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အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ က်ဆံုးမွ တတိုင္းျပည္လံုး စစ္မွန္တဲ့ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို ခံစားရမယ္

Archive for the ‘Varieties in English’ Category

Is Burma’s former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt to be freed soon?

Mizzima

by Salai Pi Pi
Monday, 26 January 2009 22:20

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New Delhi (Mizzima) – Rumours that Burma’s military junta will soon free its detained officers above the rank of Colonel  to involve them in the ensuing  election, is making the rounds in  military circles in Burma, a source in the military establishment said.

The source said the junta is planning to release former Military Intelligence (MI) officers of ranks above Colonel, who were arrested, charged and detained along with the MI chief and former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt.

“Some family members of former MI officials are expecting their release,” the source told Mizzima.

The source added that the release is likely to include the former MI chief Khin Nyunt, who is currently under house arrest.

According to the source, who declined to be named, General Khin Nyunt, who was dismissed and arrested on charges of corruption in 2004, will be used to contest the election along with the recently release Sandar Win, daughter of former military dictator General Ne Win.

Khin Nyunt was tried in a Special Tribunal inside Insein prison in Rangoon and was sentenced to 44 years on corruption charges in 2005. However, it is widely believed that he is being put under house arrest instead of being detained in prison.

While Mizzima was unable to make an independent verification of the rumours, sources said it is spreading like wild fire in military circles in Rangoon.

A Thailand based Burmese military expert Htay Aung said, while he is unaware of the rumours, he does not rule out the possibility of the release of Khin Nyunt as the ruling junta does not act in keeping with the law.

“Since the law of the country is in the hands of regime, they can do whatever they want to. Sometimes speculations could also be true,” Htay Aung said.

In Burma, whose military rulers keep a tight hold over freedom of expression and information flow, rumours are common, and in many cases, tends to bear a high percentage of truth.

Htay Aung said he has heard that the regime had occasionally secretly allowed the former Intelligence Chief Khin Nyunt to go out despite being kept under house arrest.

“I have heard that the regime often allowed him [Khin Nyunt] to meet some guests,” Htay Aung added.

Link to 2010 election

According to the source, rumours are spreading that the military regime is convincing General Khin Nyunt and the recently freed Sanda Win, daughter of the former dictator General Ne Win, to form a political party to contest in the ensuing 2010 elections.

Khin Nyunt, after he took over as Prime Minister in 2003, announced the seven-step road map to democracy that the present regime is still implementing.

According to the roadmap, a general election is in slated for 2010.

Htay Aung, however, dismissed speculations on Sanda Win and Khin Nyunt teaming up to form a political party to contest the elections, saying, “The regime will not allow their enemy to take over power.”

According to him, the Generals in power including Snr. Gen Than Shwe consider Khin Nyunt dangerous for the military rulers, and does not prefer having him on their side.

He, however, said, if Khin Nyunt is to be freed, the generals might be thinking of using him to negotiate with cease-fire groups, whom Khin Nyuint, during his tenure as the MI chief, convinced to stop fighting.

“Compared to the leading generals of the regime, he [Khin Nyunt] has strong influence over the cease-fire groups,” said Htay Aung. “So they might want to reuse him to handle them [cease-fire groups].”

Sources close to the ceasefire groups said, the Burmese military regime has recently stepped up pressure on cease-fire groups to disarm and form political parties to contest the elections.

However, major ceasefire groups such as the Kachin Independent Organization (KIO) and United Wa State Army (UWSA) said they will not surrender their arms though they do not oppose the junta’s planned elections.

Possible Fresh crackdown

The source, further said, while rumours of the possibilities of Khin Nyunt being freed are spreading, military supremo Snr. Gen Than Shwe is still nervous about the possibilities of Khin Nyunt’s followers remaining in the army.

