Daily News-November 05 - 2001- Monday

  • Leading Rohingya Group Claims No Terrorist Tie
  • Myanmar PM Leaves for ASEAN Summit
  • Burma lifts import restrictions on 15 Thai products
  • Myanmar's Rice Export Up Sharply in First Eight Months
  • Myanmar Seizes Large Amount of Stimulant Drugs
  • Repatriation plan worries rights panel
  • Burmese Literary Talk was a Success

  • Leading Rohingya Group Claims No Terrorist Tie

    By Tin Maung Htoo
    Burma Media Association( http://www.bma-online.net )

    Nov 3, 2001 Toronto-- The leading Rohingya group, Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO), assures that they have no relation with terrorist groups, adding they condemn any terrorist act including Sept 11 attacks in U.S., the statement issued on Oct 29 said.

    Recently, a wide range of media have reported some connection between Burmese Muslim organizations and international terrorist groups based on previously suspicious accounts; however, the Rohingya umbrella group consists of three Rohingya organizations turned down the accusation, saying they do not have direct or indirect link with any terrorist organization.

    It instead blames the ruling Burmese military government "trying to exploit the grave situation and making conspiracy to discredit its oppositions particularly the Rohingya organizations -- being Muslim groups..."

    Many cases reported early this year on AFP, Reuter, and other news agencies, however, indicated that they have some connections with alleged terrorist or Islamic fundamentalist groups in Bangladesh, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.

    According to the then news, Bangladesh police raided at least two hideouts of ARNO bases and arrested chief of military staff Selim Ullah, 40, and other two colleagues. During the raids, police said they seized pictures, documents and personal computers including a photo taken between ARNO chief of staff and Libya leader Muammer Qudhafi. It is also reported that ARNO headquarter is in Libya.Bangladeshi police arrested more members of ARNO in other raids, recovering several light firearms and ammunition from them.

    According to the Jugantor daily newspaper, quoting police sources, the group has 5,000 armed cadres using AK47 rifles, light machine guns, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns, with bases in Chittagong and nearby beach resort district of Cox's Bazar, bordering Arakan state of Burma.

    As more violent riots reported, Nyi Nyi Lwin, an Arakanese student in exile, asserted that Rohingya are creating "Palestine-Israel" styles unrest and bloodshed in Arakan State to draw world attention.

    The Bangladesh police described ARNO as "an extremist fundamentalist group fighting for the independence of Myanmar's Arakan province bordering Bangladesh." ARNO officials are contacted to respond on the matter but no reply, except the statement, has been received so far.

    However, ARNO reinforced with National United Party of Arakan (NUPA), a splitter group of Arakan, issued another press release yesterday under the name of Arakan Independence Alliance (AIA), in which they reaffirmed their purification from any terrorist network.
    Myanmar PM Leaves for ASEAN Summit

    YANGON, November 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar Prime Minister Senior-General Than Shwe left here for Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei on Sunday to attend the 7th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and meetings of ASEAN leaders and leaders of China, Japan and Republic of Korea on November 5 and 6.

    Than Shwe, who is also Chairman of the Myanmar State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), is accompanied by SPDC First Secretary Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt and Foreign Minister U Win Aung.

    At the summit, leaders of the ten ASEAN nations are set to discuss channels to enhance the unity and role of ASEAN in international community, and the speed-up of future cooperation as well as the global economic problems, China's entry into the World Trade Organization and reduction of development gap among ASEAN members. The discussions also cover the issue of anti-terrorism.

    During the summit, the Myanmar leader will meet separately with some other government leaders taking part in the meeting. The 6th ASEAN summit was held in Hanoi, Vietnam in December 1998. ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
    Burma lifts import restrictions on 15 Thai products

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Nov 4, 2001
    Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 3 November

    Democratic Voice of Burma [DVB] has learned that import restrictions on 15 items from Thailand have been lifted. Restrictions on the items were imposed in accord with Commerce Ministry's Notification No 9/99. DVB correspondent Myint Maung Maung filed this report:

    [Myint Maung Maung] The Tenasserim Division Commerce Department issued a directive on 26 (?October) citing Commerce Ministry's Notification No 106/2001 to the District and Township Commerce Departments, Border Trade Departments, and Customs Department.

    The directive also stated that in accord with the policy of allowing imports equal to the value of Burmese exports the 15 restricted items could be imported from Thailand.The items mentioned in the directive are: 1. Personal, household, and office electrical goods; 2. jute bags; 3. leather suitcases; 4. handbags; 5. paint; 6. fisheries-related plastic products; 7. ceramic tiles; 8. assorted household nails; 9. agricultural equipment; 10. steel rods and steel bars; 11. machinery; 12. assorted brands of cement bags; 13. marble slabs; 14. garments; and 15. approved household medicines.
    Myanmar's Rice Export Up Sharply in First Eight Months

    YANGON, November 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar exported 346,500 tons of rice in the first eight months of this year, up 330.97 percent compared with the same period of 2000, the country's Central Statistical Organization said in its latest data.

    The foreign exchange, earned through the export of rice during the period, amounted to 40.63 million U.S. dollars, up 218.92 percent from the corresponding period of 2000, it added.

