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Archive for December 12th, 2008

Dirty list of foreign companies supporting the regime in Burma

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the dirty list with company contact details

Dear friends,
We’ve just launched our new edition of the “Dirty List”. It’s the biggest list we’ve ever produced, containing 170 companies that directly or indirectly fund Burma’s brutal regime.
Thanks to your emails over the past year many companies have pulled out of Burma, depriving the regime of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Remember XL insurance? Cotton Traders? Arig insurance? They’ve all pulled out in the past year. So have others like Trailblazer Guides, Jet Gold Corp, CHC and Aquatic.

Please write to a few of these companies right now and tell them to stop bankrolling Burma’s generals:

Every single day foreign companies give millions of dollars to the regime; allowing them to buy the bullets, guns and supplies for the army that keeps them in power. These companies are financing a regime that rapes five-year-old girls, shoots peaceful protestors and leaves storm victims to die.

This is your chance to speak directly to the companies that fund the regime. Tell them why what they’re doing is wrong. Tell them why they must respect the wishes of Burma’s democracy movement and pull out of Burma now:

Do let us know if you receive any replies. You can send them to

Thank you for your continued support.

Johnny Chatterton

P.S. We also just published our monthly newsletter “Last month in Burma” which gives you the latest news from Burma over the last month. You can read them for free here:

Was this email forwarded to you by a friend? If you are not already a member of the Burma Campaign UK e-mail network, and would like to receive these updates directly, you can subscribe by sending a blank e-mail to:

If you would like to unsubscribe from this mailing list, please send a blank email to:

The Burma Campaign UK
Registered Company No. 3804730
Registered office address
28 Charles Square
London N1 6HT


Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 12, 2008 at 2:20 pm

World focus on Burma (12 December 2008)

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Burma needs Rambos, India –
by Mizzima News As the year is about to end and the junta’s plan for its proposed election draws ever nearer, many democracy and human rights activists …

Former Norwegian PM urges action on Burma
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Dec 12, 2008 (DVB)–Former Norwegian premier Kjell Magne Bondevik expressed his hopes for a democratic transition in Burma but said a fair election could not …

Health care at risk in cyclone hit areas in Burma: UN, India –
“There are very positive results from projects related to prevention and treatment of diseases like Malaria and HIV/Aids in Myanmar [Burma]. …

Rangoon Residents Suffer Power Cuts
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
… sector in Burma in recent years. Quoted in the state-run newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar, he said, “There was only 228 megawatts in the past. …

Tay Za: Recession Taking a Toll
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

The junta’s response to Cyclone Nargis in May of this year has also been highly criticized. Tay Za’s meeting with executives took place just one day after …

Sundance Film Festival lineup announced
Desert Valley Times, UT –
211:Anna / Italy – The story of Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist and human rights activist who risked her life to report the truth about the Chechen …

First’s lady’s Biography: Laura Bush, India –
She also met with President Hamid Karzai and expressed America’s continued support for Afghanistan’s new democracy, which ensures equal rights for women and …

A vote against ‘discipline democracy’
Asia Times Online, Hong Kong –
By Nehginpao Kipgen Shed another tear for Myanmar’s (Burma’s) swelling population of prisoners of conscience. In recent weeks, the country’s ruling military …

Junta Releases Activist after 2 Months of Interrogation
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
By AP RANGOON — Burma’s military authorities freed a prominent member of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party Thursday after holding him …

Weekly Business Roundup (December 12, 2008)
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
… but the Hindu News newspaper reports that Burma’s neighbor will now face competition from several Middle East countries. It quotes the Union of Myanmar …

Child trafficking continues between Burma and Thailand
Human Rights Tribune, Switzerland –

It has Thailand’s largest Burmese population, estimated at 80000-plus, nine refugee camps, and probably the largest concentration of Myanmar-focused …

YANGON (AFP) — Myanmar’s military government is working on pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal against her detention but has rejected her …

Ashin Gambira awarded honourary citizenship by Italy, India –
by Zarni Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Ashin Gambira, sentenced to a lengthy prison term for galvanizing the monk community into staging protests in Burma last …

Asia and Africa’s wild elephants live longer than their zoo …
Fresh News, India –
… National Park in Kenya; and the Myanma Timber Enterprise in Myanmar (Burma), a government-run logging operation where Asian elephants are put to work. …

Myanmar junta sweeps clean for 2010 polls
TopNews, India –
Yangon – The two pivotal events for Myanmar in 2008 – Cyclone Nargis and a national referendum – fell on the same month, highlighting the ruling junta’s …

Nobel Women
The Globalist, DC –
Mother Teresa of India and Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma remain perhaps the most famous of recent winners for their work on eliminating poverty and facilitating …

Force: The Real ‘F’ Word, CA –
The Burmese junta ruthlessly represses both activists promoting democracy and ethnic groups fighting for autonomy. Lebanon has suffered through civil war, …


After Pax Americana?