Than Shwe’s fresh suspicions about Khin Nyunt followers, might lead to another brutal operation within the military in the form of a crackdown on Khin Nyunt’s associates, the source added.

http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/1603-is-burmas-former-prime-minister-khin-nyunt-to-be-freed-soon.html

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 27, 2009 at 12:04 am

A New U.S. Strategy for Burma

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Mizzima

by Zo Tum Hmung

Sunday, 25 January 2009 19:46

The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States will mark major changes in policy in many areas at home and internationally. However, the Obama administration is highly likely to continue the Bush policy of pushing for restoration of civilian democratic rule in Burma. The new administration should try a new strategy toward the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the ruling military regime in Burma by finding a common ground among key international players on the situation in Burma.

Because time is of the essence, now is the time to think differently – before Burma’s 2010 election.

The United States has pursued bilateral sanctions against the SPDC for years. Burma’s powerful neighbors, China and India, have frustrated this. People close to the Indo-Burma Kaladan project, a $100 million port project in Burma, have confirmed to me that India is fully funding it to foster closer ties with Burma. In order to pursue economic recovery on domestically, Washington will need closer ties with both Beijing and Delhi. Neither India nor China will abandon their strategic relations with Burma, until the United States works with them as equal partners in solving Burma’s problems.

The Bush administration began to engage with members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China and India bilaterally to put pressure on the Burmese military regime. The new administration should convene a multilateral talks involving all the parties concerned.

The Bush administration also put Burma on the agenda of the UN Security Council – an idea initially pushed by a June 2003 report from the Council on Foreign Relations task force. The Council members including Senators Richard Lugar (then the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee), Diane Feinstein, and Mitch McConnell, and the late Congressman Tom Lantos. The report by Vaclav Havel and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in September 2005 reinforced the notion of Burma as a threat to international peace and security. When a draft resolution finally made it to the Security Council in January 2007, both Russia and China vetoed it. In October 2007, however, Russia and China agreed to a Presidential Statement from the Security Council, condemning violence against protests in Burma and calling for concerned parties to form a dialogue on national reconciliation.

In addition to the unitateral sanctions and working through the Security Council, the United States has supported the efforts of the UN Special Envoys. When Suu Kyi was released in 2002, the United States was hopeful for change. However, the Special UN Envoy Ismael Razali was soon frustrated by the lack of progress and resigned. In 2003, Suu Kyi was arrested again and has remained under house arrest ever since. The appointment of Ibrahim Gambari as a UN envoy led to further hopes, but has yet to produce meaningful results.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also convened an informal consultation of “Friends of the Secretary-General on Burma,” 14 nations, to discuss the matter but not pursue specific action. The Secretary General was almost on the right track with his “Friends,” but the process was informal and there were too many nations involved.

Michael Green, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, recently wrote in Foreign Affairs that the UN approach has failed. In September 2007, I wrote in Mizzima News that the UN approach had failed to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

The realistic prospect of regime change either through the support of opposition groups in the 2010 election or through the support of internal uprisings is very slim. The military regime has already reserved 25 percent, of the parliamentary seats for the Army, giving themselves the upper hand before a single vote has been cast. They are determined not to repeat the 1990 election, when Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory. The military regime will protect its power by any means necessary.

The current strategy has failed for years to produce any meaningful results. Pursuing it further has even less chance of success. This argument does not suggest abandoning this course completely, especially pursuing a Security Council resolution. Rather, it is suggesting coordination of all the concerned parties through a formal framework which could eventually lead to a Security Council resolution.

Given the frustrations of the current, unilateral, uncoordinated approach, Washington should redouble its efforts, and lead all the parties concerned with Burma’s future in a formal, multilateral framework to find a common ground. There are three keys to a successful process.

First, President Obama should appoint a U.S. Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma as called for by Rep. Lantos’ Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008 as soon as possible. The Representative should be someone with extensive experience in negotiations and diplomacy.

