Daily News-August 15 - 2001- Wednesday

  • Nobel Peace Prize winners to gather in Oslo
  • More MPs Released
  • DVB interview on the recent two MP release with Thakhin Thein Pe
  • Solidarity meeting with Burma's struggle for democracy held in Algeria
  • Leader reviews trial run of new MRTV-3 channel
  • Burma's Khin Nyunt speaks on tourism development, "correct news"
  • PTT awards feasibility study for Gulf of Thailand gas pipeline systems
  • God's Army duo decided to stay in Thailand
  • Thai and Burmese officials meet in Phuket for Cross-border drug fight

  • Nobel Peace Prize winners to gather in Oslo

    source : Boston globe
    Monday, August 13, 2001

    OSLO - The Dalai Lama, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and at least 32 other Nobel peace prize winners will gather in Oslo in December to mark the 100th anniversary of the award.

    Director of the Nobel Institute Geir Lundestad said Monday that all surviving former prize winners had been invited to the Nobel symposium on Dec. 6-8.

    ``Thirty-four out of the 39 prize winners have said 'yes', and I think that number could increase,'' Lundestad told Reuters on the sidelines of a news conference to present gold and silver commemorative coins to mark the anniversary. Former South African President Nelson Mandela, suffering from prostate cancer, had declined the invitation, while the institute was still ``in dialogue'' with last year's prize winner, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.

    High-profile laureates Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissenger had not answered before the deadline, Lundestad said.

    The commemorative coins feature, among others, Swedish philanthropist Alfred Nobel, who founded the prize and invented dynamite. ``If Alfred Nobel had lived today, he would have been shocked to see the position that the peace prize has achieved,'' Lundestad said.

    This year's peace prize, worth 9.0 million Swedish crowns ($878,800) in 2000, will be announced on Oct. 12. Among the 136 nominees are the Red Cross, whose founder won the first peace prize in 1901, the European Court of Human Rights and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
    More MPs Released

    source : The Irrawaddy News Magazine
    By Ko Thet

    August 14, 2001--Two more Burmese Members of Parliament (MPs) were released from Insein prison yesterday. San San, 71, and Duwar Zaw Aung, 68, are both members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and, according to a statement released by the ruling military junta, are both in good-health and have completed their sentences.

    "She (San San) said, she is really thankful to the Burmese people and she thinks that their wishes helped bring her release," said one of San San's relatives to The Irrawaddy.

    San San was detained on October 28, 1997 with fellow MPs Dr. Than Nyein and Dr. Mya Win Myint, in addition to five other NLD members.On December 10, 1997, these seven individuals along with San San were each sentenced to six years in prison under Article 5 (j) of the 1950 Emergency Provision Act.

    In April of 1998 the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) sentenced San San to an additional twenty-five years in prison after evidence surfaced that she had conducted an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) Burmese Service in which she was critical of the regime.

    Duwar Zaw Aung was serving a seven-year sentence for his activities in the NLD. "The SPDC sentenced him to seven years in prison for writing to religious leaders about solving the political deadlock between the military authorities and the NLD," said his nephew who lives along the Thai-Burma border.

    In regards to their releases being related to the secret talks between NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the SPDC, Ko Tate, General Secretary of Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (Burma)said, "We don't believe that the release of political prisoners is related to the current talks, it is just a PR move to improve their (SPDC) international reputation."

    "If they release NLD leaders Aung San Suu Kyi, Tin Oo and Aung Shwe from house arrest then maybe we can believe the talks are going some where," he added.

    San San and Duwar Zaw Aung were both elected to Parliament in May of 1990. The results of that election have never been recognized by the military regime in Burma. San San was elected in Seik Kan Township, Rangoon Division and Duwar Zaw Aung was elected in Waingmaw Township, Kachin State. He was also chairman of the Kachin State Student Union during 1956-1957.
    DVB interview on the recent two MP release with Thakhin Thein Pe

    Text of report by DVB on 13 August

    DVB has learned that the SPDC has released two National League for Democracy [NLD] elected representatives [MPs] from among those held at Insein Jail this afternoon. They are; Daw San San, NLD elected representative from Seikkan Township Constituency in Rangoon Division, and Duwa Zaw Aung, NLD elected representative from Waingmaw Township Constituency in Kachin State.

    Daw San San was arrested for the first time in November 1990 and was released in 1992 under the SPDC's general amnesty. She was arrested for the second time in December 1997 for holding an interview with a foreign broadcasting service and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. Both Daw San San and Duwa Zaw Aung were released under the amnesty law before they have completed their sentences.

