Daily News-July 08 - 2001- Sunday

  • Daw Aung San Suu Kyi may be freed soon
  • Burmese Students Press Junta To Free Many Dissidents
  • The 3rd Conference of Burmese Students in Canada
  • Burma to attract tourists through eco-tourism

  • Daw Aung San Suu Kyi may be freed soon

    The Hindu ,July 6 , 2001

    Rangoon - (DPA): Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma might be freed from house arrest before July 19, an informed source told Deutsche Presse-Agentur in the capital Rangoon today.

    The democracy leader, under detention since 1988, is said to have been in dialogue with no less than four Ministers of Burma's ruling military junta, the source said under condition of anonymity.

    The expected release is seen as a direct result of that dialogue, the source said. Since June, Suu Kyi has left her residential compound, where she is detained, at least four times under escort of a military intelligence officer.

    July 19, or Martyr's Day, is celebrated annually in Burma to commemorate the anniversary of assassination of the country's Independence leader and first Prime Minister, Aung San, and most of his cabinet in 1947. Aung San was Aung San Suu Kyi's father.
    Burmese Students Press Junta To Free Many Dissidents

    BANGKOK (AP)--Myanmar student dissidents Saturday urged the ruling military junta, which is currently holding talks with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, to release large numbers of students jailed for political activities.

    The All Burma Federation of Student Unions said "thousands" of students are detained in prisons in Myanmar, also known as Burma. It said student unions are outlawed and can only work as underground organizations.

    "Although the military regime and Aung San Suu Kyi have been involved in secret talks, these students have not been released and live in terrible conditions," the ABFSU said in a statement issued in neighboring Thailand.

    Since October, the Myanmar government and Suu Kyi have held their most significant talks in a decade of political deadlock, leading to the release of dozens of activists from her National League for Democracy.However, the dialogue has taken place in secret and no details of their content have emerged. Suu Kyi and her two top aides have been kept under house detention for nearly ten months.Suu Kyi's party won general elections in 1990 but was never allowed to take power by the military, which has ruled since 1962.

    The ABFSU demanded the release of its leader Min Ko Naing, whose real name is Paw U Tun. He was the most prominent student activist involved in Myanmar's abortive 1988 popular uprising against military rule, in which hundreds of protesters were gunned down by the army and police. Min Ko Naing completed his 10-year sentence for agitating unrest more than two years ago but wasn't freed.

    "As the regime is currently talking about national unity, democracy and the transitional process, Min Ko Naing and other student activists should be immediately released," the statement said.

    According to a U.S. State Department report issued in February, Myanmar has at least 1,800 political prisoners.

    The ABFSU statement marked the 39th anniversary Saturday of the demolition of the Myanmar students' union building in Yangon on July 7, 1962, during a crackdown on student and other independent organizations by the military.
    The 3rd Conference of Burmese Students in Canada

    By Tin Maung Htoo (Canada)
    Burma Media Association
    July 6, 2001

    Burmese Students in Canada are now preparing to call up their third conference, which is to take place in Toronto on July 14 and 15, 2001,and a bunch of representatives from different cities are expected to attend the conference as did in the previous two events.

    Burmese Students' Democratic Organization (BSDO) established in 1998 is the only national Burmese student organization in Canada, along with extended regional branches in the country.

    Branches of BSDO in Toronto and Vancouver where there are majority of Burmese resettling called their regional conferences in the previous month, and thereby, selected representatives for upcoming national conference. National executive body set up with regional representatives is to be elected again for next two-year term, in order to keep up with the ongoing and future activities of BSDO.

    BSDO is a non-violence organization advocating for Democracy in Burma, and most of its activities are involved with awareness campaigns on Burma's human-rights situation, and some other political campaigns for restoration of Democracy in Burma are occasionally facilitated with some Burma-concerned Canadian organizations.

    In order to convene the third conference, a steering committee was formed two months ago and assigned the responsible for taking care of the general welfare of representatives and the conference while two-day event is to take place.

    More information can be obtained by contacting: Min Naing (416) 461- 9285 at east of Canada,Htay Aung (604) 516-0970 at west of Canada
    Burma to attract tourists through eco-tourism

    by Indochina Bureau Chief Romen Bose
    source : Channel News Asia

    Tourism in Myanmar is expected to boom with new plans launched by its tourism board,including extensive use of the Internet to reach out to foreign travel agents.

    It is the land of a thousand pagodas, and the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon is the Buddhist shrine that Myanmar is best known for. But besides religious traditions, tourism authorities are also working hard to promote the country as one with unspoilt natural beauty. And some tourists who have found their way here agree.

    One tourist said, "I think Myanmar is good country to make relaxation." Lumber firm Woodland has teamed up with the Ministry of Forestry on several eco-tourism projects - a 50-room resort in the Popa mountains, and two beach resorts on the Bay of Bengal.

    Victor Seow, Manager (Leisure Division), Woodland Group of Companies, said,"Eco-tourism is something which is an exclusive field, a specialised field, and not just a normal tour company will do eco-tourism. It is more than just inbound into Myanmar. They're people who specialises in bird, wildlife, mangroves, elephant camps and so on."

    Artefacts and designs inspired by history have been popular with tourists, prompting the owner of a handicraft shop to expand her business.

    Juliana Tan, Owner, J's Irrawady Dream, said, "Something like this is a traditional Myanmar design, it was popular during 1800 during the reign of the last king, and what we have done is adapted it, simplified it to today's environment, and we make sure it can be worn in New York or London or any of the major cities." But her challenge is finding a regular source of supplies and enough skilled craftsmen.

    She said, "Delicate handwork take a long time, artisans have to live, artisans have to feed their families, so if it's easier to do a sloppy piece of lacquerware that sells for US$10, it's an easier life than doing a beautiful piece that sells for US$2,000."

    The challenge for countries like Myanmar is in getting enough Human Resource Development skills so that Myanmese are sufficiently trained to take on the large number of tourists that are expected to flood the country in the coming years.Once a big enough pool is reached, industry officials say tourism here will really take off.