Daily News- May 16- 2002- Thursday

  • World's dilemma on Myanmar-drugs versus democracy
  • U.S. confirms talks with Myanmar antidrugs colonel
  • Asia/ Japan courts ire of allies over Myanmar
  • Russian government approves agreement for nuclear centre
  • KNU claims success in skirmishes
  • US to offer anti-AIDS help to Myanmar
  • Myanmar's ethnic minorities knocking on door of political dialogue
  • Thaksin has offered to sponsor peace talks
  • Myanmar now the region's black spot for hidden peril
  • Man Arrested Over Japan Businessman's Killing In Burma

  • World's dilemma on Myanmar-drugs versus democracy

    By Andrew Marshall

    (Reuters) - Wednesday May 15 - The international community faces a dilemma in its relations with Myanmar -- is it more important to oppose dictatorship or combat the drugs trade?

    The isolated and impoverished nation has been ruled by the military for four decades and its human rights record is among the worst in the world. It was also the world's top producer of opium and heroin in 2001 and is a burgeoning source of stimulants.

    Many anti-narcotics officials say the only way to stop the flow of heroin flooding Europe and America is to work with Myanmar's ruling junta, providing equipment, expertise and financial aid in return for co-operation in fighting drugs. But this would mean easing the sanctions that many analysts say played a key role in forcing the military to soften its stance towards the pro-democracy opposition and to release Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest this month.

    The dilemma has hung over U.S. policy for years, pitting the State Department against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The State Department has consistently supported maintaining sanctions on Myanmar. The DEA says the only way to fight the drugs trade effectively is to engage Myanmar's government constructively and provide anti-narcotics aid to Yangon. Now the issue is back at the centre of attention.

    Colonel Kyaw Thein, head of Myanmar's counter-narcotics operations, is in Washington this week to discuss drug eradication. The State Department says the visit will be an opportunity to tell the Myanmar regime what steps it must take to stop drugs trafficking, and that there are no plans to resume aid.

    "We have pushed counter-narcotics cooperation with Burma even as we have been steadfast in our support for democracy," State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher told a news conference. But critics say allowing the visit has sent the wrong signals and suggests Washington may be preparing to soften its sanctions on Myanmar following Suu Kyi's release without waiting for real political reform and progress towards democracy.


    Years of economic mismanagement in Myanmar have been compounded by sanctions and the economy is in ruins.

    The military insists it is combating the drugs trade, and has said it plans to crack down on elements in the United Wa State Army (UWSA), an ethnic army which has struck a peace deal with the junta and which is accused of large-scale drug production. But analysts say Myanmar's economy needs drugs to survive.

    Frank Milne, an analyst with the Canberra-based ASEAN Focus Group, says economic statistics from Myanmar do not add up unless a hefty contribution from drug money is assumed.

    "One of the mysteries is how Myanmar, with minimal foreign exchange reserves...manages to run massive annual trade deficits of up to 24 percent of GDP without a corresponding increase in external debt," he said. "In the three years up to 2000, the external trade deficit averaged over $1.4 billion annually while over the same period external debt increased by just under $1 billion."

    Income from foreign investment, informal border trade and remittances from overseas workers accounted for some of the difference, Milne said. "But a major part must be made up by the proceeds of the illegal drug trade."

    Economic aid would lessen the government's dependence on drug money, analysts say, but would allow the government to hang on longer without making concessions to the democracy movement. The West has to decide which is the lesser of the two evils.


    Suu Kyi's release last week was carefully choreographed by the junta to try to win an easing of sanctions. On the day she was released, the government issued a statement through a public relations firm in the U.S.

    It made no mention of Suu Kyi but pledged to "work together with countries near and far in the fight against terrorism, the total eradication of narcotic drugs and also in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS which are threatening mankind".

    Diplomats say the stress on fighting drugs and terrorism was designed specifically to send a message to Western governments -- help us and we'll help you.

    "They want the sanctions lifted, and they know they have to offer something in return," said a Western diplomat based in Bangkok. "They've released Suu Kyi but that won't be enough. So drugs is an area they can use to try to get some concessions." But analysts say releasing Suu Kyi may backfire on the junta.