    The SPDC spokesperson said both Daw San San and Duwa Zaw Aung are in good health. But, in order to learn more details about the health of Daw San San who was released from Insein Jail today, DVB contacted a family member.

    [Unidentified relative] Well, she has a cold and is not feeling too well so she has taken some medication and resting.

    DVB contacted Thakhin Thein Pe, a veteran politician and a participant in Burma's independence struggle, about his opinion on the recent release of two more NLD MPs.

    [Thakhin Thein Pe] Well, they have been releasing the MPs, so I am very satisfied. But, the situation can be normalized only when all [political prisoners] could be quickly released.

    Another point and the most important is that the two current groups [SPDC and Aung San Suu Kyi] holding talks should reach an understanding and be united. If the Burmese could not be united then I think we won't be able to see Union solidarity. They should work towards national unity just like Gen Aung San did and build a Union with national solidarity.

    Judging from what I heard from DVB and other sources the views of the national races are not the same as they were before. The national races, in short, do not seem to have the Union Spirit and are talking about seceding from Burma. I am very worried about that. At present the people are struggling and the economic situation is getting worse day by day.

    But I pray for Union solidarity than improvement of the economy. The two groups should first try and achieve unity among the Burmese, then they should try and achieve unity with the national races from the states. From what I have seen and heard, the Burmese should first show good example and be united, then only they can unite the national races. If the Burmese themselves are not united but separated then how can they expect to unite the national races, definitely, the country will disintegrate. That is why we are all praying for the success of the ongoing talks.
    Solidarity meeting with Burma's struggle for democracy held in Algeria

    Algeria, August 14, 2001
    Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)

    A solidarity meeting with the people of Burma who are struggling for democracy and human rights was held in the Africa continent with students and youth representatives from various countries expressing their support for the Burmese people.

    The Solidarity Meet was held last Saturday in the on-going 15th World Festival of Youth and Students in Algeria. The World Festival of Youth and Students is being held under the banner of "Let's Globalise the Struggle for Peace, Solidarity, Development, against Imperialism" from 8th to 16th August in Algeria. More than twelve thousand students and youth from over 140 countries are participating in the 8-day festival.

    Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Kyaw Than, President of India-based All Burma Students League highlighted the current political situation in Burma and sought the support from the international community for the "talks" which is currently taking place between the ruling military generals and opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

    "The international community however should not rush into Burma for financial assistance till some concrete results towards democratic changes come out (of the talks)", he said.

    Another solidarity meet was also held yesterday evening for the peoples of Burma, Korea DPR and struggling people of Republic of Korea, Bhutan and East Timor.

    The World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), an international NGO which has consultative status with United Nations and operational relation with UNESCO, is organizing the World Festival of Youth and Students. A formal declaration relating to world's issues is expected to come out at the end of the festival on 16th August.
    Leader reviews trial run of new MRTV-3 channel

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Aug 14, 2001
    Text of report by Burmese TV on 13 August

    A coordination meeting to review trial run of MRTV-3 was held at the Myanmar [Burma] Radio and Television this evening, attended by Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt.

    Director General of MRTV U Khin Maung Htay reported on trial run of MRTV-3, programmes to be broadcast, news and other programmes, installation of equipment and requirements.Minister for Information Maj-Gen Kyi Aung reported on installation of equipment, trial run of MRTV-3, conducting of training courses, production of programmes, preparatory work and requirements.

    Ministers Brig-Gen Thein Zaw [communications, post, and telegraph] , U Win Aung [foreign affairs] , U Saw Tun [immigration and population], U Tin Win [Prime Minister's Office] and U Khin Maung Thein [finance and revenue] and Mayor U Ko Lay and those present took part in the discussions.

    The secretary-1 attended to the requirements and gave instructions on production of programmes which reflecting the true situation in Myanmar with the aim of disseminating correct news about Myanmar to the international community.
    Burma's Khin Nyunt speaks on tourism development, "correct news"

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Aug 14, 2001
    Text of report by Burmese TV on 13 August

    Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, chairman of the Management Committee for Development of Tourism Industry addressed the meeting No 2/2001 of the Management Committee for Development of Tourism Industry at the Strand Hotel this afternoon at 1400.

    Addressing the meeting, Secretary-1 Lt Gen said that to promote the development of tourism industry in Myanmar [Burma], the Management Committee for Development of Tourism Industry was formed in 1996, and that efforts have been made to promote the development of tourism industry.

