Save Burma

အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ က်ဆံုးမွ တတိုင္းျပည္လံုး စစ္မွန္တဲ့ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို ခံစားရမယ္

Posts Tagged ‘Myanamr

World focus on Burma (30 November 2008)

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Burma: Myanmar Monk Congratulates Cuba Blogger Yoani Sánchez
OpEdNews, PA –
by Ashin Mettacara Page 1 of 1 page(s) By Ashin Mettacara I have two news with sadness and happiness: Burma’s judical crackdown news and International …

Larry Wilson: Revolutionaries part of sad arc of history
Pasadena Star-News, CA –
… to the protesters’ side by celebrating the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights in an exhibit beginning Dec. …

Myanmar: Burma Jail News Continues; 6 Women Get 6 Years
OpEdNews, PA –
by Ashin Mettacara Page 1 of 1 page(s) The only continuity in Burma is the news about everyday jailing of monks and activists. …

Myanmar: Burma’s Congratulation to Comedian Zaganar
OpEdNews, PA –
by Ashin Mettacara Page 1 of 1 page(s) By Ashin Mettacara Popular Burmese comedian, film actor, and film director, Zarganar, was sentenced 59 years …

In dilemma and a quagmire, India –
by Maung Maung Hla Kyaing The current political development in Burma is ugly. The authorities are suppressing pro-democracy activists systematically by …

World Relief seeks helpers for refugees resettling in QC
Quad City Times, IA –
About 15 refugees from Bhutan, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Rwanda will arrive in the Quad-Cities this week to make new lives for themselves. …

America Cannot Tolerate Unending Immigration from Somalia, Sudan …
American Chronicle, CA –
Whether they come from Somalia, Burma or Ethiopia, they find themselves ripped out of their cultures, languages and family connections. …

Politicians are always leaking. It’s insane to arrest one for it
The Observer, UK –
This is not Zimbabwe, Belarus or Burma. One reason I know that is because I have just heard Tony Benn on the radio saying that we are living in ‘a police …

IDFA ’08 | “Burma VJ,” Girl Talk Doc, “RIP,” in Fest Spotlight on …
Indie Wire –
The story of last year’s uprising against the military dictatorship in Myanmar, told through secret home video footage, offers a direct look at the movement …

Oslo calling … with all the news from the land ruled by junta
Sunday Herald, UK –
THIDA THIN Myat Thu was just an 18-year-old marine biology student when she got involved with the 1988 uprising in Burma. She managed to keep her activism a …

Bangkok Post, Thailand – 14 hours ago
Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma and the Chinese province of Yunnan all depend on Bangkok as the transport hub of the region. They all see their tourism …

Lectures of Prof. Win : In Response to Burma Digest
Asian Tribune, Thailand – 15 hours ago
The Karen refused to attend, the Arakanese and the Mons were considered as part of the Burma/Myanmar tribe having being subdued since the Burmese kings and …

Laughter defying Burma’s junta
BBC News, UK – 22 hours ago
Like their more famous colleague, Aung San Suu Kyi, these are Burma’s bravest and brightest, devoured by their own government. …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 30, 2008 at 11:12 am

World focus on Burma (27-11-2008)

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Thailand considering postponing ASEAN summit: Thai FM, India

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Thailand’s Foreign Minister, Sompong Amornviwat, on Thursday said the upcoming 14th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, scheduled to be held in Chiang Mai beginning December 15,…….

Foreign press issues plea to reopen Gaza crossing

The Benton Crier, IA –

Floto noted that the only countries in the world where BBC journalists are currently denied access are North Korea, Burma and Zimbabwe. ..

Zarganar and Journalist Associates Receive Additional Sentences
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
By SAW YAN NAING Burma’s best-known comedian, Zarganar, and two journalist friends were given additional prison terms by a special court in Rangoon’s Insein …

Burmese fishery export hit hard, India –
by The The New Delhi (Mizzima) – An official from the Myanmar Fishery Department said that exports of fishery products to Bangladesh have fallen by about …

Internet users increasingly concerned over security, India –
by Nam Davies New Delhi (Mizzima) – A sense of insecurity is developing among Internet users in Burma after seeing the long prison terms given to dissidents …

Burma Crackdown Could be Convenient for China
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
“Myanmar [Burma] is part and parcel of China’s grand strategic design to achieve its goal of becoming a great power in the 21st century,” said Poon Kim Shee …

Mhlanga and Zarganar win arts awards for human rights, UK –
A Zimbabwean playwright who has repeatedly challenged the Mugabe regime and a Burmese comedian who has recently been sentenced to 45 years in prison have …

Final battle in Bangkok a Pyrrhic victory
United Press International, Asia, Hong Kong –
… a member of the Asian Human Rights Commission with over 15 years of experience as an advocate of human rights and the rule of law in Thailand and Burma. …

Letter from the Zimbabwe Vigil to South Africa and the Elders …
The Zimbabwean, Africa –
China, North Korea, Burma, Iran, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba? The $30million offered by South Africa will not go far given the mendacity and greed of the Mugabe …

No Laughing Matter
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
By AUNG ZAW Be warned—if you crack a joke, Burma’s military leaders usually don’t laugh. Instead, they send you to prison. Burma’s most famous comedian, …