Second, the Representative should take the lead in framing formal “Seven-Party Talks” involving China, India, ASEAN, the European Union, and the United Nations. I suggested in September 2007 in Mizzima News that a framework similar to the negotiations over North Korea would be the most effective way of reaching a negotiated settlement on Burma’s future. After he left his post with the Bush administration, Michael Green suggested six-party talks, leaving out the United Nations.

Third, the Representative should lead the Seven Parties in sending a common message to the SPDC. It will not be easy, but it is crucial to speak with one voice. The message should include the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as other political prisoners, along with democratic reforms. In delivering this message, the carrot offered to the SPDC should be reassurance that they are part of solution for Burma. The stick should be the promise of punitive action against them and the prospect of holding them accountable for all their actions.

There is no easy solution. But the new administration should launch a new strategy immediately. Given President Obama’s strength and popularity abroad and at home, and bipartisan Congressional support for action on Burma, Obama has a unique opportunity to forge a new path to reform.

Zo Tum Hmung is a former president of the Chin Freedom Coalition. He received a master’s degree from Harvard University, where he concentrated on foreign policy.

http://www.mizzima.com/edop/commentary/1600-a-new-us-strategy-for-burma.html



Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 26, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Varieties in English

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Obama – the first 100 hours

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Obama – the first 100 hours

At 4pm today, Barack Obama will have been president for 100 hours. From ordering the closure of Guantánamo Bay to approving missile strikes, we take a look at the first 100 things he did in office

Oliver Burkeman and Ed Pilkington
The Guardian, Saturday 24 January 2009
Article history

1 Said: “So help me God.” The phrase is not required by the constitution, so it’s arguable that he, Barack Obama, was president by the time he said it, making these his first words in office.

2 Delivered a 17-minute inauguration address, telling the crowds it was time to “pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America”.

3 Invoked biggest cheer of the day from the 2 million-plus crowd with the words: “Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many … But know this, America – they will be met.”

4 Then the words: “We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” George Bush, sitting to his left, looks decidedly uncomfortable.

5 With his wife, Michelle, escorted George and Laura Bush to the waiting helicopter, where the two men hugged before the former president began his journey home to Texas.

6 As the helicopter disappeared into clear skies, Obama now had Washington, and the United States, all to himself. His relief was palpable.

7 Inside the Capitol building, signed his first documents as president, including cabinet nominations.

8 “I’m a lefty. Get used to it,” he said, as he signed. Obama is the fourth southpaw, or left-handed, president out of the past five (Dubya is right-handed).

9 Signed a proclamation declaring 20 January 2009 a national day of renewal and reconciliation.

10 Completed the signing session, looking wistfully at the object in his left hand. “I was told not to swipe the pen,” he said.

11 Attended a lunch with congressional leaders, where he dined on a menu from Lincoln’s day: pheasant, duck and apple cake served on replica Lincoln White House china.

12 Addressed the assembled crowd, minus Ted Kennedy, who was removed on a stretcher with medical difficulties.

13 Entered his limousine, nicknamed The Beast, to begin the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to his new home at number 1600.

14 The armour-plated Beast has tinted windows, but through them Obama could be seen clearly practising his military salute.

15 Walked two stretches of the 1.7-mile route, waving at the crowds lining the street.

16 Briefly entered the White House with his family – the Obamas’ first moments in their new home.

17 As he entered the North Porticoe into the central entrance, he passed a portrait of the elder George Bush on his left and Bill Clinton on the right. Straight ahead of him, above the door to the Blue Room, was the seal of the US president. His seal.

18 Took his position in the reviewing stand outside the White House, to watch 40 bands and other groups parade past, including the World Famous Lawn Rangers from Illinois, who pushed decorated lawn mowers.

19 Tried out that salute, as cadets marched by. Not bad, though he needs to keep his hand straight.

20 Instructed military prosecutors to seek a 120-day halt to legal proceedings involving detainees at Guantánamo Bay.

21 Issued an order instructing government agencies to halt all pending regulations signed by Bush – a way of combating efforts by the outgoing administration to force through last-minute changes without congressional approval.

