Daily News- December 24 - 2001- Monday

  • Fire razes at least 1,500 houses in southern Burma
  • French Activist Disappears Along Burma-Thai Border
  • Dhaka, Yangon to open coastal shipping line

  • Fire razes at least 1,500 houses in southern Burma

    ABC Radio Australia News

    Fire has destroyed more than 1,500 houses in a southern Burmese town, leaving thousands of people homeless. Residents of the coastal town of Myeik, also known as Mergui, have confirmed an official's account of yesterday's fire. The fire has not been reported in the state-controlled media more than a day after it occurred.

    The Associated Press news agency says town residents, contacted by telephone, said the fire started at a tea shop, quickly spreading because of strong winds. They say it was brought under control about six hours later. No information is available on whether there were any casualties.

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    French Activist Disappears Along Burma-Thai Border

    VOA News

    A French activist who supports the opposition in Burma has disappeared along the Burma / Thailand border. Xavier Tanuy, 31-year-old nurse's aide from the French province of Brittany, was last seen at the Thai border town of Mae Sot on October 17th. He reportedly left for Burma on a motorcycle carrying a significant amount of money.

    Mr. Tanguy did not go through Thai immigration and Burmese authorities say they have no idea where he is, or even if he actually entered Burma. The Frenchman has been described as a sympathizer with one or more rebel groups fighting the Burmese ruling military from strongholds on the Thai border.

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    Dhaka, Yangon to open coastal shipping line

    M Anwarul Haq
    The Daily star

    Bangladesh and Myanmar will open a regular coastal shipping service to boost bilateral trade. An agreement to this effect is likely to be concluded next month during the visit of Commerce Minister Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury to Myanmar, sources said.

    Opening of a coastal shipping line will increase trade volume and business avenues between the two neighbours. The coastal shipping line will provide sea links between Bangladeshi ports of Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Teknaf and Myanmar ports of Yangon, Akyub and Maungdaw.

    "Bangladeshi business can make a quantum leap if the coastal shipping line is started," said Rashed Maksud Khan, President of Bangladesh-Myanmar Business Promotion Council. He said there is scope for bulk export of toiletries, medicine, pharmaceuticals, cables and bottled products like Pran and other juices to the ever growing Myanmar market.

    A border agreement currently in place between Bangladesh and Myanmar enables trade between the two countries. Two Bangladesh banks are functioning in Myanmar. Bangladeshi businessmen feel that more favourable trading links can be established to the mutual benefit of the countries by opening up shipping links for bulk movement of cargo.

    The two countries had traditional coastal shipping links for long, which were snapped few decades ago. Bangladesh will be holding a single country trade exhibition in Yangon from January 20 to 27 after a gap of five years.

    Mya Tun, Counsellor at the Myanmar embassy in Dhaka, said the fair will expose Bangladeshi products to the local market. His country may also organise a similar exhibition in Bangladesh in near future, Tun said. Some 20 stalls are expected to be set up by Bangladeshi entrepreneurs at the Myanmar trade fair, mainly to display non-traditional items, the sources.

    Business ties between Bangladesh and its eastern neighbour are developing fast after both the countries became members of BIMSTEC, a regional forum. Myanmar opted to become a member of BIMSTEC about a year after it was formed in 1997.

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