Who’s behind the Thai protests?
New Statesman, UK –

… and Burma, where the military junta recently jailed a comedian for 45 years for criticising the generals’ slow response to Cyclone Nargis. …

Imprisoned Burmese comedian honored, India –
… and satirist Zargarnar, who was recently sentenced to 45 years imprisonment for his social activism and critical voice against Burma’s military rulers. …

Listen To A Voice Of Gratitude
Hartford Courant, United States –
His earliest memories of Myanmar (The Karen people call it Burma) are far worse than that. “I remember one thing — the military, they came and attacked our …

Two youth activists handed eight year prison terms, India –
by Than Htike Oo New Delhi – Continuing a series of handing down long prison terms to dissidents, Burma’s military authorities on Monday sentenced two …

Mizoram shows how to hold election
MorungExpress, India –
The Assam Rifles mans the international border with Burma and the Border Security Force is deployed on the Bangladesh border. The low decibel campaign, …

IFEX, Canada –

Meanwhile, ARTICLE 19 and Index on Censorship note that the states with the largest influence on the Burmese junta – China, India and Thailand – have …

Junta Hands Down Ridiculous Prison Sentences (press release), New Zealand –
A popular comedian active in Burma’s democracy movement was sentenced to 45 years in jail on 21 November for criticising the junta’s slow response to the …

We must heed the sage advice of our elders
The Herald, UK –
During their twice-yearly meetings, a symbolic empty chair is always reserved for Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi. It’s easy to mock the idea. …

Open-entry system reducing fishing resources
Daily Times, Pakistan –
Today majority of Bengalis are in fishing business and then come the Burmese, while in the past the fishermen of Sindh were at the top in this field, …

Disagreements between India, China surfacing
Daily Times, Pakistan –
Beijing is developing strategic port facilities in Burma, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in order to protect sea lanes and ensure uninterrupted energy …

Obama the Realist
The Weekly Standard –
Democracy activists were slaughtered in Burma. The administration has removed North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terror in exchange for what …

Burma and a Task Unfinished: Considering the Options
OpEdNews, PA –
… the UN on the situation in Burma, the 28 February 2008 Resolution adopted by the General Assembly, reports on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar. …

Zimbabwe writer Mhlanga honoured (Zarganar awarded Imprisoned Artist Prize)
BBC News, UK –

Pakistani-Norwegian singer and human rights activist Deeyah, nicknamed “The Muslim Madonna”, was third. Burmese satirist Zarganar, who was recently …

Burmese Comedian Gets 45-Year Prison Sentence, UK –

HRW says the increased efforts to prosecute political activists “confirm that Burma’s rulers are undermining basic freedoms more strongly than ever as they …

Refugee youths in county schools fled repression
Explore Howard County, MD –
… began for Hammond High School senior Sui Hnem Iang Ngun Hei when her father became a wanted man in their native Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. …

Competence Over Ideology
The National Interest Online, DC –
… watched and measured America’s shifting stance on apartheid, so it will measure the next administration’s commitment to democracy in Burma and beyond. …

Bangkok airport storming sells Thai people short, United Kingdom –
Thailand, currently reaching the apex of months-long political turmoil, has taken this concept one step further, as the People’s Alliance for Democracy …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 27, 2008 at 3:05 am

The Mangrove Forests: Burma’s Best Bio-defense

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The Irrawaddy



U Ohn is the general secretary of the Forest Resource Environment Development and Conservation Association (FREDA), one of a handful of Burmese nongovernmental organizations dedicated to protecting the country’s forests

Environmentalist U Ohn (Illustration: Harn Lay/
The Irrawaddy)

Question: Cyclone Nargis destroyed many mangrove forests in the Irrawaddy delta. What was the impact of the storm on biodiversity in the region?

Answer: The cyclone caused a tidal surge which was up to 20 feet (6 meters) high. Almost 100 square miles (260 square km) of land was flooded and turned into a virtual sea. Meinmahla Island, for instance, was completely covered by seawater, but then resurfaced after the cyclone. The biodiversity of the mangrove forests, sea-grass beds and coral reefs was severely impacted. A large number of plants and animals, including trees, fish and even turtles and crocodiles, were killed in the deluge.

Q: What consequences do you foresee if the destruction of the mangrove forests continues?

A: If the mangrove forests disappear, the impact of similar disasters in the future will be immense.

The Burmese coastline is about 2,800 kilometers (1,740 miles) long, and mangrove forests exist all along the coast, from Arakan State to Tenasserim Division. They are bio-defenses, defending us from natural disasters. The mangrove forests and coral reefs also protect each other. If one is damaged, the other is also affected.

These days, people talk a lot about “food security.” They cut down the forests to make farms to breed fish and prawns. To some extent this makes sense, but you have to consider the environmental costs. The fish and prawn ponds are very harmful. Digging the ponds and feeding the fish and prawns pollute the environment. They also use chemicals to prevent the spread of diseases, and these chemicals are toxic to other organisms.

The coral reefs are also very important—they provide habitats for fish. One square kilometer (about 0.4 square mile) of coral reef can support enough life to feed 1,000 people. I have studied and collected data on this.

