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Archive for September 20th, 2008

Vietnam: Bishops shocked at government’s betrayal

VietCatholic News (Thứ Bảy 20/09/2008 04:23)
Thousands keep protesting at the nunciature
Thousands protestested through the night
Construction workers demolish buildings
The demolition of Hanoi nunciature has caused great shocks among Catholics with bishops have simultaneously spoken out their angers at the government’s betrayal. Meanwhile, state media continue to accuse Hanoi Archbishop of inciting riot crying out for severely punishment anyone who dares to oppose the demolition plan.

In a letter to the president and the PM of Vietnam, Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh of Kontum, warned them of nasty consequences. “Our people are gentle and kind, easy to forget the past and forgive those who trespass against them.” However, “when they find themselves being tricked, pushed to the corner, and persecuted… they can accept even death, especially ‘the death due to faith’”, the bishop warned.

In this country, “numerous of the weak and the poor have pleaded for years for the requisition of their properties but all in vain, as the authorities do not listen but persecute them!” he denounced.

He pleaded the government to “stop accuse [Catholics] with insults…stop using the media to silence them.” “It is the time that weapons cannot solve problems, especially when dealing with people with faith like Catholics,” bishop Michael Hoang stated.

From Thai Binh, Bishop Francis Nguyen Van Sang, who has been suffered footsore, said his heart was broken to hear the bad news and he “wished to be able to rush to Hanoi” to be with archbishop Joseph Ngo and his faithful in this time of ordeal.

Bishop Joseph Dang Duc Ngan, in a letter to archbishop, priests and faithful of Hanoi wrote that he “got shocked and nervous” at the sudden developments at Hanoi nunciature. For bishop Joseph Dang, the building is “a souvenir of faith, a land stamped with the Seal of the Communion and Union of the Catholic Church” through-out the history. “A symbol of Love”, he added.

The New Hanoi newspaper does not share his view point. For the paper, the building is a symbol of Vatican, and its demolition is “a victory”. On Saturday, the paper could not hide its joy stating that Archbishop Joseph Ngo sent an urgent protest letter to the leaders of the country but all in vain. It accused that “in desperate hope of finding a possible way to stop the demolition…he sent letter to everywhere seeking for communion.” “That deed is against regulations of law and goes against will of people,” it added.

At the nunciature, construction workers worked throughout the night to demolish the building. Thousands of Catholics have also protested round the clock. Hundreds of priests from all parishes have stayed with protestors asking them to calm down every time the police, in great mass, tried to lure them into violence with swearing, profanity, and cursing languages.

At a point, protestors rescued some foreign reporters who were chased by police as they tried to take some photographs at the nunciature. Protestors helped the reporters to run toward the archbishop’s office where they could take refuge. On Friday morning, Ben Stocking, an American reporter, the Hanoi bureau chief for Associated Press was beaten by police. He was punched, choked and hit over his head.

Related news will also be found by clicking the above URL.
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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 20, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Chin People Braced For Famine-related Diseases

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Van Biak Thang
19 September, 2008
Fears for the lives of Chin victims from famine-stricken areas in Burma’s Chin State have mounted after an increasing number of villagers have suffered from various diseases due to the devastating food crisis, sources said.
At least five villages of Thantlang Township including Lungcawite, Lungcawipi, Ngaphaipi, Ngalang and Lailen villages have been seriously hit by famine-related diseases and as many as 50 people from each village are said to be suffering according to Mizzima news.
An outbreak of ‘endemic’ diseases including diarrhoea and dermatoses has been ascribed to the ongoing food crisis due to bamboo-related rat infestation in the region.
At least four villagers have been reported dead and about 30 villages suffering from the famine-related diseases according to reports.
More than 40 children were said to have died in recent months due to the famine-related diseases including malnutrition and diarrhoea.
Famine-hit villagers are said to express their heartfelt thanks to various charity organisations, Chin communities, churches and individuals for their relief aids and supplies.
This ongoing military-neglected food crisis, which started in 2006, has been caused by a plague of crop-destroying rats that multiply in large quantities after eating bamboo flowers. The bamboos blossom once in fifty years. 

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 20, 2008 at 11:17 am

A Living Legend

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2008-09-20 11:41

Aung San Suu Kyii is a democracy icon in the non-violent mould of Mahatma Gandhi.

Nyo Ohn Myint still remembers the moment, 20 years ago, when the legend of Aung San Suu Kyi began. He was there when she gave a stirring speech and became the symbol of hope for a country under the oppressive grip of military rule since 1962.

