Daily News- November 15- 2002- Friday


Manila police defuse letter bomb at Burmese embassy

Source : MSNBC / Reuters

MANILA, Nov. 15 Philippine police said on Friday they defused a letter bomb at Burma's embassy in Manila, the latest in a series of explosive devices also sent to the country's missions in Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

Burmese authorities have blamed what they called dissident groups of exiles living outside the military-ruled state.

"It was a letter bomb," a police source told Reuters. "There was a blasting cap. It's in a small white envelope."

No one was injured and the embassy was not evacuated.

Radio reports said there was a card inside the envelope that read "Saving all my love for you, Happy Birthday".

The letter, which carried postal markings, was not addressed to anyone in particular. The return address was a street in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

The envelope contained a button-sized battery with electrical wiring and a blasting cap, the radio report said. Similar devices were found at the Burmese embassies in the previous cases.

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Democratization would contribute nation building in Burma - Japanese Premier

Source : Asian Tribune

Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi stated that in order for Burma to succeed in its nation-building and peace-building efforts, the government needed to make its own efforts toward democratization.

During the ASEAN+3 Summit Meeting held at Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi held bilateral meetings with Than Shwe of the Union of Myanmar (Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

In response, Prime Minister Than Shwe explained Burma's efforts toward democratization, outlining the points as follow:

Since her release in May, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been free to visit anywhere inside of Burma, including all of the development project sites such as dams, bridges and irrigation facilities. Moreover, the National League for Democracy (NLD) is free to engage in political activities. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is soon scheduled to visit Irrawady Division, a major region both in terms of economy and population. In addition, she has met with relevant ministers of the government on 13 occasions and with a liaison officer 107 times.

Than Shwe further added that in order to comprehend Myanmar issues, it is important not to confine Burma's political situations into the relations between himself and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, but also to consider the fact that there are 135 ethnic minorities in Burma with their own complex problems.

Subsequently, Prime Minister Koizumi made the following statements:

(a) He understands the points pointed out by Prime Minister Than Shwe;

(b) The international community expects that the efforts toward democratization would contribute to nation-building and peace-building, and Prime Minister Koizumi would like to encourage Prime Minister Than Shwe to make efforts toward reforms;

(c) He understands Prime Minister Than Shwe's request not to simplify Burma's political situations to the terms between him and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. However, it is also important to understand that the international community views Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as the symbol of democratization.

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U.N. envoy cancels meeting with Suu Kyi

Source : Japan Today

Rangoon, Nov 15 U.N. special envoy Razali Ismail, now in Burma to advance dialogue between the junta and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition camp, on Thursday canceled a scheduled meeting with Suu Kyi, according to a senior official of her National League for Democracy (NLD).

NLD secretary U Lwin said Razali went to the NLD head office in the evening and told U Lwin he canceled a planned visit to Shan State capital Taunggyi. No reason was given, U Lwin said.

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Myanmar's generals not ready for talks: NLD

YANGON, Nov 15 (AFP) - Myanmar's military leadership is still not ready to hold a crucial political dialogue with the opposition aimed at beginning a transition to democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party said Friday.

The country's leader, Senior General Than Shwe, met with UN envoy Razali Ismail Thursday in talks critical to the diplomat's bid to revitalise a stalled reconciliation process.But NLD spokesman U Lwin, after Razali briefed him on the talks, said he was concerned that little progress has been made.

"They are not ready yet," U Lwin told AFP of the junta's leaders, " but still, they must get ready in due course."We have to go through this, it is critical," he continued. "There is no way out unless we talk. It is the life and death of the country."

Landmark contacts between the junta and the opposition have completed a confidence-building stage but since Aung San Suu Kyi's release from house arrest in May a hoped-for political dialogue has failed to materialise.

The spokesman said Razali was "reluctant" to discuss the substance of his 15-minute meeting with Than Shwe but said the envoy did get the opportunity to pose key questions to the military leader about why a dialogue had yet to take place.

It was not known if Than Shwe directly addressed the dialogue issue."Mr. Than Shwe said they are doing everything good for the country," U Lwin said.

Razali is in the midst of his ninth mission to Myanmar, and earlier this week the envoy warned he would quit if the junta failed to make progress on democratic reforms.

But U Lwin said Razali had assured him he would stay on as UN general secretary Kofi Annan's personal representative to Myanmar."He said he will stay, yes," U Lwin said of Razali."He shared with us ... that he will keep on doing this, until he achieves the objectives."

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Two French nationals detained in Myanmar for illegal entry

YANGON, Nov 15 (AFP) - Two French nationals have been detained in Myanmar for the past four days after crossing into the military-ruled state from Thailand without visas, a diplomat here said Friday.

The two men "have been detained since Tuesday at the border post because they lacked visas, and verifications are being made," the French diplomat told AFP.

They crossed the border opposite the southern Thai city of Ranong and were taken into custody at Kawthoung, in an area of southern Myanmar known as Victoria Point.

The pair, who are in their thirties and hail from Paris and the southeastern city of Toulon, "acknowledged they have crossed the border without visas after they took a boat."They said they wanted simply to go and have a drink on the other side," the diplomat said.

The French Embassy in Yangon said it would make an official diplomatic inquiry into the matter on Friday with Myanmar's ministry of foreign affairs.

Myanmar is one of the world's most isolated nations and remains intensely suspicious of foreigners crossing illegally into the country, particularly those whom it believes may be dissidents or foreign correspondents posing as tourists.

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Employment increases 25 million in Myanmar in 14 years

YANGON, Nov 15, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The number of employees in Myanmar has increased 7 million in the past 14 years since 1988, reaching the total employment to 25 million now, official newspaper The New Light of Myanmar said Friday.

These employees are mostly engaged in the industrial development in state, cooperative and private sectors.Since privatization of state-owned enterprises in 1995, the private sector has been playing a key role in the development.There are 53,338 businesses in Myanmar, of which 51,101 are private- run, 1,600 state- owned and 637 cooperative-operated.

With the establishment of the 18 industrial zones since 1995 for the development of the private sector, there has been a total of 4,496 factories and plants in the country.

According to official statistics, the net value of goods produced in the industrial sector increased 10,204 million kyats ( about 14.5 million US dollars) in 2000-01, up 149.24 percent from 1988-89.

The paper said Myanmar's economy grew by 8.4 percent annually against the target of 6 percent.

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