Daily News-June 25 - 2001- Monday

  • Burma added to money laundering blacklist
  • Tougher Lines between the US and Burma in Hanoi
  • Plans Under Way to Launch Open Education System
  • Two Eminent Burmese Sayadaws visiting the UK and Europe in July
  • Account trade to go ahead
  • Pilot Course No 64 of No 1 Flying Training School concludes
  • Burmese overwhelm border checkpoint
  • Myanmar Reclaims 10,493 Hectares of Vacant Land
  • Bailing out on Burma
  • U. Virginia board passes budget,no discussion of Burma issue
  • Thai Army powerless to stop material for lignite plant

  • Burma added to money laundering blacklist

    PARIS, June 22 (AFP) - Industrialised nations, in a fresh onslaught against money laundering, added six countries Friday to a blacklist and said they would punish Russia and others for failing to improve.

    The inter-government Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said its list of money laundering havens would now include six new members: Egypt, Guatamala, Hungary, Indonesia, Myanmar and Nigeria.

    Three countries already on the list, Russia, the Philippines and the tiny Pacific island of Nauru, had also taken insufficient steps to fight the recycling of illicit gains, said an annual FATF report.

    That judgement will likely come as a shock to Russia, which with the two others now faces the threat of sanctions that would make it an outcast in the business world. Russia held an anti-money laundering conference this month, after which Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov voiced hope it would be removed from the blacklist altogether during the FATF meeting.

    Four others countries -- the Bahamas, Caymans, Liechtenstein and Panama -- were judged to have taken sufficient action to close money laundering loopholes and were taken off the list. The blacklist, drawn up during a meeting of FATF members in Paris, now has 19 countries.

    The new members of the list of non-cooperative countries and territories were cited for various failings, including lack of proper legislation or supervision.

    Myanmar "lacks a basic set of anti-money laundering provisions," the task force report said. In Indonesia, "money laundering is not presently a criminal offence".
    Tougher Lines between the US and Burma in Hanoi

    Secretary of State Mr. Colin L. Powel Will Raise Burma's Issues in the ASEAN,plus Western Powers Meeting in July in Vietnam

    By Nyi Nyi Lwin (USA)
    Burma Media Association

    Washington, DC (July 20, 2001)-The regime latest released the political prisoners and allowed resuming some offices from the National League for Democracy (NLD) that some observers felt a positive change is come in Burma. But Mr. Hla Win disagreed.

    "The regime's recent release of the elected representatives and democracy activists from the prisons was just an excuse that the regime was seeking a courtesy treatment from the West and Europe before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Hanoi in July," Hla Win said. He urged the US to set tougher lines between the Burmese regime when the US Secretary of State Colin L. Powel represents in the meeting.

    Hla Win is a mathematician and a former teacher in Burma until 1988 and recently graduated with the political science major from Pace University of New York City. He is also a leading member of the Democratic Burmese Students Organization (DBSO-USA).

    "All the cards are in the regime's hands, now I've just passed you one of the cards that encourages you to put more trust in it, even it was too risky. In other words, whenever the opposition deals with the regime to seek to release the political prisoners, the opposition has to subscribe "minus 100" from the sum because the illegitimate regime arrested the legitimate representatives; thus, the regime lost noting to free those prisoners. Even though giving the amnesty to the prisoners was better than nothing, it should be whole a lot better if the regime arrests no one who expressed his/her political belief," Mr. Win said.

    Burma was admitted in the ASEAN as a full member in 1997 although the European Union and the United States opposed it.The US Secretary of State Colin L. Powel will travel to Hanoi in the last week of July to attend the ASEAN plus western power meeting. Sources close to the State Department said that Mr. Power would raise Burma's issues in the forum, meanly in the use of force labors, human rights violation, and national reconciliation.

    Hanoi is an emotional place for Mr. Powel to revisit where once served in the US military to fight with the communists in Vietnam in 1960s. In 1963, Mr. Powel was promoted as a captain in the army and became the first advisor to President Kennedy in the Vietnam. His representation in the Vietnam during the war changed his philosophy forever, and he could not forget most of his encounters with the real combat and the loss of American young men. This trip is the first time that leads to Mr. Powel to counter with the leaders from the Asian region, and it will be more interesting for the Burmese Foreign Minister Mr. Win Aung since both men once served in the military.