The then history teacher at Rangoon University was in a convoy of five vehicles that had taken Suu Kyi, on the morning of Aug 26, 1988, from her colonial-era home in the Burmese city to a public meeting in front of the great, gold-topped Shwedagon pagoda.

It was slow going, Nyo Ohn Myint, then 25, recalls. They had taken an hour to cover the three-mile distance. And that first major public appearance for Suu Kyi gained significance in the wake of the brutal crackdown over two weeks before when Burmese troops had shot to death some 3,000 unarmed people protesting against the military dictatorship. That August 8 protest drew hundreds of thousands of people, the largest crowds since anti-government demonstrations had begun earlier that year.

The crowds had swelled to nearly 500,000 to hear Suu Kyi, then 43, who was only known as the daughter of Burma’s independence hero, general Aung San, and an occasional visitor to the country from Oxford where she was living with her British academic husband and raising a family. Nyo Ohn Myint stood on a side stage and watched Suu Kyi establish her political credentials in Burmese.

“It is also true of the Burmese democracy movement: it is likely to lose its momentum if she is not in the scene.”

That day she emerged “as the person who could lead our country,”’ the former confidant of Suu Kyi said during a telephone interview from the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai. “She impressed the crowds and was totally committed to take on the political challenge of dealing with the military regime.”

Other student activists who were in the vanguard of the 1988 anti-government protests feel likewise about Suu Kyi’s debut on Burma’s political landscape. “She gave people hope with her speech,” says Myint Myint San, then a 22-year-old final year botany student at Rangoon University. “She did a tremendous job to help people understand what democracy means. And she dared to speak to the army and confront (then dictator) general Ne Win.”

In the days that followed, the tapes of her speech were in high demand. “People kept playing it again and again,” Myint Myint San told IPS. “People began to talk of Burma getting its second independence after we got our first when the British (colonisers) left (in 1948).”

It was a dramatic turn of events for a woman who had come home in March 1988 to care of her sick mother and with no thought of political activism on her mind. “When I returned home to Burma in 1988 to nurse my sick mother, I was planning on starting a chain of libraries in my father’s name. A life of politics held no attraction to me,” she said in a 1995 interview with Vanity Fair. “But the people of my country were demanding for democracy, and as my father’s daughter, I felt I had a duty to get involved.”

Yet, two decades later, the hope for a new Burmese independence — free of military oppression — appears remote. The junta remains firmly in control, with a tighter grip on the political landscape than in 1988. And Suu Kyi’s democratic mission has been forced to the margins.
But that has not diminished Suu Kyi’s stature as a democracy icon in the non-violent mould of Mahatma Gandhi. It has come at great personal sacrifice, though, given the over 13 of the past 19 years she has spent under house arrest, and the harsh limits the junta placed on her meetings with supporters and family members.

She was vindicated in 1990 when a new party she led, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won with a huge majority at a parliamentary election that the junta refused to recognise. In 1991, she was awarded the Nobel Peace prize, the first among 40-odd international awards she has won. And in the years since, international attempts to nudge Burma towards political reform have had to turn to the charismatic Suu Kyi — detained or free— to ensure credibility and public support.

“She has become the rallying point for the democracy movement in Burma. She has contributed tremendously to the growth of democratic culture in the past 20 years,” says Aung Naing Oo, a Burmese political analyst living in exile in Thailand. “Her struggle has put Burma’s political problems and its suffering on the world map.”

Take her out of the picture and the NLD will be nothing, he explains in an interview. “It is also true of the Burmese democracy movement: it is likely to lose its momentum if she is not in the scene.”

Her two decades in Rangoon have also helped build bridges between the majority Burmese community and the Southeast Asian country’s many ethnic communities, 17 of which had rebel movements fighting separatist campaigns against the Burmese troops. Leaders of these ethnic communities have confirmed that reconciliation between the majority Burmese and non-Burmese minorities is possible through dialogue with Suu Kyi.

They relate to her views of a democratic Burma that she has articulated over the years in her speeches and writings. “When we ask for democracy, all we are asking is that our people should be allowed to live in tranquility, under the rule of law, protected by institutions which will guarantee our rights, the rights that will enable us to maintain our human dignity, to heal the long festering wounds and to allow love and courage to flourish,” she is once reported to have said. “Is that such a very unreasonable demand?”

