Save Burma

အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ က်ဆံုးမွ တတိုင္းျပည္လံုး စစ္မွန္တဲ့ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို ခံစားရမယ္

Posts Tagged ‘Military

World focus on Burma (13 September 2008)

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Exiled Burmese monks dream of new uprising, United Kingdom –

There are also unconfirmed reports that Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader and Nobel peace prize winner who has spent much of the past 20 years …

Newspaper: 2 bomb blasts in central Myanmar kill 2 (Pressemitteilung), Austria –
The military, which has ruled Myanmar, also called Burma, since 1962, has been widely criticized for suppressing basic freedoms.

Explosion northeast of Yangon, two dead, ten wounded, Italy –
The Burmese junta has granted a few of the requests made by Aung San Suu Kyi, who will be allowed to receive letters from her relatives, …

Burma arrests 420 drug traffickers
Radio Australia, Australia –
Burma arrested 420 drug traffickers last month as it seeks to show that it is cracking down on the narcotics trade. The world’s second-largest opium …

Center organized to assist refugees
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN –
That is why groups that serve refugees, especially those from Myanmar, formerly Burma, were called together to try to better coordinate services and seek …

Myanmar nabbed 420 drug traffickers in August–state media, Philippines –
YANGON — Myanmar arrested 420 drug traffickers last month, state media reported Saturday, as the world’s second-largest opium producer sought to show it …

Myanmar blames “insurgents” for deadly bomb blasts
Reuters –
The military, which has ruled the former Burma since 1962, often points the finger of blame at anti-government dissident groups, comprising ethnic armed …

Marauders’ memories
The Ann Arbor News –, MI –
… about the unit’s formation and its strenuous mission to cripple supply lines by capturing the only Japanese airfield in Burma, now known as Myanmar. …

Making a Killing
ZNet, MA –
Chinese military hardware is shipped regularly to Burma, including the 2005 supply of 400 military trucks to Myanmar’s army. Chinese military exports went …

American Revolutionary
Wall Street Journal –

A Burmese exile asked Mr. Sharp to write a short primer on nonviolent struggle. The result was “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” which was initially …

UN envoy defies call to scrap Burma mission
Financial Times, UK –
By Harvey Morris at the United Nations Ibrahim Gambari, the United Nations special envoy to Burma, said on Friday he would continue his role of mediator …

A Monk Remembers
Radio Free Asia, DC –
Nearly one year after the Burmese uprising, a leading monk says the struggle will go on. A leader of the All Burma Monks Union, U Zawana, explained in an …

“Heretic” Bloggers Risk Execution Under Iran’s New Restrictions
NewsBlaze, CA –
Through its annual human rights reports, the State Department has criticized Internet censorship in Burma, China, Cuba, Iran and other countries. …

Remembering Burma’s Saffron Revolution
Radio Free Asia, DC –
In the newspapers, like the Myanmar Ahlin [New Light of Myanmar], it was reported that political activists in Pakokku and the media conspired and made up …

Mittraphap Highway cut by floods
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
… lower north and the central provinces will move towards Burma, while a strong southwest monsoon remains over the Andaman Sea, the South and the Gulf. …

Suu Kyi wins concessions
Scotsman, United Kingdom –
THE Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has wrung concessions from the ruling generals – family letters and some news magazines, her lawyer said …

Myanmar’s colonial-era Strand Hotel in Yangon well preserved
The Canadian Press,  Myanmar –
Before the Second World War, the Strand was reserved for “whites only,” but during the Japanese occupation of Burma – as Myanmar was formerly known – it …

Indonesia has been described as the bring, between Myanmar’s Eastern neighbors and Westerners who speak of freeing Burma. So after Friday’s meeting, …

Calcutta Telegraph, India –
… whom decency and democracy comes first, even before patriotism (which is why I abhor what we are doing in [promoting a military dictatorship in] Burma). …

Burmese Court Sentences 10
Radio Free Asia, DC –

Burma’s military has ruled the country without interruption since 1962. The NLD, led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won a general election in 1990 but …

Refugee office planned
News Sentinel, IN –
… office will pay for three employees to help Burmese – who have fled their junta-ruled homeland now renamed Myanmar – with self-sufficiency skills, …

UN envoy says it’s time for Myanmar to release political prisoners
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
UN Special envoy Ibrahim Gambari says it’s time for Myanmar leaders to release political prisoners and resume dialogue with opposition leader Daw Aung San …

Politics pulled back from the brink… for now
Nation Multimedia, Thailand –
There are other cases, like the scandalous decision to grant government loans from Thailand to the Burmese junta, which would in turn buy equipment from …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 13, 2008 at 2:31 am

Compensation for rape and murder of Kachin girl not enough: Campaigner

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Mizzima News


Monday, 25 August 2008 22:39

New Delhi – Burmese military authorities have given 500,000 Kyat (about USD 500) as compensation to the family of a school girl, who was allegedly raped and murdered by Burmese Army soldiers in late July, local sources confirmed.

Burmese Army officers had visited the family members of Nhkum Hkawn Din (15), who was allegedly gang raped and murdered by Burmese soldiers in her village Nam Sai in Nothern Burma’s Kachin State, to apologize and offered 500,000 Kyat along with some food as compensation, sources said.

A local villager, who declined to be named, told Mizzima, the army officers came to apologize only after local eyewitnesses were able to identify one of the perpetrators, soldier Soe Thu Win, during an identification parade in the barracks.

Soe Thu Win was arrested and charged with murder but was exempted from charges of rape, the source said.

According to him, three soldiers including Soe Thu Win had gang-raped the girl and murdered her to cover up their crime.

“A further complaint to higher authorities in the State will be made by the family,” the source said.

The girl’s family members had sent an 11-page letter of complaint to the military divisional office with signatures including those of five eye witnesses, he said.

“The eye witnesses know that there was more than one soldier involved in the rape and murder but the case is now being handled by army authorities without any trial,” he added.

Meanwhile, Burma Campaign UK’s campaign officer Nang Seng said, “This is not justice. Five hundred dollars and some rice is no compensation for what Nhkum Hkawn Din went through.”

Nang Seng said, the Burmese soldiers are making one of them take the blame and are letting the others off.

