Daily News- January 18 - 2002- Friday

  • Reactor for Burma unlikely, says thai army
  • Talks on Burmese crop substitution
  • Three soldiers reported killed in Karen ambush
  • Myanmar Makes Progress in Health Sector

  • Reactor for Burma unlikely, says thai army

    The Bangkokpost

    The army is wary of any move by Rangoon to obtain a nuclear reactor, but does not think it likely, says an intelligence source.

    On Wednesday, Burma's Foreign Minister Win Aung said Burma wanted a nuclear medical research reactor and would look into generating nuclear power.

    Army intelligence units are checking the reports, but thought Burma was not wealthy enough to buy or develop a nuclear system. Unconfirmed reports last year said Burma had sought help on nuclear matters from Pakistan with Burmese military leaders meeting Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf.``This news is funny rather than frightening,'' the source said.

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    Talks on Burmese crop substitution

    The Bangkokpost
    Anucha Charoenpo

    Senior anti-drug officials will today visit a Wa-controlled area in Burma's southern Shan State to promote an alternative development project funded by the Thai government.

    Kitti Limchaikij, secretary general of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), and M.R. Ditsanadda Ditsakul, director of the royally-initiated development project of Doi Tung, will discuss the scheme with Burmese and Wa officials for two days.Mr Kitti is meeting Pao Yu Yi, leader of the southern Wa military base, and Pol Maj-Gen Saw Win, Burma's police department head.

    On a visit to Rangoon last year, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra pledged 20 million baht for a scheme to develop the mountainous area on the same basis as the royally-initiated project of Doi Tung in Chiang Rai province.Mr Kiitti said Burma had previously proposed Muang Toom in Shan State as the area to be developed but had since opted for Muang Yong Kha.About 50 kilometers north of Thachilek province in Burma, and 7km east of Muang Toom, it is opposite Mae Fah Luang district in Chiang Rai.Muang Yong Kha has many opium plantation areas and is home to as many as 2,000 families from various hilltribe groups.

    Mr Kitti said the project would last about five years and the money pledged by the government would not be enough. He would talk to Burma about getting international help.

    Pol Col Hkam Aung, joint secretary of Burma's Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, who led Burmese delegates to a two-day four-nation meeting on drugs control, said Burma was pleased Thailand was helping out.Burma had mounted alternative development projects of its own in Shan State, in the Wa and Ko Kang areas. ``We expect to make the areas free from drugs and opium by 2005,'' he said.Pol Col Hkam Aung said the Burmese government paid for the anti-drug projects itself and did not get any international help.

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    Three soldiers reported killed in Karen ambush

    Text of report by Democratic Voice of Burma on 16 January

    A battle broke out east of the Salween River in Pasawng Township, Kayah State, at about 1600 [local time] on 12 January between LIB [Light Infantry Battalion] 430 of the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] Defence Services based in Hway Pon Laung, Kayah State and the KNPP [Karenni National Progressive Party] 1st Battalion.

    Lt Mya Shwe-led KNPP 1st Battalion ambushed the SPDC troops at the junction of Nanpan and Mae Surin creeks. Capt Kyaw Myint, 1st company commander of LIB 430, Cpl Thaung Tun, and Pvt Aung Ne Min were killed, while three sergeants including company sergeant major Tha Kyaw Aung and six privates were seriously wounded. There were no casualties on the KNPP side.

    On the one hand the SPDC have sent a negotiating team led by Rev Maung Lay to put pressure on the KNPP to sign a cease-fire agreement, while on the other hand they are preparing for a major offensive. Meanwhile, the prisoners to be used as porters for the military offensive, transferred from Lashio jail to Taunggyi jail since early January, have exceeded 300.

    DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has learned that the KNPP is a national races armed group that signed a cease-fire agreement with the SPDC in March 1995 but the agreement fell apart three months later and they have been fighting the junta ever since.

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    Myanmar Makes Progress in Health Sector

    YANGON, January 17 (Xinhua)--Myanmar has made some progress in its health sector since 1988, building up a larger number of hospitals, dispensaries, health centers and medical institutes.

    According to the latest figures of the Myanmar Ministry of Health, the country has built 119 hospitals during the past 13 years, bringing the total number of them to 750 now, of which 13 township hospitals and 37 station hospitals are in the border areas. The number of dispensaries has increased to 346 at present from 247 in 1988 and that of rural health centers went to 1,402, up from 1,337 then.

    In addition, there are now 13 institutes of medicine and other health-related universities in Myanmar, up from only three such institutes and one institute of dental medicine then.

    Moreover, the country has 14,893 doctors now, up from 12,268 in 1988. Besides conducting different-degree medical courses at home, the ministry has also sent doctors abroad to continue their studies and since then 219 doctors have completed their respective degree courses there.

    Myanmar implemented a five-year national health plan from 1996 to 2001, covering the areas of public health care, hospital care, disease control, environmental health and health development system.

    The government's financial support to the health sector accounts for about 7 percent of its total state budget and 40 percent of the national health expenditure are spent in improving health care in the rural areas.

    According to the ministry, Myanmar spent 7,977.42 million Kyats (about 22.79 million U.S. dollars) on health in the fiscal year 2000-01.

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