Daily News-September 13 - 2001- Thursday

  • Myanmar Actively Launches Military Diplomacy
  • ILO Team Heads to Burma For Labor Probe
  • Burmese celebrate heritage without fear
  • Burma Residents Feel Effects
  • Shan leaders convey condolences for the Kamikaze victims
  • Thai National Detained in Kawthaung
  • SEA Games:M'sia-Myanmar Football Semifinal To Be Played

  • Myanmar Actively Launches Military Diplomacy

    source : The People's Daily

    In recent years, especially since entering into the new century, Myanmar's military diplomacy has been active with gradual increase of military exchange with foreign countries, constituting an important part of the country's exchange with foreign nations.

    Myanmar's military diplomacy has played an important role in breaking the sanctions imposed on it by western countries, expanding its diplomacy space and strengthening the friendship between armed forces of Myanmar and foreign countries.

    During this year, high-ranking military commanders from Indian, China, Thailand, Russia, Cambodia and Indonesia have visited Myanmar. These frequent visits have indicated Myanmar is actively launching its military diplomacy in the service of its politics, foreign diplomacy and military affairs.

    A fact that deserves special mention is that a fleet of Pakistani naval vessels comprising a submarine, a destroyer and a tanker made a nearly-week-long friendly visit at Myanmar's Yangon Port on April 25 this year. It was the first time for Myanmar to permit foreign naval fleet to visit its port in several decades.

    Besides, during the August visit to Myanmar of the Russian Vice-Defense Minister, the two sides signed a contract on sale of ten Russian MIG-29 fighter aircraft to Myanmar worth of as high as 130 million U.S. dollars.It was the first time for Russia to sell such fighters to Yangon. Equipped with these advanced fighters, Myanmar air force's fighting capability will greatly increase.

    The military exchange between Myanmar and India has drawn special attention. According to Indian official statistics, in the past seven years, exchange of visits between military authorities of the two countries amounted to 20 times, of which Myanmar military delegations went to India for eight times.

    Of the 12 tours to Myanmar by Indian military delegations, there included those made by Chief of the Army Staff, Chief of the Air Staff and Chief of the Navy Staff and Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee.According to the Indian News Annual published by the Indian Embassy here, in recent years, there has been a further intensification of relations between defense forces of India and Myanmar with a progressively large number of Myanmar defense personnel going to India for training and the border units of the two armies meeting twice a year at the border to ensure peace and tranquillity along the 1,400-kilometer-long front.

    In addition, the two countries have also agreed to enhance cooperation in combating drug trafficking and suppression of activities of ethnic separatists in border areas.Since 2000, Myanmar and India have successively carried out joint military operation twice against the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, destroying five bases on the Myanmar side set up by the separatists.
    ILO Team Heads to Burma For Labor Probe

    VOA News 11 Sep 2001

    The International Labor Organization or ILO is sending a high level team of experts to Burma to evaluate the government's efforts to deal with forced labor. The three-week mission will begin on September 17.

    The Burmese military junta promised to eliminate forced labor after the ILO condemned the practice. The U.N. organization has been examining forced labor in Burma since 1998. Burmese authorities agreed to the group's mission in May following a visit to Burma by an ILO official. A date for the mission was set last week.

    The ILO group will be led by Ninian Stephen, a former governor general of Australia and former judge at the International War Crimes tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia. Other members of the team will be Nieves Roldan-Confesor of the Philippines, Kulatilaka Ranasinghe of Sri Lanka and Jerzy Makarczyk of Poland.
    Burmese celebrate heritage without fear

    By David McFadden
    source : Brookline Tab

    In the ornate chapel of the First Parish Church, more than 60 Burmese men and women did what would result in interrogation and a probable prison sentence in their native land: gather in a group and discuss culture and political affairs.

    The Burmese Arts and Literature Symposium convened in the Brookline church, drawing people of Burmese heritage from across the city and the region. The annual event featured three renowned Burmese artists and writers who spoke to the audience in their native tongue, a dinner of curry and steamed rice, and the freedom to speak without fear of being overheard by an informant of the government.

    " This is a joyful celebration of our heritage, " said Ko Lay, an organizer of the annual event and a former resident of Brookline. " And it is also a way of talking about how we can help our family and friends still struggling in Burma. "

    Burma, or Myanmar as it is officially called, can reasonably lay claim to the title of the world’s most oppressed nation. Since 1962, Burma has been ruled by a military regime that Amnesty International states has made torture a veritable " institution. " Freedom of assembly and speech are not rights recognized by the military government, and, indeed, are harshly punished if people are caught.