    In many Western nations, voters would put a far higher priority on the domestic battle against drugs than on the fight for democracy in a far-off nation.

    But while countries like Laos -- also a drugs producer with a poor human rights record -- hold little sway over the national consciousness in the United States and in European countries, Suu Kyi has ensured that Myanmar keeps making headlines.

    Widely recognised around the world, and holder of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, she is regarded by most Western governments as Myanmar's legitimate ruler. She has long supported economic sanctions and said this month her stance had not changed.

    Unless she changes her position, it is unlikely Western governments will agree to any deal easing sanctions on Myanmar in return for co-operation in eradicating narcotics. The fight for democracy will take precedence over the fight against drugs.

    To The Top

    U.S. confirms talks with Myanmar antidrugs colonel

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) May 15 - The head of Myanmar's counternarcotics operations met a senior U.S. official in Washington this week in the first such visit in recent years but it was unrelated to the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a State Department official said on Wednesday.

    ''He's not here to negotiate some political agreement. His purpose here is to talk about counternarcotics issues,'' a second State Department official said of the talks between Col. Kyaw Thein and Rand Beers, assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement. ''They shared views about what they've been doing to fight drugs and how they are working with regional neighbors,'' the first official said on condition of anonymity, adding: ''Their conversation focused on fighting drugs.''

    The meeting angered Rep. Tom Lantos of California, the leading Democrat on the House of Representatives International Relations Committee who said last week the visit would send a supportive signal to the military regime too soon after its May 6 release of Suu Kyi. Lantos' spokesman on Wednesday accused the administration of flouting the spirit of a visa ban against members of the military regime by letting in the colonel from May 13 to 17.

    Myanmar was described in the State Department's 2001 report on narcotics flows as the largest producer of illicit opium, though its opium yield survey conducted jointly with the United States showed a drop of more than 20 percent from 2000. It credited Myanmar with working with former insurgent groups since the mid-1990s to elicit ''opium-free'' pledges from them, and stepping up policing in areas under their control.


    The State Department has stressed that the colonel's visit was arranged before Suu Kyi's release from house arrest. But its timing, and the fact that the United States usually conducts counternarcotics business through its Drug Enforcement Administration office in Myanmar rather than inviting officials to Washington, has drawn attention to the talks.

    The administration welcomed Suu Kyi's release but made clear it wanted more action before it would lift sanctions that include an arms embargo, an investment ban, suspension of bilateral aid, visa restrictions and a freeze on new lending and grant programs by international agencies.

    The colonel's visit was the first by a counternarcotics official to Beers' bureau in recent years, the first official said, adding: ''It's obviously been something that hasn't happened in a while so it's significant in that sense.'' The State Department said last week the visa fell outside the ban because the colonel was too low in rank to be affected.

    But Lantos' spokesman Matt Gobush said Wednesday: ''It's ridiculous. He's on the promotion list and will become a general in July. If the administration isn't violating the letter of the ban, they're certainly violating its spirit.'' Some Democrats question the Bush administration's commitment to human rights as a foreign policy priority.

    Former President Bill Clinton imposed the visa restrictions in 1996, barring Burmese nationals ''who formulate or implement policies that impede Burma's transition to democracy or who benefit from such policies'' including immediate family.

    To The Top

    Asia/ Japan courts ire of allies over Myanmar

    By ATSUSHI YAMADA, The Asahi Shimbun

    BANGKOK-Now that pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi has been released from house arrest, Japan is moving to resume official development assistance (ODA) to Myanmar (Burma). Among measures contemplated is the lifting of a freeze on providing financial support for the Baluchaung hydroelectric power station.

    But in Washington and other world capitals, officials prefer to defer making a decision on lifting economic sanctions until the military junta in Yangon, formerly Rangoon, makes its intentions clearer.

    However, Japan is concerned that continued economic sanctions will cause Myanmar to tilt toward China. For this reason, Tokyo is trying to emphasize rapprochement.

    It is believed Myanmar's generals compromised on the issue of Suu Kyi because they feared further domestic impoverishment would trigger unrest caused by a shortage of foreign investment and aid flowing into the country.Myanmar exports little to the outside world and it lacks foreign reserves to import significant amounts of consumer goods.

