Daily News- February 18- 2002- Monday

  • UN envoy, Shan leader discuss political activities, national convention
  • 2000 people have asked for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the political prisoners
  • Burma, Thailand hold sixth meeting on drugs control
  • 700 foreign trainees missing in central Japan
  • Myanmar celebrities to record anti-drugs anthem
  • One Night In Rangoon

  • UN envoy, Shan leader discuss political activities, national convention

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Feb 17, 2002
    Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 16 February

    Mr Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the visiting UN special rapporteur for human rights, met again with U Khun Tun Oo, chairman of Shan Nationalities League for Democracy [SNLD], in Rangoon [Yangon] this evening. U Khun Tun Oo told DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] Mr Pinheiro inquired about the activities of the nationalities parties and the National Convention.

    [U Khun Tun Oo] He asked about the National Convention and the activities of the nationalities parties. He inquired whether the nationalities parties have the same permission as the NLD [National League for Democracy] and whether the parties were active in party activities. I said that legally-standing parties have the permission to participate in party activities but due to various reasons especially the fear of local authorities, the parties were not functioning including us. I told him that we are not as active as the NLD. The NLD is active in Mandalay and are planning activities in other regions as well. I also told him that we have no activities whatsoever in the districts.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] What did you talk about the National Convention?

    [U Khun Tun Oo] He asked about the procedures and why it had stopped. I told him that I did not know why it had stopped. He inquired whether we continue with any discussion and I told him that it had stopped since 1995.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] When you talked about the release of political prisoners including U Tha Ban, what did he say?

    [U Khun Tun Oo] I think he asked for their release. Of course we asked for the release of political prisoners including U Tha Ban and Nai Ngwe Thein.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] I believe he will be leaving soon. Are you satisfied with your discussions with him?

    [U Khun Tun Oo] Well, I have even talked to De Soto [former UN special envoy Alvaro De Soto] and others so for him some things might be new and he would have to catch up to grasp the situation. When someone is changed then the policy changes too and I think he never had time to study thoroughly so I have to explain it to him in detail.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] What I mean is when he returns he will have to submit a report. Will it be better than before?

    [U Khun Tun Oo] He will present his report on the fourth [April]. He gave copies of his last report to the nationalities parties and told us to make necessary amendments.

    [Htet Aung Kyaw] Since this is his third trip do you think it is much better than the previous trips? Are you more satisfied?

    [U Khun Tun Oo] Yes. It was much better and more active and I believed he understood the situation more. He was more frank and better understanding. [End of recording]

    NLD spokesperson U Lwin told DVB that Mr Pinheiro has planned to meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday and many NLD leaders are expected to attend the meeting.

    Mr Pinheiro will visit Insein central jail and the prisoners' ward at Rangoon General Hospital. He is also expected to visit a labour camp for prisoners outside of Rangoon. Mr Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, a Brazilian diplomat, was appointed as UN special rapporteur for human rights in Burma in February 2001. This is his third trip to the country and he will be leaving Burma on Tuesday, 19 February. He will present his report to the UN secretary-general and the UN Human Rights Commission in April.

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    2000 people have asked for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the political prisoners

    by Jonas Tjersland/Worldview Rights 2002-02-13
    source : Buma peace campaign

    The Nobel Peace Laureate Campaign has now reached 2000 sign up declarations. Since the release of the web site www.burmapeacecampaing.org, 2000 people has now signed up and asked for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma.

    Campaign Director Trine Johansen in the Nobel Peace Laureate Campaign is happy that so many people have declared their support.

    "It is encouraging that so many people worldwide join the struggle for democracy in Burma, but 2000 people are not enough. We need more signatures. Everybody should pay attention to the situation in the military ruled Burma", Trine Johansen said.

    The Citizens Declarations of Support includes the following issues; I call on the government of Burma to:

    Immediately release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma, including elected Members of Parliament;

    End all violations of human rights imposed on the people of Burma; and

    Agree to join Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy and representatives of ethnic nationalities of Burma in a meaningful tri-partite dialogue to achieve a peaceful transition to democracy.

    Please make sure that your friends, colleagues and family also sign the declaration.

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    Burma, Thailand hold sixth meeting on drugs control

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Feb 17, 2002
    Text of report in English by Burmese newspaper The New Light of Myanmar web site on 16 February

    Yangon [Rangoon], 15 February: Under the Myanmar [Burma]-Thai drugs joint control programme, the sixth transnational meeting on Myanmar-Thai drug control programme was held at Ayethaya Golf Resort Hotel in Taunggyi Township, Shan State, yesterday and today.

    It was attended by the Myanmar delegation led by Secretary of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control Director-General of Myanmar Police Force Police Maj-Gen Soe Win and the Thai delegation led by Vice Secretary-General of the Narcotics Control Board of Thailand (ONCB) Mr Chartchai Suthiklom [name as received]. Grass roots level meeting was held yesterday and high-ranking officials meeting was held today. They discussed matters related to bilateral cooperation in drugs control programme.