(By MARWAAN MACAN-MARKAR In Bangkok/ IPS Asia-Pacific/ AsiaNews)

MySinchew 2008.09.20

http://www.mysinchew.com/node/15946?tid=14

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 20, 2008 at 6:57 am

World focus on Burma (20 September 2008)

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Detained Rangoon-based journalist transferred to Insein prison
Mizzima.com, India –
Rangoon – Journalists seem to have become as big a threat to the Burmese military junta as dissident political activists. …

Saffron Revolution: bloodstained line between good and evil
Mizzima.com, India –
These are difficult days for all Burmese democracy advocates inside Burma. Prominent political leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi continue to suffer neglect …

Religious freedom continues to decline in Asia
AsiaNews.it, Italy –
In September of 2007, tens of thousands of Burmese Buddhist monks protested the military dictatorship, which responded with killings, torture, …

Myanmar action over tainted milk
The Press Association –
Myanmar health authorities will take “relevant actions” against milk powder imported from China, a privately run newspaper said on Saturday. …

Ten National Security Myths
Middle East Online, UK –
Second, a League of Democracies would be no more effective than other organizations in solving humanitarian problems like those in Burma and Darfur or in …

Graphic novels with drive
The Gazette (Montreal), Canada –
The author’s follow-up, Shenzhen, employed a similar strategy, and now Delisle returns with Burma Chronicles. This time the everyman is a househusband, …

Calling upon Comprehensive Packages for Survivors of Trafficking
The Seoul Times, South Korea –
The primary objective of the dialogue was to deliberate upon the need for a cohesive approach to combat human trafficking and also address the larger issues …

Commemorating the first anniversary of the monks’ uprising in which thousands of Buddhist monks protested against Burma’s military dictatorship and the 20th …

Remarks on Release of 2008 International Religious Freedom Report
US Department of State, DC –
In September 2007, the Burmese military regime violently suppressed peaceful prodemocracy demonstrations led by courageous Buddhist monks and ordinary …

In Burma after the cyclone
Point Reyes Light, CA –
Harrison recently returned to Nicasio from Burma and the Irrawaddy delta, where he witnessed first hand the effects of Cyclone Nargis. …

Birmania. Siti dell’esilio sotto attacco
Fragmenta, Italy –
Many in the Burmese community—both inside and outside Burma—believe that the military authorities are behind the cyber attack. Our Web hosting companies …

Thai party rallies behind Somchai
Haber 27, Turkey –
… he failed to appear at the start of a trial investigating soft government loans to the military regime in neighbouring Burma while he was in office. …

US Religious Freedom Report Faults North Korea, Eritrea, Iran
Voice of America –
Those countries are Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan – the same grouping as last year. …

Burmese Junta Attacks Websites
Web Host Industry Review –
By David Hamilton, theWHIR.com September 19, 2008 — (WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW) — The ruling Burmese junta has launched a series of online attacks against …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 20, 2008 at 6:46 am

Day 26 – Thai Protesters Wary of new PM’s Call for Talks

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PPP meeting on new cabinet Bangkok Post, Thailand –

New Thai cabinet to be named in coming days — PM Inquirer.net, Philippines –

PPP’s list completed by 90 per cent: Somchai Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

Talks possible soon Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Negotiations between PAD, government to start after cabinet forms Thai News Agency MCOT, Thailand –

Jongrak insists police will not use force to disperse protesters Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

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Thailand: New PM inspects new temporary offices at Don Mueang airport Mathaba.Net, UK –

Security tight at Thai rally Straits Times, Singapore –

Ruangroj ready for defence, Thanong snubs PPP Bangkok Post, Thailand –

A big hand for PAD supporters Bangkok Post, Thailand –

New politics, new conflicts Bangkok Post, Thailand – 3

Thai Protesters Wary of Prime Minister Somchai’s Call for Talks Bloomberg –

Mahathir sees West’s hypocrisy in bail-outs GulfNews, United Arab Emirates –

Thaksin gives nod for key positions Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Hopes for breakthrough Bangkok Post, Thailand –

PAD restricts vote-seekers Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Politics as a family affair Bangkok Post, Thailand –

PAD supporters should dump leaders Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

Somchai upbeat after ‘good’ phone talk with pad leader sondhi Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

Somchai blazing a trail Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

New cabinet line-up to finish in a few days : PM Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

Somchai must lead road to reconciliation Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

Thai PM Takes Actions against Crisis Prensa Latina, Cuba –

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 20, 2008 at 6:29 am