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အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ က်ဆံုးမွ တတိုင္းျပည္လံုး စစ္မွန္တဲ့ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို ခံစားရမယ္

Posts Tagged ‘US

A New U.S. Strategy for Burma

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Mizzima

by Zo Tum Hmung

Sunday, 25 January 2009 19:46

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 26, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Varieties in English

Tagged with , , ,

World focus on Burma (16 January 2008)

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Indian Vice President to visit Burma to strengthen bilateral relations
Mizzima.com, India –
“Ansari will go on a goodwill visit to Myanmar [Burma] early next month. Preparations are under way,” the report said. Ansari’s visit to Burma, …

The Doctor in Dubia: dubious indeed
guardian.co.uk, UK –

Dubai with its dubious human rights record, appalling treatment of migrant workers and flagrant disregard for the environment. …

Next battle against Karen rebels soon
Mizzima.com, India –
The vicious battle for the region surrounding Thailand’s Phop Phra district has see-sawed back and forth across Thailand’s northern border with Burma since …

Kelly Rutherford, Blake Lively, Johnny Knoxville
International Herald Tribune, France –
… “Burma VJ,” which uses footage from underground video journalists capturing the 2007 uprising of Buddhist monks against the Myanmar government. …

Sundance in 60 Seconds: Thursday, January 15, 2009
Cinematical, CA –
Burma VJ, which first gained notice at IFDA in November, sold US TV rights to HBO, according to indieWIRE, though it won’t air until next year. …

Freezing Temperatures Hit Remote Areas of Burma
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

According to the state-owned New Light of Myanmar, the thermometer reached -2 degrees Celsius in the state capital of Hakah on Sunday. …

Burmese migrant workers evicted from campsite
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Moe Gyo, chairman of the Thailand-based Joint Action Committee for Burma Affairs, said the Thai authorities’ actions were against international human rights …

Through the Director’s Lens
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

He was previously the chairman of the Myanmar Film Association. Question: Which movie do you think will win a Burmese academy award this year and who are …

Will Obama forgive Britain for his grandfather’s torture?
This is London, UK –

His beatings at the hands of the British Army, alongside whom he’d served in Burma during the Second World War, had left him, his family say, …

North Korean national dies in Meikhtila
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Military analyst and researcher Htay Aung of the Thailand-based Burmese exile group Network for Democracy and Development said the group had received …

Bush Slaps Sanctions on More Junta Cronies
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Zaw Zaw is the managing director of the Max Myanmar Group of Companies, a Burmese entity with interests in the gem, timber, construction and tourism …

Score more than one for first lady
Sauk Valley Newspapers, IL –
… had spent many months relentlessly calling for the overthrow of the repressive Burmese government – ever since she had read a book by Aung San Suu Kyi, …

Weekly Business Roundup (January 16, 2009)
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
The Burma Campaign UK which lobbies to stop companies doing business with the Burmese junta this week urged the London government to investigate all British …

Burmese weblog wins “Best Asia Blog” award for 2008
Mizzima.com, India –
by Mizzima News New Delhi (Mizzima) – The weblog of venerable Burmese Buddhist monk, Ashin Mettacara, has bagged the “Best Asia Blog” award for 2008. …

Burmese Junta Destroying Arakanese Businesses, Says Shrimp Farmer
Narinjara News, Bangladesh –
Rathidaung: The Burmese military government has destroyed Arakanese businesses with many tactics aiming to undeveloped the state of Arakan, said a shrimp …

Bangladesh PM Wants to Settle Maritime Boundary Dispute
Narinjara News, Bangladesh –
… their neighboring countries Burma and India, a Bangladesh official said. “She said that the government would discuss the issue with India and Myanmar to …

US Treasury freezes assets of more ‘Junta Cronies’
Mizzima.com, India –
… and Myanmar Ivanhoe Copper, owner of the country’s largest copper mine. OFAC has now subjected 100 individuals and entities to its Burma sanctions, …

US freezes assets of 2 Burmese businessmen
International Herald Tribune, France –
By Mark Mcdonald HONG KONG: The United States has frozen the assets of two Burmese businessmen and their companies for aiding the military junta in Myanmar, …

Film Buyers Shop for Bargains at Sundance as Studios Pull Back
Bloomberg –
HBO said yesterday that it acquired a documentary, “Burma VJ,” about journalists in the country now called Myanmar. Also present at Sundance are New …

