Daily News- December 07 - 2001- Friday

  • Pak confirmed the presence of two nuke scientists in Myanmar
  • Refugees protest against closure
  • Human rights campaigners plant tree
  • Thai senator plans nudist colony in Burma
  • Media ‘has played a vital role’
  • Thai Company to Build Resort Hotel in Myanmar
  • Gang of Myanmar forgers smashed in Malay
  • Burmese court again delays Aung San Suu Kyi property case
  • Nobel Peace Laureate John Hume supports the Campaign
  • Aung San Suu Kyi Webcast

  • Pak confirmed the presence of two nuke scientists in Myanmar

    K.J.M. Varma(Press Trust of India)

    Islamabad, December 6: Islamabad has been given a list of six more Pakistani nuclear scientists by the CIA to investigate their suspected links with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

    The CIA has furnished six more names of Pakistan's nuclear scientists to probe their links with bin Laden as well as their association with two other retired nuclear scientists who were currently under detention, a report by Pakistan's online news agency published in a local daily on Thursday said.

    Asked for Pakistan's reaction to the report, Defence Spokesman Gen Rashid Qureshi said on Thursday that the news report was "false" and should be ignored.

    Quoting highly placed intelligence sources, the newsagency said the issue of questioning the retired Pakistan scientists figured in the discussions between Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and CIA director John Tenet during the latter's visit to Islamabad few days ago.

    It said details of Musharraf's response to Tenet's request was not available, adding that the six member list given by the CIA does not include the names of Dr Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmud, the former director of PAEC and Chief engineer Dr Chaudry Abdul Majeed, who were being interrogated by a joint team of FBI and the ISI.

    Without furnishing the list of the six scientists, it said two Pakistan scientists, Dr Suleiman Asad and Dr Muhammad Ali Mukhtar were currently in Myanmar, where they went a few months back to assist the local scientists in 'some kind of research work'.

    The news agency quoted a spokesman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) as confirming their presence in Myanmar. The two scientists were directly related to the country's nuclear programme and has been working in Kahota research laboratories for the last few years, the report said.

    According to the report, the PAEC spokesman refused to elaborate on the kind of research work they have been doing in Myanmar.

    It said the two scientists have prolonged their stay in Myanmar on the government's directive, which virtually does not want them to be probed by the US secret agencies fearing that they might leak some information as regards its nuclear programme to them.

    It said the news of their stay in Myanmar was confirmed by the PAEC and foreign office sources. "Yes, this is true that FBI wants to probe them, but they have nothing to do with nuclear issue. They (the duo) are busy in some kind of research work in Myanmar and we don't want to divert their attention."

    "Therefore, we have asked them to prolong their stay there," it quoted the PAEC spokesman as saying. Dr Suleiman Asad and Dr Muhammad Ali Mukhtar have been flown to Sagaing division of Myanmar, after the authorities in Yangon acceded to their request.

    The request made by foreign office was promptly accepted after Islamabad gave an assurance that the duo were not involved in any terrorist activity, it said.

    According to the report, that the PAEC spokesman also stated that the two scientists have not been granted any asylum by the Myanmar authorities but they have prolonged their stay on the directives of Pakistani government.

    Dr Muhammad Ali Mukhtar, who has a PhD in nuclear physics and worked in Khushab and Islamabad offices of the PAEC, has been working in the classified section of the KRL which deals with the Defence production.

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    Refugees protest against closure

    The Nation

    Hundreds of Burmese in a detention centre in Ratchaburi province yesterday staged a protest against the government’s plan to move most of them to border camps for displaced persons and deport the rest.

    Holding up placards in Burmese, Thai and English, between 200 and 300 residents of the Maneeloy centre rallied peacefully for about an hour as their leaders spoke over a megaphone against plans to close the camp in eight days (Dec 15).

    Many children sat with their families among signs with slogans such as "we are not terrorists, we are political refugees".

    A leader of the rally said that they would continue the protest for three consecutive days and, if their demands were not met, they would stage a hunger strike.The Burmese, many of them dissidents, fear persecution by their country’s military government if they are sent back.

