Daily News-November 25 - 2001- Sunday

  • UN Dreams For Burma
  • Burmese leader Khin Nyunt warns officials of foreign influence
  • God's Army twins afraid to resettle in US
  • Maneeloy to be shut next month
  • 129 Athletes to Participate in World Amateur Body Building Championships

  • UN Dreams For Burma

    FEER-Issue cover-dated November 29, 2001

    While talks between Burma's ruling generals and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi seem stalled, the United Nations' proposed solution for national reconciliation is becoming clearer.

    The world body is backing a transition to democracy that would result in UN-monitored elections five years after any agreement is signed, according to a Rangoon-based source close to the UN special envoy to Burma, Razali Ismail.

    The proposed deal has the military receiving an allotted number of seats in an elected parliament which would also be contested by a political party formed by the junta, most probably led by the regime's first secretary, Lt.-Gen. Khin Nyunt.

    Whether or not the process ever gets that far is increasingly uncertain--Khin Nyunt seems to be losing out in a power struggle with army chief Gen. Maung Aye.

    Under the UN plan, regime members would also be granted amnesty from lawsuits aimed at past human rights abuses. Suu Kyi wants a better deal, says the source, adding that progress on the talks has come to a halt and the two sides have not met formally since May.

    Even so, the junta remains upbeat about the process, apparently in an effort to attract more foreign aid to Burma. The UN is obliging, dangling more carrots for a deal as donors iron out the details of a $16 million HIV/Aids prevention programme for Burma.

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    Burmese leader Khin Nyunt warns officials of foreign influence

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Nov 24, 2001
    Source: Radio Myanmar, Rangoon, in Burmese 1330 gmt 23 Nov 01

    Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, accompanied by cabinet ministers, the navy chief of staff, the air force chief of staff, deputy ministers, officials from SPDC Office, department officials, and responsible personnel departed Yangon [Rangoon] by Myanmar Airways and arrived at Sandoway in Arakan State at 0830 [local time]...

    Next, SPDC Secretary-1 Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt met with State, District, Township Peace and Development Council members, and departmental personnel at the Annawa Yeiktha Hall in Sandoway. He said the government has lay down and is implementing the 12 political, economic, and social objectives to successfully achieve the national policies of the non-disintegration of the Union, the non-disintegration of national solidarity, and perpetuation of national sovereignty.

    Khin Nyunt added the government, while implementing its main task designed to maintain national peace and stability, is also striving to achieve national economic development and to further improve the living standards of the people. Only when there is prevalence of peace and stability and a strong national economy will the country be free from foreign influence. In other words, the government is striving for perpetuation of national sovereignty by safeguarding independence and warding off foreign domination. Furthermore, it is making systematic arrangements to preserve and safeguard the national character, traditions and culture, and cultural heritage.

    He continued to say, due to the government's endeavours for political stability, armed internal strife has ended and almost all the border areas are now enjoying peace and rapid development. He added peace and stability has enhanced the strengthening of national solidarity and safeguarding of the Union. In the past, Arakan State had to rely mainly on air and water transport and faced difficulties at times of bad weather...SPDC Secretary-1 Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt finally urged officials on the need to lead and organize the public in implementing the nation's national unity policy.

    God's Army twins afraid to resettle in US

    BANGKOK, Nov 24 (AFP) - The young twin brothers who once led the Myanmar rebel militia God's Army say they are afraid of moving to the United States, which is considering a resettlement offer, a report said Saturday.

    Johnny and Luther Htoo, who surrendered along with a group of their followers to Thai authorities in January, told the Thai News Agency they were worried for their safety in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    "I`m afraid of living in tall buildings," Luther reportedly said in an interview at a Thai border police camp where they have been living. "I dont want to go. An airplane will crash into the building." Johnny added that he was troubled by images of Saudi terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden he saw on television, the report said.

    The ethnic Karen brothers, who are believed to be aged 13, said they would rather live at the Karen refugee camp of Ban Tham Hin in western Ratchaburi province, where several of their friends were staying. "Well have friends to play with, well be able to play football, well be able to go to school," they were quoted as saying.

    US immigration officials interviewed the internationally known pair in May and have been considering a resettlement offer,according to Thai authorities.

    The boy leaders were once revered by their ethnic Karen followers who believed they had mystical powers that made them invincible in battles against Myanmar troops along the Thai border. After their surrender to Thai troops in January, the Htoo brothers debunked the myths surrounding their militia band and said they dreamed only of returning to Myanmar and going to school like ordinary children.

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    Maneeloy to be shut next month

    The Nation

    The Maneeloy refugee holding centre for Burmese students in Ratchaburi province's Pak Tho district will be closed in the middle of next month,Ratchaburi Governor Komet Daengtongdee said yesterday.

    Residents not eligible to resettle in a third country will be relocated by the Interior Ministry and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to a temporary shelter for displaced persons.

    "The National Security Committee has agreed to close the Maneeloy holding centre on December 15. There are about 200 Burmese who are waiting for an interview to be able to resettle in a third country," he said.

    The UNHCR will move the remaining Burmese to a camp either in Ratchaburi's Suan Phung district or Kanchanaburi's Sangkhla Buri district, the governor said. The Maneeloy centre was set up in 1988 to accommodate Burmese students fleeing brutal suppression in their home country but became embroiled in controversy when many of its charges were suspected of taking part in hostage-taking raids at the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok as well as Ratchaburi provincial hospital.

    After those incidents in the past two years, many groups of people, including some in Ratchaburi, demanded that the centre be closed down.

    A Burmese student said most of those in the camp were worried that the new shelter would not be safe for them, so they did not agree with the closing of the camp.He said that he had raised the issue with UNHCR staff, who had told him that the mothballing of the centre was a decision of the Thai government.

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    129 Athletes to Participate in World Amateur Body Building Championships

    YANGON, Nov 24, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- A total of 129 body builders will take part in the 55th World Amateur Men's Body Building Championships (WAMBBC) scheduled to begin here Sunday, the Myanmar Body Building and Physical Culture Federation said on Saturday.

    The competitors come from 42 countries and regions, including Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong of China, Chinese Taipei, Egypt, Germany, South Korea, Kenya, Russia, Slovakia and South Africa.

    There will be seven divisions in the tournament and Myanmar body builders will participate in four events -- 60-kilo class, 65-kilo class, 75-kilo class and 80-kilo class.The 54th WAMBBC was held in Malaysia.

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