Burma, Myanmar: The 2008 Weblog Awards Winners
Ashin Mettacara, Sri Lanka –
The Weblog Award winners for the 2008 announced on Jan 15. Here are the winners of International Weblog Awards: Special thanks to all of the medias, …

Burma Cracks Down on Rangoon Churches
Crosswalk.com, VA –
… and the US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, to put pressure on the Burmese junta to end these violations and to permit churches …

Official Reflects On Foreign Aid Triumphs, Challenges
NPR –
Asked about other difficult days, she laments the fact that it took so long for the military regime in Myanmar, or Burma, to allow in aid after a cyclone …

HRW Sees Progress in Pakistan After Pervez Musharraf
A Pakistan News, Pakistan –

In Myanmar—which HRW said also draws support from China, Russia and Thailand—democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi went into her sixth straight year of house …

Camera-Ready Victims
National Review Online, NY –
Sudan came in second with 61, Myanmar third with 41. The US was No. 4, with 39 actions, tied with the Democratic Republic of the Congo! …

Myanmar documentary gets HBO deal
Variety Asia, Hong Kong –
HBO has nabbed the US TV rights to Anders Ostergaard’s docu “Burma VJ” ahead of its North American preem at Sundance. A chronicle of the 2007 uprising of …

Assessing the Bush Administration: A Foreign Catastrophe at Every Turn
Antiwar.com, CA –
The president “announced steps to help the Burmese people bring peaceful change and democratic transition to their country.” Well, he may have announced …

Rights group criticises SA government
Independent Online, South Africa –
The New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) gives the South African government a pounding in its latest World Report issued this week, saying that its …

US probes link between Malay officials, trafficking
China Post, Taiwan –
Myanmar’s previous name was Burma. “The allegations include assertions that Burmese and other migrants — whether or not they have UNHCR documentation — are …

Sundance sets sail amid storm clouds
Hollywood Reporter, United States –
The film examines the military junta’s suppression of a 2007 monk-led rebellion in Burma, incorporating footage shot by journalists who risked their lives …

Gentle Questioning for UN Nominee
New York Times, United States –
The hearings ranged widely, touching on virtually every trouble spot in the world including the Congo, Somalia, Burma and North Korea. …

Sundance premieres find buyers as festival opens
The Associated Press –
… “Burma VJ,” which uses footage from underground video journalists capturing the 2007 uprising of Buddhist monks against the Myanmar government. …

Ramos-Horta: Only Filipinos can do it
Inquirer.net, Philippines –
Horta, who delivered a lecture at a university here Wednesday, said that peace is possible whether in Gaza, in Burma or in the Philippines if people are …

US hits Myanmar with additional sanctions
eTaiwan News, Taiwan –
Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control says it has added 100 people and entities to its Myanmar sanctions. Myanmar is also called Burma. …

Zaw Zaw was identified as the managing director of the Max Myanmar Group of Companies, a Burmese entity with interests in the gem, timber, construction, …

Boat-people accuse Thai police of uncaring treatment
Cambodia News, Cambodia –
Thai soldiers have forced illegal migrants from Bangladesh and Burma out to sea in rickety boats. The boats, some without engines, had been used to carry …

Left at sea with just a paddle
Electric New Paper, Singapore –
… sources have said that the Thai army is holding Rohingya – Muslims who come from the border areas of Myanmar and Bangladesh – on Koh Sai Daeng, …

HRW sees progress in Pakistan after Musharraf
The News International, Pakistan –
HRW blamed Asian giants China and India for abuses against their own citizens but also for backing military dictatorships such as Myanmar. …

Treasury Targets Financial Backers Of Myanmar Regime
EasyBourse.com, France –
… as it continues to suppress democratic dissent,” OFAC director Adam Szubin said. Many western governments, including the US, refer to Myanmar as Burma.

Eija-Liisa Ahtila at Sundance
ARTINFO, NY –
… monks who led a rebellion in Burma last year. The monks shot what they were doing with small video cameras and then smuggled the materials to Thailand, …

Susan Rice’s Testimony at Her UN Ambassador Hearing
RealClearPolitics, IL –
It is why efforts to pass Security Council resolutions on abuses in places from Zimbabwe to Burma occasion such fierce debate, and don’t always succeed. …

Ceremony to Commemorate Foreign Policy Achievements (2001-2009)
US Department of State, DC –
Whether working to advance the interests of women in Afghanistan, helping children in Iraq, supporting the righteous struggle of dissidents in Burma, …

