Daily News-August 04 - 2001- Saturday

  • Kansai Elec Signs Consulting Pact With Myanmar
  • AFL-CIO Calls for Shareholder Vote on Amerada Hess's Acquisition of Triton
  • Myanmar Official on Seven-Thai-Official Incident
  • ASEAN members promise to protect the rights of children
  • Myanmar Builds 10 Traditional Medicine Hospitals
  • Myanmar Exports More Fish, Prawn in First Quarter
  • Wa Abduction meant to send a warning message

  • Kansai Elec Signs Consulting Pact With Myanmar

    NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Japan's Kansai Electric Power Co. (J.KEP) said Friday it has signed a contract with Myanmar's state-run utility firm for technical consulting to develop hydroelectric power plants, becoming the first Japanese concern to take part in large-scale power projects in the military-ruled country, the Kyodo news agency reported.

    Under the contract, Kansai Electric will assist the Myanmar concern in feasibility studies, designs and construction of such plants at 12 locations over the next five years as part of Myanmar's larger project to alleviate power shortages, the company said, according to Kyodo.

    The contract is estimated to be worth around Y300 million, Kansai Electric officials said, the agency reported.The company has already established a representative office late last month in Yangon, Myanmar's capital, with five workers dispatched there, Kyodo reported.
    AFL-CIO Calls for Shareholder Vote on Amerada Hess's Acquisition of Triton

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The AFL-CIO today called on the Board of Directors of Amerada Hess Corporation (NYSE:AHC) to seek shareholder approval for the company's planned $3.2 billion acquisition of Triton Energy Limited (NYSE:OIL).

    In a letter to the CEO and Chairman of Amerada Hess, John B. Hess, the AFL-CIO said approval is warranted given the transaction's large size and material impact on the company's balance sheet, business strategy and overall risk profile. In a separate letter, the AFL-CIO informed Amerada Hess shareholders of its request to the board.

    "Working people who invest in Amerada Hess deserve a say in such a fundamental change in business strategy," said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka. "Institutional investors who are the pension fund fiduciaries of America's working families have long been concerned with Amerada Hess's exposure to risks arising from its 25 percent stake in Premier Oil, which operates a natural gas joint venture in Burma.

    The Triton acquisition would dramatically extend the company's already considerable exposure to countries with poor records on human and labor rights."

    The AFL-CIO Office of Investment provides research and assistance in support of shareholder advocacy and corporate governance initiatives by collectively bargained benefit funds. These funds own about 1.2 percent of Amerada Hess common stock.

    Amerada Hess plans to acquire Triton for $2.7 billion in cash plus the assumption of $500 million in debt. In a report to investors, the AFL-CIO called the $3.2 billion acquisition, which represents over 45 percent of the company's market capitalization, a costly gamble on oil prices that appears overpriced relative to other recent oil industry transactions. The report also said the acquisition would more than double the company's debt-from $2 billion to $5 billion-and significantly increase its sensitivity to oil price volatility.

    Amerada Hess owns 25 percent of Premier Oil, which is the operating partner of the Burmese Yetagun natural gas joint venture, one the largest foreign investments in Burma. The Burmese dictatorship is considered one the world's most oppressive regimes. Yetagun and its owners, including Premier, are associated with massive human rights violations.

    "The search for new energy resources shouldn't lead Amerada Hess to put shareholder value at risk by exposing it to repressive regimes such as the Burmese military dictatorship," said Richard Trumka.

    A copy of the report is available by calling the AFL-CIO Office of Investment at 202-637-3900 or at http://www.burmarisk.org .
    Myanmar Official on Seven-Thai-Official Incident

    YANGON, August 3 (Xinhuanet) -- A high-ranking Myanmar intelligence official said Friday that the recent detention of seven Thai drug control officials in Myanmar's eastern border town of Tachilek by the United Wa State Army (UWSA), a Myanmar ethnic minority army allied to the military government, would not affect the relations between Myanmar and Thailand.

    Major General Kyaw Win, Deputy Chief of Office of Strategic Studies of the Defence Ministry and Deputy Director of Defence Services Intelligence, made the remarks at a press briefing here after the seven Thai officials, who are from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board of the Thai Defence Ministry, were released by the Myanmar authorities and handed over to the Thai side Thursday night.

    Kyaw Win said the incident has come to a total settlement, describing the UWSA's detention of the Thai officials as an inappropriate act and warning them that such incident be not recurred.

    The seven Thai officials' entry into Tachilek was purely a cross-border visit to the area officially permitted by the Myanmar authorities with no other purposes, he explained, adding that the prompt settlement of the incident has signified the good relations between Myanmar and Thailand.

    The seven Thai drug control officials entered Tachilek on July 27 from Maesai of the Thai side and were detained and brought to the Wan Hong area,80 kilometers from Tachilek, by the UWSA who have been repeatedly charged by the Thai side with being a major producer and supplier of methampetamine stimulant tablets to Thailand.