    The Ratchaburi camp has been home to former Burmese student activists who fled their country after an abortive democracy uprising in 1988. The uprising was crushed by the army in a crackdown that killed hundreds, and the military remains in power today.

    Thailand, which had been liberal about providing refuge, turned less hospitable after several of the former student radicals - including two former Maneeloy inmates - took hostages at gunpoint at the Burma Embassy in Bangkok in October 1999, and later at a Thai hospital. A statement issued by the camp’s Burmese Student Association said moving the refugees would "create [a] tremendous risk" for them.

    It said that repatriating them to Burma, where their enemy had a grip on power, would be tantamount to sending them to their death. It called on the Thai government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to keep the Maneeloy camp open, recognise Burma dissidents as political refugees, negotiate with the group on further action, and respect international agreements on refugees and human rights.

    Meanwhile, National Security Council chief Kajadpai Burusapatana said that about 100 Burmese in the detention camp would be charged with illegal entry before being deported."This group does not fall in any category of the UN and the Thai authorities. They are just illegal immigrants, so they will be deported," he said.

    "The Maneeloy camp will definitely close on December 15, after 185 Burmese who passed the screening go to a third country," Kajadpai said.

    Two hundred others who are under the UN’s care, together with 15 dissidents awaiting UN interviews to go to a third country, would be moved to a new border shelter, he added.The NSC chief also dismissed a request from the European Union to relocate Burmese displaced people from a shelter in Ratchaburi’s Suan Phueng district, citing problems of overcrowding.

    "I have already visited the site and found it to be fine, so there is no need to move the Burmese to a new area. In addition, other nearby areas are already occupied by local villagers," he said.

    Officials have said 100 inmates will be deported as illegal immigrants, including 80 whose asylum applications have been turned down by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The others apparently would be sent to less secure refugee camps close to the ThaiBurma border that house more than 120,000 villagers displaced by fighting.

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    Human rights campaigners plant tree

    source :This is Enfield:

    A WEEPING willow was planted to mark the fourth year of captivity for the prisoner of conscience adopted by the Palmers Green branch of Amnesty International.

    Members of Amnesty gathered at the Triangle on Saturday to plant the tree for Dr May Win Myint, who was jailed by the government in Burma for attending a meeting of the United Democratic Party.

    Several passers-by signed a petition calling for the 51-year-old doctor to be released from prison and others signed a motion calling for human rights to be upheld in Afghanistan.

    The Palmers Green branch of Amnesty International meets monthly at the Burford Centre in Fox Lane.Call Serena Wilson on 8411 5397 for information. The next meeting is at 7.45pm on Monday January 7.

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    Thai senator plans nudist colony in Burma

    The Nation
    Choosak Jirasakunthai

    Asia’s first nudist colony may be located on Burma’s St Luke’s island, where a Thai senator has been granted a 45year concession by the junta.The nudist club is the latest idea from Vikrom Isiri, who has already opened Andaman Club, a casino and luxury hotel on Burma’s Son island, for which he also has a 45year concession.The nudist club will target Europeans who like to take their clothes off in public, said Chairat Meksukree, an adviser to Vikrom.

    "Everybody [guests] will have to be naked", he said.

    The nudist club will be another jewel in Vikrom’s business empire in Ranong province and Burma. Despite a lack of advertising, his Andaman Club is well known among Thai gamblers.

    Vikrom intends to turn Ranong, famous for mineral water and hot springs, into a major vacation destination, Chairat said. Vikrom’s Ranong Highland Resort would be completed by the middle of next year, he said.

    The resort, which will have jacuzzis in each room, will be like a combination of the Banyan Tree in Phuket and the Chiva Som in Hua Hin, Chairat said. A golf course, aquarium, dolphin show and mountain bike trails were also planned to attract tourists to Ranong and "Vikrom’s islands" in Burma, Chairat said.

    Vikrom is far from a novice in the country’s tourism industry. He once owned a hotel in Chiang Rai, the Dusit Highland Resort, which is now managed by the Dusit Group.Vikrom had invested plenty of money to develop facilities in Ranong and his two Burmese islands, Chairat said without disclosing the actual amount.