    Although Myanmar's rice export had dropped from 111,700 tons in1998 to 63,700 tons in 1999, it picked up to 141,600 tons in 2000. To meet its food demand and to export, Myanmar has since November 1998 leased out 467,370 hectares of vacant, virgin, fallow and wetlands for cultivation by private entrepreneurs.

    At the same time, it has also exempted the import customs duties levied on agricultural implements including pesticide, fertilizer, improved variety and machinery.

    Myanmar's cultivable land stretches 18.225 million hectares, of which 10.125 million have been put under crop, while 8.1 million remain to be utilized. The country's agriculture accounts for 42 percent of the gross domestic product and 25 percent of the export value.
    Myanmar Seizes Large Amount of Stimulant Drugs

    YANGON, November 4 (Xinhuanet) -- The Myanmar authorities seized 2.29 million tablets of stimulant drugs in Tachilek, the country's eastern Shan state, near the end of last month, according to the Myanmar Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control Sunday.

    The seizure was made by a combined team comprising local intelligence unit and the police force when they raided two houses in a village tract in the township on October 27. Along with the stimulant drugs, 31 rounds of ammunition were also confiscated, the sources said.

    Eight people were arrested in connection with the case, it said, adding that they were punished under the country's Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law.

    Official statistics show that during the first half of this year, the authorities exposed a total of 1,536 drug-related cases, seizing 474.91kg opium, 27.89 kg heroin, 8,371 kg of marijuana, 6.14 million stimulant drug tablets, 1,889 kg of ephedrine and 269.28 liters of phensedyl, and punishing 2,187 drug offenders.
    Repatriation plan worries rights panel

    By Anchalee Kongrut
    The Bangkokpost

    Forcing 63 Burmese immigrants to return home could put their lives in danger, said Wasant Panich, a member of the National Human Rights Committee.

    Authorities plan to send the immigrants back tomorrow, by leaving them at a border village in Burma known to be friendly to the Rangoon government.

    The immigrants faced severe punishment if they ended up being handed over to Burmese soldiers, said Mr Wasant, who visited the immigrants at their shelter in Ban Rai Pa, in Thong Pha Phum district on Saturday. The committee visited the border to investigate the government's policy towards Burmese immigrants and refugees. It had received complaints that the immigrants had been tricked into signing repatriation forms.

    Chalida Tajroensuk, from Forum Asia, said the immigrants were under the impression they would be moved to the United Nations refugee camp in Tha Song Yang district in Tak.

    Burmese soldiers had been recruiting civilians to build roads and bridges for military operations against the anti-Rangoon Karen National Union, which has bases along the border. The villagers said they had walked for more than a month to reach the Thai border on Oct 25.

    Soldiers were forcing civilians to work from dawn to dusk without being paid, they said. Their food and possessions had been confiscated. ``People who refused were beaten. Those who tried to flee were tortured,'' one immigrant said.

    Most villagers did not know they would be sent back, Mr Wasant said. One immigrant, who asked not to be named, said sending him back was tantamount to a death sentence, as the junta kept the names of people who fled.

    Thailand has a policy of repatriating immigrants who enter illegally. Only people fleeing war are normally allowed into refugee camps.

    One humanitarian worker said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was willing to accept the villagers at its camp in Tak.The committee would propose that the government review its refugee policy, Mr Wasant said.
    Burmese Literary Talk was a Success

    Information Department
    Burmese American Democratic Alliance

    San Francisco Bay Area, year 2001 Burmese Literary Talk was successfully held on Oct 27, 2001 at YMCA in the City of Fremont near San Francisco. More than 120 literary lovers and political activists attended the event. Authentic Burmese food was sold. Various books by Speakers and T-Shirt bearing Daw Aung San Su Kyi were sold. Speakers were impressed with the turnout as well as the enthusiasm of the crowd. It was indeed a successful event. Literary Lovers and Burmese American Democratic Alliance, BADA of San Francisco Bay Area sponsored it.

    The event began at 4:30 PM and stretched until 10 PM. Poet Daw San San Tin acted as Master of Ceremony. She also gave an interesting introduction to each speaker. Dr. Kyaw Tint, President of BADA, delivered a thank you speech first. The first speaker was Editor Min Zin, and the title was “Unpleasant Burma to Pleasant Burma (A Cultural Study).” He explained what Cultural is and how it effects the dictatorship in Burma. According to him misconception about Buddhism has become cultural in Burma that help prolong the dictatorship. Young, but brilliant Ko Min Zin was well received by the audience. The second speaker was Poet Saya Tin Moe. As usual, he kept the audience loving for about an hour. The title of his talk was “A Literary Journey”. He talked about his famous poem, “The Visitor”, and most recent poems about September 11 Terrorist Attacks.

    The last speaker was also the eldest: Saya Aung Bala (or) Kyemon U Thaung. He has shown that he is not that old by speaking more than two hours about Burmese Political History centering Dictator Ne Win’s tricks and cruelty. The title of his talk was “One who is as bad as destroying own race.” He is also writing a book that will be available in December 2001.

    The final section was questions and answers. The sponsors of the event donated all the funds raised from this event to the speakers. The event was ended at 10 PM.

    The audio and photos of the talk is posted on the BADA’s website, www.badasf.org. If you would like to receive audio tapes or CDs, Please contact Webmaster at webmaster@badasf.org.