“Her father was distressed and said ‘my daughter was exchanged with this money,’ when army authorities gave the compensation to them. The family wants justice not money,” Nang Seng said.

In Kachin state, where the Burmese military government has a ceasefire agreement with the main insurgent group, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), rape and murder by Burmese soldiers are common but victims fail to file charges in court or to lodge complaints at the army office because of fear of reprisal by the authorities, she added.

“There is still no proper investigation and senior soldiers involved in the case are literally getting away with the murder,” Nang Seng added.

She said the military government has used rape as a weapon of war in their campaign of systematic ethnic cleansing for a long time.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

August 26, 2008 at 12:53 am

World focus on Burma (21 August 2008)

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ASIA: Rock Star’s Expulsion Says No to Child Sex Tourists
Inter Press Service, Italy – By Marwaan Macan-Markar
Likewise, Chinese and Thai tourists are going to the Shan state in Myanmar (Burma) to take advantage of child sex workers,’’ another study by the UN agency …

State media: 5.9-magnitude quake kills 1 in China
The Associated Press –
BEIJING (AP) — A 5.9-magnitude earthquake jolted southern China near the border with Myanmar Thursday, killing a woman — one day after another quake damaged …

One dead as two quakes hit, Australia –

5.9-magnitude quake hits China The Standard, Hong Kong –


Thailand: Flooding in Chiang Rai business districts; Chaiyaphum …
Mathaba.Net, UK –
Greatly over the critical level of 2.50 metres following heavy rain in Thailand and Myanmar, overflowing its banks and flooding residential and business …

ACT Situation Report: Myanmar emergency response operation 21 Aug 2008
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
ACT members and partners continue co-ordination between each other and with other non-governmental organisations and UN agencies. …

Tanzanian refugees settle in Ireland
The Press Association –
Last year, Ireland accepted almost 100 refugees from Burma who were living in hillside camps on the border with Thailand. The Tanzania refugees, who are …

Burma Rights Group Says XL, Chubb to Withdraw; Chubb Charges …
Insurance Journal, CA –
The Burma Campaign UK, a human rights group, has issued a bulletin stating that XL and Chubb have separately announced their withdrawals from the Burmese ..

Appreciating the Spirit of India´s Independence Day
American Chronicle, CA –
The landlocked Northeast, which has been surrounded by Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet (china), Burma and Bangladesh, is the home for more than 30 active armed groups, …

Dead-end in Burma for UN envoy, India – by Larry Jagan
“The SG has also indicated his intention to return to Myanmar (Burma), when conditions are right, to continue his dialogue with the Myanmar leadership,” a …

Myanmar: “I only lost my home,” says cyclone survivor
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
YANGON, MYANMAR (BURMA), August 21, 2008 – Ma Yi* was one of the fortunate ones: all that she lost was her house, and everything in it. …

More US Regional Engagement Needed
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
In 2003, the US introduced the Freedom and Democracy Act in response to the ruthless attack on Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters in the central Burmese …

Court charges monk on 10 counts, India –
He said ‘even if I did not put on my robe, I am still a monk, it is not necessary to handcuff me, you are violating human rights’, the monk’s sister quoted …

Burma democracy group names insurers on ‘dirty list’
Royal Gazette, Bermuda –
Ace Marine, it added, offered insurance for Burma through its London office. The Burma Campaign, whose aim is to bring democracy to a country currently …

Habeas corpus returns to Burma?
United Press International, Asia, Hong Kong –
(Awzar Thi is the pen name of a member of the Asian Human Rights Commission with over 15 years of experience as an advocate of human rights and the rule of …

International Text Messaging Approved in Burma
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
GSM phones were introduced by Myanmar Post and Telecom in 2002. Despite being more expensive, they’ve quickly become more popular than CDMA and cell phones …

Gambari May Leave Without Seeing Suu Kyi, Than Shwe
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
By SAW YAN NAING With one day of his current visit to Burma left, UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari has still not met either opposition leader Aung San Suu …

Migrants Flow out of Burma as Economic Woes Deepen

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Some local observers suggested that the steady influx was due to the impact of Cyclone Nargis, which slammed into Burma’s largely agricultural Irrawaddy …

Gambari Fails to Meet with Suu Kyi
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
By SAW YAN NAING The United Nations special envoy to Burma failed to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday as scheduled, according to Rangoon sources. …

Solo Protestor and Wife Released
Narinjara News, Bangladesh –
During the protest, he demanded the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in a message written on a poster that was hanging around his neck. …

More US Regional Engagement Needed
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
In 2003, the US introduced the Freedom and Democracy Act in response to the ruthless attack on Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters in the central Burmese …

U Myint Aye to be charged with misappropriating aid
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Aug 21, 2008 (DVB)–Human rights activist U Myint Aye is to be charged with misappropriating relief funds despite the lack of evidence against him, …

Monsoon floods strand 80000 in India’s northeast
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
South Asia’s monsoon season typically runs from June through September, bringing deadly flooding and landslides to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar (Burma) …

SCR Studios Launches Asian Photo Gallery Web Site Version 2.0
PR Web (press release), WA –
Some upcoming trips that will be incorporated into his online stock include India, Nepal, Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sir Lanka, Malaysia, …

Tsunami warning system improvements stalled
Phuket Gazette, Thailand –
… provinces should a storm similar to Cyclone Nargis, which devastated Burma’s Irrawaddy Delta region, make landfall and cause a storm surge there. …

MaximsNews Network, NY –
On his third day in Myanmar, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, met with the ministers of Planning and Health with whom he discussed …

Flooding in Chiang Rai business districts; Chaiyaphum prepares
Thai News Agency MCOT, Thailand –
… of 2.50 metres following heavy rain in Thailand and Myanmar, overflowing its banks and flooding residential and business areas in Mae Sai municipality. …

It’s about time for a fresh look at China
University of North Carolina The Daily Tar Heel, NC –
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Human rights are global rights. What’s good for the Chinese is good for all Zimbabweans, Burmese and Sudanese.

