Daily News- March 15- 2002- Friday

  • Family Proclaims Ne Win's Innocence
  • Coup Rumors Overshadow Human Rights Day
  • Myanmar junta frees more women prisoners
  • Burmese paper says 10,000 users to get e-mail, limited web-surfing access
  • EU team meeting Suu Kyi
  • Myanmar's Wa State Leader on Drug Control
  • "Many" military intelligence officers in Karen State suspended

  • Family Proclaims Ne Win's Innocence

    By Kyaw Zwa Moe
    The Irrawaddy

    March 13, 2002 - Ne Win's son has said that his father was not involved in the plotted coup in Burma, according to an interview he gave to the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (Burmese Service) yesterday. Military leaders in Rangoon thwarted the plot, which involved Ne Win's son-in-law and three grandsons, on March 7.

    The statement comes in direct opposition to what Maj Gen Kyaw Win told reporters at yesterday's press conference in Rangoon. The deputy head of military intelligence in Burma said that Ne Win and his favored daughter Sandar Win were involved in the plotted coup by Aye Zaw Win, husband of Sandar Win, and three of their sons.

    Phyo Wai Win, who currently lives in Denmark, said that his father was not involved in the alleged coup because he was no longer interested in political affairs. He added that his father now only focused on religious activities such as meditation. He also said he did not know whether his sister, Sandar Win, was involved or not and that those involved would most likely try to implicate his father.

    Meanwhile, another of Ne Win's daughters, Kyemon Win, told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) last night that she thought the coup was impossible and that neither Ne Win or other members of their family would attempt such an act. She added, however, that the government might very well have evidence linking the family to the coup if they went so far as to arrest them, but she was not aware of any herself.Kyemon Win is a painter who lives in Rangoon and reportedly stays away from her father, Ne Win, according to sources in Rangoon.

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    Coup Rumors Overshadow Human Rights Day

    By Kyaw Zwa Moe and Ko Thet
    The Irrawaddy

    March 13, 2002 - Burma’s Human Rights Day, marking the 14th anniversary of an incident that sparked the nationwide pro-democracy uprising in 1988, went virtually unnoticed in the Burmese capital today, as speculation about an alleged coup conspiracy hatched by relatives of former dictator Ne Win continued to grip the country.

    Human Rights Day commemorates the killing of Phone Maw, a Rangoon Institute of Technology student, by troops ordered to quell a public disturbance. The incident outraged students, and was followed by months of protests that eventually forced Ne Win out of power.

    Now back in the news following revelations that members of his family had been plotting to seize power from the current regime, Ne Win has long been regarded as a dark force hovering over Burma’s modern history.

    While Human Rights Day passed without much notice inside Burma, Burmese activists in exile called international attention to continuing human rights abuses in the country. The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) and the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) all released statements today to mark the occasion.

    In addition, activists abroad demonstrated against Burma’s military rulers in front of Burmese embassies around the world.Earlier this month, the Burmese regime rejected the findings of a US human rights report detailing widespread abuses in Burma as "incorrect and outlandish".

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    Myanmar junta frees more women prisoners

    YANGON, March 14 (AFP) - Myanmar's ruling junta Thursday freed 27 more women prisoners, bringing the number released in the last three weeks to 247 in moves welcomed by the UN human rights envoy to the country.

    "Twenty-seven female detainees, all either pregnant or with young children, were released today on humanitarian grounds from various correctional facilities," a junta spokesman said in a statement."They are all in good health and reunited with their respective families," he said.

    The latest group of women were freed after the UN's special rapporteur Paulo Sergio Pinheiro hailed the previous releases as a "positive step".Speaking in Geneva Wednesday, Pinheiro said he was "encouraged that the government of Myanmar is beginning to address this concern".

    In a report compiled after his third visit to Myanmar last month, Pinheiro referred to female prisoners with children or who are pregnant as one of the most vulnerable groups of the prison population.

    Some 29 political activists have been freed since his February visit, when he called on the junta to release all political prisoners.Nearly 250 male and female dissidents have been freed since the junta began talks with Aung San Suu Kyi in October 2000, a separate process aimed at paving the way for democratic reforms.However, many high-ranking NLD leaders remain in jail, and Aung San Suu Kyi herself has been under house arrest since September 2000.

