main opposition party, which maintains a policy of non-violence.

“Lying in front of the press and arresting those believed to have connection with us and torturing them in concentration camps will only prompt more blasts across the country,” the VBSW said in their statement, circulated through email among the Burmese community.

Burma’s Police Chief, Brigadier General Khin Yi, during a rare press conference on Sunday accused members of the NLD and HRDP leader Myint Aye of plotting bomb blasts, including the blast in Shwepyithar.

Since July, the junta has arrested several youth members of the NLD, HRDP leader Myint Aye and other activists for allegedly planting bombs.

“Arresting members of the NLD and human rights activists will not subdue the people’s resistance against the military but will only increase the level of resistance,” the group asserted.

The VBSW, a group which cannot be reached by either email or phone, on July 2 claimed responsibility for the blast at the Shwepyithar USDA office as well as for a previous blast near the ABC restaurant in downtown Rangoon in April.

Both of the blasts, however, did not cause any human casualties, only damaging vehicles and furniture.

Meanwhile, the junta has stepped up efforts to crackdown on opposition activists, on Monday arresting four activists from Yenan Chaung township of Magwe in Central Burma and interrogating them over the recent bomb blasts.

However, the four activists, two of which are from the NLD, were later released after hours of interrogation.

Tint Lwin, one of the activists interrogated, told Mizzima over telephone that they were mainly asked whether they possess any explosives and plan to carry out any blasts or demonstrations.

Observers say the increased arrests of activists within the past two months could be an effort by the junta to curb any form of activities that might result in a repetition of last year’s September protests.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 10, 2008 at 2:05 pm

First would-be female PM marks shift in Japan

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By Isabel Reynolds

TOKYO (Reuters) – She’s less likely to hog the headlines than Sarah Palin, but former defence minister Yuriko Koike made an equally bold bid for power on Monday, as she launched an attempt to become Japan’s first woman prime minister.

A telegenic former newscaster fluent in English and Arabic, Koike, 56, emphasized her plans to tackle women’s issues and the environment as well as administrative reform at a news conference in Tokyo.

“Women often want to work while still looking after their families, but it’s hard for them to get the chance,” Koike, who is single and childless, told reporters.

“I want to deal with women’s issues on a cross-party basis. That will unleash the potential energy of women and make Japan an energetic country,” she said.

Koike lags far behind the favorite, former foreign minister Taro Aso, in opinion polls and cannot hope to command the kind of media attention surrounding Palin, Republican John McCain‘s surprise pick for running mate in the November U.S. presidential elections.

Standing for leadership of the tradition-bound ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and thus the premiership, is a daring move for a female, but Koike said she believed she had the necessary backing of 20 lawmakers to stand.

“It is a sign of change in Japanese society, and also of her own qualities,” Kuniko Inoguchi, a fellow female LDP lawmaker and supporter, told reporters after listening to Koike speak.

Japan ranked 54th out of 177 countries in terms of women’s economic and political power in a United Nations survey for 2007-2008 — way behind most major industrialized countries.

Japanese women were granted the right to vote only after Japan’s World War Two defeat and only one woman has ever led a major Japanese political party, the Socialists. A woman currently heads the tiny Social Democratic Party.


Nevertheless, some voters said they would welcome the fresh outlook a woman might bring.

“I think it would be welcome internationally,” said Takuyuki Nemoto, 58. “It is the first time a female politician is running for prime minister. That in itself is significant,” he added, saying he expected a woman could do better than the current and previous premiers, each of whom stepped down after a year.

Some analysts noted that winning the backing of the male-dominated LDP membership might be harder than gaining acceptance from the general public.

“She needs to be accepted by the LDP first,” said Koichi Nakano, a politics professor at Sophia University in Tokyo. “She is a recent arrival. Being a woman and a recent arrival doesn’t play well in a conservative party. The party needs to be more desperate.”

One other major party has turned to a woman to try to restore its fortunes in Japanese political history.

Takako Doi led the Socialist Party from 1986, and helped the opposition win a historic upper house election victory in 1989, but she stepped down in 1991. In 1993, she was appointed the first female speaker of the lower house.

A second stint as party leader was less successful, and the remnant of her party is now only a minor player.