22 Danced with Michelle to Beyonce’s rendition of At Last, by Etta James, as the opening dance of the Neighbourhood Ball.

23 Appeared to step on the train of Michelle’s custom-designed gown by Jason Wu, but otherwise showed himself to be a decent dancer.

24 Gave a brief interview to ABC News, whose reporter said: “Mr President – sounds good, doesn’t it?” “It’s got a certain ring to it,” he replied.

25 Danced and spoke again at the Home State Ball, for Illinois and Hawaii.

26 A quick transfer to the Commander-in-Chief ball, with many military attendees, and a satellite link to war zones. Obama danced with Army Sergeant Margaret Herrera of Texas, who burst into tears.

27 Visited the Youth Ball, for people aged between 18 and 35.

28 Visited the Home State Ball for Delaware and Pennsylvania, in honour of Joe Biden, his vice-president.

29 Briefly visited the Mid-Atlantic Ball.

30 … And the Western Ball …

31 … And the Midwestern Ball …

32 … And the Southern Ball …

33 … And the Eastern Ball. The couple looked increasingly exhausted as the evening progressed, and sped up their appearances, ending the night ahead of schedule.

34 Back to White House at 12.55am to spend his first night there.

35 The Obamas slept in the master bedroom in the private residence on the first floor of the White House. Their daughters, Malia and Sasha, who were treated to a treasure hunt by White House staff on their first evening culminating with a surprise visit by their favourite music act the Jonas Brothers, slept in bedrooms over the corridor once occupied by Amy Carter, Tricia Nixon, Luci Johnson and Caroline Kennedy.

36 Four hours of sleep and he was up and at it on his first full day. Lights were reported in the private residence at 5am.

37 Obama probably squeezed in a visit to the exercise room on the second floor. He has daily 45-minute gym sessions.

38 Spent his first 10 minutes alone in the Oval Office.

39 Got to sit for the first time behind the Resolute desk, a gift from Queen Victoria to America in 1880.

40 Read the letter that Bush had left for him, according to tradition, in the top drawer of the desk, marked: “To #44, From #43”. Its contents have not been revealed.

41 Discussed the day’s events with his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. It’s their first Oval Office meeting.

42 Posed for pictures taken by his personal White House photographer of him and Emanuel in deep discussion. Press photographers later expressed their anger that they weren’t invited to capture the moment.

43 Briefly spoke with his wife, Michelle, in the Oval Office.

44 Attended morning-after post-inauguration service with his family, the Bidens, and the Clintons, at the Washington National Cathedral.

45 Laughed when Rev Samuel Lloyd proclaimed: “This is their first full day on the job and the best way we can imagine to begin is by praying for them.”

46 Listened, with head bowed, to the first sermon at a president’s inaugural church service delivered by Rev Sharon Watkins.

47 Telephoned the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas – according to Abbas’s spokesman, the call was Obama’s first to a foreign leader.

48 Phoned the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert.

49 Phoned King Abdullah of Jordan.

50 Phoned Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak. The Middle Eastern calls, Obama’s press spokesman said, were intended “to communicate his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term”.

51 Issued executive order limiting the powers of former presidents and vice-presidents to block the release of sensitive records of their time in the White House. It would allow the administration to approve release of former vice-president Dick Cheney’s records, among others, against his objections.

52 Issued instruction to government agencies to be more responsive to freedom of information requests.

53 Announced a tightening of rules on ex-lobbyists working in government.

54 Announced a pay freeze for his staff earning $100,000 (£73,000) or more. “Families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington,” he said.

55 Witnessed the swearing-in of about 50 senior members of White House staff.

56 Told his top team that “transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency”.

57 Biden made a joke about Chief Justice Roberts’s flubbing of the presidential oath as he prepared to lead the swearing in. Obama did not look amused. Was this one transparency too far?

