Daily News-August 14 - 2001- Tuesday

  • Burmese duo cry freedom
  • Heroin worth 10m rupees recovered in northeast, two Burmese held
  • Burma keen on Thai know- how
  • Korean Ministry to Send Delegation to Vietnam, Myanmar
  • Thailand: Repatriation of 5,000 illegal Burmese immigrants halted
  • Thailand-Burma border meeting put off till next month

  • Burmese duo cry freedom

    The Times (UK)
    MONDAY AUGUST 13 2001

    COMEDIANS at the Edinburgh Festival are celebrating the release of two Burmese comics who were sentenced to seven years' hard labour for telling jokes about the military regime.

    For five years Amnesty International campaigned for the release of U Pa Pa Lay and U Lu Zaw with events at the Festival. Amnesty had planned to highlight their case again with a benefit performance tonight. But news of the comics' release filtered through from sources in Burma and the Stand Up for Freedom event at the Assembly Rooms will now be a celebration.

    Andy Hackman, of Amnesty UK, said he had been contacted by a former Burmese prisoner of conscience who works for the BBC World Service. She told him that comedians at the Edinburgh Festival, and others worldwide, had had a definite impact on the prisoners' release.

    Through the Red Cross, Amnesty was told that Lay's spirits had been raised in jail when he heard of an Eddie Izzard show for Amnesty. Lay, 49, and Zaw, 45, were arrested during the 48th Independence Day commemorative ceremony in 1996. The Government accused them of spreading "false news".
    Heroin worth 10m rupees recovered in northeast, two Burmese held

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Aug 13, 2001
    Text of report by Indian news agency PTI

    Aizawl, 13 August: In the biggest haul of heroin in Mizoram (northeast India) in two years, Indian excise officials recovered 762 g of the contraband worth 10m rupees, and detained two people from Myanmar [Burma], about 200 km from here, excise department sources said Monday.

    Thankhanmarg (42) and Tluangthang (40) [names as received] were detained Sunday [12 August] at Champhai near Myanmar border, the sources said, adding the duo were booked under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
    Burma keen on Thai know- how

    source : The Nation
    Achara Pongvutitham

    Existing cross-border trade problems high on the agenda for meeting with |Burmese delegation Burmese Commerce Minister Brig-General Pyi Sone will fly to Bangkok to strengthen trade cooperation between the two countries next week.

    Pyi Sone will also lead a group of Burmese businessmen interested in Thai rice-mill technology and oil refineries.

    Thai Commerce Minister Adisai Bhodaramik said some trade issues such as account trade and border trade problems would also be raised during the meeting in Bangkok.Adisai raised the idea on account trade with Pyi Sone during a meeting late last week over the Burmese border in Tachilek.The Thai Government tries to develop trade with neighbouring countries through account trade as a net settlement system instead of using money transfers.Countries which are short of foreign currency benefit from the system.Malaysia and the Philippines have agreed to adopt account trade. Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding on a bilateral payment arrangement with Thailand late last month.The final negotiations will be completed by the end of this month.

    According to the Foreign Trade Department Thailand's export value to Burma in the first half of this year dropped by 21.4 per cent to Bt7.41 billion while import value significantly jumped 292.1 per cent to Bt14.08 billion.

    The trade deficit came after Thailand imported high value products including logs and wood products, roe, coal and crude oil and mainly exported products like plastic pellets, chemicals, cement, steel and machine parts.

    "Both countries have to concentrate on how to increase trade value rather than who will lose or who will gain," Adisai said during a meeting with Pyi Sone last week.
    Korean Ministry to Send Delegation to Vietnam, Myanmar

    SEOUL, Aug 13 Asia Pulse - The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said Monday it will dispatch a delegation to Vietnam and Myanmar to consult with both the private-sector and government officials concerning the exchange of natural resources.

    The delegation comprised of both business executives and government officials will participate in the first South Korean-Vietnamese Natural Resources Committee session in Hanoi Tuesday to discuss the sale of liquefied natural gas produced in Vietnam and issues related to cooperation between South Korea and Vietnam on the advancement of South Korean nuclear power plant construction in Southeast Asia.

    The delegation will also meet Pyi Sone, Myanmar's energy minister, to discuss the formation of a South Korean-Myanmar Resources Cooperation Committee. The ministry plans to send a similar delegation to Indonesia, China and Mongolia this year. (Yonhap)
    Thailand: Repatriation of 5,000 illegal Burmese immigrants halted

    Source : Bangkok Post

    Thai and UNHCR officials have suspended a plan to repatriate more than 5,000 illegal immigrants from Burma who are being sheltered in a refugee camp in Tha Song Yang district.

    The United Nations officials reasoned the current political situation in Burma does not warrant the immigrants' return.

    Originally, the repatriation of 5,606 illegal immigrants from Mae La refugee camp was to begin on Sunday. But authorities decided to suspend the plan because the timing was not right.

    Moreover, most of those seeking refuge in Thailand do not want to be repatriated because of uncertainties about their safety and a place where they could return to earn a decent living.

    Many of those on the repatriation list said they did not see how they would be able to survive in Burma as their land, houses and other properties had been confiscated by the authorities in Rangoon.

    Many villages had also been turned into military bases for the pro-Rangoon Democratic Karen Buddhist Army.

    A Muslim at Mae La camp said many of the Muslims and Christians who returned to their home villages in Kawkareik, Kamamaung, Papun, Yinbaing and Hlaingbwe districts in Karen state, and Kyaito, Thaton and Mudon in Mon state two or three years ago had been mistreated by Burmese authorities, which forced them to flee back to Thailand.
    Thailand-Burma border meeting put off till next month

    Source : Bangkok Post

    Next week's scheduled Thailand-Burma border meeting has been postponed until next month so that Burma's State Peace and Development Council first secretary Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt can take part.

    The 19th Regional Border Committee (RBC) meeting will now be held in early September. It was scheduled for Aug 22-24 in Pattaya with Third Army chief Lt-Gen Wathanachai Chaimuanwong and Burma's Triangle Regional Commander Maj-Gen Thein Sein joining in the talks.

    Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt will arrive in Bangkok in the first week of September for talks with Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and military leaders to discuss co-operation, drug suppression and border problems.

    Army commander Gen Surayud Chulanont said he wanted to discuss joint Thai-Burmese patrol operations and drug and border problems. Thailand was ready to help Burmese ethnic minorities find other occupations to curb drug production.

    Lt-Gen Wathanachai said he had invited Maj-Gen Thein Sein to a friendly round of golf and informal talks in Chiang Rai ahead of the RBC meeting in Pattaya.