    The generals had no alternative but to release Suu Kyi to turn the situation around, say analysts. And thus, it placed its hopes on Japan.

    Although Tokyo stopped giving ODA to Myanmar in 1988, it quietly continued to provide humanitarian aid to the tune of about 6 billion yen a year. Since most of the aid was switched to debt relief to assist Myanmar with its repayment obligations, little new aid has been utilized for grass-roots projects such digging wells to ensure water supplies and for medical assistance.

    The Foreign Ministry maintained that Japan's hands were tied as far as aid is concerned while the military junta cracked down on the democratic process. Even so, officials worried that sanctions would only help China expand its influence. Beijing, which did not impose sanctions, has vigorously promoted financial assistance to Myanmar. Last year, Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited Yangon and promised 80 million yuan in aid without discussing how the money would be spent.China is keen on promoting infrastructure projects that have military uses, such as roads in border areas, electric power stations, bridges and water supplies.

    In this context, the release of Suu Kyi presents an opportunity for Japan to resume full-scale financial assistance. Having said that, it is difficult for Japan to expand its assistance in a single stroke. But if democratization progresses, Tokyo will increase its financial aid to help the military regime change its policy. Tokyo wants to quickly resume full-scale aid so it can help Japanese companies that operate in Myanmar.

    Japan is particularly interested in finishing repairs on the Baluchaung hydroelectric power station, which was completed with Japanese aid in 1960. The Baluchaung station supplies one-quarter of Myanmar's electricity needs, including the military's. In this context, the repair work does not really constitute new aid since it would be a continuation of an earlier project, say analysts. Tokyo also seeks good relations with Myanmar, which has abundant supplies of natural gas and scarce minerals.

    However, the United States and ASEAN countries have been scathing about Japan's move for closer ties, saying Tokyo is acting purely out of self-interest. For this reason, Japanese officials should clearly enunciate this country's basic diplomatic policy toward Myanmar.(IHT/Asahi: May 15,2002)

    To The Top

    Russian government approves agreement for nuclear centre

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; May 15, 2002
    Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 1453 gmt 15 May 02

    Moscow, 14 May: The Russian government has approved a draft cooperation agreement with Myanmar [Burma] on the construction of a centre for nuclear studies.

    A Wednesday [15 May] press release of the government information department says that under the agreement, the two countries will cooperate in designing and building a nuclear centre, a research nuclear reactor with a thermal capacity of 10 megawatts, two laboratories, a nuclear silicon alloying installation, as well as the support infrastructure, including an installation for the disposal of nuclear waste and a waste burial site.

    Under the agreement, Russia will design the centre, render technical assistance in choosing and examining the construction site, and supply equipment and materials. Russia will also deliver nuclear fuel.

    The press release says that throughout the operational life of the centre, Russia will assemble, install and initiate the operation of its main technical equipment.The government has placed the Atomic Energy Ministry in charge of implementing the agreement.

    To The Top

    KNU claims success in skirmishes

    The Bangkokpost

    Burma's ethnic minority rebels claim they have killed 25 government soldiers and their Buddhist Karen allies in two separate attacks on Tuesday and yesterday.The casualty claims could not be independently verified but the fighting was confirmed by villagers and the Thai military at the border.

    The Karen National Union claimed that about 100 of its fighters raided government outposts at the villages of Phalu and Min Lat Pan around 5am and fired mortars and rifles at government forces for about 90 minutes.The villages are located on the bank of the Moei river opposiste Ban Mae Konken village about 15km south of Tak's Mae Sot district.

    The KNU attack forced some 70 Burmese soldiers and allied guerrillas of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army to flee the outposts, leaving behind 10 of their dead four soldiers and six DKBA guerrillas, claimed a KNU leader who requested anonymity.Four KNU fighters were wounded. The two outposts were burned down.The KNU claimed they attacked the outposts after learning the places were also used to store methamphetamine pills.

    The Karen national Union fighters later tried to cross into Thai territory at Ban Mae Konken but were turned back by Thai border security forces.