58 Personally greeted each of the newly sworn-in staff.

59 Obama hosted an “open house” in the White House for 200 people who had been granted tickets on a first-come, first-served basis; some were in tears.

60 “Welcome, enjoy yourself,” the president told one young man. “Roam around. Don’t break anything.”

61 Met the joint chiefs of staff and other members of his national security team to discuss Iraq and Afghanistan. His first chance to check out the wizardry in the Situation Room, with its screens receiving satellite images from around the world and its banks of incoming top-secret messages.

62 Met economic advisors to discuss his stimulus package, which could be worth $900bn.

63 Re-swore the oath of office in the White House Map Room out of an “abundance of caution”. Or alternatively as a way of killing off the storm of right-wing agitprop that has been tearing through the internet suggesting that the first botched attempt at the oath means Obama is not rightfully president.

64 This time they got it right. Roberts asked “Are you ready to take the oath?” Obama replied: “I am, and we’re going to do it very slowly.”

65 “We decided it was so much fun.” Obama joked to reporters after the event. “The bad news … is there’s 12 more balls.”

66 Ate dinner with his family at the White House on Wednesday evening in the private dining room on the first floor.

67 Was waited upon by the 95-strong White House staff. Barack and Michelle will not have to make their own bed for as long as they are in the mansion, though Malia and Sasha will, at their mother’s insistence.

68 Gave a speech at a Wednesday night Thank You Ball for campaign workers at the Washington DC Armoury. “You guys dress a lot sharper than you did in Iowa!” he told the crowd.

69 Walked up and down the rope line shaking campaign workers’ hands – officially, the final act of the inauguration celebrations.

70 On Thursday morning, said goodbye to his daughters, Sasha and Malia, who were returning to Washington’s Sidwell Friends school after two days off for the inauguration.

71 Back to the gym for likely work-out.

72 Absorbed the news that the specially commissioned piece of music by John Williams played “live” at his inauguration by a quartet of world-class musicians had in fact been recorded two days’ previously.

73 Released statement on the 36th anniversary of the landmark Roe v Wade supreme court judgment, reaffirming his commitment to protecting abortion rights.

74 To applause, signed executive order requiring the closure of the military prison at Guantánamo within one year.

75 Obama said: “The message we are sending around the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism … and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals.” Was Bush watching on TV at home in Dallas cringing?

76 Signed second executive order requiring the closure of the CIA’s network of secret overseas prisons, and making a commitment to not using torture in interrogations.

77 Signed third executive order establishing an interagency taskforce on detainees, including Hillary Clinton and the defence secretary, Robert Gates, to decide what to do with the remaining Guantánamo inmates.

78 Signed directive to delay proceedings in the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, currently awaiting a hearing at the supreme court, so that the president’s team can review it. Marri is accused of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent.

79 Visited the state department, where Clinton had earlier made an introductory address to staff.

80 Watched, with impassive face, as Clinton said that she had appointed two special envoys to world trouble zones. The appointments had previously been billed as Obama’s own. Was this a taste of rivalry to come?

81 Endured second gaffe by his vice-president in a week. Biden stepped into the tension between Obama and Clinton, saying at first that the president would announce the envoys and then hurriedly saying Clinton would present them.

82 Clinton got to name George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader and Irish peace negotiator, as special envoy to the Middle East peace process. Obama later claimed him as his envoy. Who is in charge here?

83 Clinton named the former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke as special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama later names him as his envoy. Bully to you, secretary of state!

84 Called on Hamas to end its rocket fire into Israel, and for Israel to “complete the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza”, adding that Gaza’s borders should be opened to humanitarian aid.

85 Paid brief surprise visit to the White House press area, startling journalists. “Good to see you guys. I just wanted to make sure that I had a chance to say hello,” he said. “I gotta say, it’s smaller than I thought.”

86 Observing that CNN and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News had adjacent booths, he likened them to the goal for Israel and the Palestinians: “Living side by side in peace and security,” he noted.

