Daily News-October 25 - 2001- Thursday


  • Muslim-Buddhist violence flares in Myanmar
  • NLD reopens Yamethin branch
  • Japan foreign minister holds talks with visiting Burmese minister
  • Victims back protest
  • Burma's leaders praise UN chief
  • Muslim man arrested in Moulmein for wearing Bin-Ladin T-shirt


  • Muslim-Buddhist violence flares in Myanmar

    YANGON, Oct. 24 Myanmar's military government has imposed a curfew in three cities to deter clashes between Muslims and Buddhists, government officials said on Wednesday.

    ''It is true that dusk to dawn curfew was imposed in Pyi, Bago, and Hinthada recently to prevent religious riots after brawls between some Buddhist monks and Muslims,'' a Myanmar government spokesman told Reuters.

    ''Local authorities and religious leaders have now straightened out the problem and the situation has returned to normal, but the curfew is still on,'' the spokesman said.

    Myanmar citizens living along the Thai-Myanmar border told Reuters on Wednesday clashes between Muslims and Buddhists started in Pyi, some 290 km (180 miles) north of Yangon, on October 8 and spread to the nearby cities of Bago and Hinthada. They said more than 100 people were wounded and one killed in the clash in Pyi, but officials declined to comment on figures. They said authorities in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar had banned all vehicles from entering Yangon after the riot in Hinthada on Sunday.

    Sources in the towns said the riots were caused by a brawl between the families of a Buddhist teenager and a Muslim man she eloped with.

    Rivalry between Buddhists and Muslims, who make up almost four percent of the country's 51 million people, is not uncommon in Myanmar.

    The first clash this year was in February in Sittwe, capital of Rakhine State, 490 km (300 miles) northwest of Yangon. Another one took place in May in Taungoo, a city in Bago Division, 265 km (166 miles) north of Yangon.

    Curfews were imposed for some time in both cities. Government and private sources said the riots were sparked by religious differences. Political analysts say Myanmar authorities have been taking special care to prevent riots between Buddhists and Muslims since the suicide attacks on the United States on September 11. (Additional reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan in Bangkok)
    NLD reopens Yamethin branch

    Excerpt from report by Democratic Voice of Burma on 22 Octobe

    The Executive Committee [EC] of the Yamethin Township National League for Democracy [NLD] party in Mandalay Division has been reorganized. An NLD division and township party reorganizing subcommittee arrived Mandalay on 15 October. The group comprises Dr Thein Lwin, elected representative from Meiktila Township Constituency-2, U Bo Zan, elected representative from Kyaukpadaung Township Constituency-1, U Tin Htut Oo, elected representative from Lewe Township Constituency-1, and U Paw Khin, elected representative from Myingyan Township Constituency-1. The group met with the township NLD members at the house of U Maung Maung Myint, elected representative from Yamethin Township Constituency-1, and was able to reorganize the Yamethin Township NLD party with 15 EC members...

    Meanwhile, the National Unity Party [NUP] State and Division Organizing Committees Conference will be held in Rangoon tomorrow, 23 October.

    DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has learned that the main topic of discussion will be pegged to the recruitment of new party members. The NUP adopted a new recruiting programme in March 2000 and implemented a plan to organize the peasants, workers and women. Furthermore, discussions were also held to reorganize the youth. Since the mass demonstrations to bring down the BSPP [Burma Socialist Programme Party] one-party system in 1988 was led by students and youths, the NUP, which is the transformation of the BSPP, was unable to organize and attract the students and youths. That is why the NUP is now attempting to reorganize the youths and trying to make NUP a stronger party.

    Responsible personnel will have to present a report on youth recruitment at the State and Division Organizing Committees Conference to be held in Rangoon on 23 October. Furthermore, DVB has learned that matters on party membership and collection of funds will also be discussed at the conference.
    Japan foreign minister holds talks with visiting Burmese minister

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Oct 24, 2001
    Text of report in English by Japanese news agency Kyodo

    Tokyo, 24 October: Myanmar [Burma] National Planning and Economic Development Minister Soe Tha told Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka on Wednesday [24 October] that Japan's anticipated aid for rehabilitating an ageing hydroelectric power station is crucial, a ministry official said.