Today’s Zaman – 
The evidence of this will be seen not only in global institutions but also in places like Darfur, Zimbabwe and Burma. Until this happens, let us all hope …

Liberal International – Bangkok Executive 2008

International Federation of Liberal Youth (press release)
The mission includes a visit to the Maela Refugee Camp in Mae-Sot, and meetings with several exiled Burmese democrats and human rights advocates.

Elephants kept in zoos die younger than in the wild

Independent – 
… case of the African species – in Amboseli national park in Kenya, or – in the case of the Asian elephant – in the Myanmar Timber Enterprise of Burma. …

Mugabe, please tell the West to shut-up!

Triumph – 
They are wrong in Iraq, they are wrong in Myanmar (Burma), they are wrong in Sudan. The attempt to export democracy to Iraq backfired. …

Panel looks at ‘the crime of all crimes’

Harvard University Gazette
She’s deputy director of Physicians for Human Rights, a Cambridge-based research and advocacy group that in 1997 was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize …

Study: Elephants live longer in wild than zoos

The Associated Press – 

Myanmar is the country formerly known as Burma. There is some good news, though. The life spans of zoo elephants have improved in recent years, …

Zoo life harmful to elephants: Research

Leader Post

… living in European zoos have approximately half the average life span of elephants born into the logging industry in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. …

[WT논평]The plight of Myanmar

세계일보 – 
Myanmar, formerly called Burma, gained worldwide attention when it was hit by Cyclone Nargis in May, leading to the death or disappearance of up to 140000 …

MYANMAR-THAILAND: Child trafficking continues, but not fuelled by …, NY –

MAE SOT, 11 December 2008 (IRIN) – When Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in May, leaving close to 140000 people dead or missing, aid workers feared an increase in …

Burma’s Nuclear Temptation

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The Epoch Times

Dec 10, 2008

Rich with uranium and desperate for control, the Burmese junta may find a nuclear option attractive

By Bertil Lintner

North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Yong-Il (C) visits Shwedagon Pagoda along with officials in Myanmar city of Yangon, April 2007. (Khin Maung Win/AFP/Getty Images)

CHIANG MAI: Over the past year, Southeast Asia’s diplomatic community has tried to sort fact from fiction in a stream of unconfirmed reports from Burma, the region’s most isolated and secretive country. Burma’s fledgling nuclear program with Russian assistance and its mysterious connections with North Korea raise concern in the region about its purpose.

According to Burmese exiles in Thailand, the Russians and North Koreans assist the Burmese in developing nuclear capability. But wary of similar reports by Iraqi exiles a few years ago, which turned out to be false, the international community remains skeptical. In a research paper for Griffith University, for example, Australian scholar Andrew Selth, dismisses the reports.

Nevertheless, certain facts are not in doubt. Burma first initiated a nuclear research program as early as 1956, when its then-democratic government set up the Union of Burma Atomic Energy Center, UBAEC, in then-capital Rangoon. Unrelated to the country’s defense industries, it came to a halt when the military seized power in 1962. New power-holders, led by General Ne Win did not trust UBAEC head Hla Nyunt.

In February 2001, Burma’s present junta, the State Peace and Development Council decided to revitalize the country’s nuclear program, and Russia’s Atomic Energy Ministry announced plans to build a 10-megawatt nuclear research reactor in central Burma. In July 2001, Burma established a Department of Atomic Energy, believed to be the brainchild of the Minister of Science and Technology, U Thaung, a graduate of Burma’s Defense Services Academy and former ambassador to the United States. US-trained nuclear scientist Thein Po Saw was identified as a leading advocate for nuclear technology in Burma.

At a press conference in Rangoon on January 21, 2002, Vice-Chief of Military Intelligence Major-General Kyaw Win issued a statement: “Myanmar’s consideration of building a nuclear research reactor is based on the peaceful purposes getting modern technologies needed for the country, availability of radioisotopes being used peacefully, training technicians and performing feasibility study for generation of electricity from nuclear power.”

While Burma suffers from chronic power shortages, the need for a research reactor, used mainly for medical purposes, is unclear. Radioisotopes allow imaging of the brain, bones, organs, lungs and blood flow, advanced technology for Burma’s basic health services.

However, observers pointed out the Russian-made nuclear-research reactor that the Burmese authorities sought to acquire is similar to the 5-megawatt research reactor that the then–Soviet Union installed at Yongbyon in North Korea in 1965, from which North Korea later extracted plutonium for a nuclear device. Burma’s military leaders couldn’t help but notice how North Korea stood up to the US, a harsh critic of the Burmese regime, mainly due to its nuclear program.