    "We do need to do a better job in mobilizing a comprehensive approach this problem with our friends in the region," Mr. Powel said during his testimony in the US Senate Appropriate Committee on May 15, 2001. This remark referred to the Burmese regime that has been lingering to honor the 1991 election results for over one decade.

    Mr. Powel also met with General Secretary Mr.Anan from the United Nations (UN) when Mr. Anan was visiting to the White House in May to meet President Bush. In the meeting, Mr. Powel discussed the Burma's situation with the general secretary, and he later told the press that he was briefed the UN role in Burma, especially the ongoing "talks" between the SPDC and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Mr. Powel is in fact a smart man in Mr. Bush's Administration, although the US foreign policy moves strangely in missile defense, environment, and Middle East peace process. Dedicatedly handling in the recent conflict with the China over the plane crushes by Mr. Powel clearly indicated that he is a skillful diplomat who can represent American interest and principle in the forum.
    Plans Under Way to Launch Open Education System

    MIC/ Information Sheet- N0. B-1859 ( I )
    23rd June, 2001

    Chairman of Myanmar Education Committee Secretary-1 of the State Peace and development Council Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt delivered an address at the closing ceremony of the Special Refresher Course No.44 for Basic Education Teachers at the Central Institute of Civil Service in Hlegu Township, Yangon Division on 22 June.

    Secretary-1 highlighted the fact that the Government today is making all-out efforts with the harmonious participation of the entire people for the perpetuation and consolidation of Myanmar and enabling the country to keep abreast of the world nations in development. Government is giving priority to the emergence of qualified human resources which is vital for national progress. In 2001 there are 125 institutions of higher learning- 55 universities, 40 degree colleges and 30 colleges- up from only 32-14 universities, 6 degree colleges, 11 colleges and one institute- in 1988.

    As regards the universities and institutes under the Ministry of Education, there were only 4 universities namely Yangon University, Mandalay University, Yangon University of Education and Yangon Institute of Economics in the past. Now the number has increased in 26. Of the 22 universities and institutes that increased, 11 are newly opened ones and the remaining 11 are upgraded from the level of degree colleges. Under the Ministry of Health, there were only 4 institutes namely Yangon Institute of Medicine-1, Yangon Institute of Medicine-2, Mandalay Institute of Medicine and Institute of dental medicine in the past. Today there are 13 institutes including Institute of Nursing, Institute of Paramedical Science, Institute of Pharmacy, University of Primary Health. Likewise, under the Ministry of Science & Technology, there were 1 technical institute and colleges in the past. Nowadays, there are 3 technical institutes and 2 computer universities. In addition, Government Technical Colleges and Government Computer Colleges are opened in all States and Divisions. There can now be found 14 Government technical Colleges and 16 Government Computer Colleges in the country.

    Concerning the doctorate courses, the universities under the Education Ministry are conducting 18 doctorate courses, the Institutes of Medicine, 14 doctorate courses, and technological universities, 15 doctorate courses. Plans are under way to extend the PhD courses. The Human Resources Development Departments of the institutions of higher learning have conducted 105 courses from 1998 to the end of March 2001: a total of 38,000 trainees have attended the courses. Plans are under way to launch the Open Education System and to introduce electronic teaching aids in the Distance Education sector. The e-Education system, in which the lectures are transmitted by data broadcasting system are being received from the learning centres, has already been introduced to the education sector. Up to date, 203 e-Education Learning Centres have been opened in the states and divisions; and plans are being made to open another 100. The New Century Resource Centres and the Resource Centres for Ancient Myanmar Manuscripts have been opened in Yangon and Mandalay. Arrangements are being made to open the centres in other major towns.
    Two Eminent Burmese Sayadaws visiting the UK and Europe in July

    source :BuddhismNewsOnline

    Sayadaw U Pandita:

    Following the very successful European leg of his world tour last year, Sayadaw U Pandita will be visiting the Europe again this year at the invitation of the Yogis from the respective countries.

    The U.K. visit will be held at between 3rd July and 17th July. This will consist of a 10-day Meditation Retreat from 6th July to 15th July, under the Supervision of Sayadaw U Pandita, who needs no introduction to those who practise meditation. He is the author of "In This Very Life" and "On The Path to Freedom", two very famous books about the Insight Meditation.