    Vikrom’s latest investment is in Phuket Airlines, which, Chairat said, took just six months to turn from an idea into reality.Vikrom will have to invest more than Bt1 billion for four Boeing 737-200s, according to industry analysts.Phuket Airlines’ will start flying in the middle of this month, connecting Bangkok and Vikrom’s business base Ranong province.The first aircraft was delivered on Wednesday. The second aircraft will be delivered in late January for the Bangkok-Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai route.Two more aircraft will be added later for charter flights from China to Thailand.

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    Media ‘has played a vital role’

    The Nation

    The media in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand had played an important role in providing citizens with information on the excesses of authoritarian regimes, according to a book launched by journalism advocacy groups yesterday.

    The book - "The Right to Know: Access to Information in Southeast Asia", jointly published by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance and the Philippines Centre for Investigative Journalism - examines the state of the media in the region and the obstacles faced by journalists in their work.It said that the free press in the three countries provided a steady stream of information on corruption, abuse of power and various forms of malfeasance.

    This was quite different from Vietnam and Burma, where the authorities dominated the media and wide areas of public life, the book said.

    "The leasttransparent country in the region is Burma, where all media are mouthpieces of the junta and virtually no information is available to the public.It adds: "Burma also has the most restrictive press laws in the region, perhaps the world".

    In Singapore and Malaysia, paternalistic but restrictive governments keep citizens in thrall while giving them a taste of the good life, the book said.In recent years, there has been some opening up in access to information in Malaysia and Singapore as the two governments responded to the demands of global business. However, they had refused to be more forthcoming by releasing information on other aspects of political and social life, it said.

    The book argues that the Southeast Asian experience has shown that the struggle for freedom of information is closely intertwined with the struggle for democracy. "The most significant opening in information access has to come about as part of a package of democratic reforms," it said.

    To The Top

    Thai Company to Build Resort Hotel in Myanmar

    YANGON, Dec 6, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- A Thai company, the Jaguar Travel and Resort Co Ltd, has reached a contract with the Myanmar tourism authorities to build a resort hotel in the country's southeastern Kayin state, according to sources at the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism Thursday.

    The 100-room resort hotel of international standard will be built in the state's Phaya Thonzu area at a cost of 5.25 million U.S. dollars in two years, the sources said.

    Phaya Thonzu area is one of the four entry points designated for tourists to enter Myanmar from neighboring Thailand and the adding of the hotel is expected to boost tourist arrivals from that country.

    Since Myanmar's opening to foreign investment in late 1988, Thailand has invested a total of 1,289.75 million dollars including that in the sector of hotels and tourism by the end of June this year, ranking the third after Singapore and Britain, according to official statistics.

    Total foreign investment in Myanmar's hotels and tourism sector amounted to 1,059.25 million dollars as of the end of June this year. Up to now, there were 492 different hotels and motels in Myanmar with 13,984 rooms. Of them, 21 are foreign-invested, four are joint ventures, 439 are private-run and 28 state-operated, the statistics show.

    Meanwhile, tourist arrivals in Myanmar went to 77,773 in the first eight months of this year, dropping by 48.82 percent compared with the same period of 2000, the statistics indicate. The Myanmar authorities admitted that the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States have brought about a negative impact on the country's tourism industry.

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    Gang of Myanmar forgers smashed in Malay

    The Star (Asia)

    KUALA LUMPUR: A Myanmar-based gang, specialising in forging travel documents with simple everyday household materials like gold foil and starch gum, wasbusted three days ago, when police raided a shop lot at Jalan Imbi here.

    Upon raiding the shop lot, police found a computer with a high-end printer and several crude looking devices which at first glance looked innocent enough but were actually homemade materials which can be used to produce authentic looking travel documents.

    It is learnt that the gang catered only to Myanmar nationals as most of the material seized, including the rubber stamps, homemade hot stamping seal and printed documents, had the Republic of Myanmar markings on them. However, police are still probing the extent of the gang’s activities and are investigating if they are part of a foreign-based forgery syndicate.