Reports have been murky since. In April 2007, days after the restoration of diplomatic ties between Burma and North Korea – broken since North Koreans detonated a bomb in Rangoon in 1983 – a North Korean freighter, the Kang Nam I, docked at Thilawa port. Burmese officials claimed that the ship sought shelter from a storm. But two Burmese reporters working for a Japanese news agency were briefly detained when they went to the port to investigate, indicating possible other, more secret reasons for the visit.
According to the July 2007 issue of the Irrawaddy, a Thailand-based publication by Burmese exiles: “by a strange coincidence, the 2,900-ton North Korean cargo vessel MV Bong Hoafan…sought shelter from a storm and anchored at a Burmese port last November. The Burmese government reported that an on-board inspection had ‘found no suspicious material or military equipment.’ But journalists and embassies in Rangoon remained skeptical.”

At about the same time, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported “a North Korean ship under US surveillance was believed to have unloaded self-propelled artillery at a Myanmar port.”

The deal with Russia was stalled for several years, but in May 2007, Russia’s atomic energy agency, Rosatom, announced construction of the nuclear-research reactor. According to Rosatom, the reactor would use low-enriched uranium, not plutonium. Up to 350 Burmese nationals, most military personnel, already trained in Russia under the initial 2001 agreement, and since then several hundred more trained at Russian institutions.

Signatories of the agreement reached in Moscow on May 15, 2007 were U Thaung and Rosatom head Sergey Kiriyenko. According to Rosatom’s press release: ” The sides have agreed to cooperate on the establishment of a center for nuclear studies in the territory of Myanmar (the general contractor will be Atomstroyexport). The center will comprise a 10-megawatt light water reactor working on 20 per cent-enriched uranium-235, an activation analysis laboratory, a medical isotope production laboratory, silicon doping system, nuclear waste treatment and burial facilities. The center will be controlled by IAEA.”

Despite that claim, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported on May 17, 2007, that Burma had not reported plans to build a nuclear reactor. As a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Burma is required to allow inspections of any nuclear facilities.

The agreement does not mention North Korea, but in November 2003 the Norway-based broadcasting station Democratic Voice of Burma, run by Burmese exiles, reported that 80 Burmese military personnel had departed for North Korea to study “nuclear and atomic energy technology.”

The report remains unconfirmed, its source unclear. If Burmese military personnel traveled to North Korea, it’s more likely for training in maintenance of missiles, which Burma then wanted to buy from North Korea but could not yet afford.

Alarm bells rang in August 2008, after India withdrew permission for a North Korean plane to overfly its airspace on route to Iran, just before taking off from Mandalay in Burma where it had made a stopover. The Ilyushin-62 carried unidentified cargo, and it’s destination after the stopover was unclear.

Reports of some cooperation between Burma, Russia, North Korea and Iran have also come from two Burmese nationals, an army officer and a scientist, who recently left the country. According to them, a Russian-supplied 10-megawatt research reactor is being built, at Myaing, north of Pakokku, said to be for peaceful research. But according to the defectors, another facility exists south of the old hill station of Myin Oo Lwin, formerly known as Maymyo. Three Russians supposedly work there while a group of North Koreans are said to engage in tunneling and constructing a water-cooling system. The defectors also assert that in 2007 an Iranian intelligence officer, identified only as “Mushavi,” visited Burma. Apart from sharing nuclear knowledge, he reportedly provided advice on missile systems using computer components from Milan.

Burma has uranium deposits, and the Ministry of Energy has identified five sources of ore in the country, all low-grade uranium unsuitable for military purposes. But the defectors claim that two more uranium mines in Burma are not included in official reports: one near Mohnyin in Kachin State and another in the vicinity of Mogok in Mandalay Division. The ore is supposedly transported to a Thabeikkyin refinery, conveniently located between the two alleged mines.

Until such reports can be verified, or refuted, speculations remain. But a nuclear-powered Burma would be a nightmare for all neighbors and would upset the balance of power in the region. All that is certain is that Burma has a nuclear program. It may be years, if not decades, away from developing nuclear-weapons capability. But the fact that the country’s military leadership experiments with nuclear power is cause for concern.

Bertil Lintner is a Swedish journalist based in Thailand and the author of several works on Asia, including “Blood Brothers: The Criminal Underworld of Asia” and “Great Leader, Dear Leader: Demystifying North Korea under the Kim Clan.”

Reprinted with permission from YaleGlobal Online— . Copyright 2008 Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.

Last Updated
Dec 10, 2008

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 12, 2008 at 2:52 am

Posted in Varieties in English

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Zimbabwe’s Mugabe wanted out

Mugabe should go, US ambassador says

United Press International

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) — The US ambassador to Zimbabwe, citing a “man-made humanitarian crisis,” Thursday echoed world leaders who want Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe out.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 12, 2008 at 2:30 am

Posted in World top news