Myanmar: Opposition Leader Misses UN Meeting

New York Times, United States –

The ruling generals in Myanmar, formerly Burma, had thrown a tight security cordon around the state guest house where the envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, …

Myanmar Opposition Concerned About Aung San Suu Kyi’s Health

Bloomberg –

“The government didn’t give an explanation for why she didn’t show up and neither did Mr. Gambari,” Nyan Win said by phone from Myanmar. …

Burma – a genocide of neglect

HUMAN NEED: Pakuranga’s Stuart Corlett with refugee child Tommuang, due to get plastic surgery thanks to Partners Relief and Development. Photo supplied.

Times Online – Auckland, New Zealand –

… Mr Corlett is back in New Zealand on a five-week journey to bring Burma (also known as Myanmar) back into the minds of New Zealanders. …

Global insurers targeted by human rights activists

Lloyd’s List, UK –

HUMAN rights activists are renewing pressure on the global insurance industry and its leading market place, Lloyd’s of London, to reassess its policy on …

Pacific Team Delivers GEOINT in Paradise, IL –

When Tropical Cyclone Nargis struck Burma on May 2-3, 2008, causing catastrophic damage and killing tens of thousands, these well-prepared virtual partners …

The Military and the Monetary,

Toward Freedom, VT –

Chinese military hardware is shipped regularly to Burma, including the 2005 supply of 400 military trucks to Myanmar’s army. Chinese military exports went …

ASEAN considers observer status for Burma civilian Govt

ABC Online, Australia –

Elected in 1990 but unable to form government he was driven from Burma by the military junta in 1994. “I’ve been out of Burma for nearly 15 years,” he said. …

Daily Times, Pakistan –

The former Burma’s ruling generals threw a tight security cordon round the state guest house where Ibrahim Gambari and the 63-year-old Nobel laureate have …

Thumbs up for Mandela, down for Geldof, UK –

A greater proportion of Londoners also voted for Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi (9 per cent) than any other region. …

Intermountain Catholic, UT –

Aden Batar (back row, second from right) meets in the CCS courtyard with newly arrived refugees from Burma (Myanmar). Most Burmese refugees have spent at …

Johann Hari: John McCain and his secretive plot to ‘kill the UN’

Independent, UK –

For example, the UN is routinely blamed for not intervening in Burma, or Zimbabwe, or Georgia – but the UN has no army of its own; it is only as good as its …

Emergency Appeal update: Myanmar(Burma) Cyclone Nargis response

ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –

Nargis struck Myanmar (Burma) on May 2-3 and, according to figures supplied by the United Nations in July, killed more than 84530 persons; 53836 are still …

Samantha Power’s Special Pleading

The Plank on, DC –

… Chinese fleeing the Mao regime, Asian nationals from Uganda, and the avalanche of human wreckage from Paraguay, Guatemala, Burma, Cambodia, …

PMO: No decision yet on Bnei Menashe

Jerusalem Post, Israel –

The Bnei Menashe, who live in the states of Mizoram and Manipur on the border with Myanmar (formerly Burma) claim to be descendants of a lost tribe of …

Myanmar: UN envoy meets with ministers on third day of visit

UN News Centre –

20 August 2008 – The top United Nations envoy to Myanmar met with the country’s planning and health ministers today to discuss ways to tackle the …

Mwanawasa Leaves Mixed Legacy

Inter Press Service, Italy –

Burma and Somalia, ranked 179th in the Index, are the countries viewed as the most corrupt. Zambia is ranked 68 in the latest index measuring the level of …

The Mislabeled “United Nations Human Rights Council”

Post Chronicle –

Well-known human rights abusers Burma, China, Cuba, Ethiopia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe voted in favor of the new council and many …

Two international insurance companies to pull out of Burma, India –

“…we strongly condemn all insurers that remain involved in our military junta run country. They help keep the generals in power, and condemn Burma’s 50 ..


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By Roland Watson
June 26, 2008

We have new, disturbing, and detailed intelligence about the assistance Russia is providing Burma’s dictatorship, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), on its nuclear program and more generally its military modernization. This new information both confirms earlier intelligence that we have published, and expands what is known about the overall program.

Nuclear reactor and uranium mining

It has been widely reported that Russia is going to provide Burma a nuclear reactor, for so-called “research” purposes. We have received information that the SPDC has now purchased the 10 MW reactor. It is not new, but is reportedly in good condition. It is being dismantled, transported to Burma, and rebuilt. While we cannot confirm that it has arrived, our sources say that installation is due to be completed by December this year. (We have previously reported that North Korean technicians will assist with the construction.)

The reactor will be built at a site some ten kilometers from Kyauk Pa Toe, in Tha Beik Kyin township, approximately one hundred kilometers north of Mandalay near the Irrawaddy River.

In return for the reactor and other services, a Russian government mining company has received concessions to mine gold, titanium and uranium. There are two gold mining sites: in Kyauk Pa Toe; and in the mountains to the right of the Thazi-Shwe Nyaung railway line from Mandalay Division to Southern Shan State in the Pyin Nyaung area.

Titanium is also being mined, or derived from the same ore, at Kyauk Pa Toe.

Uranium is being mined at three locations: in the Pegu-Yoma mountain range in Pauk Kaung Township of Prome District (aka Pyi); in the Paing Ngort area in Mo Meik Township in Shan State; and at Kyauk Pa Toe.

The reactor site has been chosen because of its proximity to the Tha Beik Kyin and Mo Meik uranium mines. It is likely that the gold mining operation at the former will be used as cover, to conceal the nuclear facilities.

We have previously reported, from different sources, that the SPDC has a yellowcake mill somewhere in the Tha Beik Kyin area. Now we know the exact location (or at least enough information to find it with satellite imagery).

The reactor has been publicized as being for research purposes, meaning research on nuclear power generation. We believe that the SPDC has no real interest in generating electricity, or at best that this is a secondary consideration, and that the primary purpose is atomic weapons development. Our sources say that the SPDC expects to have full nuclear capability within ten years.

Russia is presumably supplying the reactor fuel as well. While Burma has uranium ore, and mills to convert it to yellowcake, this must be enriched to create the fuel, typically using cascades of gas centrifuges. We have received one report that the SPDC has begun a centrifuge program, at the South Nawin Dam, but this is unconfirmed. Barring this operation, the source of the fuel therefore must be Russia.