People are destroying these valuable resources. They destroy mangrove forests and they grow other things; they change the environment for other purposes. People say they’re doing it to promote ecotourism—building jetties, developing villages.

During Cyclone Nargis, people who lived in areas defended by mangrove forests survived. In Pyapon Township, where we grew more than 3,000 acres of mangrove forests over the past 10 years with Japanese aid, villagers from 26 villages escaped death during the cyclone. Cattle were spared from danger and only a few houses were damaged.

More recently, I started replanting in a reserved forest area in Ka Don Ka Ni with German support. But we weren’t able to finish the job. In that area, almost 80 percent of the people from 12 villages were killed.

Q: How long would it take and what would it cost to bring the forests back to a healthier state?

A: It’s safe to say that it would take at least 5 to 10 years and cost millions of dollars. That is why I am still struggling to find the financial support we need. The money could come from governments, such as those of the European Union countries, or from multinational corporations such as [French oil company] Total or companies from Korea, China, India or Thailand, which are all exploiting Burma’s natural resources. They should fund us—they have the money.

Q: If mangrove forests are not replanted in time, how will it affect biodiversity?

A: If the mangrove forests are destroyed, food chains for fish and prawns are degraded as well. Then the number of fish, prawns and crabs inhabiting the coastal area will decrease. Some sea animals cannot live without mangrove forests. For instance, crabs lay their eggs in the sea, but the newly born crabs come back to the mangrove forests. There are also land animals depending on these forests, such as monkeys and birds. Herons, cranes, crocodiles, otters, wild dogs and even snakes depend on the forests.

Just two or three years after replanting one mangrove forest, river catfish returned to the area to make their habitats. Villagers said it had been years since they had seen any catfish. The river catfish eat fallen fruit from mangrove trees. This is an example of successful replanting, and it could help to promote genuine ecotourism.

But at present, “ecotourism” is first and foremost about economic development. They destroy nature to put up buildings. But ecotourism should be in harmony with nature and deepening people’s love for nature and their desire to preserve it.

Q: The success of your replanting efforts depends on the cooperation of local communities. Is this difficult, given the level of poverty in Burma?

A: The major purpose of our project is to re-grow the mangrove forests. But as we have to cooperate with local people we should create better conditions for their lives, making sure they receive proper food, shelter and clothing.

The mangrove forests contain medicinal plants which can’t grow anywhere else. For instance, taw chauk pin (Limonia monophylla), migyaung kunbut (Hygrophila obovata) and other rare species can be used for medicine. Drug companies should assist local people and set up funds for them, so they can cultivate these plants as a form of value-added farming.

I also operate aquaculture farms, because I get some funding for that. This work has been successful. I have tested self-reliant farming methods [that don’t require chemicals]. But I don’t encourage the attitude of some businessmen, who are driven only by greed, seeking self-profit and ignoring the negative impact on others.

Q: What kinds of problems do you have in your relations with businessmen?

There are some conflicting interests. For instance, while we are replanting trees in the mangrove forest, businessmen are encouraging people to clear the forest and invest in fish and prawn ponds. We are struggling with this problem. We have to educate the people. The state and the authorities should try to control these businessmen, because it is a matter of national interest.

Another thing I want to mention is that according to estimates and studies by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and United Nations Environment Program, by 2020, more than 60 percent of the world’s population will be living within 60 kilometers (37 miles) of the coast. The main reason is that this gives them easy access to food. With mangrove forests, they will also have access to wood, bamboo and medicinal plants. If we are going to have more people living by the sea, we need national planning to deal with this increase.

Q: Do you receive support from the government?

A: We have to acquire approval from the national Forestry Ministry and Forestry Department. In 1995, the government issued the Community Forestry Instructions (CFI), a law which allows villagers to grow forests in their neighborhood for firewood and charcoal. We are working to replant the mangrove forest under the CFI. We are acting as a bridge between local communities and the government, and that is why we have been successful. The stakeholders in this project include the authorities, local people, merchants, beggars, monks and so on. The most important thing is to encourage harmony among them.

The government is responsible for maintaining fairness and preventing overexploitation of the forest, while we do the work. We do not have any privileges or power. We create interest and willingness among the local population. The government authorities give us some support. That is the way we are working.

Q: Is there any government mechanism to preserve the mangrove forests?

When the government received loans from the World Bank to promote paddy farming, they cut down forests. They didn’t understand the impact, so they launched the Paddy I and Paddy II schemes. Many Asian governments did likewise. These projects last just 3 or 5 years, or at most 10 years, and everything is damaged.

