Daily News- October 12- 2002- Saturday

  • Myanmar strengthens int'l cooperation in drug control
  • Shan Politician Dies in Detention
  • Nippon Oil To Boost Gas, Oil Output In SE Asia
  • Thailand asked to extradite school bus attack suspects from Burma
  • Asian Games: Burma clinches first gold in Pusan


  • Myanmar strengthens int'l cooperation in drug control

    By Duan Tingchang

    YANGON, Oct. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- In the full realization of the grave danger narcotic drugs pose for the country and the international community, the Myanmar government has been taking various measures in drug eradication, with top priority put on theinternational cooperation in the war on the drug.

    In accordance with an agreement on drug control reached betweenMyanmar and the United Nations, the UNDCP started in 1999 implementing a five-year alternative development project in the country's southern Wa region of Shan state. The project is aimed at improving transport, education and health in the region as well as the cultivation of poppy-substitute agricultural and economic crops there. The UNDCP has since provided a total of 7.98 million US dollars for the project.

    More importantly, the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) and the Myanmar government jointly conducted a survey on Myanmar's drug status for the first time from December 2001 to the second week of March 2002. The survey was conducted by means of both field survey and satellite photos, covering five zones of the country -- Lashio, Taunggyi, Kengtung, Wa Special Region and Mongpauk -- and involving 6,000 acres (2,428 hectares) of opium poppy fields at 2,000 villages.

    Through the survey, a plenty of first-hand data with regard to Myanmar's poppy cultivated areas, opium production and the number of drug addicts were obtained. In addition to enhancing cooperation with the United Nations indrug eradication, Myanmar has also strengthened bilateral cooperation with other countries in this regard.

    Since the 1990s, in a positive response to the request made by the United Nations to reduce drug supply, China has strengthened effective cooperation with Myanmar and through labor force, capital and technical assistance, it helped to grow agricultural and economic crops to substitute poppy in northern Myanmar, thus pushing the socio-economic development of the region.

    According to incomplete statistics, China's Yunnan Province has injected more than 300 million yuans renminbi (some 40 million US dollars), cultivating 25,000 hectares of various opium-substitute crops in northern Myanmar and sending experts to the area to help train agricultural technicians.

    In 2001, Myanmar also signed with China an accord on drug control cooperation. Between Feb. 25 and March 2, 2002, Myanmar and the US Criminal Narcotics Center jointly carried out a field survey on poppy plantations in Myanmar's eastern and northern Shan state. This wasthe eighth joint field survey conducted by the two sides since 1993.

    In June 2001, Myanmar and Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation in drug control, agreeing to strengthen information exchange in the sector and set up three border points along their common boundary in combating drug trafficking. Moreover, according to a proposal made by Thailand in November 2001, Thailand has decided to provide Myanmar with 20 million baht(476,000 dollars) to help the country establish a drug-free model village in Monghsat township, Wa region of northern Shan state.

    Meanwhile, starting in 1997, Japan has provided Myanmar with buchwheat seeds to grow the crop to substitute poppy. Upon harvest,Japan purchased the buckwheat from Myanmar, using it as a raw material to produce Japanese noodle.

    Besides, Myanmar also signed drug control cooperation accords or MOUs with Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, India and the Russian Federation.

    According to the latest figures released by the Myanmar CentralCommittee for Drug Abuse Control, during the 14 years between 1988and 2002, Myanmar destroyed more than 50,000 hectares of poppy plantations, and since 1990, it has carried out public destructionof narcotic drugs in the capital of Yangon for 16 times, burning up nearly 58 tons of various drugs in total. Myanmar started implementation of a 15-year drug elimination plan in 1999, covering 54 drug cultivating and producing townships.But, although Myanmar has made some achievements in drug control, the country, as one of the three major nacortic drug producing areas in the world, still has a long way to go in eliminating drug.

    According to a UN report issued on Aug. 27, 2002, Myanmar's poppy cultivated areas was 200,000 acres (about 81,400 hectares) in 2002, while opium production was estimated at 828 tons in the year. Of the country's population aged 15 and above, 2.4 percent smoke opium. So, Myanmar still needs to make a long-term and tireless efforts in drug eradication.

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    Shan Politician Dies in Detention

    By Naw Seng
    The Irrawaddy

    October 10, 2002A Shan politician and literary scholar died yesterday after being transferred from his prison cell to an eastern Shan State hospital, according to sources inside and outside Burma. However, Burma's military government has yet to release a statement concerning the death of U Sai Phat, 61, and details regarding the cause remain sketchy.

    U Sai Phat and U Saw Nan Ti were arrested in an eastern Shan State town on September 13, and charged under the 1950 Emergency Provision Act for organizing National League for Democracy (NLD) activities in Shan State. The Shan State NLD vice-chairman and central committee member passed away in Kyaing Tone, where he was originally arrested.

    Opinions were divided on the nature of U Sai Phat's death, whose passing marks the third political prisoner to die in custody since July in Burma.

    "I think this kind of handling points to his assassination," said Sao Seng Suk, a veteran of the Shan resistance movement and president of the Shan State Constitution-Drafting Commission. "He was not only a politician, but he was also a workaholic concerning Shan literature."