Note: Locating the reactor at Kyauk Pa Toe really only makes sense if there are plans to build an enrichment facility there. This way you would have the full industrial cycle in close proximity: mine, mill, enrichment, and reactor.

What is perhaps most disturbing about Russia’s program with the SPDC is that it is identical to the Soviet Union’s assistance that propelled North Korea to become a nuclear power. Why, with the end of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, is Russia still helping rogue regimes proliferate? The surface answer of course is money, in this case in the form of natural resources, but the deeper question remains. Russia is considered to be a democracy. What would the people of the country think of their leaders giving such help to the likes of the SPDC and Than Shwe?

In 1965, the Soviet Union gave North Korea a 2 MW reactor, which was upgraded in 1973 to 8 MW. It also supplied fuel through at least this period. North Korea then went on to construct a much larger reactor, and in the 1980s began weapons development. This included building separation facilities to obtain plutonium, and high explosives detonation tests. (We have received reports that the SPDC has already conducted such tests, in the Setkhya Mountains southeast of Mandalay.) At some point North Korea also began its own uranium enrichment program, to produce weapons grade material, and the U.S. confronted the country about this in 2002. This means that the North has two different sources of fissile material for weapons, reactor plutonium and enriched uranium.

The North detonated a small atomic weapon, with a yield of less than one kiloton, in October 2006, using some of its plutonium. It is now reportedly about to disclose its nuclear assets, and also destroy its plutonium producing reactor, but the sticking point has been the enriched uranium. The North appears unwilling to discuss this (and at this point to disclose its weapons cache), which means that even with the destruction of the reactor and the plutonium stockpile (for the latter the size of which is subject to serious dispute), the North would retain the ability to produce weapons with the uranium. At the moment the U.S. appears willing to accept partial disclosure, i.e., of only the plutonium.

In addition to Russia, North Korean technicians have been helping Burma with its nuclear ambitions (and other weapons programs), and we have received information that the SPDC has given the North refined uranium in return, which may be destined for the enrichment program.

This is all very disturbing, all the more so because of the apparent weakness of the Bush Administration, which has been unwilling to press the North, and which refuses even to mention Burma (its nuclear program). It took North Korea forty years before it detonated a weapon. It will likely take the SPDC only a fraction of this period. Once the Burmese junta has atomic weapons, its rule will be entrenched, and its neighbors, foremost Thailand, will be seriously endangered.

Precision-guided munitions

We have also previously reported that Burma has a wide variety of missile installations, including large quantities of land-based SAMs; ship-launched missiles, both surface to air and surface to surface; weapons for its MIG 29s; and even short range ballistic missiles. We have now received information that while Burma formerly bought anti-aircraft weapons from the Ukraine, in 2007 it purchased four shiploads of such weapons from Russia. We have also learned that the SPDC has multi-tube mechanized rocket launchers from North Korea. (Note: these may be for use with the ballistic missiles, and if so they confirm our earlier intelligence.)

Moreover, Burma is researching the production of guided missiles, and with Russian assistance intends to build a rocket factory in Thazi Township. This will mark the latest step in a well-recognized proliferation of Russian precision-guided munitions in the Asia Pacific region. This class of weapons includes surface to air, to attack jets, and surface to surface to attack land-based targets and also ships. Cruise missiles fall within the category. We do not know which specific PGMs the factory intends to produce, only that they will be medium range guided rockets and that production is scheduled to begin within five years.

It is clear that the SPDC is intent on developing a strong defense against an international intervention, including foreign jets, helicopters and ships. Perhaps one reason why the U.S. and the French balked at dropping relief supplies following Cyclone Nargis was the risk of missile attack on their helicopters and ships.

Military modernization

We have previously noted that the Burma Army is weapons-deficient. It is clear that the extensive procurement program underway with Russia, as well as China, North Korea and others, is intended to rectify this. During the era of Ne Win and the BSPP (Burma Socialist Program Party), the junta established six weapons production facilities. There are now twenty-two, and clearly more are planned.

Coupled with the materiel acquisitions is a major educational program. There are more than 5,000 State Scholars in Russia, all of whom passed their Defense Services Academy class, a nine-month program in the Russian language, and an entrance exam in their specialty. (This is an increase from the 3,000 we previously reported.) They are candidates for either a masters (2 years) or doctorate (4 years – we previously reported 3 years for this degree). They study in Moscow or St. Petersburg, in the former in a suburb at the Moscow Air Institute. There are additional State Scholars from Burma in China, North Korea, Pakistan and India.

One of the more recent groups of scholars, Batch Seven, included 1,100 DSA officers. Their majors are as follows:

250 Nuclear science
100 Tunneling science
200 Rockets
100 Electronics
200 Computer science
100 Aircraft construction
150 Artillery

The students also learn other military subjects, including: tanks; maintenance; anti-aircraft training; ammunition production; fighter pilot training; naval craft construction; naval craft captaincy; and anti-terrorist training.

While it is clear that the overall modernization program will improve the SPDC’s preparedness against attack, the junta still has a significant problem with soldier morale. Many of the state scholars, who are an elite in the Tatmadaw, are not motivated and would seek asylum given the chance. Their stipends barely cover their expenses. The Russian language and their training programs are difficult. They are overworked and separated from the civilian population. Their visas prohibit them from buying air, train or long-distance bus tickets. When they return to Burma, some are used as Russian language teachers or as instructors at the SPDC’s Central Research and Training Unit, but many are sent to the front lines.

As an example, in January this year one scholar fled to the border of Finland, but was arrested by Russian intelligence agents when he used his cell phone to call his contact on the other side. There is widespread dissatisfaction at all levels within the SPDC, except perhaps the very top – although there is reportedly a split there as well, between Than Shwe and Maung Aye. While the new weapons systems improve the junta’s defense against an intervention, they still need operators. The SPDC is poised to fall, through an internal coup, and it is subject to a renewed popular uprising as well.