The Netherlands supports democratisation in Indonesia
ISRIA (subscription), DC –
… human rights, relations with ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the situation in Burma and the violence in the Middle East. …

Student activist jailed for 104 years in Burma
Asian Age, India –
Separately, authorities on Wednesday freed six out of nine members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) who were arrested last month …

Thank you, Laura; please tell Michelle!
KanglaOnline, India –
Among others, her advocacy on behalf of human-rights abuse victims in the Union of Burma has brought tremendous attention from the international community. …

Memorandum for the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the …
Whitehouse.gov (press release), DC –
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States, including the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s …

Origin of the Chakmas
The New Nation, Bangladesh –

Abhi Raja, around 923 BC came to Burma from Kapilavastu and founded a Sakya line of dynasty at Dha-ngya-wa-ti (the capital) in north Arakan called …

Film scholar B. Ruby Rich plays a leading role at Sundance Film …
UC Santa Cruz, CA –
Made up of videos shot by the Democratic Voice of Burma, the footage was smuggled into Thailand, shipped to Norway, and subsequently broadcast around the …

BC aid worker dumped in ditch after robbery
National Post, Canada –
Jiri Zivny and a team of volunteers were distributing medical items and Christmas gifts to orphanages in China, Vietnam, Thailand and Burma in December. …

Critically injured aid worker from BC dies in Cambodian hospital
The Canadian Press,  B.C. –
The group Zivny was part of had also planned to visit Thailand and Burma but most of the volunteers went home because protesters had blockaded Bangkok’s …

Canadian aid worker dies in Cambodia
Calgary Herald,  Canada –
… Humanitarian Hope Society were distributing medical supplies and Christmas gifts to orphanages in China, Vietnam, Thailand and Burma in December. …

Regional Fallout from Thai Turmoil
YaleGlobal Online, CT –
We want to bring good change in Myanmar (Burma).” Statements such as these may not be well received by other, more autocratic members of ASEAN such as Laos …

One survey shows liberty shrivelling; another names the “spoilers”
Economist, UK –
A similarly heavyweight annual report from another American outfit, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), takes direct aim at what its director, …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 16, 2009 at 2:27 am

US slaps more sanctions on Myanmar regime backers

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WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States slapped additional sanctions against alleged key financial backers of the Myanmar military regime Thursday, citing the country’s imprisonment of democracy advocates.

The US Treasury Department announced its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had added two people and 14 companies to its lists of sanctions targets for Myanmar, which the US government identifies by its pre-junta name of Burma.

“Congress and the administration have made clear the need to apply vigorous sanctions against the Burmese junta as long as it continues to suppress democratic dissent,” said OFAC director Adam Szubin in a statement.

“The junta’s imprisonment of prominent democracy advocates confirms Burma’s unwillingness to abide by international commitments and underscores the need to maintain pressure against one of the world’s worst violators of human rights.”

OFAC has now imposed sanctions on 100 people and entities, “targeting key state-owned enterprises, senior junta officials, regime cronies and their business networks,” the Treasury said.

The action freezes any assets the designees have under US jurisdiction and bars any US citizen from having any financial and commercial transactions with the sanction targets.

The latest move targets “regime cronies” Zaw Zaw and Win Aung and their business networks, as well as the business networks of two already-designated cronies of the Burmese junta, Tay Za and Steven Law, the department said.

Zaw Zaw was identified as the managing director of the Max Myanmar Group of Companies, a Burmese entity with interests in the gem, timber, construction, and tourism industries.

The Treasury targeted eight companies of the group and Zaw Zaw’s Singapore-based company, Max Singapore International.

Win Aung allegedly made large financial donations to the Myanmar junta and has been a major support on construction projects. He was designated along with two of his companies, Dagon International Limited and Dagon Timber Limited.

The financial network of Tay Za, “a notorious regime henchman and arms dealer,” was hit with a third round of sanctions.

Thursday’s action targeted Espace Avenir, a Rangoon hotel owned or controlled by Tay Za, the Treasury said.

Also targeted were Sentosa Treasure Pte. Ltd., a Singaporean firm owned by Cecilia Ng, who was designated on February 25, 2008, along with her husband, Steven Law.

Nine firms that previously had been identified as being owned by Ng were also designated.

OFAC targeted Myanmar Ivanhoe Copper Company Limited (MICCL), a joint venture owned or controlled by the state-owned No. 1 Mining Enterprise, which was designated on July 29, 2008.

MICCL controls the Monywa copper project, the biggest of its kind in the country, located in Myanmar’s northwestern Sagaing division, the department said.

