Daily News- February 02 - 2002- Saturday

  • Burma's opposition spokesman optimistic about government-Suu Kyi talks
  • NLD vice-chairman reopens 33rd branch office in Rangoon
  • U20 : Yan Paing sends Burma into the final
  • Burmese gunship opens fire
  • KNU Celebrates Anniversary
  • Burmese culture minister receives BBC delegation
  • LG enters Myanmar CDMA market
  • Myanmar Produces More Paper Products in 2001

  • Burma's opposition spokesman optimistic about government-Suu Kyi talks

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Feb 1, 2002
    Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 31 January

    DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has reported yesterday the first part of an interview with NLD [National League for Democracy] spokesperson U Lwin on the activities of the NLD including the reopening of Latha Township NLD branch office. The second part is pegged to the latest situation on the talks between the military junta and the NLD.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] What can you tell us about the ongoing talks between the military government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?

    [U Lwin] To cut a long story short they are in a confidence-building stage right now and the process is gradually progressing. The release of political prisoners and the reopening of NLD township offices are proof of the progress. Another point is there are no questioning, prevention and inspection regarding our activities and movements like before. In a political and organizational sense that signifies freedom of movement.

    The important factor is there have been no political arrests or detentions lately. These are all significant developments. For such success to be achieved the dialogue has to be ongoing. In other words it is not stalled, it is very much alive.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] We have received news that the talks between the government and the NLD has stalled. Do you mean they still maintain regular contact?

    [U Lwin] Well, based on the above-mentioned activities which have not yet finished they still need to maintain regular contact during this confidence-building stage.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] The NLD issued a seven-point Independence Day Statement [on 4 January] including a call for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. How did the government respond to the statement?

    [U Lwin] There has been no significant response. They too need to think very seriously.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] We have learned that Mr Pinheiro [UN human rights special rapporteur], Mr Razali [UN secretary general's special envoy], and the EU Troika will be visiting the country in the near future. What do you think are the prospects?

    [U Lwin] They are all coming from abroad and it is the concern of Mr Razali and Mr Pinheiro. They have to adhere to their responsibilities in accord with the UN mandate. Others are just protocol matters. The essential point is our internal affairs and activities, meaning the confidence-building phase. As it progresses we believe we will be able to carry out our political objectives.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] Do you expect the confidence-building stage to progress to a political dialogue in future?

    [U Lwin] Yes. Once the confidence-building stage has met the expectations then automatically it will develop into a dialogue on political matters.

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    NLD vice-chairman reopens 33rd branch office in Rangoon

    Text of report by Democratic Voice of Burma on 30 January

    A grand ceremony to reopen the National League for Democracy [NLD] Office in Latha Township, Rangoon Division, was held at 1000 [local time] today. NLD vice-chairman U Tin Oo attended the ceremony and inaugurated the branch office. NLD spokesperson U Lwin told DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] the reopening of Latha Township branch office brought the number of NLD branches opened in Rangoon Division to 33 with only six remaining to be reopened. Furthermore, plans are well under way to reopen branches in other states and divisions. The following is DVB interview with U Lwin.

    [U Lwin] NLD vice-chairman U Tin Oo reopened the office. Plans are also under way to reopen Lanmadaw and Dalla Township branches. I think the ceremonies can be held only after Union Day [12 February] because we are all busy at present. I think Latha is the 33rd branch [to be reopened].

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] Yes. What about the prospects of reopening the NLD branches in the districts?

    [U Lwin] Well, three have already been reopened in Mandalay Division - Mogok, Myingyan and Mandalay Southeast Townships.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] What about the other states and divisions?

    [U Lwin] We are in the process of scrutinizing the NLD organization committees in other states and divisions.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] You mean to say NLD members could freely move about to perform organizational works to reopen NLD offices in Rangoon and other places.

    [U Lwin] Well, what I mean by free is that you have to at least inform the authorities what you plan to do. We could work freely in Mon, Karen and Shan States. We could also work freely in Kachin State where there are railway links.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] You once said there were plans to reopen about 300 branch offices in the states and divisions. What are the conditions now?

    [U Lwin] I can only tell you once the scrutiny of all the NLD organizing committees have been completed. We need to know the numbers in the various townships. We have not been in contact for a long time.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] When you reopen the branch offices, what are the government's regulations and requirements?