Now we are facing all of these messes. Burma was not hit hard by the 2004 tsunami, but it was badly hurt by the cyclone. It has opened our eyes. I am sad to say it, but this has been a blessing in disguise. This disaster gives us an opportunity to educate and increase awareness. The people and the authorities should learn lessons from this disaster.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 5, 2008 at 3:14 pm

World focus on Burma (22 August 2008)

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NLD ‘Please’ with second round meeting with UN envoy, India –
Chiang Mai – Ibrahim Gambari, United Nations Special Envoy to on Friday met with leaders of Burma’s main opposition party – National League for Democracy …

Singer Moon Aung to perform in Australia, India –
Enthusiastic about politics he fled to the Thai-Burma border after the military assumed power in a coup in 1988. The Kachin ethnic singer joined the ‘All …

UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari losing credibility?
Merinews, India –
The Opposition in Myanmar believes that the UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari is drifting from his mission and falling into a neatly laid trap of the crafty military …

UN ends cyclone relief flights into Burma
USA Today –
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Regularly scheduled cargo flights arranged by the UN to bring cyclone relief aid into Burma have been concluded after three months. …

Burma monk disrobed over street protests
Independent, UK –
Human rights groups believe that up to 200 people were killed by the subsequent crushing of the demonstrations by the regime. Hundreds of monks and ordinary …

ICA Foresees Collateral Damage from Burmese Ruby Ban, NY –
The International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) has asked its members to stop buying gemstones from Myanmar (Burma) directly and from third party …

ICA Concerned Over Burma Ban Law
Jewelers Circular Keystone Online, NY –
… and international associations against the violent repression of individuals, human rights and pro-democracy movements in Myanmar (formerly Burma). …

If Gambari cannot see Aung San Suu Kyi, his trip is meaningless,” Myanmar analyst Win Min said. Two UN officials spent 30 minutes in a car outside of Aung …

Ansell aroused to halt flagging sales
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia –
This column’s suspicions that the internal management troubles within ANZ resemble the struggles within the Burmese military junta have been reinforced by a …

Gambari holds second meeting with NLD
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
… dialogue between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and regime leaders, to improve Burma’s failing economy and to appoint a communications officer based in Burma. …

Ethnic opposition leaders not allowed to meet UN envoy
Independent Mon News Agency, WA –
Ethnic opposition party leaders have not been allowed to meet United Nations special envoy, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari who is in Burma on a five-day visit, …

Sending a Message to the UN
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
If so, the latest visit of UN Special Envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari could mark the beginning of a subtle but significant shift in the pro-democracy …

Desperate Burmese youth seek greener pastures abroad, India –
… anywhere other than Burma, and earn a decent salary to build up his life. An employed information technology (IT) engineer at the Myanmar Information …

Junta bars UN envoy from meeting Suu Kyi
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
Rangoon (dpa) – UN special envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari, after five days in the country, has failed to see either opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi or …

Suu Kyi Reportedly Refuses to Meet Gambari
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
By SAW YAN NAING Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is reportedly refusing to meet UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari because she’s unhappy with …

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
By AUNG THET WINE RANGOON — Burma’s junta authorized the unlimited purchase of diesel and gasoline with Foreign Exchange Certificates (FECs) at state-owned …

BBC News, UK –
“For WFP and the wider UN and NGO community, the air hub was critical for the provision of vital relief supplies to the people of Myanmar (Burma),” said WFP …

Sudden rise in FEC price, India –
The situation worsened after Cyclone Nargis lashed Burma in early May. No one can keep foreign exchange without permission in Burma. …

Burma’s 88 Generation Students complete a year in custody, India –
Bo Kyi said, the student leaders continued arrest proves the severe human rights conditions in Burma and the lack of the rule of Law. …

Burma Tourism Report Ignores Cyclone, Demonstrations
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Burma’s Tourism Entrepreneurs Association is quoted in media reports admitting that the effects of Cyclone Nargis alone have reduced tourist visitors to the …

UN Ends Its Relief Flights from Bangkok to Burma
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
“The air hub was critical for the provision of vital relief supplies to the people of Myanmar [Burma],” said Tony Banbury, WFP’s Asia regional director. …

Tibetans in Belgium and Austria go on hunger strike
Phayul, Tibet –
The effort is supported by Brigid Weinzinger, human rights speaker of the Green Party in Austria Tseten Zöchbauer started the function and spoke in detail …

THAILAND: Alarm bells over possible tidal surge, NY –
“A storm surge in the Gulf could cause greater damage than the one triggered by Cyclone Nargis in Burma last May,” he said. Strong winds could cause the …

WFP Bangkok relief air bridge for Myanmar completes mission
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
In the three months since the opening of the Don Mueang humanitarian air bridge on 24 May, 232 relief flights were dispatched to Cyclone-hit Myanmar. …

UNLD not allowed to meet Gambari

Art of Patience FREE BURMA (Weblog) Supporting IMNA

Ethnic opposition party leaders have not been allowed to meet United Nations special envoy, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari who is in Burma on a five-day visit, though ethnic leaders demanded a meeting….

Three dead in China-Myanmar border quakes

Channel NewsAsia – AsiaPacific

Yangon, Myanmar: U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, hoping to promote democratic reform in Myanmar, will extend his five-day visit until Saturday in an apparent effort to meet detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi….