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    Burmese paper says 10,000 users to get e-mail, limited web-surfing access

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Mar 14, 2002
    Text of report in English by Moe Zaw Myint, carried by Burmese newspaper The Myanmar Times web site on 11 March

    Thousands of new e-mail and Internet users in Yangon [Rangoon] and Mandalay will be able to go on line within a month, according to the service provider Bagan Cybertech Company. U Htein Win, director of the Bagan Cybertech, told Myanmar [Burma] Times the company plans to issue about 10,000 new e-mail accounts to members of the public as well as internet access to government departments and a limited number of organizations in 2002.

    Apart from enjoying e-mail services, new e-mail users will also have access to browse about 800 sites on the world wide web as well as about 50 web sites on the local intranet.

    "We have found that many people in Myanmar want e-mail and internet access," said U Htein Win, adding that strong interest had been expressed by many organizations including travel agents and tour operators, IT companies, exporters and importers as well as private individuals.

    "The issue of these new e-mail accounts will see a steep rise in internet usage. Since 1997, Myanma Posts and Telecommunication was the only e-mail and internet service provider and accounts were limited," he said.

    Currently, using the MPT service, Myanmar has about 4000 e-mail users but less than 100 internet users. At present, the MPT hourly rate stands at three FEC [Foreign Exchange Certificates].

    U Htein Win said e-mail access would also benefit those who make frequent international telephone calls as e-mail is a much cheaper option. Bagan Cybertech, a semi-government organization, has provided internet and data communication facilities to MICT Park as well as web browsing, intranet and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) services to its members under four categories.

    For individual dial-up e-mail account, activation fee is 200 FEC and the annual maintenance fee is 60 FEC. In addition, users must pay monthly fees of 15 FEC for "basic" users (10 hours), 30 FEC for "regular" (20 hours), 60 FEC for "advanced" (40 hours) and 90 FEC for unlimited use.

    For a corporate e-mail account, activation fee is 300 FEC and the annual maintenance fee is 300 FEC. Additional monthly fees are "basic" 55 FEC (30 hours), "deluxe" 75 FEC (40 hours), "premium" 95 FEC (50 hours) and 150 FEC unlimited use. Additional use will cost two FEC an hour for all accounts with an optional installation fee of 20 FEC if customers request it.

    "These prices are very reasonable and we have adjusted the prices with those of other developing countries such as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam but they may be high compared to monthly fee of 20 US dollars of AOL (America On Line) for unlimited use," said U Htein Win.Users can enjoy an option from four e-mail domain names - banganmail.net.mm. cybertech.net.mm yangon. net.mm or myanmar.com.mm. For example, they can name it as user name@cybertech.net.mm.

    Corporate accounts can have up to eight concurrent log-ins as well as multiple e-mail addresses for their staff. Another new service of Bagan Cybertech is internet services to the government's ministries, hospitals, universities, banks, embassies, and MICT Park's shareholders of Myanmar Information Communication Technology Development Companies."We will give out licences to almost all organizations in these categories and we intend to accept all applications from them," U Htein Win said.

    "Internet users will be able to access all web sites except free e-mail and sites which could have an ill-effect on Myanmar culture," he said. "This internet access will also benefit many people in different environments, for example, university students will be able to sit for international exams on line," he added.

    "In the future we intend to give internet access to the general public, but for that we would need to extend our infrastructure and receive approval from the government," said U Htein Win, adding that then cyber cafes would then emerge, making internet access more available widely.

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    EU team meeting Suu Kyi

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ A European Union mission on a three-day visit to study political developments in militapy-ruled Myanmar met Friday with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her top party colleagues.

    The EU officials were with Suu Kyi for nearly three hours at her lakeside residence, where she has been living under virtual house arrest since September 2000. Details of the talks were not known and reporters only saw the officials going in and out of the house in cars.

    Earlier, they met for nearly one hour with leaders of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party including party chairman Aung Shwe.