    [U Lwin] There are no special regulations. It is the same as before. All the branches opened so far have 17 executive committee members each. They could do their regular meetings by informing the relevant authorities. It is the same for ceremonies also. All they need to do is to inform them. There is no need to obtain a special permit because it is done indoors and not a public rally. You need to have a special permit if it is a public rally and held outdoors.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] Were any political prisoners released during this period?

    [U Lwin] Well, five political prisoners were released a while ago.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] The last time you said 17 MPs and about 800 political prisoners remained incarcerated. What is the latest situation?

    [U Lwin] Well, that was according to our old records and since some has come to inform us about the releases, I think the number has gone down to less than 800. What we thought was more than 800 before has now gone down to about 700.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] Since the NLD was able to reopen many of its branch offices and the number of political prisoners has dwindled to about 700, can you say that the situation has improved?

    [U Lwin] Yes, you can say that. Furthermore, NLD members could freely operate in regions where the branches have not reopened.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] Another thing I want to know is Mr Razali's visit is not sure but I believe [UN human rights rapporteur] Mr Pinheiro is arriving [Rangoon] on 10 February. What input can you give?

    [U Lwin] Mr Pinheiro is arriving next month as you have mentioned but we heard that Mr Razali is coming only in early March.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] During Mr Pinheiro's last visit you complained that he gave very little time to the NLD Executive Committee. What do you want to say about his upcoming visit?

    [U Lwin] Well, his itinerary was announced for his last visit and we also complained about meeting him. He was to visit the jails in Mandalay and other places but because of his prostate problem, he had to return for medical treatment. He made plans to visit many jails last time so I believe he is going to fulfil that task this time.

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    U20 : Yan Paing sends Burma into the final

    BANGKOK (Feb 1, 2002) - Yan Paing converted a penalty to lead Myanmar into the AFF Under-20 final where they will face hosts and favourites Thailand on Sunday.

    Myanmar were awarded the penalty in the 28th minute after a blaster from Lwin Too was handled by Laos defender Baoboupha Syviray. Referee Chhun Try did not hesitate to point to the spot. And Yan Paing, who already has five goals to his credit, added a sixth but it may have prove to be the most crucial one of all.

    That penalty change the entire game as Laos were left chasing their opponents. Laos, the surprise package of this tournament, tried hard to get the goals but failed.

    Myanmar coach, U Khin Maung Tint, said: "It was a good match. Laos were threatening and gave us a tough time. We also had several chances to score especially in the closing stages. Still, I am satisfied with the way my players played."

    Laos coach, Vangchay Moungmany, said: "Myanmar was the stronger team but we matched them with our tactical play. Though we were down by a penalty, my team staged a good fight. I am proud with the way they played."

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    Burmese gunship opens fire

    The Nation

    RANONG - A Burmese gunship yesterday entered Thai waters and opened fire on a local fishing trawler, sending nine fishermen overboard, local marine authorities said.The fishermen abandoned their trawler for fear that they would be killed if they remained aboard, the authorities said.

    An informed source said the Burmese ship, No 447, fired four shots at the Thai boat before towing it away, leaving the fishermen adrift at sea.

    Tiwa Lohakarn, the boat's captain, said they were lucky nearby trawlers came to their rescue.However, he said concerned authorities should ensure patrols are conducted in Thai water to prevent such incidents happening again.

    Major Suwat Sriklor, the inspector of provincial marine police, said conflicts often arose in the area because Burma and Thailand had conflicting claims over the waters there. Suwat, however, said that the area was under Thai jurisdiction but that the Burmese were also claiming that it belonged to them.

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    KNU Celebrates Anniversary

    THE IRRAWADDY - February 1, 2002
    By Shawn L. Nance/ Vallay Kee, Kawthoolei

    February 1, 2002- The Karen national liberation movement celebrated the 53rd anniversary of Karen National Resistance Day yesterday. Karen leaders addressed a crowd of almost 300 Karen villagers and soldiers as well as nearly 50 foreign aid workers and reporters in the small border camp opposite Thailand's Tak province. They called for renewed commitment to solidarity and the struggle for self-determination of the Karen homeland Kawthoolei.