The action came in the waning days of President George W. Bush’s administration. President-elect Barack Obama is to be sworn into office Tuesday as the 44th US president.

The military-ruled Myanmar has been under international fire for years over human rights abuses and many citizens had fled the impoverished nation to neighboring countries, where they mostly stay illegally or apply for refugee status and seek resettlement in the West.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j7u1JEIhYotZELisAekEDanrbc9A

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 16, 2009 at 2:09 am

Posted in Varieties in English

Tagged with , , ,

World focus on Burma (21 December 2008)

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China in the 21st Century
Harvard International Review, MA –
China acts against its own people with impunity and backs the enemies of democracy all around the world, Pyongyang, Burma, Uzbekistan, Iran, Sudan, …

Thailand’s Fresh Hope
Sin Chew Jit Poh, Malaysia –

… where he read philosophy, politics and economics (as did former prime minister Kukrit Pramoj and Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi). …

US becomes gentler, not toothless
GulfNews, United Arab Emirates –
… after Cyclone Nargis, American ships would have provided large-scale relief, had Burma’s military government allowed them to proceed. …

Burma Arrests 19 North Korean Defectors, Kids Included
FOXNews –
“North Korean defectors usually travel though China to countries such as Burma — also called Myanmar — Laos, and Thailand” before making their way to South …

Burma to Try 19 North Korean Defectors
Voice of America –
Burmese immigration authorities have moved the group from a detention center to a prison, where they await a trial expected to open next week. …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 21, 2008 at 1:50 pm

World focus on Burma (20 December 2008)

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Experiment with democracy ends sadly
Hamilton Spectator, Canada –
Relatively few Asian countries are openly run as dictatorships nowadays — China, Vietnam and Burma (Myanmar) are the main exceptions — but the urban …

I Meant to Do That
Gold Seek –
Most of us are familiar with the devastating hurricane that hit Myanmar (Burma) this last year, and the difficulty in getting aid to those who were …

We must stand by one of our most important allies
Vancouver Sun,  Canada –
We all now collude with this, in the same way that most newspapers and TV stations do the Burmese junta’s work for it by using the fake name Myanmar. …

Central News Agency
eTaiwan News, Taiwan –
Following is a list of important events that have occurred on this date in the past: 1852: British troops annex Pegu, lower Burma, during a war with Burma. …

Year in Review: World news
St. Louis Post-Dispatch,  United States –

The leaders of the country, formerly known as Burma, came under international criticism after the secretive ruling junta refused to let in aid quickly. …

The Chinese and President-elect Obama
Harvard International Review, MA –
… Iran, Sudan, Burma/Myanmar, and UN reform. Certainly, China would like the institutionalized arrangements set up in the last few years to continue. …

Drawn from all over the world
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN –
Now he’s on to Myanmar (formally Burma), where the country’s military dictatorship made headlines in 2007 for brutally crushing anti-government protests. …

Human rights and state power
Boston Globe, United States –
… or the horrific rights violations by the military dictatorship in Burma. There is now an assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, …

31st MEU Reflects on ’08
Global Security, Alexandria –
… training during Cobra Gold ’08 in Thailand while the remainder of the MEU supported Operation Caring Response in the wake of Cyclone Nargis in Burma. …

Ex-hostage Betancourt to take break from public life
AFP –
… to support the hundreds of hostages in Colombia and elsewhere in the world, citing Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi and Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. …

UN slams N. Korean on rights; Defending regime were China, Cuba …
World Tribune –
Among those opposing the resolution were China, Cuba, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Myanmar (Burma), Russia, Syria and Venezuela. …

INBOX DELIVERY: Digital Variety Edition only
Variety, CA –
The top prizewinner at Intl. Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, “Burma VJ” celebrates the courage of the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), …

The old Thailand returns
Tehran Times, Iran –
Relatively few Asian countries are openly run as dictatorships nowadays — China, Vietnam and Burma are the main exceptions — but the urban elites and the …

EarthRights Burma School Courses Underway
Earthrights.org, DC –
… the EarthRights Burma School is making great progress in training the next generation of grassroots human rights and environmental activists. …

Burma: Cyclone Fact Sheet #2 (FY) 2009
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
The Tripartite Core Group (TCG), composed of representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Government of Burma, and the UN, …

The Legacy Of Condoleezza Rice
CBS News, NY –
“And if I have a real disappointment about this period, it’s about- it’s about Darfur and Zimbabwe and Burma, because these are tyrannical regimes,” she …

India: Brickbat for commercial channel on terror coverage
American Chronicle, CA –
His special focus areas remain the socio-political developments in Northeast India as well as in Burma, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Three villagers arrested after KNU ambush kills at least one junta ...
Independent Mon News Agency, WA –
The KNU is one of Burma’s largest armed insurgent groups, and has maintained armed to rule by Burma’s military government for decades.