    In another area, about 325km to the north, guerrillas of the Shan State Army clashed with Burmese government soldiers in the jungles near the border, Thai army officials said. Thai army helicopters were patrolling the border to prevent the fighting from spilling into the area of Mae Hong Son province.

    Khur Hsen, an SSA spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview with AP from her jungle camp that 15 Burmese soldiers and one SSA guerrilla were killed in fighting, which resumed yesterday.``The fighting is still going on, so I don't have reports of casualty for today [Wednesday],'' Khur Hsen said.One Burmese soldier and two Shan State Army rebels were reported killed in another incident inside Burma yesterday.There were wounded on both sides.A source said SSA soldiers ambushed a unit of 70-80 Burmese soldiers while on patrol.The Burmese soldiers retaliated by shelling an SSA base south of Doi Tailaeng.

    To The Top

    US to offer anti-AIDS help to Myanmar

    WASHINGTON, May 15 (AFP) - The United States said Wednesday it was preparing an aid package to help tackle Myanmar's accelerating HIV/AIDS crisis, and told the Yangon junta that political reform would spur a "positive response."

    The announcement came after the UN envoy to Myanmar Razali Ismail briefed Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage on his 18-month effort to broker a dialogue between the ruling military and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

    "We are working with Congress to formulate plans to deliver HIV/AIDS assistance to Burma's needy population through UN agencies or independent NGO's that are not connected to the military regime," said State Department spokeswoman Lynn Cassel.

    But she stressed that the move did not mean the United States was softening its position on the range of sanctions it levies on Myanmar in protest at the country's dubious human rights record and suppression of democracy."This step is being taken now even as sanctions remain in place," she said.The dollar value of the assistance, or its exact makeup were not immediately available.

    The decision will be seen as a small gesture to the regime in Myanmar, which is the target of frequent US criticism, but freed Aung San Suu Kyi from here latest period of house arrest last week.But it may be intended to offer Razali a bargaining chip in his painstaking task of convincing the military to offer genuine political reform.

    Myanmar suffers from a mostly hidden, but potentially explosive AIDS crisis, the full extent of which is not admitted by the government.Accurate statistics are rarely available, but the World Health Organisation said it fears that two percent of pregnant women are infected with HIV.

    Cassel said that Razali, a retired Malaysian diplomat had done an "outstanding job" as UN envoy."His dedication, creativity, and integrity over the past two years have been critical to facilitating talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese military regime," she said."The recent release of Aung San Suu Kyi after more than 18 months of house arrest is a promising first step toward political reform and national reconciliation."

    Cassel also renewed US calls for significant political reform in Myanmar, which has been stuck in political limbo since the military refused to recognise the 1990 election triumph of Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition."Significant concrete steps toward national reconciliation and political reform will spur a positive response."

    To The Top

    Myanmar's ethnic minorities knocking on door of political dialogue

    BANGKOK, May 16 (AFP) - Eighteen months ago, Myanmar's ethnic minorities placed their confidence in opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as she engaged in a national reconciliation dialogue with the ruling military junta.Now they are sending a message of their own: no democracy without us.

    To date, Shan, Chin and Mon democracy advocates have remained in the shadow of the Nobel peace laureate, but analysts say Myanmar cannot envision a future without participation of its many ethnic minorities, some of which are growing impatient.

    "I think to include the minorities in any kind of talks with the government is crucial to a peaceful settlement in Burma," Chayachoke Chulasiriwongs, who heads the international relations department at Chulalongkorn University, told AFP, using the country's former name."The roots of conflict in Burma are derived from ethnic problems."

    With the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has declared that her running dialogue with the country's generals could finally enter a political phase, the pressure has increased.

    On Tuesday a group of five ethnic minorities released a statement demanding inclusion in negotiations."National reconciliation will succeed in as much as the tri-partite talks are successful," said the statement issued by the Shan National League for Democracy (SNLD), which represents political parties of the Shan, Mon, Zomi (Chin), Karen and Arakanese ethnic groups.

    Steps towards a democratic transition in the impoverished state have poignantly failed to include minorities, and Aung San Suu Kyi has yet to openly called for tripartite talks."We haven't reached this stage yet," she said following her release from house arrest on May 6.But she also implicitly recognised the importance of such groups in the struggle for democracy by meeting with ethnic leaders on the very day she was released.