But even feminists who welcome the advent of a woman candidate for prime minister express doubt about whether Koike, a former environment minister who has served as a national security adviser and briefly as defence minister, is the right choice.

“She is the first woman to stand for the party leadership and I would like to congratulate her on that,” said Mitsuko Yamaguchi, chief executive of the Fusae Ichikawa Memorial Centre, which promotes women’s involvement in politics.

“The problem is what kind of policies she can come up with,” Yamaguchi said. “She didn’t come up through economic policy.

“There are many problems in this election, from huge public debt to the slowing economy and the ageing population. What to do about the economy is an extremely important issue. Other candidates are specialists in the economy.”

(Additional reporting by Naoto Okamura and Linda Sieg; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

© Thomson Reuters 2008. All rights reserved.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 10, 2008 at 10:32 am

World focus on Burma (10 September 2008)

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Student Warriors lambast junta over false accusations, India –
The group also lambasted the junta for arresting members of the National League for Democracy and Human Rights Defenders and Promoters network (HRDP) for …

Suu Kyi’s supporters banned from visiting her sick housekeeper
First Post, UK –
Burmese authorities have sealed off a Rangoon hospital to prevent outsiders from visiting a sick woman companion of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San …

Show of solidarity for Suu Kyi
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
Burmese nationals form the largest refugee group in Japan, which in a rare break from Western nations maintains friendly relations with the military regime. …

‘Bangladesh on front line of climate change’
Bangladesh News 24 hours (subscription), Bangladesh –

… of people face drought in Ethiopia; 11 million people affected by flooding in India; and up to 128000 people killed by the cyclone that struck Burma. …

Pupils’ joy as Burmese friend is found safe
Bolton News, UK –
… at a Bolton primary school are celebrating after a young Burmese girl they sponsor was found alive and well in the aftermath of a deadly cyclone. …

In love with cars
CSR Asia, Hong Kong –
Officially, Three Pagodas Pass border crossing is closed and the Burmese junta has not permitted border trade with Thailand since 2006. …

Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2007 documents Burmese ruling junta’s …
Asian Tribune, Thailand –

Human Rights Year Book of Burma Twenty years since the brutal suppression of the 1988 uprising, the Burmese military junta continues to exert tight control …

Thai Court Rules Against Samak, Orders his Resignation
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
He stressed that he would not mention the position of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in any talks he had with the Burmese junta, the Bangkok Post said. …

Samlee nominated
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
The regional committee said its decision was guided by Dr Samlee’s speed in activating emergency funds to help victims hit by Cyclone Nargis in Burma, …

Myanmar explosion injures 3
Straits Times, Singapore – AP.
The military has ruled Myanmar, also called Burma, since 1962 and has been widely criticised for suppressing basic freedoms. —
Three injured in a bus explosion in Myanmar: report

YANGON (AFP) — Three passengers were injured when an explosion ripped through the back of a bus at a busy intersection in Myanmar’s main city Yangon, …

US concerned, as hunger strike rumors swirl, India –
On Sunday, Police Chief Brigadier General Khin Yi told a press conference in Burma’s capital of Naypyitaw that neither Suu Kyi’s lawyer nor personal …

FACTBOX-A look at North Korean leader Kim Jong-il

Reuters AlertNet, UK –
Intelligence experts say Kim ordered the 1983 bombing in the capital of Burma, now Myanmar, that killed 17 senior South Korean officials and the bombing of …


Burma: Cyclone, starvation – now plague of rats devastates Burmese …, UK – Pete Pattisson in Chin state, Burma
A report last month by the Chin Human Rights Organisation estimates that up to 200 villages are affected by severe food shortages and at least 100000 people … (Video included)

Myanmar 1990 election winners want junta’s UN seat
The Associated Press –
The junta has ruled Myanmar, also known as Burma, ever since. Daw San San, vice president of the Members of Parliament Union (Burma), said in the letter …

US concerned about welfare of Suu Kyi
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
Washington (dpa) – The United States expressed concern Tuesday about the health of Burma’s leading democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who reportedly began …

Suu Kyi supporters on hunger strike in Japan
Daily Times, Pakistan –
TOKYO: Some 50 Myanmar nationals in Japan are to stage hunger strikes in solidarity with detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the protesters said …