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    700 foreign trainees missing in central Japan

    NAGOYA, Feb. 17, Kyodo - Some 700 people, mainly from Vietnam and China, undergoing training at companies in Nagoya and other areas in central Japan went missing in 2000-2001 and may have been illegally staying and working in the country, the local immigration bureau said Sunday.

    In a bureau survey of more than 100 companies in seven prefectures, the Nagoya Regional Immigration Bureau said it found 380 foreign trainees disappeared in 2000 and 325 in 2001. The bureau said it has instructed the companies surveyed to review their procedures for accepting foreign trainees.

    The missing trainees are 441 Vietnamese, 221 Chinese, 39 Indonesians and four people from Myanmar, the bureau said.

    Many of them are believed to have come to Japan to seek work illegally or have made arrangements with illegal brokers to work in the country, the bureau said.

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    Myanmar celebrities to record anti-drugs anthem

    The Times of India

    RANGON(AFP): Celebrities in Myanamar, the world's biggest opium-producing country, are to record a song aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of drug abuse, the Myanmar Times newspaper reported.

    The group includes non-smoking rock star, Zaw Win Htut, who said the song would also be made into a video, the weekly said in its edition to be published on Monday. "We are now composing the song, to which many singers have contributed," he said.

    The move follows the "Stars Against Drugs" initiative organised by the United Nations Drug Control Programme in 2001 in which a number of celebrities agreed to lend their names to awareness and prevention campaigns.

    The initiative in military-ruled Myanmar has also attracted the support of a prominent modelling agency, which is planning to feature posters which warn against the dangers of drug abuse during its fashion shows.

    "We have to create awareness of drug abuse in indirect ways," said Tin Moe Lwin of the Talent and Models Agency.

    Myanmar has become the world's biggest opium producer, after Afghanistan's now-defunct Taliban regime banned the growing of opium poppies.

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    One Night In Rangoon

    The Nation , Published on Feb 17, 2002

    Drug trades and polticial intrigue in Burma yield a perfect backdrop for a thriller that is hard to put down Midnight in Burma: A Golden Triangle Thriller By Alex O'Brien

    Midight in Burma lives up to its subtitle: "A Golden Triangle Thriller". The prose is terse and minimalist with the occasional clunker of a sentence but the engine of the plot roars along on twelve cylinders. Chapters are short, jumping back and forth among a dozen major characters. No sooner are we introduced to a Russian assassin or a Burmese call girl than they have murdered a couple of Burmese generals and are murdered themselves. Who are the bad guys and what do they want?

    Peter Henderson is the protagonist, an American business lawyer who lives in Burma because he likes it. In this, the novel is refreshingly non-PC.

    Aung San Suu Kyi - fictionalised as "Phyu Winn" or "The Lady" - is not canonised and some characters are actually sympathetic Burmese military men.

    Author Alex O'Brien's background is American Foreign Service, which takes a more nuanced view of Burma than your standard human rights NGO. There are diplomats who see Burma as a convenient whipping boy for the West while the abuses of larger, more powerful nations are overlooked. The time of the novel is the present, after Burma's doors had swung open and investors had walked through and right back out again.

    Henderson has just arrived in Rangoon by steamer from upcountry when he meets a lovely Chinese American at the Strand Hotel. Julie Yao is a high-powered consultant based in Hong Kong. She asks him for legal advice on a trade deal that doesn't seem to compute but what the hell, he winds up in her bed at The Strand that night: "They had touched, gently at first, the moment they reached her room. Somehow each passing moment had revealed another layer of both of them, and increased the intensity of the shared experience."

    That's one of the clunkers. Next afternoon, Julie is kidnapped from a Rangoon restaurant and, advised by a friend in the Burmese army, Henderson sets off for the Golden Triangle to find her.

    Midnight in Burma kicks into high gear now. There are murders galore, torture sessions, decapitations, escapes, recaptures, helicopter crashes, and guerilla night attacks. There's a Wa warlord with a heart of gold, a sinister Chinese drug kingpin, a soft-spoken doctor trained in foot torture, a Brit colonial expat, a dragon-lady brothel owner, a French gourmet chef stranded in a jungle base, a plucky Burmese policewoman and a gentlemanly Burmese general, swashbuckling DEA honchos and an American charge d'affaires who becomes an unlikely hero.

    In time, the reader learns the reasons behind all the fireworks, tangled up in ethnic insurgencies and the heroin trade, and the real mission of Julie Yao. All the characters tumble together into a final cataclysm at a Wa jungle base, but the chief bad guy escapes to Rangoon intent on assassinating Phyu Winn (The Lady).

    This bam-bam-bam approach to thriller writing might not appeal to fans, say, of John LeCarre, given to lush physical descriptions and long interior monologues, but for others this page-turner is just the thing for a long plane trip or a day on the beach.

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