87 Slight tetchiness entered the proceedings when a reporter asked a serious question about his nomination of a former lobbyist as number two at the Pentagon. “I can’t come in and shake hands if I’m gonna get grilled every time,” Obama said.

88 Said that he had won his fight to keep a Blackberry. The president will be given a $3,000 special version with encryption to secure his email exchanges with a very limited number of vetted correspondents.

89 Convened meeting with congressional leaders on the economic crisis.

90 Invited Republican leaders into the White House to air their discontent over the bail-out package. He is proving himself to be adept in defusing potential enemies.

91 Sat in on the daily briefing of the National Security Council giving updates on threats around the world.

92 Approves first American missile strikes under his presidency on tribal areas of Pakistan.

93 Started the first of what will now be a new daily series of briefings on the economy led by Larry Summers.

94 Budget meeting. With projections of an annual deficit of more than $1tr this year, there was plenty to talk about.

95 Rounded off a gruelling first three days with a meeting in the Oval Office with Timothy Geithner, his nominee for treasury secretary who is still embroiled in a drawn-out confirmation process in the Senate.

96 The Obamas had a choice of possible entertainments to round off their week. The choicest of all, most past presidents agree, is the private theatre, where they can watch Hollywood films before they are put on general release.

97 Back to the gym. There is no way Obama would miss his work-out on a Saturday.

98 Finally, a chance to take in the White House and its grounds at a slightly more relaxed tempo. The Obamas have said they will continue to spend weekends in their Chicago home, but this weekend is likely to be a time for acclimatising in their new residence.

99 Obama may take the opportunity to test out the White House basketball court. The court has been modified to put up two nets, allowing for a full game.

100 Obama retreats to his office on the first floor, puts his feet up on the desk, leans back and goes to light one of the cigarettes he has been struggling to give up. But alas smoking is banned in the White House.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/24/barack-obama-inauguration

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 24, 2009 at 1:29 am

Centennial birthday of Myanmar’s former UN chief marked – Summary

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Centennial birthday of Myanmar’s former UN chief marked – Summary

Posted : Thu, 22 Jan 2009 14:17:58 GMT Author : DPA

Yangon – Relatives of Myanmar’s former United Nations secretary general U Thant commemorated the centennial birthday of the controversial Burmese national hero on Thursday, amid reports that UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari will visit the country soon.

The birthday anniversary celebration was organized by the U Thant Institute and Aye Aye Thant, daughter of U Thant, who is also the president of the institute. UN representatives, foreign diplomats, a Myanmar foreign ministry representative attended the event, sources said.

Bishow Parajuli, the resident UN humanitarian coordinator, read out a message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the ceremony. Such events require official permission in Myanmar, which is ruled by a military junta.

The permission to hold a party commemorating U Thant’s centennial anniversary came amid reports that UN special envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari has planning a four-day visit to the country starting January 31.

Western diplomats at the U Thant ceremony confirmed the visit. Gambari’s last visit in August, 2008, proved a diplomatic disappointment, as he was denied meetings with both junta chief Senior General Than Shwe and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest since May, 2003.

The UN has made little progress in pushing the junta towards freeing Suu Kyi and over 2,000 political prisoners and introducing democratic reforms.

U Thant, one of the few Burmese to reach international stature, remains a controversial figure in military-controlled Myanmar, also known as Burma.

U Thant served as the third secretary general of the United Nations, from 1961 to 1971.

He was widely credited for his successful efforts for defusing Cuba’s Missile Crisis and ending Congo’s civil war during his term.

Born in Pantanaw town, in the Irrawaddy delta region, on January 22, 1909, U Thant died on November 25, 1974, while living abroad in self-imposed exile.

When his body was brought back to Yangon, then called Rangoon, for burial former military dictator General Ne Win refused it national honours.

University students snatched U Thant’s coffin as it was heading for an ordinary burial on December 5, 1974, and took it to the Rangoon University Student Union grounds, turning the funeral into an anti-Ne Win uprising.