Burma: UN food agency sends final aid flight

آكي , Italy –
Bangkok, 22 August (AKI) – The United Nations’ World Food Programme has sent its final humanitarian flight from Thailand to Burma to aid victims of Cyclone …

Burma to Allow International Text Messaging
Cellular-News, UK –
It has been reported that mobile phone users in the reclusive country of Burma (Myanmar) can now send SMSs overseas, but only via a government approved …

Burma: Junta Approves International Text Messaging RedOrbit, TX –

Perspective: The Olympics, political unrest always go hand in hand –
The European Union has sanctioned Burma, and banned the granting of visas to various members of the brutal military regime that rules the country. …
Japan Today – Politics

TOKYO —Japan will introduce the so-called third-country refugee resettlement program as early as fiscal 2010 as the first Asian country to do so in a bid to accept more foreign refugees, government sources….

Rights groups lash out at UN, India –
The organization went on to argue that the human rights situation in Burma has actually deteriorated over the course of Gambari’s tenure, citing a doubling …

The Olympic Games: A Propaganda Victory for China?
FrontPage, CA –
It has paid only lip service on the human rights issues in China, and entirely ignored the illegitimate nature of the Chinese communist regime. …

Community service often viewed as punishment
The Tennessean, TN –
Tyrannical regimes in Burma, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Cuba are guilty of these crimes. Liberals refuse to offer serious proposals that would …

UN ends Bangkok “air bridge” to Burma
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
“For the WFP and the wider UN and NGO community, the air hub was critical for the provision of vital relief supplies to the people of Myanmar,” said Tony …

Burmese Dissidents Call United Nations for Openness and Accountability
Asian Tribune, Thailand –
… its recent mission to Burma (Myanmar), the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) called for UN Special Envoy to Burma …

Free Buram’s Political Prisnoers campaign, India –
For decades the people of Burma have suffered from socio-economic hardship and severe oppression of political and civil rights by its brutal military regime …

88 Gen Student leaders in custody for a year with remands in absentia, India –
“It reveals lack of the rule of law in Burma. They fought for democracy and human rights in the 1988 popular uprising. They have served long prison terms …

MaximsNews Network, NY – 3 hours ago
Is that pretty much the way he apportions to the democratically elected leaders of Burma? Deputy Spokesperson: As you know, Mr. Gambari is in Myanmar to …

Report exposes insurance industry Burma links
Union Network International, Switzerland –
It is part of a carefully targeted policy designed by Burma’s democracy movement to cut the junta’s economic lifeline, this will decrease the amount of …

UN special envoy to Myanmar fails to see Aung San Suu Kyi
Monsters and –
This week’s visit is Gambari’s fourth since last year to Myanmar, also known as Burma, where he has been handed a mandate by the United Nations to deal with …

UN special envoy to Myanmar fails to see Aung San Suu Kyi, Thailand –
The State Peace and Development Council, as Myanmar’s junta calls itself, has shown little willingness to comply with Gambari’s overall mission. …

Flooding kills 74 in northern India
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
… Myanmar (Burma) and Pakistan. About 50000 people have been displaced in southeastern Nepal since the Saptakoshi River burst its banks earlier this week. …

Oppressed Burmese deserve better from the world
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
For instance, strong words in the wake of the devastating Cyclone Nargis in May against the inhuman intransigence of the military leaders, …

C’mon, Mr. Chrétien, our voice on China does matter
Globe and Mail, Canada –
Canada speaks out today about injustice in Burma and Zimbabwe. Canadians are fighting and dying for human rights in Afghanistan. …

Asia Beat: Aug 20 08 RANGON, Burma

The Asian Pacific Post, Canada –

The United Nations has acknowledged that over the past three months some $1.60-million in aid for the victims of the devastating cyclone in May has been lost to Burma’s odd foreign exchange regulations.

The World
Meanwhile, in Burma, which is still recovering from a cyclone that killed at least 84000 people in May, torrential rains have forced people to flee their …

Unprecedented search for heroes of ‘the Hump’
Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates –
JPAC’s Troy Kitch said recently that the missing planes included more than 100 in India, about 100 in Myanmar and more than 170 in China. …

A Forgotten Mountain Region Rediscovered
MorungExpress, India –
… the territory of the Naga people in the border area of North-east India and Myanmar (Burma) appeared as a blank spot on Western world maps” and that …

More help for local refugees
News Sentinel, IN –
Fort Wayne is home to refugees from strife in many parts of the world, including Somalia, Bosnia and Darfur, but the largest wave has been from Burma. …

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 …

Quakes kill one near China, Burma border Radio Australia, Australia –

State media: 5.9-magnitude quake kills 3 in China (Pressemitteilung), Austria

Quakes hit China-Myanmar border Straits Times, Singapore –

Three dead in China-Myanmar border quakes Channel NewsAsia – AsiaPacific

Myanmar: What is the 8888 demonstration and what was General Ne Win’s reaction?

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July 30, 2008 at 21:15:20

by Ashin Mettacara

General Ne Win, the first military ruler of Myanmar

8888 was the largest demonstration that took place in Burma. 8888 derives from the date when the demonstration began: on 8th of August 1988.

In 1987, before the 8888 uprising, the head of state General Ne Win replaced the currency notes (Kyat in Burmese), 75, 35 and 25 with newly currency notes, 45 and 90. The equation of 4+5 and 9+0 = 9. Ne Win was advised to consider 9 as lucky number by his astrologer. But General Ne Win”-s decision to replace newly currency made the economic crisis in the country worse. People were suffering more and more because of the government changing the currency.