Anniversary of US-China Ties highlights Complex Relationship
ISRIA (subscription), DC –
“America stands in firm opposition to China’s detention of political dissidents, human rights advocates, and religious activists,” Bush said. …

Kyaw Thu quits film for art and social work
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
The fund also carried out relief work in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis and delivered assistance to survivors. Last month, the FFSS was forced to move out …

Anniversary of US-China Ties highlights Complex Relationship
ISRIA (subscription), DC –
On human rights, President Bush says that America presses for openness and justice not to impose its beliefs, but to allow the Chinese people to express …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 20, 2008 at 6:10 am

CORRECTED: U.S. to provide $5 mln more for Myanmar relief aid

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(Corrects to Agency for International Development in paragraph 3)

By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some U.S. aid is getting to the people of Myanmar and Washington plans to provide $5 million more in disaster relief in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis that devastated the country in May, U.S. first lady Laura Bush said Wednesday.

The United States sent about $75 million in relief and the reclusive military junta in Myanmar allowed at least 100 U.S. flights after the storm slammed the Irrawaddy delta, killing more than 130,000 and leaving more than 2 million destitute.

Bush, speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York to mark the 60th anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights, said the U.S. Agency for International Development would send $5 million more in aid.

“This assistance will support the efforts of nongovernmental organizations like the World Food Program and Save the Children to ensure access to clean water, adequate shelter, basic health services, and other essential needs in the most affected areas,” she said.

She noted that a reporter from the BBC went to the delta recently and made an interesting discovery.

“We saw photographs of the shacks that the people who lived in the delta are building — rebuilding to rebuild their homes, and they were built out of the rice sacks that were stacked with USAID and American flags,” she said.

“So we do know that some of this relief we’re sending into the cyclone area is getting to the people,” Bush said.

Just a few weeks before she and her husband, President George W. Bush, leave the White House, Bush pledged she would keep pushing for democratic reforms in Myanmar, previously known as Burma, after leaving Washington.

“I’m going to pay, really, a lot of attention to these two issues, the international issues that I’ve worked on the most, both Afghanistan and Burma,” she said.

Myanmar’s military junta has refused to accept losing a 1990 election and has cracked down numerous times on pro-democracy demonstrators, killing thousands.

(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Peter Cooney)

http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE4BA07Q20081211

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 11, 2008 at 1:59 am

World focus on Burma (28 November 2008)

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New restrictions hamper appeal process
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Nov 28, 2008 (DVB)–The authorities are using new restrictions and delaying tactics to make it difficult for defence lawyers to lodge appeals on behalf of …

Riot police gather at Thai airport
ABC Online, Australia –

Sondhi Limthongkul said demonstrators would not leave until Mr Somchai resigned, adding that the PM should “seek asylum in Myanmar (Burma)”. …

Jet lag a drag on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia –
China, Burma, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Vietnam, Pakistan – they’ve all been invited, along with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. None of these is a bastion of democracy, …

Oo’s efforts result in creation of Burmese Advocacy Center
Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly, IN –
Oo’s family is from Burma (now Myanmar), but she had an international upbringing. Born to diplomat parents in Bangkok, Thailand, Oo grew up in China, Burma, …

US government taps Facebook, Google, MTV to “Fight Terrorism”
Center for Research on Globalization, Canada –
The list of organizations due to attend include the Burma Global Action Network, a human rights movement spurred into action by the ruling junta’s crackdown ..