    For more details:

    Sayadaw U Nyanissara

    Sayadaw U Nyanissara, the author of more than forty Dhamma books, is on his International Dhamma Tour, visiting UK and some European countries in July, 2001. The details will be available soon.
    Account trade to go ahead

    The Nation, Sun, June 24, 2001
    Vorapun Srivoranart

    The central bank governors of Thailand and Burma will meet soon to put in place an account trade between the two neighbours, thus increasing .Thai banking investment in Burma's economy as envisaged in the recent summit meeting in Rangoon, Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai says.

    Surakiart said after meeting his Burmese counterpart Win Aung on Friday that the State Peace and Development Council chairman Senior General Than Shwe was "very interested" in the account trade with Thailand.

    He said the Burmese authorities should submit a list of products to be considered by the Commerce Ministry for a special generalised system of preferences.The issue was first discussed during a meeting between Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Than Shwe last week in Rangoon.

    Its objective is to enhance economic transaction without being subjected to foreign-exchange fluctuation. The net settlement could be conducted every three or six months.

    Thaksin believes that economic and investment cooperation with an impoverished neighbour like Burma will in the long term bring about mutual peace and stability. The approach also fits well with the present government's emphasis on economic diplomacy.

    Thailand is the third largest investor in Burma, accounting for about 17 per cent of total foreign direct investment. Border trade last year registered around Bt18 billion, with Thailand importing over Bt7 billion worth of goods from Burma while exporting over Bt11 billion worth. Surakiart said Burma had complained about the scale of investment by Thai banks in Burma despite the fact that licences had already been granted. As a result, he said, the Thai premier has instructed the central-bank governor to look into ways of finding scope for expansion.

    Road links will also be expedited to facilitate the flow of goods and people. Priority will be given to three routes: Mae Sai-Tachilek-Keng Tung-Jinghong, Mae Sot-Myawaddy and the route between Kanchanaburi and Tavoy, where a deep-sea port is being built.

    Surakiart believes border de-marcation will not impede economic cooperation, citing Thak-sin's desire to turn conflict into cooperation.
    Pilot Course No 64 of No 1 Flying Training School concludes

    The New Light of Myanmar (Saturday, 23 June , 2001)

    Yangon, 22 June - The Pilot Course No 64 of the No 1 Flying Training School (Shante) concluded at the Flying Training Base in Meiktila this morning. On behalf of the Defence Services Commander-in-Chief, Chief of Staff (Air) Maj-Gen Myint Swe delivered an address at the ceremony.

    Present on the occasion were Mandalay Division peace and Development Council Chairman Central Command Commander Maj-Gen Ye Myint, Chief of Staff (Navy) Commodore Soe Thein, Advocate General Maj-Gen Thein Soe, Chief of Armed Forces Training Maj-Gen Win Myint,Maj-Gen San Aung and Brig-Gen Khin Aung Myint of the Ministry of Defence, No 99 Light Infantry Division Commander Brig-Gen Htay Oo and senior Tatmadaw officers, Flying Training Base Commandant Col Myat Hein, the Commander of the Air Base and officers, departmental personnel, graduates and their relatives and guests.

    Chief of Staff (Air) Maj-Gen Myint Swe inspected the graduating companies, flag bearers company and guards of honour. Then, he took their salute. Next, Chief of Staff (Air) Maj-Gen Myint Swe gave away Excellent Study Award to Lt Than Htaik Oo (Air-2620), Execellent Pilot Award to Lt Sai Kham Loon (Air-2589) and Model Pilot Award to Lt Htet Naung Tint (Air- 2621).

    Afterwards, Chief of Staff (Air) Maj-Gen Myint Swe delivered an address on behalf of the Defence Services Commander-in-Chief. . Then. Chief of Staff (Air) Maj-Gen Myint Swe presented the wings to the officers.
    Burmese overwhelm border checkpoint

    source : The Nation

    Thousands of Burmese crowded local markets after a major border checkpoint was reopened yesterday, allowing the trade in consumer and agricultural products, worth an expected Bt10 million daily, to continue after more than four months of closure.

    The sudden influx of Burmese traders and customers also caused bottlenecks at immigration booths and traffic jams all over Mae Sai city.Thai and foreign visitors also waited in long queues to go through immigration formalities to cross to Tachilek. Most of the Burmese returned with rice, vegetables, pork, soft drinks and cooking oil in their carrier bags or vehicles.