    Coincidentally, the trial of the two men was set to begin today after first being delayed last month. U Thein Nyunt, an elected Member of Parliament, was to represent the two.

    Sai Doue, secretary of the United Nationalities League for Democracy- Liberated Area, said, "I heard reliable news from inside sources that U Sai Phat and his cohort were tortured severely during detention." Sai Doue added that family members of the two had been prohibited from meeting them while in detention.

    NLD spokesperson U Lwin, however, said in an interview with the Oslo-based Democratic Voice of Burma that government authorities had told him that the death could be attributed to cerebral malaria.

    Sources said that shortly after Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest, U Sai Phat and members of the Kyaing Tone area NLD branch had begun to actively participate in party organizational work. And that he had been an active party member since the party's inception in 1988.

    Other prisoners who died in detention since July are Mai Aik Pan, leader of the Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF) who died in Moulmein Prison in Mon State under mysterious condition in July and U Aung May Thu who died in Rangoon General Hospital in September.

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    Nippon Oil To Boost Gas, Oil Output In SE Asia

    TOKYO (Nikkei)--Japan's Nippon Oil Corp plans to double natural gas production in Myanmar by fiscal 2004 and boost oil output in Vietnam by about 40% from this month, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported in its Saturday morning edition, citing company sources.

    The company, which has seen profits from its gasoline sales eroded by higher crude oil and gas prices, hopes to benefit from the increased profitability of natural resources development projects.The company aims to triple its output of gas and crude by fiscal 2004 for sale to other Asian countries.

    In Myanmar, Nippon Oil has established a consortium with a local state-run oil firm and others, with its subsidiary holding a 14% stake in the entity. The offshore gas field, about 400 kilometers south of the Myanmarese capital of Yangon, produces 5.7 million cubic meters of gas a day.

    Nippon Oil plans to invest more than Y10 billion by fiscal 2004 to install new equipment to extract water from gas, for example. The company is also considering raising its stake in the consortium to about 20% by next spring. The output is supplied via pipeline to Thailand, where gas demand is rising due to the construction of new power generation plants in the country.

    In Vietnam, the company and a local state-run firm jointly operate an oil field 100 kilometers-150 kilometers offshore from the coastal city of Vung Tau. The daily output is about 50,000 barrels. The Japanese oil firm owns rights to 25% of the total output and sells the oil to Japan and other Asian countries.Nippon Oil intends to develop a new field in the area to raise production to 68,000 barrels this month.The company obtains about 50,000 barrels of crude and gas each day from resources development concerns it has invested in, or equivalent to 5% of the total crude it refines. Its profitability lags major U.S. and European oil firms, which each generate net profits of about Y1 trillion annually through oil and gas production.

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    Thailand asked to extradite school bus attack suspects from Burma

    Source : Bangkok Post

    Gen Vichit Yathip expects to hear good news from Burma soon regarding the extradition of four suspects in the June 4 school bus attack in Ratchaburi, now being detained in Rangoon.

    The suspects are highlanders holding Thai identification cards, said Gen Vichit, chairman of the army advisory board. Thailand has requested their extradition from Burma.

    Gen Vichit said the suspects were not Burmese nationals, but tribesmen who had fled into Thailand.

    He was speaking on his return from Rangoon where the suspects were being detained following their arrest in the Burmese town of Mergui.

    Gen Vichit said he expected to hear from Burma soon. ``We need to give the Burmese authorities time. We should receive good news soon,'' he said.

    Two of the suspects, he said, had admitted the shooting had something to do with the bus driver, Thongmon Khemthong.

    Three children were killed in the attack on the bus in Ratchaburi's Ban Kha sub-district on June 4. A 36-year-old Karen named Jobi, arrested in July, is also thought to have been involved.

    A source said two suspects, identified as Bo Kroh and Ja-U, were highlanders while the other two were in fact from the Karen National Union.

    In another development, Gen Vichit said Burma had agreed to hasten moves to demarcate the border. The matter would be discussed at next month's Regional Border Committee meeting. Third Army commander Lt-Gen Udomchai Ongkhasingh would lead the Thai delegation to Moulmein, lower Burma.

    Rangoon has yet to decide on the date, but the meeting will probably be held on Nov 18-22 or Nov 22-26.

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    Asian Games: Burma clinches first gold in Pusan

    Source : AFP

    Burma got its first gold medal in the Pusan Asian Games on Saturday through Khaing Khaing Maw who won the women's taijiquan, part of the wushu martial arts competition. She scored a total 18.96 points in combined taijiquan points, ahead of silver medallist Li Fai of Hong Kong (18.83) and third-place Singaporean Liew Yin Yin (18.82).

    Burma is 24th in the medals table among the 44 countries and territories competing in Pusan, with one gold, five silvers and five bronzes.

    Men's taijiquan two events combined final: 1. Yang Seong-Chan (Kor) 18.88pts; 2. Chan Ming-Shu (Tpe) 18.83; 3. Bobby Co (Phi) 18.65.

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