On December 11, 1974, troops stormed the university campus, dug out U Thant’s coffin and reburied it at the current mausoleum at the foot of famous Shwedagon pagoda.

Many students were killed in the incident, marking one of the first serious uprisings against Ne Win.

The current military regime remains loyal to the memory of Ne Win, whose coup in 1962 overthrew the country’s first elected prime minister U Nu and put the country under the military’s grip, where it remains today.

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/251955,centennial-birthday-of-myanmars-former-un-chief-marked–summary.html

Activists mark U Thant’s centenary birthday

Democratic Voice of Burma

Jan 23, 2009 (DVB)–Political activists inside and outside Burma marked the centenary of former United Nations secretary-general U Thant’s birth on 22 January and called for today’s UN leaders to take action on Burma.

At the National League for Democracy headquarters in Rangoon, around 50 NLD youth members attended a talk on the life of U Thant led by senior party members Win Tin and Khin Maung Swe, Rangoon division youth leader Aye Naing said.

“Win Tin started the discussion by talking about the peaceful nature of U Thant and his love of tradition. I read the biography of U Thant,” he said.

The youth leader also urged current UN leaders to honour the achievements of U Thant by urgently working to solve the political crisis in Burma.

“U Thant dealt with many problems in his work for world peace – problems in Congo, the Cuban crisis, North Yemen and many more,” Aye Naing said.

“Similarly, the current UN secretary-general and other officials should sort out the problem of Burma.”

A ceremony marking the U Thant’s centenary birthday was also held in Malaysia by members of the NLD-Liberated Area in Malaysia.

“We mark the event because the military junta has been trying to wipe out the memory of the Burmese and world leader U Thant from the consciousness of the people of Burma, and because we want to sing his praises,” branch chairman Kyaw Kyaw said.

U Thant was born in 1909 in Pantanaw township in lower Burma to Phoe Hnint and Nan Thaw, the oldest of four children.

He was appointed the third secretary-general of the UN in 1961, serving two terms before retiring on 31 December 1971.

He died of lung cancer in New York on 25 November 1974.

The UN is planning to issue commemorative stamps in honour of U Thant on 6 February.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

http://english.dvb.no/news.php?id=2132

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 23, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Is China’s influence on Burmese generals eroding?

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Mizzima

by Mungpi

Tuesday, 20 January 2009 20:57

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Though it may seem to many, including the international community, that China, Burma’s strongest ally, is the only country that can influence the rogue military rulers of Burma, an analyst said, China is also currently facing a tough situation as the Burmese generals are stupid and stubborn and do not do what they are asked to by their elder brother – China.

Mya Maung a long time Sino-Burmese analyst based along the two countries’ border in Ruili, during an interview with Mizzima said China is currently in a tight spot as the Burmese regime is stubbornly refusing to follow its suggestions.

Surprisingly, he said, China’s suggestions to Burmese military rulers include implementing an inclusive political dialogue with opposition groups, as well as to reconsider the constitution, which the junta had claimed was approved during a referendum in May.

“But the problem is China has its own national interests to think of at and they are not in a position to put too much pressures on the junta,” Mya Maung said.

According to him, among many economic ventures that China seeks in Burma, connecting a gas pipeline from Burma’s western Arakan state to Yunnan province and using the Sittwe port as a sea gateway, are crucial.

“China may seem to be endorsing the junta’s roadmap, but it is more concerned that there is some kind of stability in the country,” Mya Maung said.

He said the Chinese government sees that the United Nations’ initiative is ideal for Burma’s political solution as it has strongly opposed the Western nations’ way of pressuring the junta with economic sanctions.

China believes in engagement but would like a strong and stable government that would be accountable, Mya Maung said.

Currently, the United States and European Union has imposed economic sanctions on Burma’s military rulers.