    City CID chief Senior Asst Comm II Kamaruddin Mat Desa said they arrested two men and a woman in their late 20s and who are Myanmar nationals, during the 11.15am raid. "We also seized a computer and a high-end printer in addition to a variety of materials used to produce the bogus travel documents," he said at the city contingent police headquarters yesterday.

    SAC II Kamaruddin said the raiding team, led by Chief Insp Muhamad Idzam Jaafar, also recovered three completed Myanmar passports, several passport covers embossed with the Republic of Myanmar seal, work permits, rubber stamps, colour films and about a thousand pieces of printed documents, most of which are believed to be passport pages. He said police had just started investigations and were liaising with the Immigration Department and the Myanmar embassy. SAC II Kamaruddin also thanked the public for their co-operation in busting the gang.

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    Burmese court again delays Aung San Suu Kyi property case

    Source : Burmapeacecampaign
    by DVB-AFP 2001-12-06

    A court in Burma again rescheduled hearings in a prolonged property suit brought against democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi by her brother after attorneys clashed Thursday over the legitimacy of the case.The court delayed further hearings until December 24.

    The move followed a session last week at the Yangon divisional court in which defense lawyers said the opposition leader‘s brother, US citizen Aung San Oo, could not legally file charges in Burma because he was a foreigner.

    On Thursday, prosecution lawyers refuted the claim, saying he could pursue the case for partial "administration" of their family‘s lakeside villa, where Aung San Suu Kyi has been living under house arrest since September 2000. The court earlier this year threw out charges brought by Aung San Oo for half-ownership of the property.

    The latest postponement of the suit, which has already been delayed more than a dozen times, comes amid ongoing landmark talks between the democracy leader and the junta that could pave the way for political reforms in the military-run country.

    The legal action is believed to be driven by Aung San Oo‘s wife, motivated more by a family rift than by political concerns.

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    Nobel Peace Laureate John Hume supports the Campaign

    source : Burmapeacecampaign
    by Worldview Rights 2001-12-06

    Nobel Peace Laureate, and PD Burma member, John Hume and the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Northern Ireland wish to express support the Nobel Peace Laureate Campaign for Aung San Suu Kyi.

    The following motion is being put to the new Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly and Eddie McGrady MP MLA has put down an early day motion at Westminster:

    The Assembly is proud to join Nobel Peace Laureates, on the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Peace, and citizens from throughout the world in saluting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from Burma on the 10th anniversary of her winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

    The Assembly also wishes to express it‘s support for her courageous stand for democracy and human rights for the citizens of Burma.

    The Assembly calls on the government of Burma to:
    * Immediately release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma, including elected Members of Parliament.

    * End all violations of human rights imposed on the people of Burma,and Agree to join Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy and representatives of ethnic nationalities of Burma in a meaningful tri-partite dialogue to achieve a peaceful transition to democracy.

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    Aung San Suu Kyi Webcast

    source : Burmapeacecampaign
    by Trond Aarre 2001-12-06

    Nobel Peace Laureates Desmond M. Tutu and Jose Ramos Horta will lead dozens of Nobel Peace Laureates in an Oslo ceremony that will honor Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and call for her release from house arrest in Burma.

    The ceremony, to be held in front of the Norwegian Parliament, will also call for the release of twenty-one detained elected members of the Burmese Parliament and fifteen hundred other political prisoners being held by the ruling military junta of Burma. Thousands of supporters in dozens of ceremonies worldwide will be linked to the Oslo event through satellite and the Internet.

    You need the newest version of Windows Media Player to watch the webcast. The software can be
    downloaded here.

    Oslo Event: Saturday, 8th of December 13:30 - 15:30 PM Norwegian Parliament Building.

    Technical information on the exact URL for both streaming files will be published in this article on friday at 14:00 + 1GMT.

    Until the LIVE show starts on Saturday, the following links will work for testpurposes:

  • View 64kb/s videostream

  • View 128kb/s videostream