In this regard, all students of Yangon Technological University gathered and protested on campus. But the military responded to the students by killing. A student named Phone Maw was killed in this protest. The death of Phone Maw led the 8888 demonstration on August 8, 1988 to begin. The demonstration was widespread. Buddhist monks and citizens from all walks of life came to the streets and joined in demanding for the restoration of democracy and to bring an end to the military dictatorship in Burma.

The military opened fire on the demonstrators and more than 3000 people were killed. But the military government said as usual that the death toll was only a few.

There was a remarkable word said by General Ne Win: “Guns were not to shoot upwards” which means that the military is ordered to shoot directly to the people who are opposing.–What-is-the-8888–by-Ashin-Mettacara-080730-376.html

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 31, 2008 at 4:42 am

World Focus on Burma (8 Mar 08)

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Myanmar rejects UN foreign monitors
Radio NetherlandsNetherlands –
The plan has been proposed by UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who is in the former Burma. The electoral commission says the referendum is an internal affair.


UN envoy meets with Suu Kyi
United Press International –
Gambari, who is in the country formally called Burma to mediate a conflict between the military government and opposition, had previously met with members


Myanmar’s junta rejects UN suggestion of independent observers for
Charleston Gazette, WV –
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar‘s military government has rejected a UN suggestion that it allow independent observers to monitor the upcoming national


UN’s Myanmar envoy meets with pro-democracy leader
UN News Centre –

8 March 2008 – The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Myanmar met today in Yangon with detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and members of


Myanmar will not budge on poll rule
MWC News, Canada –

By Agencies Myanmar has laid out its reasons for not reforming election plans, while accusing a UN envoy of bias towards the detained politician Aung San


Malaysian Poll Closes []
RTT News, NY –
3/8/2008 7:07:45 AM Saturday, Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who is currently in the country to mediate


Myanmar’s Suu Kyi meets UN envoy
Washington Post, United States –
In comments reported in Saturday’s official newspapers in the former Burma, Information Minister Kyaw Hsan, a brigadier general, struck an uncompromising


Burma’s Opposition Leader Suu Kyi Talks To UN Special Envoy
Yangon, Myanmar (AHN) – The United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari met with Myanmar‘s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and opposition party


The UN Special Envoy meets Aung San Suu Kyi
Mister Info, Hong Kong –
The leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), who has spent 12 of 18 years under arrest, had been taken by car from her residence, to where lived


Burmese Democracy Leader Meets with UN Envoy
Voice of America –
Gambari is in Burma on a mission to persuade the military government to hold direct negotiations with Aung San Suu Kyi, and allow her NLD party to


UN envoy in Burma talks
TeleTextUK –
The UN special envoy to promote political reconciliation in Burma has met Aung San Suu Kyi, a day after being rebuffed by the country’s rulers.


Benevolent Foreign Intervention (By: Gomin Dayasri)
Ministry of Defence (press release), Sri Lanka –
Invariably, interventionists concentrate on their selected target states such as Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Serbia, Sudan and Syria, ignoring Saudi


United Nations envoy meets held Burmese opposition leader –
UK and international, secured credit, guaranteed issue Cards. Bankrupts accepted. No credit checks. Multiple cardholders OK. 0.0% APR. Cards in 5 days.


Aung San Suu Kyi meets UN envoy: official

YANGON (AFP) — Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met Saturday with visiting UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari, one day after the nation’s junta

Aung San Suu Kyi ‘meeting envoy’
BBC News, UK –

Burma’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has left her house for a meeting with a visiting UN envoy, report say. Ms Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest,

UN Myanmar Envoy Meets Suu Kyi
The Associated Press –

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — The UN special envoy to promote political reconciliation in Myanmar met Aung San Suu Kyi and other opposition party members Saturday,

Burma’s Suu Kyi ‘taken from home’
Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia –
Burma officials could not immediately confirm that she would meet with Gambari, who earlier held talks with top officials from her National League for

UN envoy meets with Myanmar democracy leaders
YANGON (AFP) — UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari met Saturday with senior leaders of Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party, after Myanmar‘s ruling junta refused to

Weekly Business Roundup (March 08, 2008)
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
The junta has approved the opening of Singapore dollar currency accounts at the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank and Myanma [Burma] Investment and Commercial Bank

It’s official: Suu Kyi banned
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
In a letter dated February 19 to Burma’s military supremo Senior General Than Shwe, the UN secretary general called for an amendment to the current draft

Myanmar junta refuses to amend charter barring Suu Kyi from polls
If held, the planned polls would be the first in the country formerly known as Burma since Aung San Suu Kyi led her National League for Democracy (NLD) to a

English as a second language
News 10 Now, NY –

SYRACUSE, NY — Teachers at HW Smith School say students are doing well, but the school “needs improvement” based on statewide exams.

Myanmar Rejects Reform Calls From UN
Guardian, UK
AP foreign YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Myanmar‘s military government rejected UN suggestions for political reform Friday in a meeting with a visiting special ..