    A negotiation between the Myanmar authorities and a Thai delegation, who arrived here late Tuesday, brought about the release of the seven Thai officials.
    ASEAN members promise to protect the rights of children

    source : ABC

    Southeast Asian government officials have promised to protect children from drugs, AIDS, child trafficking and other forms of exploitation still plaguing the region.

    Social welfare ministers from the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations adopted a Declaration on Commitments to Children in ASEAN after a two-day meeting in Singapore.

    In the declaration, the ministers agreed to protect, respect and recognize the rights of all children ... consistent with the customs and traditions of their respective communities. They also pledged to protect children from all forms of abuse, neglect, trafficking and exploitation.

    Social workers say children from ASEAN countries Cambodia and Laos have been trafficked into Thailand, another ASEAN member, to work in begging gangs or to become prostitutes.

    The meeting is the first for ASEAN's social welfare ministers since Burma,Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam joined the regional grouping.
    Myanmar Builds 10 Traditional Medicine Hospitals

    YANGON, August 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar has built a total of 10 traditional medicine hospitals in the countries' 10 respective major cities including Yangon and Mandalay, according to sources at the Myanmar Ministry of Health Friday.

    The total number of beds of such hospitals in the country has reached 208, the sources said, adding that two more hospitals with 32 beds will be respectively built in two other cities.Meanwhile, over 214 township and district dispensaries have also been opened, it said.

    Myanmar traditional medicines, composed of such ingredients as roots, tubers, bulbs, natural items and animal products, has in a historical perspective represented the typical Myanmar culture and traditional values and norms.

    Due to the historical reason, the western medicines has flourished in Myanmar over the years while the role of the country 's traditional medicine gradually diminished.In its measures to develop its traditional medicines, Myanmar established the Traditional Medicine Department under the ministry in 1997 and later enacted the Traditional Medicine Council Law and formed the Traditional Medicine Council in 2000.

    The country sponsored a Myanmar Traditional Medical Practitioners' Conference in December 2000, attached with a traditional medicine and medical equipment exhibition.

    Meanwhile, Myanmar is planning to organize a Myanmar Traditional Medical Practitioners' Association to strive for further strengthening and maintaining the existing methods of traditional medicines, developing and standardizing them.
    Myanmar Exports More Fish, Prawn in First Quarter

    YANGON, August 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar exported 18,600 tons of fish and prawn in the first quarter of this year, 41.98 percent more than the year-ago period, according to the latest figures released by the country's Central Statistical Organization.

    Of the exports, fish accounted for 15,200 tons, while prawn 3, 400 tons.During the three-month period, export earnings from fish and prawn reached 30.65 million U.S. dollars.

    There is a total of about 40,536 hectares of fish and prawn breeding ponds in Myanmar at present and more such ponds, especially the prawn breeding ones, are being extended in the country's seven states and divisions along its long stretch of coastline of 2,276 kilometers under a three-year plan,which began from June 2000. It targets to extend such area to 48,600 hectares.

    According to sources with Myanmar's Fishery Department, from June 2000 up to May this year, a total of 318,096 tons of prawn had been produced from 55.48 hectares of prawn breeding ponds.

    Myanmar is rich in fishery resources and the fishery sector is the third productive mainstay of Myanmar's economy after agriculture and forestry, contributing 7.3 percent to the country' s gross domestic product and standing as the third largest foreign exchange earner.

    Official statistics show that the country produces over 910,000 tons of fish and prawn annually, the export of which covers 49 countries and regions with nearly 60,000 tons, earning about 150 million dollars.
    Wa Abduction meant to send a warning message

    Source : Bangkok Post

    The United Wa State Army's abduction of seven Thai officials was intended to send a message to the government, one of the group said yesterday.

    Maj Domsak Khamsaengsai, chief of the local Thai-Burmese co-ordinating team of the Third Army, said the Wa wanted to warn Thai officials that they could act against them at any time.

    They also wanted to get across the message that not all Wa were into drugs.

    The group was released with Rangoon's help and returned to Bangkok on Thursday.

    Maj Domsak said he acted as a guide for Col Duangkamol Sukhonthasap, director of division 12 of the Supreme Command's Armed Forces Security Centre, and officials from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, who wanted to look at the sights in Tachilek.

    In Tachilek, they were abducted at gunpoint from a temple by about 10 soldiers. They were blindfolded and taken on a pick-up truck to Mong Hsat. They were shocked by the sudden swoop.

    "At the time I thought our chances of survival were 50:50. From their actions, I thought they could get rid of us if we resisted," Maj Domsak said. The soldiers looked scary, but did not do them any harm.

    The six men were detained together in one hut and Col Duangkamol, the only woman in the group, in another.

    The soldiers told them they were not happy with the Thai government's view of them as drug traders as many were engaged in lawful undertakings such as running longan orchards, he said.

    He believed the soldiers did not aim specifically to kidnap his group. He and the others just happened to be officials involved in drugs suppression.

    He denied that Capt Sanit Banthao, another member, was the main target.

    Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, who spoke to Col Duangkamol yesterday, said the soldiers mistakenly thought the group was on a spying mission.