    " That is why it is important for the Burmese that have made it out talk openly for those who cannot, " said Tin Maung Than, a journalist and medical doctor who fled with his family last year to neighboring Thailand. " The Burmese here in America can be a bridge to the real national identity for the people there. People are hungry to hear uncensored information, " he said.

    An editor and writer of a popular magazine in Burma, Than became increasingly concerned for his family’s safety as his articles began to make waves with the government censors who must approve all independent publications before they see print. His now-defunct magazine, Thint Bawa (meaning Your Life), was well-known for its veiled social criticism in a country where all criticism is done with subtlety and metaphor, when risked doing at all.

    He was jailed for five days as a warning for an " inappropriate " article before he decided that it was time to leave. " I began to see smoke, and when you see smoke, you know there is a fire coming, " he said.

    He spoke of the " gray zone " that any writer must occupy when it comes to discussing life in Burma." If white is the voice of the opposition and black is the voice of the government, then you try to stay in the middle — certainly not openly critical, but not too passive, either. "

    Now a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh in international affairs, he hosts a weekly show on the Democratic Voice of Burma radio station, which Burmese people can listen to furtively in their homes. According to the Burma Project, a New York-based institute, international radio stations like the BBC and Voice of America estimate that their audience in Burma is bigger per capita than in any other country.

    His wife and daughter can still communicate by letter to family still in Burma, but Than and other dissidents are unable to communicate with anyone back home except through forbidden radio programs. Modems and fax machines can only be owned with permission from the government. Breaking this law would result in a 15-year prison sentence, according to the Burma Project.

    The day’s other speakers were Win Pe, a filmmaker, author and former dean of a prestigious school of arts, and Tin Moe, an author of dozens of poetry books and a former prisoner of four years in one of Burma’s most infamous prisons.

    " We feel this [symposium] was a great success and we look forward to doing it again next year, " said Ko Lay, dressed in a " longyi, " a sarong that is the national dress for both men and women. " The First Parish Church has been very supportive and generous to us. "
    Burma Residents Feel Effects

    By Maung Maung Oo and Ko Thet
    source : The Irrawaddy

    September 12, 2001-The deadly terrorist attacks yesterday in the United States effected some Burmese nationals living in New York City and Washington D.C. The attacks successfully brought New York’s World Trade Center to the ground after two hijacked airplanes slammed into the building as well as severely damaging The Pentagon in Washington D.C.

    Zaw Zaw, a former member of All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), who now works as a computer engineer at the Pentagon, said "When the plane hit the building I was about to leave for work and I heard this huge explosion from my house, which is about a ten minute drive from the Pentagon."

    "When I arrived at the Pentagon, I heard another explosion from inside the building. I think it might have been the plane’s fuel," he said. "One of the air force officers asked us to evacuate as they thought another plane was heading for the Pentagon," he added. "Only a few Burmese work at the Pentagon and we are confident that all of them are ok," he said.

    Ye Kyaw Zwa, a Burmese immigrant living in New York City, said "We can usually see the World Trade Center (WTC) from our apartment. But today the smoke was so thick we could not see anything."

    "I have not heard about any Burmese deaths from the attack," he said. " Yesterday was a little difficult because all the transportation around the city had been shut down," he added.

    A couple of Burmese work at food stalls and grocery stores near the WTC but there are no reports of any Burmese deaths, according to other Burmese sources in New York City.
    Shan leaders convey condolences for the Kamikaze victims

    Shan Herald Agency for News -12 September 2001 -No: 09 - 06:

    Initial responses from the Shan leaders after the suicide attacks in New York and Washington D.C. have been shock and sympathy for the victims.

    "It grieves me to know the attackers even made war against the people who are not involved in the conflict" Col Yawdserk, President of the Restoration Council of Shan State, the political wing of the Shan State Army, said on the phone. He told S.H.A.N. a message of condolences would be issued by the council later today.

    Another Shan leader, who requested anonymity, also expressed concern that the struggle for democracy and freedom in other countries would be forgotten in a wave of nationwide outrage against the terrorists and, in President Bush's own words, " those who harbor them". "However, if their sentiments are also directed against drug traffickers and 'those who harbor them', that'll be a silver lining in the cloud for us", he added. Rangoon is reputed to be protecting Wa and Kokang drug gangs.

    Both Yawdserk and Sao Sengsuk, spokesperson for the overseas Shan organization Shan Democratic Union, meanwhile, agreed that it was still too early to speculate. " We need to wait for further information," said Sao Sengsuk. "However, I wouldn't be surprised if Burma is going to go through another period of fuel shortage if the present situation persists". Thousands of motor vehicles in Burma use "Thai oil" for their fuel.