UN Rejects Burma’s Slap at Special Envoy
Radio Free Asia, DC –
WASHINGTON—A senior United Nations official has rejected charges by Burma’s military government that the UN special envoy for Burma is biased against the

Burma’s referendum will stir civil unrest
United Press International, Asia, China –
“I think we all want to see Myanmar begin to improve its dialogue with its opposition, especially with the release of political prisoners including Aung San

Spain calls off election campaign after attack blamed on ETA, Canada
By Denholm Barnetson MADRID – A former councillor from Spain‘s ruling Socialist Party was shot and killed in the northern Basque region on Friday,

Myanmar refuses to amend constitution draft, sticks to seven-step
Xinhua, China
YANGON, March 7 (Xinhua) — Myanmar‘s completed constitution draft could not be amended and the government is committed to its seven-step roadmap to

Myanmar says draft constitution not to be amended, Thailand –
Yangon, March 7 (Xinhua) Myanmar Friday told the visiting UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari that the draft constitution will not be amended and the

Gambari to meet NLD leaders tomorrow, India –
United Nations Special Envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari is scheduled to meet tomorrow with a handful of leaders from Burma’s main opposition party,

Myanmar accuses UN envoy of ‘bias’
Times of India, India –
YANGON: Myanmar’s ruling junta on Friday accused visiting UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari of showing “bias” in favour of detained democracy leader Aug San Suu Kyi,

Myanmar refuses to amend charter barring Suu Kyi from polls
Raw Story, MA –
Myanmar‘s ruling junta refused to amend its proposed constitution, which bars democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running in elections, the information


Written by Lwin Aung Soe

March 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Swansong visit for UN’s Myanmar envoy

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Swansong visit for UN’s Myanmar envoy
By Larry Jagan

BANGKOK – The United Nations special envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, has arrived in the country for the start of a four-day visit to discuss the military regime’s newly announced plans for political change, including a referendum on a new constitution later this year to be followed by democratic elections in 2010.

But while the senior envoy remains optimistic about his mission, his third trip to the country since last year’s brutal military crackdown on Buddhist monk-led mass demonstrations, the signs emerging from the military government are that Gambari’s visit could be a final courtesy call and mark the UN’s forced disengagement from the country’s political reform plans.

“I will continue to press the Myanmar government to engage with [jailed opposition leader] Aung San Suu Kyi in a substantive dialogue in order to produce a positive outcome that will promote an all-inclusive and transparent process,” Gambari told Asia Times Online by telephone from Singapore in transit to Myanmar.

Yet the military government’s newly announced plans for political change appear to leave the envoy with little room for maneuver during his talks with junta leaders – though he is expected to continue to press for Suu Kyi’s release and her involvement in the political transition from military to some form of democratic rule.

Gambari is scheduled to depart after four days in the country, though he will reportedly bid to extend his stay, according to sources close to the envoy. “Gambari hopes to stay as long as necessary,” UN spokeswoman Michele Montas told a press briefing in New York this week. Diplomatic pressure from both Beijing and New Delhi opened doors to his visit, according to diplomats familiar with the situation. The junta had originally told the UN envoy that they were not available to host him until after mid-April.

“It’s easy for the junta to agree to Gambari’s visit now, as he really has nothing to talk about,” a Bangkok-based diplomat, close to the international mediation efforts with the Myanmar government, told Asia Times Online on condition of anonymity. “[Senior General] Than Shwe’s decision to set a timetable for the roadmap was a strategic move to block both Maung Aye – his deputy – from assuming power later and the international community, especially Gambari, from playing a role in the process,” he added. Gambari is not expected to meet with Than Shwe during his visit, according to sources familiar with his itinerary.

Gambari, for his part, at least publicly, remains upbeat. “I will continue my consultations in Myanmar and follow up on a number of recommendations I left with the government during my last trip in November 2007,” he told Asia Times Online by telephone. “These include immediate steps to address the human rights situation; progress on time-bound dialogue between the government and Aung San Suu Kyi; the forthcoming referendum and the electoral process; economic and humanitarian issues; as well as a more regularized process of engagement with the [UN] secretary general’s good offices,” the envoy added.

Deaf junta ears
When Gambari visited Myanmar last November, he took a three-pronged approach to his mediation effort, sources close to the envoy say. First he asked to be involved in a constitutional review process after the National Convention had completed drawing up its guidelines; second he wanted to encourage the regime to make the national reconciliation process more inclusive and involve Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy political party; third he recommended that the government set up a Poverty Alleviation Committee.

Now, with the political change agenda unilaterally set by the junta, some analysts contend that the most Gambari can hope for is a UN role in the junta’s economic reform program. “The junta will ask him to approve the new constitution that has just been finalized, and give it credibility in the hope of deflecting further international pressure,” a government source said. “That’s what they would see as his role in any constitutional review process.”

According to a UN insider, Gambari was urged by the Chinese government when he visited Beijing last month to accept the junta’s new charter and its democratic roadmap’s plan to hold general elections. The UN envoy will likely be presented the freshly completed charter, the details of which have so far remained a closely guarded junta secret. Diplomats and opposition politicians contacted by Asia Times Online this week said universally that they had been unable to obtain a copy of the charter.