    Some observers are skeptical. "How do you want them to be part of a dialogue which throughout its entirety has been a single person facing several generals?" posed one analyst."On top of that, minorities don't even share a common position. I fail to see how they could manage such an exercise."

    Myanmar is a vast mosaic with seven principal ethnic groups, in addition to the ethnic majority Burmese, divided into some 135 tribal groups.They include the Karen, Mon, Shan, Kayah, Palaung, Aka, and Pa-o in the east and southeast, the Kahin, Wa, Kokang and Intha in the north and the Chin and Arakanese in the west.There are multiple ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural divides among them.

    No national census has been conducted, but the Shan are estimated to comprise some 10 percent of the total population of 50 million, with the Karen making up seven percent and the Arakanese four percent.Myanmar's ethnic majority, of which Aung San Suu Kyi, like the junta generals, are members, accounts for two thirds of the population.

    Myanmar has always been threatened by the centrifugal force of ethnic conflict. Following independence from colonial Britain in 1948, the country known as Burma was confronted with a rash of ethnic insurrections.By the end of the 1990s, cease-fire accords with the junta had been signed by 17 ethnic groups in exchange for a large measure of autonomy and advantageous concessions which included holding on to their weapons, control of lucrative cross-border trade, exploitation of teak forests, mining of precious stones and, sometimes, management of the opium trade.Some minorities are still fighting the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army), like the Karen, while some cease-fire minorities have faced internal divisions, with renegade factions splitting to take up arms against the junta.

    The generals, who have come up short in their bid to control the entire country's territory, remain ever wary of the threat of internal implosion.The junta has shied away from welcoming ethnic minorities into dialogue, despite appeals from the international community.

    And the size and diversity of the ethnic minorities make them an essential element in the puzzle. A political accord without them, or at least the key ethnic groups, would risk disaster for the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), experts say.

    "If the SPDC and Aung San Suu Kyi join hands without the minorities, there would just be more fighting with the ethnic groups," Chulalongkorn University's Chayachoke said.Minorities are known to have conflicting interests, and various hurdles stand in the way of a singular political platform.

    "We foresee a lot of difficulties in this process as our political stances are quite diverse," said Khun Tun Oo, chairman of the Shan National League for Democracy."Some of the ethnic groups like the Wa and the Kokang and Pa-o, who are now enjoying special favors and perks by toeing the military line, have become wealthy beyond their dreams," he said."It will be very difficult to bring them into the political process, but we aim to try."

    To The Top

    Thaksin has offered to sponsor peace talks

    BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has offered to sponsor peace talks between ruling Myanmar's military junta and ethnic rebels fighting for autonomy.

    Thaksin, who was in Britain this week, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that he made the offer when the junta's No. 2 leader, Gen. Maung Aye visited Thailand last month.

    "I told him the Myanmar government should hold peace talks with ethnic minority rebels, and if they want Thailand to play a role in co-ordinating the talks we would be pleased to do that," Thaksin told the BBC's Thai-language service. The interview was broadcast Thursday. Thaksin said Myanmar thanked Thailand for the offer but was "waiting for the right timing," Thaksin said without elaborating.

    He said the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest this month was a first step toward national reconciliation and that ethnic minority rebels should be part of the peace process to achieve genuine reconciliation. Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her efforts to bring democracy to Myanmar, was placed under house arrest in September 2000 for defying a government travel ban.

    The junta has reached cease-fire agreements with most rebel groups but some armies remain active in areas bordering Thailand. Their war often spills over into Thailand, where more than 100,000 refugees from the Karen, Karenni, Shan and Mon communities are living.

    On Thursday, more than 500 villagers along the border fled to safety after mortar shells fired from Myanmar landed on Mae Konkin village in western Thailand, destroying nine houses. There were no casualties. The shelling appeared to be part of the fighting that has been going on since Wednesday between Karen National Union rebels and the Myanmar military, supported by a pro-government Karen faction, Thai officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    The Karen National Union meanwhile cautiously welcomed Thaksin's remarks. "The KNU longs for a genuine political settlement but it is too early to say if this is good news," Ba Thein, president of the Karen National Union, told The Associated Press by telephone from his jungle camp on the Thai-Myanmar border.