    "The EU wanted to know what is going on in the country as well as the general situation," said NLD spokesman and party secretary U Lwin. He said the NLD members informed the EU officials about the so-called confidence-building talks between Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace prize for her nonviolent struggle to bring democracy to Myanmar, and the military junta.

    The talks have raised faint hopes of ending the political deadlock in the country over the junta's refusal to hand over power to Suu Kyi, whose party won the 1990 general elections. The contents of the closed-door talks have not been revealed and so far the only tangible outcome has been the release of more than 200 political prisoners, including many NLD members.

    U Lwin refused to comment on the recent exposure of an alleged coup plot against the junta by relatives of former dictator Ne Win. "It's a very delicate and intricate matter," said U Lwin, a former deputy prime minister and finance minister in Ne Win's socialist regime. "It is something like the tip of an iceberg and it is too premature to make any comment."

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    Myanmar's Wa State Leader on Drug Control

    YANGON, March 15 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar's Wa state has made remarkable achievements in drug control in recent years, said U Pau Yu Chan, chairman of the government of Wa Special Administrative Region (SAR), also known as Myanmar's No.2 SAR.

    U Pau Yu Chan, who is also Commander of the United Wa State Army, made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua in Pan San, Myanmar's northeastern Wa state.

    He said poppy cultivation in the Wa state has had a history of over a century. It has not only endangered the health of the Wa people but also hindered the development of the Wa state. He noted that after the establishment of the Wa SAR in 1989, the Wa state government laid down in November 1990 a plan of gradual reduction of poppy plantation area and total eradication of poppy within 15 to 20 years.

    In 1990, poppy cultivation area in the Wa state reached about 10,000 acres (about 4,050 hectares) and its annual opium production went to about 60 tons.Through over 10 years' efforts, the poppy cultivation area and opium production of the Wa state have obviously dropped. In 2000, the Wa state's poppy cultivation area was reduced to 5,000 acres (2,025 hectares), while the opium production fell to about 30 tons.

    Meanwhile, a total of 120 million U.S. dollars worth of narcotic drugs and drug-producing equipment in the Wa state were burnt up.At present, 58 percent of the areas in the Wa state are prohibited from poppy plantation.

    The Wa state government declared to the world in 1997 that it will completely prohibit cultivation of poppy within its jurisdiction by 2005.

    U Pau Yu Chan stressed that in the course of drug control, the Wa state adopts a policy of eradicating drugs on the one hand and developing economy on the other to tackle the people's food problem.

    During the past decade, the Wa state planted 53,660 acres (21,732 hectares) of rubber, 8,000 acres (3,240 hectares) of tea and 6,600 acres (2,673 hectares) different fruits.Besides, it has also built pig-breeding and poultry farms, setting up breweries, cigarette factories and gems trading companies.

    Due to the implementation of the above measures, the income of the Wa state people has increased by 30 percent compared with the period before the drug control started.He urged the international community to provide aid for drug control so as to realize the target of total drug eradication at an early date.

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    "Many" military intelligence officers in Karen State suspended

    Text of report by Democratic Voice of Burma on 13 March

    Many military intelligence personnel in Karen State have been removed from their positions and investigations are being carried out [in connection with the failed coup plot by former dictator U Ne Win's family members]. DVB correspondent Maung Too filed this dispatch.

    [Maung Too] As the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] military clique has been arresting military personnel thought to be connected to the coup attempt nationwide, township-level military officials from Karen State have been summoned to Rangoon, detained, and interrogated. One official from Myawadi in Karen State who does not want to be interrogated has absconded today.

    It has been learned that company commanders from Military Intelligence Battalion 5 and senior military officers from all the townships in Karen State were called to Rangoon for interrogation.

    The Myawadi company commander under Military Intelligence Battalion 5 absconded to avoid interrogation. He had no chance of crossing the border into Thailand because authorities from Myawadi immediately closed the border checkpoints when they heard the news.

    Myawadi-Mae Sot border gate has been closed this evening for border trade while warehouses and cargo trucks were thoroughly searched. According to latest reports, most military intelligence commanders nationwide have been suspended and local people said that the military intelligence commanders from Myawadi, Kawkareik, Pa-an, Papun, and Hlaingbwe Townships in Karen State are also included.

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