Gambari, similar to previous UN envoys to Myanmar who in the end have been spurned by the junta, faces an uphill task. The recommendations he made in November have in general been ignored, including his proposed confidence-building measures with the political National League for Democracy (NLD)-led opposition. To be fair, the regime did appoint a liaison minister, Labor Minister Aung Kyi, to meet regularly with opposition leader Suu Kyi. But the envoy’s recommendation that there be weekly discussions between the two has been sidestepped as there have only been half-a-dozen meetings since he was appointed over five months ago.

Even more crucially, Gambari’s suggestion that if there is to be a genuine dialogue process it was essential for the detained Suu Kyi to meet other NLD members – especially the party’s central executive committee – fell on deaf junta ears. The opposition leader has only been allowed to meet NLD members twice since Gambari’s last visit, though she has been allowed to exchange daily messages with party leaders, according to senior party sources.

During Gambari’s two trips to Myanmar last year, Suu Kyi asked the envoy to try to persuade the regime to allow her regular contact with a liaison officer representing the UN and international community. This was very successful the last time Suu Kyi was under house arrest and she held secret reconciliation talks with the regime in 2003, which were under the supervision of former intelligence chief General Khin Nyunt.

Communication breakdowns
According to UN sources, Gambari had asked for this communication channel to be restored, as well as permission for him to set up his own office in Yangon. To date there has been no progress on that request, though Gambari told Asia Times Online it would be among the issues he raises with the regime during his trip. However, Gambari is not expected to make much headway on these confidence-building measures, let alone on the more substantive issue of Suu Kyi’s and the NLD’s participation in the junta’s plan to hold multi-party elections in 2010.

“We have been very consistent in saying that the recent announcement by the authorities of the referendum on the government constitution in May, and elections that will lead to a multi-party democracy in 2010, are a potentially significant step,” Gambari told journalists in Jakarta recently. “But all the same, this process has to be credible and has to be all-inclusive,” he said.

Central to that objective is Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest. In previous discussions between Gambari’s UN predecessor, Razali Ismail, the then-prime minister and military intelligence chief General Khin Nyunt had agreed that she would be freed after the new constitution was ratified, according to sources close to Razali at the time.

Diplomats monitoring the situation now, however, anticipate the earliest the junta might release her is after the 2010 elections have been held. “The junta do not plan to release her in the near future and are almost certain to detain her until after the elections. Only then do they see a role for her in helping with economic reform,” an Asian diplomat who has regular contact with the regime leaders said.

Gambari is expected to push for a renewed commitment from the junta for her release after the constitutional referendum in May. Gambari told Asia Times Online he would certainly raise the issue of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning opposition leader’s continued detention and her participation in the proposed elections in 2010.

However he will likely be pushing his points on lower-ranking junta officials – and notably not junta leader Than Shwe. “Than Shwe is still furious at Gambari because he smuggled out a letter from Aung San Suu Kyi [which he made public in Singapore on his way back to New York to report to the UN secretary general] last time,” claims the Chiang Mai-based Myanmar academic Win Min.
According to Asian diplomats in contact with Myanmar government officials, junta leaders felt the release of the letter broke with diplomatic protocols. The crux of the matter, though, is that junta leaders remain convinced that Gambari is too close to the United States, a view many regional diplomats endorse. “He is constantly consulting [US First Lady] Laura Bush. She seems to be running policy, not the UN – or that’s how it appears to Than Shwe,” said an Asian diplomat.

Myanmar’s leaders are also reportedly disappointed with the envoy because they feel he has not produced anything in return for their reluctant engagement with the international community. Instead, from the junta’s perspective, the US and European Union proceeded to impose new financial sanctions against the regime in response to its armed crackdown on last year’s street demonstrations.

The junta has since hinted in various ways that the UN envoy’s mediating mission has hit a dead end. Government censors have in recent weeks spiked stories in the local press that mentioned Gambari by name or alluded to UN mediation efforts in other global hot spots.

That included a proposed article in the local Myanmar Times which reported that Prime Minister Thein Sein and Gambari were both coincidentally in Cambodia last December, according to Western diplomats close to the paper’s editors. Last month when UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and his predecessor Kofi Annan mediated Kenya’s political crisis, a foreign news agency article on the subject in the Myanmar Times was also banned by state censors.

Closer to home, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which unlike the US and the European Union has in recent years bid to diplomatically engage the junta, during a retreat for foreign ministers earlier this month stressed that the 2010 elections must be free and fair. “[Myanmar Foreign Minister] Nyan Win was told in no uncertain terms that while the referendum was considered a domestic matter – it was essential that is was a credible process,” according to a Southeast Asian diplomat who was in attendance at the meeting.

Yet Gambari will likely find delivering even this broad brushstroke message hard-going. “Sometimes, I myself am frustrated that the tangible results are not faster or we have not achieved more,” Gambari told Asia Times Online. “But we have to build on what we have and continue to press for more results … For me, failure is not an option.”

If only Myanmar’s junta concurred.

Larry Jagan previously covered Myanmar politics for the British Broadcasting Corporation. He is currently a freelance journalist based in Bangkok.

(Copyright 2008 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing .) 

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

March 6, 2008 at 4:26 pm