Acquiring a nuclear weapon would alter this equation somewhat, but really only by creating a new defense against an intervention, and this is as yet some years away, unless the SPDC acquires a warhead directly from North Korea. Still, any such development has to be prevented, which raises the question, yet again: what is the U.S. doing? Under geopolitical realism, the only concerns are national interests. On a superficial level, for the U.S. and Burma, these are limited to Chevron’s investment in Burma’s natural gas production and pipelines. A secondary interest is the concern of U.S. citizens of Burmese origin, but since this group is small it can effectively be ignored. It would seem, therefore, that all the Administration bluster notwithstanding, its only real policy objective for Burma is to protect Chevron, which corporation to bolster its case also makes large campaign donations.

The real direct national interest of the United States is to deny Burma nuclear weapons. It is not only North Korea, Iran and Syria that America (and the world) must contain. Having a nuclear-armed SPDC is an unacceptable risk. This trumps the need to assist a domestic corporation. Further, since Chevron is also a major cash source for the junta, which uses money as well as the direct transfer of natural resources to pay its weapons suppliers, it demands that the company be forced to divest.

Source: Dictator Watch & Burma Digest

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

June 27, 2008 at 9:55 am

Our view: Myanmar’s leaders among world’s worst

with 2 comments

Published: May 20, 2008 03:27 am

Our view: Myanmar’s leaders among world’s worst

It is possible that there is no worse government on the planet than the military junta running Myanmar.

A cyclone May 3 devastated the southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma. While the official government death toll is around 32,000, the United Nations estimates that 60,000 to 100,000 may have been killed by the storm. The death toll may push into the millions as the storm’s victims, their homes and crops destroyed, now face starvation and disease.

The world has rallied to help the victims of Myanmar. But the paranoid military government in control since 1988 has allowed only a trickle of foreign aid into the country. The rulers fear foreign influences and the damage to their reputations if they are seen needing outside help.

So Myanmar’s people suffer as aid piles up along the border in Thailand, waiting for a general’s whim to allow it in.

The military previously had seized two planeloads of relief supplies from the U.N., prompting the organization to suspend for a time its aid shipments. To boost their prestige, some of Myanmar’s generals have seized foreign aid containers and written their own names on them, to fool the people into believing they were helping rather than simply adding to the people’s misery.

Other members of the military who should be helping rescue people and repairing damaged roads are instead chasing down foreign journalists who dare to report on the devastation.

Meanwhile, in the middle of this madness, the government held a referendum vote on a new constitution designed to consolidate its hold on power.

It is unfortunate that it takes a tragedy of this magnitude to focus the world’s attention on the brutishness of Myanmar’s government. Myanmar’s generals have earned a place along with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il as the worst leaders in the world. A government that places a higher priority on its power and prestige than on the basic survival of its people is unworthy of rule.

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 20, 2008 at 12:09 pm

World Focus on Burma (7 Jan 08)

  1. What is there to celebrate in Burma?
    Bangkok Post, Thailand – 10 hours ago
    Those are the words of Burma’s first president, Sao Shwe Thaike, in his independence message on Jan 4, 1948 when the country gained its independence after … (If the URL is not working, click here.)
  2. Dhaka postpones BIMSTEC ministerial meet
    Hindu, India –
    After the inclusion of Myanmar in December 1997, the grouping was renamed as BIMST-EC or Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic …
  3. Free to celebrate new year
    Akron Beacon Journal, OH –
    … freedom for the members of the Karen (pronounced Kahr-en) community, who have fled the military regime in Burma, now called Myanmar, in Southeast Asia. …
  4. A digitally enhanced Myanmar opposition
    Los Angeles Times, CA –
    … photographs and blog reports posted on the Internet played a key role in breaking the wall of silence surrounding Myanmar, which is also known as Burma. …
  5. Bird flu still a threat 10 years after leap to humans
    Sioux Falls Argus Leader, SD –
    “Just in 2007, we’ve seen the first reports of human cases in Laos, Nigeria and Burma (Myanmar),” he says. Cases tend to coincide with poultry outbreaks and …
  6. Karen community grateful for escaping violence, dictatorship
    The Chronicle Journal, Canada –

    The second phase of the group crossed into Burma – called Myanmar by the country‘s current military rulers – and arrived in 739 BC, explained Saw Winning, …

  7. TOTAL petrol station demo in Chester
    Indymedia UK, UK –

    On Saturday 5 January, in solidarity with NLD, the Burmese monks and the oppressed people of Burma, members and supporters of Wrexham Women for Peace held a …

  8. Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
    “The licence fee is 500000 kyat a year with an additional 50000 kyat monthly, which you have to give to the Myanmar Info-Tech Corporation,” the café owner …
  9. Sense of loss as Burma marks independence without hero
    Hong Kong Standard Pausing in front of the fence around Rangoon’s main park, a man points through the iron bars to show…
  10. New ASEAN chief upbeat on charter’s full ratification
    Reuters India, India –

    JAKARTA (Reuters) – The new Association of Southeast Asian Nations chief expressed confidence on Monday the grouping’s landmark charter aimed at paving the …

  11. Singapore ratifies Asean Charter
    The Nation/ANN | Bangkok : Singapore is taking the lead and becoming the first member to ratify the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Charter, barely seven weeks after it was signed by the g..

    Written by Lwin Aung Soe

    January 7, 2008 at 5:40 am

    World Focus on Burma (12-12-2007)