Judicial Crackdown in Burma Continues
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Thet Zin, 42, an editor for the weekly journal, Myanmar Nation, and his manager, Sein Win Maung, both received seven-year prison sentences on Friday at a …

Burmese Impacted by Thailand’s Crisis
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

By WAI MOE Like other airlines and travelers who use Thai airports, Burma’s Myanmar Airways International (MAI) and Burmese who travel abroad have been …

Weekly Business Roundup (November 28, 2008)
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
By WILLIAM BOOT One of the more interesting agreements reached at a top-level trade and political relations meeting between India and Burma is a tax …

Long prison terms under Electronic Law intimidate Internet users …
Southeast Asian Press Alliance, Thailand –
Internet users in Burma claimed they are intimidated from surfing the Web as a result of the long prison terms given to those charged under the Electronic …

Burmese in Thailand cautioned on security concerns
Mizzima.com, India –
Similarly many Burmese citizens wear red dresses in support of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. They can be misunderstood too as pro-government protesters,” U Khun Sai …

World Digest Yemen protesters attacked by troops
Seattle Times, United States –
In the interviews, he said the government was too slow in responding to a May cyclone that killed more than 84000 people in Myanmar, also known as Burma. …

Burmese give thanks for old, new homelands
Chicago Tribune, United States –
The Karen are the largest ethnic minority group living in east Myanmar (formerly Burma) and northwest Thailand. Myanmar, a former British colony, …

The Bell Tolls for Burma
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
… India are free to move in again and secure their business ties with the Burmese junta, exploiting both the country’s economy and its natural resources. …

To visit or avoid, that’s the Burma guilt trip
The Age, Australia –
Be aware also that anger has deepened since Cyclone Nargis hit the nation in May. However, throughout our trip we never had people telling us our presence …

Recovery fund still insufficient in post-Nargis Burma
Mizzima.com, India –
by Salai Pi Pi New Delhi (Mizzima) – Relief and recovery work for Cyclone Nargis affected victims in the delta region of Burma is insufficient and there …

The road to ruins
The Age, Australia –
The repression in Burma, also known as Myanmar, is a clandestine battle, hidden from the gaze of big-spending tourists on two-week tours. …

Total prison term for Zarganar climbs to 59 years
Mizzima.com, India –
But in Burma, it is rising instead of declining – in prison terms. He cracked this joke at the court.” Zarganar was arrested at his residence in June this …

Burmese days
The Age, Australia –
I broke this within an hour of reaching my hotel in Yangon in Myanmar. The reason was another rule, the over-arching rule that simply says “why not? …

The Great Escape
Forbes, NY –
The world of luxury travel marketing is so reality-free that this last one floated in on a puff of colonial fantasy exactly one month after Cyclone Nargis …

We’re happy to mix with rogue states, says Government trade arm
Tribune, UK –
But Campaign Against Arms Trade accused the Government of “consorting with human rights abusers” after Pakistani media reported that high-level delegations …

US should move beyond just using sanctions in its relations with Burma
China Post, Taiwan –
Without such move from the US, Ban Ki-moon’s ‘Group of Friends of the Secretary General on Myanmar’ will yield little. The most effective UN intervention …

Havel’s Humanity
Wall Street Journal –
(In the play, the leader is attached to a statue of the nonviolent Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi; in the documentary, we see the framed picture of Burmese …

New report reveals shock figures on union murders
Tribune, UK –
… 14 in Morocco and seven in Burma where the junta targeted activists as part of its crackdown on moves for democracy and human rights. …

Mugabe critic wins art prize
ABC Online, Australia –
… worth $US25,000, which went to popular comedian and activist Zarganar. He was sentenced this month in military-ruled Burma to 45 years in prison after …

China’s Prison Labor System Criticized in 2008 US-China Commission …
The Epoch Times, NY –
“Although formal agreements have been made between the US and Chinese governments to stop the export of prison labor goods to the US, the practice …

Court will not intervene in compo case
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
Most of the two million migrants in Thailand from Burma, Cambodia and Laos originally entered illegally without documents and cannot produce the documents …

The 13th Amendment and Its Vision of the State
Asian Tribune, Thailand –
… that confronted the said dilemma sharply in Asia include India, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and even Japan. …

Myanmar: Unfinished Burmas Jail News; Popular Burmese Comedian …
OpEdNews, PA – by Ashin Mettacara Page

A popular Burmese comedian, film actor, and a film director Zarganar was sentenced today to ..

Zimbabwean playwright, Burmese comedian win Freedom prizes
CBC.ca, Canada –
He was arrested last June after giving statements to foreign media that were critical of the junta’s slow response to Cyclone Nargis. …

Burmese Farmers Charged Using the Electronic Act
Global Voices Online, MA –
The Electronic Law has been used by the Junta to prosecute and persecute activists, bloggers and politicians who are critical of the regime. …

Burma’s government in exile condemns Mumbai attack
Mizzima.com, India –
… including members of detained Nobel Peace Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s party – the National League for Democracy (NLD), and border-based ethnic armed …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 28, 2008 at 4:40 am