Daily News-November 26 - 2001- Monday

  • Burmese opposition says junta joins terrorist nations by accepting scientists
  • Explosion and fire kills 9 people and destroys tens of millions of Kyats worth properties in Pharkant
  • Thai Third Army denies it closed checkpoints
  • Myanmar Builds 127 Dams in 13 years
  • Moderate earthquake hits northeast Myanmar
  • Russian wins World Amateur Bodybuilding Championship

  • Burmese opposition says junta joins terrorist nations by accepting scientists

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Nov 25, 2001
    Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 24 November

    Indian newspapers have reported that two Pakistani scientists - Dr Suleiman Asad and Dr Mohammad Ali Mukhtar - both alleged to have links with terrorist Usamah Bin-Ladin, have been granted political asylum by the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] military government. India-based DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] correspondent Thet Naing filed this report.

    [Thet Naing - recording] The news cited that the two scientists were accepted by the SPDC military junta following a request from the Pakistani Government. The SPDC has kept the two Pakistani scientists under house arrest somewhere in Burma's Sagaing Division. When DVB inquired about the opinion of Dr Tint Swe, minister of the exiled National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, regarding the scientists he replied:

    [Dr Tint Swe] According to the news, it is proof that Burma's SPDC military government has grandly entered the global world of terrorism which is currently the hottest news of today. It is quite strange for them to enter Sagaing Division by plane. But there is one precedent, when SPDC Secretary-2 Lt Gen Tin Oo was assassinated, two survivors who were eyewitnesses were brought blindfolded to Kale Jail in Sagaing Division. If you draw a conclusion, you can say that the SPDC has widened the gap with the world and international media with such news.

    [Thet Naing] When he was asked whether the SPDC's granting of sanctuary to Pakistani nuclear scientists who are intimate with the world's terrorist leader amount to support of terrorism, he answered as follows:

    [Dr Tint Swe] I think it is not wrong to say that the acceptance of two nuclear scientists show that Burma has not only slightly but wholeheartedly joined the world's terrorist group. That is why, just as the Burmese military government has governed the country with terror, it is also a country that supports world terrorism. [End of recording]

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    Explosion and fire kills 9 people and destroys tens of millions of Kyats worth properties in Pharkant, Kachin State

    Network Media Group

    Chiang Mai, November 25, 2001-An explosion due to fire in Pharkant jade mine killed 9 people, injured 24 others and destroyed tens of millions of Kyats worth properties on November 19.

    A fire induced explosion at New Jade Company, in Quarter 3 of Seikmu village in Pharkant jade mine area, killed the company owner U Ar Sait and other 8 people and injured another 24 people. The explosion also destroyed three other houses and a fire brigade truck. The lost value in the explosion reached more than 40 million Kyats, said a source close to authorities. Two carrier trucks and a van were also included in the lost properties.

    The explosion, from the gasoline barrels and large amount of gunpowder sticks, occurred while a fire brigade and people were trying to kill the fire. A source said that the gunpowder sticks in the company were bought from Military Tactical Headquarters number 2 to use in excavating jades. About 7 million Kyats worth gunpowder sticks were exploded, a source close to the company said.

    New Jade Company is one of the biggest company working on Jade business in Pharkant, said the source.

    The injured persons were hospitalized in Pharkant hospital and one serious patient was sent to Mandalay General Hospital for further treatment. The company paid the compensations of (500,000) Kyats each for those who lost their lives in the incident, through Pharkant Township Peace and Development Council. The fire was started at 3 PM and subsided around 4 PM on November 19.

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    Thai Third Army denies it closed checkpoints

    The Bangkokpost
    Subin Khuenkaew

    The Third Army denied traders' claims it closed checkpoints along the Burmese border, but said it imposed strict curbs on smuggling at two crossings.

    Mae Hong Son businesses had petitioned the Third Army to revoke what they said was an order to close Huay Phung checkpoint.Third Army commander Lt-Gen Udomchai Ongkhasing said he had ordered restrictions on imports through Huay Phung, in Mae Hong Son, and Ban Tha Song Yang, in Tak. He had not ordered them closed.Rangoon ordered the closure of Kiew Pha Wok checkpoint in Chiang Dao district for security reasons.

    ``I just ordered the 7th Infantry Regiment to be strict about checking things, especially cattle imports, to prevent disease. ``At Tha Song Yang checkpoint, I ordered the postponement of log imports so the Forestry Department can double-check,'' he said.

    Chamber of Commerce district 9 chairman Poonsak Sunthornpanichkij urged the army to revise its restrictions on Ban Huay Phung checkpoint.

    The province's economy and border trade, worth five million baht daily, had been affected. This was contrary to the government's export promotion policy.

    Lt-Gen Udomchai recently examined 700 teak logs pending import clearance. Of these, 600 belonged to the Forest Industry Organisation and the remainder to the private sector.

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    Myanmar Builds 127 Dams in 13 years

    YANGON, Nov 25, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Altogether 127 dams have been built in Myanmar up to now since late 1988 when the present government took office, irrigating 719,186.4 hectares of farmland, according to the Myanmar Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation Sunday.

    The 127 dams, which mostly lie in the country's Bago, Mandalay and Magway divisions, were built at a total cost of 49.076 billion kyats (about 140.22 million U.S. dollars). With the addition of the 127 dams in 13 years' time, the total number of dams in the country has been brought to 265.

    Besides, a total of 253 river-pumped water stations have so far been set up in Myanmar along the banks of Ayeyawaddy and Chindwin rivers, irrigating over 81,000 more hectares. Myanmar's cultivable land stretches 18.225 million hectares, of which 10.125 million or 55.5 percent have been put under crops, while 8.1 million or 44.5 percent remain to be utilized. Of the cultivated land, 1.92 million hectares or 19 percent are cultivated through irrigation.

    As agriculture is the mainstay of Myanmar's economy, the government is giving priority to the development of the sector in order to produce enough food to feed the nation's present 52-million population. Agriculture accounts for 37 percent of the country's gross domestic product and 25 percent of its export value.

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    Moderate earthquake hits northeast Myanmar

    YANGON, Nov. 26 - A moderate earthquake struck northeast Myanmar, but there were no reports of injuries or damage to property, officials said on Monday.

    The quake, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, hit the southern part of Shan State around 640 km (400 miles) north of the capital Yangon at 03:20 a.m. (1950 GMT) on Saturday.

    ''We don't think there would be severe damage, if there was any at all, because the intensity was moderate,'' an official from the meteorology and hydrology department told Reuters.Earthquakes are common in the north of Myanmar where the strongest seismic activity in recent years was recorded in June last year with a quake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale.

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    Russian wins World Amateur Bodybuilding Championship

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Bodybuilders from Russia, Germany and Azerbaijan shared the honors on the final day of the 55th World Amateur Men's Bodybuilding Championships held in Myanmar, official press reported Monday.

    Oleg Machatsev of Russia won the heavyweight class, Thomas Scheu of Germany the light heavyweight and Fakhrudinov Tagir of Azerbaijan the welterweight class. Russia also won the team championships, which ended Sunday.

    More than 200 competitors from 47 countries took part in the five-day championships, held for the first time in military-run Myanmar, also known as Burma, at the National Indoor Stadium in the capital Yangon.

    Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, the regime's third-ranking general and patron of the Myanmar National Olympic Council, presented the prizes. The 56th championships will be held in Egypt.

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