    In half-hour talks at the ministry, Tanaka also welcomed the successive releases since late last year of political prisoners in Myanmar and urged the military junta to continue efforts to resolve conflicts with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

    Soe Tha said that while economic development in various fields is important for Myanmar, Japan's grant aid for the project to rehabilitate the power station is crucial considering that electric power supply is vital to people's basic livelihood.

    Tanaka said she noted Soe Tha's remarks on the grant, which is currently being considered by the Japanese government and is expected to be decided by the end of this year. The amount of the grant will likely be around 3-3.5bn yen.

    The development minister said the Myanmar government is making efforts to make peace with ethnic minorities and working on national development plans in the fields of education, health, water, roads and agriculture, the official said.

    Japan began studying the resumption of providing government grants to Myanmar following the start last October of dialogue between the junta and Suu Kyi. Tokyo stopped government grants to Myanmar in 1988 when the junta took power.

    Soe Tha is on an eight-day stay in Japan since Saturday at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry. He has met Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma and lawmakers concerned about Myanmar and will travel to Kyoto on Thursday for a joint meeting between the two countries' chambers of commerce.
    Victims back protest

    This is Chippenham:

    FORMER prisoner of conscience James Mawdsley will join Burmese political prisoner Ko Aung and Burmese Buddhist monk the Venerable U Uttara at a public meeting in Chippenham.

    The special meeting was organised by a group of North Wiltshire Amnesty International campaigners who take a special interest in the human rights situation, on the other side of the world, in Burma.

    James Mawdsley hit the headlines in 1999 when he was imprisoned for 17 years by the Burmese Government for handing out pro-democracy leaflets. It was the third time he had been detained in Burma, a country ruled by a military regime. He endured torture, hunger strikes and over a year of solitary confinement. He was released after serving 14 months of his sentence.

    Ko Aung was detained after working with a student movement. He endured the most gruesome tortures for nearly a month. He was beaten, burned with cigarettes, and had a bamboo cane rolled up and down his shins until the skin came off. He was also forced to stay in a ditch with a decomposing corpse and to stand in a pond of maggots.

    Buddhist monk U Uttara was ordained as a monk at the age of 20. He moved to London in 1992 and teaches meditation and Buddhism at universities and organisations around the country.

    Mr Mawdsley will recount his experiences in Burma. The meeting will be held on Wednesday October 24 in the Station Hill Baptist church, Station Hill.
    Burma's leaders praise UN chief

    source : ABC

    Burma's military leaders have congratulated U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan for winning this year's Nobel Peace prize and reaffirmed support for the world body's efforts for a developed and peaceful world.

    The ruling junta has been the frequent target of criticism from the United Nations and its associated agencies, which have condemned it for human rights abuses.

    But the government recently has attempted to woo the international body, allowing two U.N. investigative missions to visit the country in the past month. A special U.N. representative late last year helped initiate a dialogue between the military and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
    Muslim man arrested in Moulmein for wearing Bin-Ladin T-shirt

    Text of report by Democratic Voice of Burma on 23 October

    The SPDC authorities have been arresting some Muslims in Moulmein for wearing Usamah Bin-Ladin T-shirts on 12 October. Similar T-shirts are also being worn in Mae Sot, Thailand without any fear of arrest. DVB correspondent Maung Too filed this report.

    [Maung Too] After the United States began attacking Usamah Bin-Ladin and his terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, Usamah Bin-Ladin T-shirts have been manufactured, distributed, and worn by many but on 12 October a Muslim religious leader from Moulmein became the first to be arrested by authorities in Burma for wearing Usamah Bin-Ladin T-shirt.

    Haji Yusuf, age 40 years, residing at Zaygyi Ward in Moulmein was arrested by Zaygyi Ward police on 12 October for wearing the Usamah Bin-Ladin T-shirt. A Moulmein resident told DVB today that Haji Yusuf was sent home by police intelligence personnel after he was interrogated for a week from 12 to 18 October.

    Although the details of his interrogation were not known no one is seen wearing Usamah Bin-Ladin T-shirts since then. The SPDC authorities have not officially issued any notification prohibiting wearing of Usamah Bin-Ladin T-shirts but the import of Usamah Bin-Ladin T-shirts manufactured in Thailand have been prohibited at the Mae Sot-Myawadi and Ranong-Kawthaung border check points.

    A Burmese trader currently inside Thailand told DVB today that the Thai-made Usamah Bin-Ladin T-shirts could sell like hot cakes in Burma but he dare not import the T-shirts because of fear of arrest by authorities.