    He said Myanmar is endowed with beautiful landscape, covered with forests and paddy fields. As natural beauty of Myanmar is well preserved, the geographical feature is lush and green. There are national races with well-preserved culture and traditions and ancient cultural edifices. In addition, he added, there are beautiful vast coastal regions, snow-capped mountains and gems lands. He said Myanmar has favourable conditions for development of tourism industry.

    However, due to the currency crisis in Southeast Asia in 1997 and misinformation spread by some news agencies of the Western bloc and anti-Myanmar expatriates who fled abroad after violating the law and earn their living from spreading false news, the development of tourism industry in Myanmar fell short of expectations.

    He said presently, peaceful and stable condition prevails in the nation and correct news and concrete conditions about Myanmar are being made known.

    Lt Gen Khin Nyunt said that tourism industry in Myanmar is picking up and that efforts are being made to inform the visitors about the correct news and objective conditions in the nation. He said the Ministry of Information is also broadcasting new programmes to the world. He said at a time when news about stability and peace in Myanmar and hospitality of the people of Myanmar are spreading gradually, it is necessary for the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism to cooperate with other ministries in striving to promote the development of tourism industry.

    Then, Minister for Hotels and Tourism Maj-Gen Saw Lwin reported on the arrival of tourists coming into Myanmar through Yangon [Rangoon] entrance, Mandalay entrance, border entrances or by sea, hotel businesses run with foreign investment, new projects to be implemented, local hotel businesses, efforts for the development of tourism industry, participation in international tourism exhibitions and Myanmar's participation in the tourism industry of ASEAN member nations and future tasks. Then, the chairmen and officials of various subcommittees took part in the discussions... The meeting ended with concluding remarks by the secretary-1.
    PTT awards feasibility study for Gulf of Thailand gas pipeline systems

    source : Oil & Gas journal

    HOUSTON, Aug. 13 -- The Petroleum Authority of Thailand and Japan National Oil Corp. have awarded a consortium led by Japanese company Osaka Gas Engineering Co. a feasibility study for future gas transmission systems in the Greater Gulf of Thailand, said consortium partner Kværner AS.

    The other partner is Japan Oil Engineering Co. Ltd., also of Japan. The study will examine current gas supply and demand areas and associated main pipeline transmission systems in the Gulf of Thailand. It will evaluate predicted supply and demand of natural gas.

    The study includes Thailand, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

    The companies will use the information gathered to determine requirements for future main gas pipeline transmission systems through year 2020.

    Kværner said its Bangkok office will be involved in the pipeline systems part of the study, including collation, review, and analysis of data on existing main transmission systems in the five countries. JOE will undertake the supply study. OGE will carry out the demand study, as well as the overall management of the project. All three studies should be completed at the same time under a fast-track schedule, said Kværner.
    God's Army duo decided to stay in Thailand

    Source : Bangkok Post

    Johnny and Luther Htoo, the twin boys who led the Karen God's Army ethnic rebels, have decided to stay in Tak instead of migrating to the United States under a refugee repatriation programme.

    A Kanchanaburi-based Surasee taskforce source said the boys decided not to leave despite passing repatriation interviews with the US embassy and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    The chain-smoking twins gave no reason for their decision but sought permission to stay at Ban Ton Yang shelter in Tak, the source said.

    The army wants the brothers and their family to resettle in the US so they could benefit from better living conditions and education.

    The boys were believed to have gained weight but were unable to quit smoking.

    They continue to keep their hair long in the belief it ensures their good health.

    They are currently at a border patrol police unit in Suan Phung district, Ratchaburi, awaiting transfer to Ban Ton Yang shelter in Tak.
    Thai and Burmese officials meet in Phuket for Cross-border drug fight

    Source : Bangkok Post

    Thai and Burmese officials meet in Phuket today to strengthen cross-border efforts against drugs trafficking from Burma to Thailand.

    This would be the focal point of their fifth official meeting, said Chatchai Suthilklom, deputy secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board. Mr Chatchai, who takes 10 delegates to the two-day meeting with Pol Maj-Gen Soe Win, Burma's police chief, and 12 Burmese officials, said trafficking had reached a critical point.

    Delegates were expected to exchange information on a list of suspects to enable arrests.

    Thai drug officials, he said, were worried about trafficking at sea and would ask their Burmese counterparts to pay attention to this trend, which originated from Burma.

    Thai officials seized eight million methamphetamine tablets and 116 kilogrammes of heroin from two Thai trawlers off the Surin islands this year.

    The drugs came in from Burma and were destined, via Thai waters, for Singapore and the world market.