    Karen National Union chairman, Padoe Saw Ba Thin Sein, said they were fighting "not for total independence, but freedom within a genuine federation of states". He added that reconciliation talks between the ruling State Peace and Development Council and the opposition National League for Democracy must include the ethnic groups in a tripartite dialogue for a genuine federal system to be successful.

    An official statement by the septuagenarian chairman urged the Karen "to shoulder the historic and noble duty of revolutionary resistance and continue the struggle to the end, until victory is achieved," while expressing optimism about a speedy resolution to the conflict.

    Thelma Gyi, 73, British-born daughter of the KNU's first president Saw Ba U Gyi, called for greater international recognition for the five-decade-long struggle and stressed the importance of educating the Karen youth on her first visit ever to Burma.

    After the formal speeches, the KNU leadership fielded questions from reporters. Former KNU chairman, General Bo Mya said that despite warming relations between the Thai and Burmese governments investment in Burma should be discouraged. He also accused the SPDC of deliberately flooding Thailand with drugs "as a tool to damage the Thai people."

    The celebration included Karen dancing and musical performances, a small military parade, and a four-mortar salute. Resistance day commemorates the beginning of the Karen armed struggle against the Burmese government on January 31, 1949.

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    Burmese culture minister receives BBC delegation

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Feb 1, 2002
    Text of report in English by Burmese newspaper The New Light of Myanmar web site on 31 January

    Yangon [Rangoon], 30 January: Minister for Culture U Tin Win received In-charge of Asia and Pacific region of BBC Ms Elizabeth Wright, [Managing Editor Southeast Asia] Mr Chris Greene and Mr Somchai Suwansan [of the Burmese Service] at his office this morning. Ms Elizabeth Wright discussed matters related to tourism, lodging of guests at the hotels, facts about Myanmar [Burma] for the international communities and labour affairs. Also present at the call were Director-General of the Fine Arts Department U Kyaw Win and officials.

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    LG enters Myanmar CDMA market


    LG Electronics, one of the leading mobile phone makers in Korea, reported on January 31 that it has entered the CDMA equipment market in Myanmar. LG signed a MOU deal with MPT, the state run telephone company of Myanmar, to supply CDMA-backed mobile equipment. The deal is valued at $20?$30 million in an initial shipment.

    The country's mobile phone penetration level is very low, meaning the market is expected to grow rapidly in the near future. LG said its entry into Myanmar is a vital move in the South Asian market, following its ongoing business in Vietnam and Cambodia.

    Meanwhile, the Korean company recently announced plans to offer a color CDMA handset capable of receiving video on demand at data speeds of 2.4 megabits per second. The product will be launched in Korea as soon as May of this year.

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    Myanmar Produces More Paper Products in 2001

    YANGON, February 1 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar produced 17,839 tons of all sorts of paper in the first ten months of 2001, 24.96 percent more than the same period of 2000, the latest data of the country' s Central Statistical Organization show.

    During the period, Myanmar imported 59.79 million U.S. dollars worth of paper goods, an increase of 40.48 percent compared with the corresponding period of 2000, to meet its domestic demand. In 2000, the country produced 16,894 tons of paper and imported 48.1 million dollars worth of paper manufactures.

    There are three state-run paper plants in Myanmar under the Ministry of Industry No.1 respectively located in the country's Mon state, Bago and Yangon divisions. They are producing stationery and print paper, exercise books, brown paper, packing paper and tissue paper.

    A new newsprint paper factory in Mandalay division, set up in April 2001 with the assistance of the Tianjin Machinery Import and Export Corporation of China, will produce 7,500 tons of paper annually.

    Besides, Myanmar is also building a 200-ton-daily-capacity bleached bamboo pulp factory in Ayeyawaddy division's Thabaung township, buying machinery from China. When completed, the plant will produce 60,000 tons of the pulp yearly.

    Meanwhile, Myanmar plans to add more paper and pulp mills of 50 to 500 tons daily capacity in different states and divisions during the five-year-plan period from 2001-02 to 2005-06. Myanmar's per capita consumption of paper is 2.6 kilograms and its total domestic paper demand in the present fiscal year of 2001- 02 ending March is 117,600 tons.

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