    1. un’s Pinheiro seeks return to Myanmar, meet opposition leaders
      International Herald Tribune, France – 11 hours ago
      AP GENEVA: The un’s special investigator on human rights in Myanmar said Tuesday he wants to return to the country as soon as possible to examine the …
    2. Forgetting Myanmar all over again
      Taipei Times, Taiwan –
      By Seth Mydans The streets are quiet in Myanmar. The “destructive elements” are in jail. The international outcry has faded. The junta’s grip on power seems …
    3. Thailand: 20000+ Burma Refugees Resettled, New Zealand – 11 hours ago
      Last week, under the world’s largest refugee resettlement programme, the number of Myanmar refugees who had left Thailand to begin new lives in third …
    4. Departures Of Burma Refugees From Thailand Top 20K, New Zealand –
      This cultural orientation is one of the crucial steps on a journey that has opened up new worlds to more than 20000 refugees from Myanmar who have left …
    5. Myanmar: Monks flee to Bangladesh to evade arrest
      ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
      The young monk said, he finally left Burma for Bangladesh as authorities were conducting raids in several monasteries in Arakan searching for him.
    6. Stubborn junta’s ‘fire and water’ foreign policy stymies diplomacy
      Bangkok Post, Thailand –
      It is time for everyone, especially world leaders and diplomats, to take a serious look at Burma’s foreign policy, which for almost two decades has managed …
    7. Canada’s Miss Universe 2005 not visiting to Burma
      Asian Tribune, Thailand –
      The article “Miss Universe Coming to Burma” appeared last week on Burmese version of ‘Myanmar Time’ weekly journal in Burma, quoting a source from a …
    8. United Nations Special Rapporteur Reports on Worsening Situation …
      US Department of State, DC –
      Today’s report to the Human Rights Council by the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Burma, Paulo Pinheiro, provided important details of …
    9. UN Official Condemns Burma’s Crackdown on Opposition
      Voice of America –
      By Lisa Schlein A United Nations investigator has condemned the military rulers of Burma for using excessive force in cracking down on pro-democracy …
    10. US Sanctions Against Myanmar Boosted
      The Associated Press –
      The bill’s sponsors said they want to stop the military leaders in Myanmar, also known as Burma, from dodging US sanctions by laundering gemstones in third …
    11. US House adopts sanctions on Myanmar’s gem, energy industries
      Forbes, NY –
      LONDON (Thomson Financial) – The US House of Representatives has unanimously adopted sanctions against military-ruled Myanmar, targeting the country’s …
    12. House Sanctions Myanmar’s ‘Blood’ Rubies
      AOL News Newsbloggers, VA –
      “Burma’s generals,” Lantos said, “fund this repression of their own people by selling off the country’s natural resources, especially oil and gems, …
    13. US House adopts sanctions against Myanmar
      AFP –
      … referring to Myanmar by its former name. Aung Din, the executive director of the US Campaign for Burma, said the international community should step up .
    14. US House passes bill hitting Myanmar gems, Chevron
      Guardian Unlimited, UK –
      Tom Lantos, bans the import of Myanmar gems into the United States, freezes the assets of the country’s leaders and stops the former Burma from using US …
    15. US House passes bill on Burma sanctions
      Financial Times, UK –
      Chevron criticised the house move yesterday, saying “punitive tax measures against one company will not serve the purpose of helping the people of Myanmar …
    16. US House approves bill to strengthen sanctions against Myanmar
      Xinhua, China –
      11 (Xinhua) — The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved by voice vote a bill that would halt Myanmar’s rubies and jades from entering the United …
    17. Bill to ban Burmese imports into US
      Daily Times, Pakistan –
      WASHINGTON: A bill moving through Congress this week will stop Burma from importing “blood rubies” into the United States, freeze the assets of its leaders …
    18. US bid to stop Burma gem imports
      BBC News, UK –

      The House of Representatives has voted to stop Burma’s rubies and high-quality jade from entering the United States. The measure tightens sanctions against …

    19. Bergenfield man sent money to Burma in violation of US restrictions, NJ –
      Wai admitted the funds were ultimately transmitted to Burma, officially known as Myanmar, a country that is under military rule and subject to US trade …
    20. Burma Legislation Moves Through Congress
      Voice of America –

      By Dan Robinson Legislation to tighten US sanctions against Burma’s military government is moving through Congress. voa’s Dan Robinson reports from Capitol …

    21. Nonlocal News roundup 12/11 – Our solar system is dented
      Pegasus News, TX –
      The government of Myanmar (aka Burma) defends its violent crackdown. The un’s rights envoy to Sudan might be cut loose. A prisoner in Israel is awarded …
    22. Myanmar rejects UN human rights report
      Reuters –
      GENEVA, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Myanmar on Tuesday rejected a UN envoy’s report that said the ruling junta had used excessive force in September to quell …
    23. India: Life on the front-line of India’s missions
      Aid to the Church in Need (press release), Australia –
      It borders Tibet to the north, Myanmar (Burma) to the east and Assam to the south. Nagaland lies towards the southeast and Bhutan to the west. …
    24. Back to normal in Burma – “Torture, Imprisonment, Death”
      Aid to the Church in Need (press release), Australia –
      By John Newton PEOPLE in Myanmar (Burma) continue to face strict government controls including imprisonment, torture and even death in the wake of uprisings …
    25. Bush condemns Myanmar crackdown after UN report
      Reuters India, India –
      Bush said he was “deeply disturbed” by UN human rights envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro’s report describing how the military government in the former Burma …
    26. Statement by the President
      Business Wire (press release), CA –
      I am deeply disturbed by the report that UN Special Rapporteur Paulo Pinheiro released today in Geneva documenting his findings from his trip to Burma last …
    27. Myanmar Faces Sanctions Unless Democracy Talks Begin, Bush Says
      Bloomberg –
      Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, yesterday rejected a United Nations report criticizing the junta for using “excessive force” when soldiers crushed the …
    28. Bush warns Myanmar of world sanctions
      AFP –
      WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States will spearhead a global campaign to step up sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime if it continues to ignore calls .
    29. AJWS reports winter 07
      ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
      “Peace and stability have been restored in Myanmar, and life has returned to normal all over the country.” Thus spoke the UN envoy to Burma, Kyaw Tint Swe, …
    30. Burmese voices louder in 2007
      Bangkok Post, Thailand –
      If anyone deserves a Nobel peace prize this year, it’s Burma’s people and monks for taking to the streets against a brutish regime that has mired their …
    31. US threatens more Myanmar sanctions, Qatar –


      … of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and author of the bill, said the move would target top general’s in the government of Myanmar , also known as Burma .