    Boonma Techachaorenvikul, president of the Mae Sai Businessmen's Club, said that the reopening of the border would promote tourism and bilateral trade. "It is good that everything has returned to normal," he said. Before the border closures trade amounted to Bt300 million with most products being exported from Thailand. Eighty per cent of all trade between Tachilek and Muang La, just across the border with China's Yunnan province, is in Thai products.

    The border crossing was closed in February after fighting among rival ethnic militias set off a volley of cross-border shelling. The opening of the checkpoint comes after a meeting of the high-level Township Border Committee (TBC) and a conciliatory visit to Rangoon by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra last week.

    Mae Sai district prepared 1,000 roses to present to TBC members and citizens of both Thailand and Burma. "It has been lively since early this morning, with mostly Burmese crossing to Thailand to buy consumer products," said Decha Sattaphol, a district chief in Mae Sai. "Trade at the crossing will be brisker now, but it will take some time before it gets back to its original level."

    Burma has increased border-crossing procedures a little by asking citizens to register at an office, where they are charged Bt10 each to enter Thailand. Thailand charges a Bt40 entry fee.

    Colonel Wannatip Wongwai, Commander of the 3rd Region Special Task Force, as Chairman of the TBC, joined Burmese Lt-Colonel Ae So in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Officials attributed the border opening to improved Thai-Burmese relations following Thaksin's visit, during which he met the country's military leader, Senior General Than Shwe. The two agreed to work together to combat drug trafficking along their border and also reached a common stance on the touchy issues of border security, dispute resolution and the refugee crisis. Thaksin said one sign of real progress was the decision to reopen border checkpoints.

    The TBC resumed contacts on Saturday, after first embarking on talks in April, and paved the way for the checkpoints to be opened and border trade to resume, he said."Relations between the two countries will be back at their previous good level within the next two months," the premier told reporters. "I am confident the problems will now decrease."

    February's border clashes sparked off months of wrangling between the two sides and a series of slurs and insults that provoked exchanges of official protests and dragged relations down to alarming lows.But Thaksin said after returning from Rangoon last week that bilateral ties were back on track following his meetings with the ruling generals and Burmese Foreign Minister Win Aung's visit to Thailand last Friday.

    A number of Mae Sai residents, although delighted at the border reopening, continued to worry about the building of a lignite power station about two kilometres from the Thai border. Prapan Srivichai, Secretary General of the Rak Mae Sai Group, urged that the station be moved at least 80 kilometres away. "We're not against the reopening of borders, but we'd like negotiations on the power station to proceed for the safety of Mae Sai residents," he said. An advisor to the group also asked the government to continue improving relationships with Burma and to make long-term plans to prevent future border disputes.
    Myanmar Reclaims 10,493 Hectares of Vacant Land

    YANGON, June 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar has reclaimed 10,493 hectares of vacant and virgin lands in the country's nine divisions and states in nearly two and a half years, according to the Myanmar Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation Sunday.

    There are over 4.21 million hectares of vacant and virgin lands in these nine divisions and states, namely Ayeyawaddy, Yangon, Bago, Magway, Tanintharyi, Mandalay, Shan, Kachin and Kayin.These lands had been reclaimed up to March this year by local private entrepreneurs since they were permitted to do so in November 1998.

    The government's move to allow them to reclaim these lands was aimed at supplying sufficient food for the growing population in future and promoting the agricultural sector.

    Myanmar's population, with an estimated annual growth of 2 percent, reached 50.12 million as of 2000.Meanwhile, the government is rendering assistance to the private entrepreneurs to get access to technical know-how in the undertakings, according to the ministry.

    Myanmar's cultivable land stretches 18.220 million hectares in the whole country, of which 10.125 million have been put under crops, while 8.1 million remain to be utilized.

    The country's agriculture accounts for 37 percent of the gross domestic product and 25 percent of the export value.
    Bailing out on Burma

    Fri, Jun 22
    Staff Editorial
    Cavalier Daily
    U. Virginia

    (U-WIRE) CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The Board of Visitors showed blatant disregard for student opinion when it failed to address the issue of University investments in Burma during its meetings last weekend. By refusing to consider Student Council's resolution calling for the University to sell off its investments in Burma, the Board has only separated itself further from the students whose interests it purports to represent.

    When Rector John P. Ackerly III declined to put Burma on the Board's April meeting agenda, he was able to claim that he made that decision before receiving Council's resolution. No such justification existed for the most recent meeting. Ackerly's explanations led students to believe that the Board would take Council's resolution into consideration at its next meeting, but unfortunately, the Board let down students again.