Complimenting  Mya Maung’s analysis, a secret document leaked to Mizzima reveals that China’s ambassador to Burma Mr. Juan Mu urged the Burmese Foreign Minister, during one of their meetings in early last year, to cooperate with the UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari and follow his suggestions on political reforms.

The meetings minutes between Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win and Ambassador Juan Mu, reveals that the Chinese ambassador had urged Nyan Win to allow Gambari to play a greater role by allowing him a tripartite meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and liaison minister Aung Kyi, and to allow him multiple-entry Visa to Burma, and to open a liaison office in Rangoon.

Juan Mu also said, China is endorsing the United Nations initiative and would be ready to provide necessary support to the special envoy Ibrahim Gambari.

But Nyan Win, yet another puppet Foreign Minister of the Junta’s paramount leader Senior General Than Shwe, refused the request saying a tripartite meeting between Gambari, Aung Kyi and Aung San Suu Kyi is impossible but assured meetings with junior junta officials.

Nyan Win, during the conversation with Juan Mu, also said Gambari cannot be given multiple entry Visa to Burma and the regime could not allow him to have a liaison office in Rangoon.

Juan Mu, representing the voice of China, however, told Nyan Win that China fully understood Burma’s situation and would use its influence to convince the international community particularly the diplomatic community in Rangoon on the junta’s planned roadmap.

Mya Maung said, though China wants to see a stable Burma, in recent days it has failed to influence the junta, led by Senior General Than Shwe, in many areas including its response to the deadly Cyclone Nargis.

“These are signs that China, though it may seem to be the only country with a lot of influence on Burma’s military rulers, are having a tough time with the generals, as they are forced to consider their interest,” Mya Maung concludes.

http://www.mizzima.com/news/regional/1576-is-chinas-influence-on-burmese-generals-eroding.html

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 22, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Barack Obama

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Video: Inauguration of Barack Obama as US president – 21 Jan 2009 AlJazeeraEnglish

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44th President of the United States
Incumbent
Assumed office January 20, 2009
Vice President Joe Biden
Preceded by   George W. Bush
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United States Senator from Illinois
In office January 3, 2005 – November 16, 2008
Preceded by   Peter Fitzgerald
Succeeded by  Roland Burris

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Member of the Illinois Senate from the 13th district

In office January 8, 1997 – November 4, 2004

Preceded by  Alice Palmer

Succeeded by  Kwame Raoul

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Born August 4, 1961 (1961-08-04) (age 47)
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States[1]
Birth name Barack Hussein Obama II[1]
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse Michelle Obama (m. 1992)
Children Malia Ann (b. 1998)
Sasha (b. 2001)
Residence Chicago, Illinois (Private)
Washington, D.C (Official)
Alma mater Occidental College
Columbia University (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Profession Community organizer
Attorney
Author
Professor
Politician
Religion Christian
(Most recent denomination:[2]
United Church of Christ)
Signature Barack Obama's signature
Website WhiteHouse.gov
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This article is part of a series about

Barack Obama

Background · Illinois Senate · U.S. Senate

Political positions · Public image · Family

2008 primaries · Obama–Biden campaign

Transition · Inauguration · US Presidency

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Barack Hussein Obama II (pronounced /bəˈrɑːk hʊˈseɪn oʊˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961) is the forty-fourth and current President of the United States of America. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 3, 2005 until his resignation on November 16, 2008, following his election to the presidency. He was sworn in as President on January 20, 2009 in an inaugural ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He worked as a community organizer, and practiced as a civil rights attorney in Chicago before serving three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He also taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama was elected to the Senate in November 2004. Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004.

As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, Obama helped create legislation to control conventional weapons and to promote greater public accountability in the use of federal funds. He also made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. During the 110th Congress, he helped create legislation regarding lobbying and electoral fraud, climate change, nuclear terrorism, and care for U.S. military personnel returning from combat assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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URL : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama
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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 21, 2009 at 12:50 pm

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Video: Bush: It Is Good to Be Home

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January 21, 2009 at 12:15 pm

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