    One simple Shan spoke of the "predictions of Nostradamus ", an ancient soothsayer, who was said to have foretold a "missile" attack against New York, that started World War Three. " I think this may possibly be it ", he said.

    Yet another border watcher told S.H.A.N. that one result might be increasing Thai reliance on her neighbors for economic survival. "It could also mean the Thai government might ignore the plight of the people under Rangoon's rule," he said.
    Thai National Detained in Kawthaung

    By Maung Maung Oo
    source : The Irrawaddy

    September 12, 2001-A Thai national has been under detention in the Burmese border town of Kawthaung since August 17 for unknown reasons, despite possessing the legal documentation to cross into Burma, according to sources in Ranong, a Thai border town opposite Kawthaung.

    Nai Phra Chuap, 26, who is from Ranong, reportedly crossed into Burma in search of his wife who lives in Kawthaung. At that time Burmese Military Intelligence (MI) officers from unit 29 arrested him and charged him under article 13/1 for allegedly entering a restricted area. Phra Chuap has called on the Burmese authorities to notify the Thai-Burma Border Committee regarding his detention in order to obtain legal representation, according to a source close to MI unit 29. However, Burmese MI officers have rejected his pleas.

    Meanwhile, a source close to Lt Min Khant, the arresting officer in Kawthaung, said that MI officers had approached Phra Chuap’s relatives when they attempted to visit him and requested US $1500 for his immediate release.

    MI unit 29 is notorious in Kawthaung for extorting money from migrant workers and traders who cross in and out of Burma each day, according to sources in the area. "They are like the Mafia around here," said an unidentified man. Nai Phra Chuap remains under detention in Burma.
    SEA Games:M'sia-Myanmar Football Semifinal To Be Played At Shah Alam Stadium

    By Azman Zakaria
    KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 (Bernama) -- The SEA Games men's football seminfinal between Malaysia and Myanmar Thursday will take place at the Shah Alam Stadium.The other semifinal between defending champions Thailand and Indonesia will be held at the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) Stadium in Kelana Jaya. Both matches will kick-off at 8.45pm.

    Organising committe chairman Datuk Dr Ibrahim Saad said officials from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) inspected the pitch at the Shah Alam Stadium and concluded that it was now in playing condition. "The condition is acceptable. Though not very good, the match can still be held there," he said.

    Dr Ibrahim and FAM secretary general Datuk Dell Akhbar Khan accompanied SEA Games football match commissioner Dr Mohammad Khabiri, who is also the head of the AFC technical delegates, and AFC competition committee member R.Indran during the inspection.

    The Shah Alam Stadium can accomodate 80,000 spectators. The SEA Games men's football was originally scheduled to be held at that stadium but due the pitch problem, it was later moved to the MPPJ Stadium. On Sunday, thousand of fans were not allowed into the MPPJ Stadium during a group match between Malaysia and Indonesia as the 20,000-capacity stadium was already jammed packed almost an hour before the kick-off.

    Malaysia's last group match last night was held at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil with some 65,000 spectators turning up to cheer the team as they beat Vietnam 2-0 to cruise to their first SEA Games semifinal in 12 years. The National Stadium is however not available for the semifinals as the Games track and field events started at the stadium today.

    Indonesian Olympic silver medallist beaten by Myanmar weightlifter

    KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 -Indonesian weightlifter Raema Lisa Rumbewas failed to live up to her billing Wednesday as the Sydney Olympic silver medallist was upset by Myanmar's Swe Swe Win at the Southeast Asian Games.Swe beat Rumbewas, Indonesia's sportswoman of the year, to win the gold medal in the women's 53-kilogram snatch/clean-and-jerk event. Thailand's Udomporn Polsak took the bronze.

    Myanmar win only one gold in Wednesday, so far winning seven gold medals.In the overall medal standings after day five of the 10-day games,remain in 7th place out of 10 with 7 gold, 11 silver and 23 bronze.

    Following are the medal winners on the fifth day of the 21 SEA Games here Wednesday.


    1. Swe Swe Win -- Women 53kg Snatch/Clean & Jerk


    1. San San Win/Yin Min Htay -- Rowing Women Coxless Pair
    2. U Kyaw Oo -- Billiards Singles
    3. Pa Pa -- Women 10,000m


    1. Thein Win/Phone Myint Tayzar/Aung Kyaw Moe/Zaw Lwin Tun -- Rowing Men Lightweight Coxless Four
    2. Tennis Men's Team 3. Men's Sepak Takraw Team
    4. Women's Sepak Takraw Regu