    ´There's no good excuse for refusing to divest from Burma, a country where few U.S. companies continue to do business due to the oppressive regime currently in power. But instead of addressing this issue, Board members justify their inaction with excuses such as Thomas J. Bliley Jr.'s comment, "Who knows what would come next, maybe China." Such ridiculous comparisons, between a country full of U.S. investors and one where U.S. companies are becoming scarce, only seek to distort the issue and blow it out of proportion.

    The Board also continues to act as if Council's resolution was unprecedented, when in fact, similar student efforts helped the University decide to divest from apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. Additionally, dozens of universities across the country have passed similar resolutions concerning Burma.

    The issue of Burma must not go away just because of the Board's stubborn refusal to address it at the present. It took the better part of a decade for students to persuade the Board to divest from South Africa, and students should use the past as a model. Hopefully perseverance will convince the Board to tune in to this student concern sometime soon.
    U. Virginia board passes budget,no discussion of Burma issue

    Thu, Jun 21 EDT
    By Kadie Bye, Amy Shapiro & Maria Tor
    Cavalier Daily
    U. Virginia

    (U-WIRE) CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The University of Virginia's Board of Visitors had their quarterly meeting last weekend over three days. The Board unanimously passed the 2001-2002 budget Thursday, which for the first time includes $1.42 million for graduate student health insurance.

    The Board also approved a $816.3-million budget for the academic division of the University, a 7.4-percent increase from 2000-2001. The University Medical Center is budgeted for $575.6 million, a 7.5-percent increase, and the University of Virginia's College at Wise will receive 18.8 million next year, a 1.1-percent increase.

    No discussion of Burma issue

    Despite student campaigns demanding that the University divest relations in Burma, the Board did not act to close ties with Burma on Saturday.

    "The Board decided to take no action because ... of the precedent that it would set," Board member and former U.S. Rep. Thomas J. Bliley Jr. said in an interview. "Who knows what would come next, maybe China." Board members do not handle investment issues themselves but rely on the University Investment Management Company to make financial decisions, he added.

    Student groups, including Student Council and the University's Free Burma Coalition, appealed to the Board to adopt a Unocal shareholder's resolution that would require the University to disclose ties with corporations that conduct business in Burma.

    According to the resolution, the University owns $2.1 million in Unocal, a Los Angeles-based oil company that built a pipeline in Burma in 1996. Unocal is one of the last American companies still doing business in Burma and is alleged to have given money to the Burmese military regime in order to do business there.

    "The Board established a professorship in ethics, and it strikes me that a decision to remain complacent in the face of the atrocities in Burma flies in the face of that move," Student Council President Abby Fifer said.

    However, Fifer said she is encouraged by the Board's position of neutrality and hopes student challenges of the issue will continue to arise.
    Thai Army powerless to stop material for lignite plant

    Source : Bangkok Post

    The army does not have the power to prevent delivery of equipment and materials for construction of a lignite power plant in Tachilek, the army commander said yesterday.

    Gen Surayud Chulanont said neither the Third Army nor the army could refuse if Burma wants to use the Mae Sai-Tachilek checkpoint, which reopened early yesterday morning.

    The army chief voiced concern about possible conflicts in the area, as residents of Mae Sai are strongly opposed to the project. In April, they forced a convoy of 44 trucks carrying generator parts for the power plant to return to Bangkok.

    Gen Surayud called on the government to open talks with Rangoon on the possibility of relocating the plant.

    "It is very close to the border. The government should discuss with Burma to find out if it is possible to have the site relocated," he said.

    Meanwhile, Third Army commander Lt-Gen Wattanchai Chaimuenwong expressed uncertainty about the border situation because "drug traffickers and anti-Rangoon rebel groups are still active in the area".

    The commander insisted that Thailand did not support any rebel groups, including the Shan State Army, which has launched extensive anti-drug crackdowns on the Burmese side of the border.

    Lt-Gen Wattanachai said following the reopening of Mae Sai-Tachilek checkpoint the Third Army would keep a low profile and focus on fighting drug trafficking.

    An army source said the army plans to modify about 500 Unimoq trucks and turn them into armoured troop carriers at the Lop Buri arms building centre.

    The vehicles would be used in anti-drugs and combat operations, the source said.