… a month before she was put under house arrest, but that the Myanmar, also known as Burma, “has severely limited outside contact with her” since then. …

Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva. The report finds the distinction between civilians and combatants is …

Fears Aung San Suu Kyi will starve to death, Australia –
By Daniel Pedersen in Mae Sot, Thailand DISSIDENTS from Burma fear that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will starve herself to death. …

Visit Myanmar—That’s an Order
World Hum, CA –
It was November 18, 1996, and at 5:30 that morning, Myanmar’s military junta had rounded up the few foreign journalists in town and bussed us to a stadium …

Missionary trip to China leaves empty feeling
Rapid City Journal, SD –
“That medicine would have cost us $20000 to $30000 in the US” With about 60000 to 80000 orphans left behind in Burma, Klein said sex slavery is a …

Day 16 of Thai anti-government protest : Samak…Ready, steady, QUIT !

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Thai parties huddle ahead of Friday’s PM vote Washington Post, United States –

Spicy twist to Thai political stew Asia Times Online, Hong Kong –

Betancourt wins Spanish award Ninemsn, Australia –

Thai Crisis Shifts to Political Bargaining New York Times, United States –

Thai opposition leader suggests to form “national government” Xinhua, China –

Thai opposition proposes national unity government (Pressemitteilung), Austria –

Thai political crisis delays gold futures start-up Hemscott, UK –

Thai Political Turmoil To Remain, Says Former DPM Bernama, Malaysia –

Concerns of chaos in Thailand if Samak returns International Herald Tribune, France –

Thai protesters vow to press on, Qatar –

Thai Lawmakers to Pick Premier After Samak Forced Out (Update1) Bloomberg –

Understanding Thailand Jakarta Post, Indonesia –

Thai Parties Mull New PM Choices Sky News, UK –

Not afraid to fight Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Top execs, academic oppose re-electing Samak as PM Thai News Agency MCOT, Thailand –

Thai coalition looking for new PM BBC News, UK –

Thais to vote new PM on Fri AsiaOne, Singapore –

Thai coalition divided over Samak The Press Association –

Thai court orders PM to quit, stalemate drags on
Washington Post –
By Nopporn Wong-Anan BANGKOK (Reuters) – A Thai court ordered the prime minister to quit on Tuesday for hosting TV cooking shows, but his party said it would re-elect him within the week and protesters vowed to keep up a campaign that has paralyzed the …

SFGate: Day in Pictures San Francisco Chronicle,  USA –

Tasting and complaining in public Financial Times, UK –

Party puts its trust in combative Thai PM Financial Times, UK –

PRESS DIGEST-Financial Times, Wall St Journal Asia editions Reuters India, India –

Thai Court Forces Premier From Office Over TV Cooking Show New York Times, United States –

Thai PM convicted by constitution court, losing premiership Mathaba.Net, UK –

Thai PM in the soup over TV chef work Financial Times, UK –

Cooking show stint derails Thai prime minister The Associated Press

Ready, steady … quit! Pork leg in Coca-Cola does for Thai PM

Students back in the fray a welcome sign Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Thai Lawmakers to Choose Prime Minister After Samak Forced Out Bloomberg –

Market may react poorly if PM returns Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Samak found guilty Straits Times, Singapore –

Thai court orders PM to quit, stalemate drags on Washington Post, United States –

Thai PM disqualified Hindu, India –

Curious backpackers head to protest camp Brisbane Times, Australia –

PAD to continue protest despite court ruling Bangkok Post, Thailand –

all 1,273 news articles »

Samak found guilty
Straits Times

Thai PM ordere…
Radio Australia

Judges sack Sa…
South China Mo…

A Thai Leader’s …
New York Times …

Thai PM Forced …

Cooking show sti…
The Associated Press

As a TV chef, Th…
Christian Scienc…

Thai leader forc…
The Associated Press

Thai prime mini…
New York Daily News

We thought it wa…
Boston Globe

Thai PM found …
Laos News

Thai PM support…
The Australian

Thai Leader Ord…
New York Times

Thai Prime Mini…
Times Online

Thai protesters v…
Emirates Busine…

Thai Constitutio…
Thai News Agen…

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 10, 2008 at 1:46 am