    32. No democracy, more sanctions, Bush tells Myanmar
      Earthtimes, UK –

      Washington – US President George W Bush threatened further sanctions against Myanmar if its leaders don’t move toward democracy, saying he was “deeply …

    33. Myanmar needs our help
      St. Petersburg Times, FL –
      … Thailand and Vietnam are joining the global community and realizing increased economic growth and political freedom, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) …
    34. US closes loopholes in sanctions, India –
      December 12, 2007 – United States sanctions on the economic interests of Burma’s generals and companies conducting business in Burma are one step closer to …
    35. Double vision over Myanmar crackdown
      Asia Times Online, Hong Kong –
      The Human Rights Watch report, entitled “Crackdown: Repression of the 2007 Popular Protests in Burma”, was based on the testimony of over 100 witnesses to …
    36. India, Burma to sign mou for IT enhancement centre, India –
      “India is committed to extend assistance to Myanmar [Burma] on various developmental projects of mutual benefit including the Kaladan Multi-modal Transport …
    37. Cambodian leader blasts UN report
      Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
      Dec 12, 2007 (AP)–The UN should leave Burma alone and stop disrupting the junta’s progress toward democracy by issuing critical reports on human rights …
    38. This beauty and Burma shouldn’t mix
      National Post, Canada –
      A Burmese weekly, the Myanmar Times, recently signalled Glebova’s pending visit with an article that said she would also serve on a jury for the Ancient …
    39. US House backs crackdown on Myanmar gem trade
      International Herald Tribune, France –
      Sponsors of the bill that passed in the House by a voice vote said they wanted to stop the military leaders of Myanmar, formerly Burma, from dodging US …
    40. Rights group: Military perpetuates its rule
      Bangkok Post, Thailand –
      … point toward democracy, they should present concrete foreign policy proposals to end Thailand’s embarrassing ties with Burma’s generals,” Adams said. …
    41. New drive to talk Burma into reform
      The Australian, Australia –
      “The people of Myanmar (Burma) have suffered from isolation for such a long time and it is high time now for the Myanmar authorities and people to be able …
    42. Myanmar: Military offensive targeting villagers’ food supplies
      ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
      The Free Burma Rangers relief team reported on November 22 that since the army commenced operations to relocate villagers in 2006 the Burmese troops had …
    43. Myanmar/Burma: Investigatory body must be proven to exist
      ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
      “On 31 October 2007, the Government of Myanmar has established the Investigation Body [sic] chaired by the Minister for Home Affairs with a view to …
    44. un’s Pinheiro pleads with Myanmar for dialogue on human rights (Pressemitteilung), Austria –
      AP GENEVA (AP) – The UN special investigator for Myanmar pleaded with the country’s military junta on Wednesday to engage in a serious dialogue about human …
    45. Local girls inch closer to crown
      Nation Multimedia, Thailand –
      The Thai men’s side will compete in the third-place play-off despite a win over Burma yesterday. Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos and reigning champions Thailand …
    46. For Burmese people, a friend in high places
      Christian Science Monitor, MA –

      … Burmese migrants on the Thai border has taught Cynthia Maung, herself a political refugee from military-ruled Burma (Myanmar), to expect the unexpected. …

    47. Hpao Lan Hpar Got a Heart Attack
      Asian Tribune, Thailand –
      (hold scrotum on the palm) The international community and analysts are now saying Burma has eventually become an autonomous region of China except in name. …
    48. Russian action against British Council ‘illegal’: Miliband
      AFP –

      That is Burma and Iran,” he said, using the former name for Myanmar. “I just hope the announcement today from Russia does not signal they are taking steps …

    Human Rights Watch calls for total ban on Burmese gems, jade

    with one comment

    2007 November 13

    Rangoon – New York-based Human Rights Watch on Tuesday called on China and Thailand to join the European Union and US in banning imports of gems and jade from Burma, where the state-run trade is allegedly financing military rule and human rights abuses.

    “The sale of these gems gives Burma’s (Myanmar’s) military rulers quick cash to stay in power,” said Arvind Ganesan, director of the Business and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Watch in a statement made availablein Bangkok.

    The call for a complete ban on Burma gems and jade has coincided with the opening Tuesday of a government-run auction of precious stones in Yangon, where more than 2,000 buyers have flocked for the bi-annual event.

    Burma, the world’s largest supplier of rubies and jade, earned an estimated 300 million dollars last year from its gem auctions.

    Working conditions at government-controlled gem and jade mines in Burma are notorious for using forced labour and allowing atrocious health conditions, with HIV/AIDs and tuberculosis running rampant among the labourers.

    Burma’s ruling junta is already under international censure for cracking down on protests led by Buddhist monks last September.

    “It is simply unconscionable for traders to help Burma’s generals sell off the country’s natural resources for their own benefit while average people are victimized and harassed,” said Ganesan.

    “Trading in Burmese gems bolsters the country’s military rulers at a time when they are committing serious human rights abuses, driving their people into further poverty, and rejecting calls for political reconciliation.”

    In the wake of the September crackdown, the European Union has imposed new sanctions to block the import of Burma precious and semi precious stones, and US Congress is considering legislation that would ban the purchase of Burma-mined gemstones, closing a loophole in existing US sanctions that allows gems from Burma to be sold in the US if they have been processed in a third country.

    Thailand is the largest importer/processer of Burmese gemstones while China is the main importer of Burmese jade.

    “Burmese jade, which is popular in China, reportedly is increasingly sought after for use in products commemorating the 2008 Beijing Olympics,” said Human Rights Watch.

    India is another major importer of Burma gemstones, which are cut and polished and exported.

    “The governments and companies that have stopped buying Burmese gems deserve credit for not supporting human rights abusers,” said Ganesan. “The rest have the blood of Burmese on their hands.” (dpa)

    Written by Lwin Aung Soe

    November 13, 2007 at 5:18 am

    Extent of Myanmar Protest Crackdown Revealed

    leave a comment »

    Report Originally Aired: November 8, 2007

    Independent Television News reports on the emergence of new details on the extent and aftermath of a military crackdown on anti-government protests in Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And now a report on what happened during the September crackdown and its aftermath in Myanmar, the country formerly called Burma. U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari ended a six day trip there today. Inigo Gilmore of Independent Television News has this report from neighboring Thailand.

    INIGO GILMORE, ITV News Special Correspondent: Tears from a man who witnessed the horrors of the Saffron Revolution firsthand. Until now, Mr. U Pancha, a Sikh businessman, was the unknown face of Burma’s uprising. But here he is during those protests.

    “Don’t be afraid. Come follow us,” he shouts to the crowd. U Pancha was on the front lines when the protests, which briefly inspired hope for change, were brutally crushed. He was at the sacred Shwedagon Pagoda when the first monks were forcibly de-robed and killed.