    A spokeswoman of the Shcn State Army rebel group, Khur Hsen, also welcomed the Thai offer but cautioned the talks must be about finding a political solution to the conflict, not a rebel surrender.

    To The Top

    Myanmar now the region's black spot for hidden peril

    WILLIAM BARNES in Bangkok -South China Morning Post

    The toll of deaths and maimings from landmines in Myanmar had risen higher even than that of bomb-infested Cambodia, a meeting in Bangkok heard yesterday.

    Every two hours someone in Southeast Asia is killed or injured by landmines, making the region one of the world's black spots for these indiscriminate devices.

    In Myanmar, both the Government and rebel groups sow mines to protect themselves or deny territory to their opponents. This is despite protests from neighbours Thailand and Bangladesh, who have been forced to treat many victims with terrible injuries.

    The Thai army claims two-thirds of its 3,200km shared border with Myanmar - where many rebel groups operate - is now mined. In Cambodia, mines still hurt about two people a day, even after years of clearing. In Myanmar, it is conservatively estimated that 1,500 people die or are maimed every year. People like the child who runs into bushes after a toy, the farmer who remembers later an ominous clunk from his hoe, or, like nine-year-old Naw Paw, walking to see an aunt in another village.

    "I was running towards a river. Something terrible happened then I lost consciousness. Life is hard enough without mobility. A one-legged girl has problems," said Naw Paw, a Myanmar victim who attended yesterday's landmine meeting as an "expert" witness.

    Myanmar, like Vietnam, Laos and Singapore, has not signed the international agreement to suppress the use of landmines that came into force just over two years ago. Only Myanmar and Singapore, of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries, did not attend the gathering. Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia have called for all 10 Asean countries to sign the international landmine ban.

    Human rights groups have accused Myanmar of using landmines to clear "suspect" villages. The army has planted a large buffer area alongside Bangladesh with landmines. Soldiers have also been regularly accused of sending villagers to walk ahead of them, international monitors say.

    "The military junta in Burma [Myanmar] does not appear to recognise the crisis within their own country since they did not respond to invitations from Thailand to work together on the problem," a Thailand Campaign to Ban Landmines researcher said. Nine ethnic rebel groups in Myanmar also use mines to try to protect their shrinking operational areas from government forces. Drug traffickers and loggers in Cambodia and Myanmar are also reported to use mines to secure their routes or prevent encroachment by competitors.

    The number of anti-personnel mine producers around the world has dropped sharply amid the mounting international concern in recent years, from 55 to 14, with three in Southeast Asia being Singapore, Myanmar and Vietnam. Singapore makes sophisticated landmines but claims it no longer exports them.

    To The Top

    Man Arrested Over Japan Businessman's Killing In Burma

    Rangoon (AP)--Burma police have arrested a young man in connection with the killing of a Japanese businessman and a local woman, later seizing some of the businessman's possessions from the suspect's house, officials said Thursday.

    The suspect, Wai Lin, 24, is the son of a housekeeper who took care of Shuho Yamanokuchi's room at a luxury hotel in northern Yangon where the businessman had been living for the past two years, the officials said.

    Yamanokuchi, 55, was general manager of Mitsubishi Corp.'s (J.MIB) operations in Burma. He was found dead with Nant Tin May Htay, 22, in his room at the Renaissance Inya Lake hotel Monday. They had apparently been stabbed to death on Saturday, police said.

    Yamanokuchi bore 27 stab wounds and the woman four. Their relationship isn't known. Yamanokuchi was married and his wife lives in Japan.

    A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said police found a DVD player, a VCD player, a computer and a camera belonging to Yamanokuchi in Wai Lin's house following his arrest Wednesday.

    Police are questioning Wai Lin to see if he acted alone or with accomplices, the official said. No charges have been filed yet.

    Nant Tin May Htay, a member of Burma's Karen ethnic minority group, was buried Wednesday in a Christian funeral.

    Yamanokuchi's wife and parents arrived from Japan Tuesday but it wasn't known when his funeral will take place.