Daily News-July 01 - 2001- Sunday

  • Translation of open letter of Bohmu Aung to Senior General Than Shwe
  • Wa Branch into Pirate Discs
  • Taliban Success Opens Door to Burma

  • Translation of open letter of Bohmu Aung to Senior General Than Shwe

    Source: BurmaNet


    Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman State Peace and Development Council, Union of Myamar

    20 June 2001

    Bogyokehmugyi khinbya (a polite form of address)

    For the good of the country, as and when necessary and appropriate convinced that it is our duty to do so we have appealed, requested and given suggestions to you without any selfish motivation whatsoever.

    Our advice and entreaties are the result of our firm convictions and desire to safeguard our independence and sovereignty as a nation; to preserve peace and stability and unity amongst all the different ethnic groups and for the development and implementation of a flourishing economy through democracy.

    During the last few days some imprisoned and incarcerated political prisoners have been released. Some NLD township offices have been permitted to function again. We welcome this news which has been released by the foreign press and mentioned by the General Secretary of the United Nations though no official announcement has been made by the relevant authorities.

    This progress must be accepted as a result of the dialogue process that we have been constantly urging you to take.

    We have repeatedly urged and declared that the right and only way to achieve the stated goals of the State Peace and Development Council and to overcome the political problems that the country is experiencing is through dialogue.

    We do believe and hope that the present process of dialogue is based on the same international principles and standards adopted by most countries. To achieve national reconciliation, national unity and solidarity, personal animosities and grudges between groups should be extinguished. We anticipate that the dialogue process will become wider and be brought to the level as is between equals having mutual trust, large heartedness and freedom.

    Moreover, we will be happy if official announcements are made about the progress and the points on which agreement has been reached in the dialogue. The whole country will rejoice with us.

    At this good stage where progress is being made we entreat the SPDC to release unconditionally all imprisoned and incarcerated political prisoners including U Aung Shwe, U Tin Oo and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who have been suffering untold hardship together with their families because of their firm political convictions.

    To advance from this stage of good progress we believe that all legally constituted political parties should be restored the democratic right to operate and function freely. This will instill new hope in the people and convince them about SPDC's stated intentions.

    Fully aware and in the discharge of our duty towards the country,

    We remain,

    (Bohmu Aung) On behalf of the Veteran Political Colleagues.
    Wa Branch into Pirate Discs

    Source : Far Eastern Economic Review

    Burma's Wa tribespeople, not content with heroin production and manufacture of millions of Thailand-bound illicit methamphetamine tablets, have branched into new lucrative, but less socially disruptive, business avenues.

    Thai government officials claim the Wa are now operating at least three underground CD and VCD factories in the vicinity of Mong Yawn, their northeast Burma jungle stronghold near the border with Thailand. It is unclear whether or not the karaoke bar in Mong Yawn has updated its selection. But Thai officials believe the bootleg discs have already hit the streets of Bangkok, where pirated CDs can sell for as little as 50 baht (slightly more than $1).

    The technology and equipment the Wa are utilizing are believed to be Chinese in origin. Until recently, southern China's Yunnan province was notorious for its many bootleg CD factories. Grooming for World Trade Organization accession, Beijing appears to be pushing its more blatant copyright pirates south of the border.
    Taliban Success Opens Door to Burma

    Source : Far Eastern Economic Review

    The ruling Taliban's success in eradicating three-quarters of the world's crop of opium in one season in Afghanistan has international buyers turning to Burma to fill the shortfall in opium and heroin destined for Europe.

    Western diplomats say international law enforcement officers expect Burmese production of heroin and opium to increase to meet the demand from Europe--Afghanistan was the continent's main supplier--and traditional markets such as China, Southeast Asia, Australia and North America.

    Burma's annual opium production more than tripled in the late 1980s, from 700-800 tonnes to 2,500 tonnes. Following bad weather in the late 1990s, production fell to 1,000-1,500 tonnes a year, but given the new demand and favourable weather conditions, more can be expected from Burma this year. Over the past three years, a major drug-producing group, the Burmese military-backed United Wa State Army, has reportedly moved tens of thousands of opium-growing hill tribespeople from the rugged mountains on Burma's border with China to areas close to Thailand, where the soil and climate are more suitable for poppy cultivation.