    U PANCHA, Businessman and Activist (through translator): One of the monks in the front was beaten on his head and kicked in the chest. Blood poured from his mouth, and he died in front of my eyes.

    INIGO GILMORE: U Pancha, now in hiding, is deeply skeptical about the U.N. mission in Burma.

    U PANCHA (through translator): Gambari is a very important person. He should demand to meet the people and the monks arrested during the protests.

    INIGO GILMORE: But for most of the past six days, Mr. Gambari has been closeted away in Burma’s bizarre jungle capital, Nay Pyi Taw. Only today, at the end of his visit, did he meet pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But he left the country without meeting the junta leader, Senior General Than Shwe, seen here waving off his prime minister on an overseas visit.

    Instead of meeting the senior generals, Mr. Gambari has met with junior members of the regime who proceeded to lecture the special envoy. It appears to have been less of a dialogue than a monologue.

    For U Pancha, there was a moment of hope for dialogue. He revealed to Channel 4 News that not all military commanders were prepared to follow orders to fire on monks and unarmed civilians. He held secret talks with a senior army officer who refused to carry out the orders of Burma’s military strongman.

    U PANCHA (through translator): The commander of the 77th regiment said to me, “We will not shoot. We understand the situation, so please hold the demonstrations in a peaceful manner.”

    So they sent another commander, Thura Shwe Mann, to Rangoon, and he ordered his soldiers to shoot the protestors. Regiment 66 shot the people, and many were killed. We felt great pity about the death of these monks. We shall never forget this.

    Reprimands in the military

    INIGO GILMORE: Burma’s senior military leaders didn’t forget, either. Yesterday, state media reported that the 77th regiment commander was being demoted, a clear warning not to step out of line.And while he was permitted to meet some elderly, specially selected monks, Mr. Gambari did not get to meet young monks like 24-year-old Ashin Kovida or hear their testimony of fear and persecution. He took to the streets hoping the regime might heed the plight of its people. Then, as a wanted man, he went on the run, as monasteries like this one in Rangoon were ransacked.

    The security forces did not hold back. At this monastery, pools of blood mark where monks were ruthlessly beaten. Kovida confirmed that the brutality continued in detention.

    ASHIN KOVIDA, Burmese Monk (through translator): The junta officials sat on chairs, and then three monks at a time were told to squat on the floor. They were asked if they took part in the movement. If they said no, they were beaten on their backs with sticks and ordered to name the leaders of our movement. Those who refused were beaten again.

    INIGO GILMORE: Monks are still being jailed, he says, and some are being killed. Bo Kyi’s organization has demonstrated that over 1,000 people are still being held in detention following the crackdown, far more than the government admits to. And torture, he says, is widespread.

    BO KYI, Political Prisoners’ Advocate: Three already died. He died during the interrogation because he was tortured to death.

    Alleged killing of schoolchildren

    INIGO GILMORE: And Bo Kyi has further revelations which underline the urgency of Mr. Gambari’s task. He’s corroborated evidence about the killing of schoolchildren, which challenges the government claims that it was putting down a violent uprising.The incident in question took place on the 27th of September at Than We state high school in Rangoon, not far from where these images were filmed on the same day. A 15-year-old boy was killed by soldiers.

    BO KYI: His forehead was hit by one bullet.

    INIGO GILMORE: One bullet?

    BO KYI: One bullet. One of his head is … and then one of his head was all gone, blown up. Also, many people can see his brain on the ground, so there is … everybody was very shocked. And … regime in Burma cannot deny it.

    INIGO GILMORE: Yet deny it they do. This was the government’s response to Mr. Gambari’s call for dialogue. Rather than address outrage over U.N. claims that more than 100 people involved in the protests have now died and concerns about mass detentions, state television launched into a diatribe.

    Quoting the country’s information minister, it began like this…

    BURMESE STATE TELEVISION ANCHOR: But we’ll never accept any interference that may harm our sovereignty.

    INIGO GILMORE: And then a thinly veiled threat to Mr. Gambari.

    BURMESE STATE TELEVISION ANCHOR: You should not force or pressure us by harming the role of U.N. to shape us as aspired by a big power. If so, your role of negotiator will be spoiled.

    Meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi

    INIGO GILMORE: Mr. Gambari was being told that getting the senior generals to sit down to talks with Aung San Suu Kyi remains a big challenge for the U.N., even though she’s made it clear she is ready to talk.DEBBIE STOTHARD, Human Rights Lobbyist: Aung San Suu Kyi herself has publicly said she will not rule out power-sharing. She will not rule out all options until there is an actual dialogue. All options are still on the table.

    INIGO GILMORE: A U.N. statement issued tonight following Mr. Gambari’s meeting with Suu Kyi claimed the way is open for substantive dialogue, but gave few details, except to say that the envoy will return to pursue his mission.

    As Mr. Gambari left Burma, state television continued to show the familiar fare of staged, managed rallies in support of the regime. This is what awaits the U.N. special human rights envoy, Paolo Pinheiro, when he arrives next week for his first visit in four years.

    World AIDS Day Marks Day of Both Sadness and Hope, Says Bush

    30 November 2007

    President Bush is urging Congress to approve the doubling of the U.S. commitment in the global fight against HIV and AIDS.

    Mr. Bush Friday said he was confident that U.S. lawmakers would show leadership by authorizing his proposal to spend $30 billion over the next five years.

    Mr. Bush spoke after meeting in a Maryland church with AIDS activists from various religious communities.

    He said World AIDS Day is a time of both sadness and hope. The day is marked around the world each year on December 1.

    He said those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS are mourned, while there is hope for improvements in the lives of those who are infected, and in eradicating the infection.

    Mr. Bush also announced he and his wife Laura Bush will travel to sub-Saharan Africa early next year.

    In a statement for World AIDS Day, the head of UNAIDS, Peter Piot, said there is still a serious shortfall in resources for AIDS, and stigma and discrimination surrounding the disease continue to prevail.

    UNAIDS last week lowered its estimate of worldwide HIV infections, saying 32.7 million people were living with the virus in 2006 – nearly seven million fewer than previously estimated. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

    Written by Lwin Aung Soe

    November 9, 2007 at 6:36 pm