Daily News- January 21 - 2002- Monday

  • Gas pipeline explosion in Mon State reported
  • Burma Lawyers: State Protection Law 1975 not an anti-terrorist law
  • 1st software park opens in Myanmar
  • Teknaf port opens tomorrow to boost trade with Burma
  • Suu Kyi Allowed to Appeal

  • Gas pipeline explosion in Mon State reported

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jan 21, 2002
    Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 20 January

    The Independent Mon News Agency has reported that an explosion occurred on 5 January at the natural gas pipeline that passed through Mudon Township in Mon State.

    The explosion took place at Khraw bridge near Setthwe Donnga Village in Mudon Township at about 0400 [local time] in the morning. Villagers from surrounding villages scrambled for cover as the explosion was fierce and frightening and nearby Htoke Maing village also caught fire. This gas pipeline supplies natural gas from the Kanbauk gas field to Myainggale [industrial zone].

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    Burma Lawyers: State Protection Law 1975 not an anti-terrorist law

    Shan Herald Agency for News 21 January 2002 No: 01 - 09:

    As US-led UN Secretary Council pushes its 189 members to adopt a new" broadest possible" counter-terrorist laws, Burma is still hanging on its 27 year old State Protection Law to terrorize its people, charged a report by the Burma Lawyers Council, an exiled group based in Bangkok.

    In its report issued in December, Peter Gutter and B.K. Sen of the BLC argued that the State Protection Law, promulgated by the "constitutional military government" in 1975, had only one purpose: "to ensure the perpetuation of military rule." Being "the main power base" of the military authorities, it is "indeed the broadest possible law in the world," it says.

    Under this law, a Buddhist monk from Moulmein was sentenced to two years imprisonment in 1996 for distributing leaflets about Samma-sati (Right Mindfulness) without permission from the local authorities.

    It stresses that unlike its predecessor Public Order Preservation Act, (POPA), the SPL that "can hardly be called a law" is "subject to writ remedy in the Supreme Court." The redeeming feature of POPA was that "at least there was a Constitution and a Supreme Court, and the legal remedies were available." Nevertheless, since 11 September, Rangoon authorities have taken full advantage of the global war against terrorism in order to justify its existence, it says. "

    (T)he first thing Jeremy Greenstock's (UN Security Council counter-terrorism) committee should do is to help stop terrorism committed by the state," urges the analysis, because as Bishop Teodoro Bacani of Philippines once put it, "the very means to fight terrorism are themselves the means to terrorize the citizenry."

    The report calls for the complete abolishment of the law. According to the SPL, the military can restrict "any fundamental right of any person suspected of having committed or believed to be about to commit any act which endangers the sovereignty and security of the state or public peace and tranquility.

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    1st software park opens in Myanmar

    YANGON, Jan. 21, Kyodo - In a first step to developing an independent software industry, Myanmar opened its first information and communication technology (ICT) park Monday at Yangon University's Hlaing Campus in the northern suburbs of Yangon. Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, first secretary of the ruling State Peace and Development Council -- Myanmar's junta, formally opened the Myanmar Information and Communication Technology (MICT) Park at a ceremony also attended by diplomats, ICT experts and guests from foreign countries.

    In his opening ceremony speech, Khin Nyunt, who is also chairman of the Myanmar Computer Science Development Council, said: ''The government is committed to the development of ICT in the country and will render necessary assistance and support as much as possible. ''Myanmar has entered a new era in ICT development with the inauguration of this park, and I am fully confident this venture will be a resounding success,'' he said.

    More than 40 local companies worked to construct the park, which cost $1.2 million to build. There are four production blocks attached to the main building comprising a business center and a conference hall. About 30 companies have opened shops in the newly opened park, where more than 1,000 programmers will also sit and write software.

    Also at the ceremony, Multimedia Development Corp. of Malaysia and e-National Task Force of Myanmar signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in information technology development in Myanmar.

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    Teknaf port opens tomorrow to boost trade with Burma

    Daily Star , Mon. January 21, 2002
    By M Anwarul Haq

    Bangladesh will open a river port at Teknaf tomorrow to boost trade with neigbouring Burma. Shipping Minister Akbar Hussain and Commerce Minister Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury will inaugurate the port to be located on the banks of the Naaf river that separates the two neighbours. It will act as a major hub for export and import activities between the countries.

    The Teknaf river port will provide the shortest river link with Maungdaw on the other side of the Naaf. Initially, traditional water vessels will ferry cargo. The port will act as a gateway for bulk export and import of commodities. The two countries may consider setting up river ferry services in future and even constructing a bridge. Plans are also afoot to construct improved road to access the Teknaf river port.

    Burma and Bangladesh have a border trade agreement in place for several years, but due to lack of port and other infrastructure facilities, traders prefer to smuggle goods across the border instead of using authorised routes. To augment bulk cargo handling facilities, the port to be supervised by the Bangladesh Inland Water Trade Authority will make provisions for large-scale warehouse and customs facilities. Commerce Minister Amir Khasru told The Daily Star that the port would boost the country's trade with Burma.

    Both Bangladesh and Burma are working on a draft agreement to establish a coastal shipping line shortly. The coastal shipping line will provide sea links between Bangladesh ports -- Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Teknaf and Burma ones -- Rangoon, Akyub and Maungdaw. Through these initiatives, local exporters would be able to enter the Burma market in a bigger way with products ranging from cosmetics to toiletries, from newsprint to fertilizer, policymakers believe. The country's textile and pharmaceutical products also have a good demand in Burma. There is also a demand for cables and bottled juice, ceramic items, leather goods and tobacco. On the other hand, Bangladesh has a market for Burma timber, forest products, bamboo, fresh vegetables, chillies, spices, betel nuts, shrimp and livestock.

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    Suu Kyi Allowed to Appeal

    The Irrawaddy
    By Win Htein

    January 21, 2002- Burma's Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that it would hear an appeal from Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers concerning a lawsuit filed by her estranged brother regarding ownership of her home. The disputed home is located on Rangoon's Inya Lake and is where Suu Kyi is currently under house arrest.

    ''This is the first step towards victory for us. We are now waiting for the next round to begin on February 28,'' says U Kyi Win, the leader of Suu Kyi's legal team.

    Suu Kyi's lawyers claim that Aung San Oo, Suu Kyi's brother, illegally filed the lawsuit last month because he had not gained official permission from the government to file the suit.

    The lawsuit is a controversial issue among Burmese observers. In Burma, no foreigner is allowed to own a home and many of Suu Kyi's opponents claim she lost her citizenship when she married the late Michael Aris of Great Britain. Observers feel that the lawsuit is being pursued to add to Suu Kyi's already troubled situation, but they feel the government will eventually abandon the suit.

    Aung San Oo, who lives in the US, claims that he is entitled to half of the home, which was originally owned by their parents Gen Aung San and his wife Daw Khin Kyi. Daw Khin Kyi passed away in 1988 and Gen Aung San was assassinated in 1947.

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