Friday, January 11, 2008

Special inquiry committee for government departments in Arakan

Maungdaw, Arakan State: -The entry and exit of the border-trade route in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships and other government departments in Arakan State are being examined since January first week by a special inquiry committee from Rangoon, according to an aide of the Nasaka (Burma's border security force).

On January 7, at about 10 pm, U Thein Soe, the Second-in-Charge of Immigration and Win Oo Aye, member of Immigration of the Maungdaw exit/ entry gate were arrested by the committee as they allowed banned goods accompanied by passengers to Bangladesh after taking huge bribes from smugglers. Now, they are being interrogated in Tactical Operation Command (TOC) office of Buthidaung town, he added.

Major Sein Win, the commander of Nasaka area No.(4) of Maungdaw Township was arrested on December 28, 2007, for taking bribe from parents of a student and possibly, the Commander will be interrogated by the special inquiry committee, said an aide of police from Maungdaw town.

The business venture of U Thein Soe has also been seized by the committee.

On January 9, the special inquiry committee examined the 4-mile gate in Maungdaw town. It will examine other gates across Arakan State. Initially, in January first week, the special committee checked government departments of Kyaukpru Township and then checked the government departments of Akyab (Sittwe) the capital of Arakan State. The committee checked all the government departments for corruption including education, army cantonments, Nasaka camps, custom and others, said sources close to Nasaka.

The special inquiry committee arrived in Arakan State on January 1, on the orders of the Central command of SPDC (State Peace and Development Council), and led by a Major. Its aim is to eliminate corruption in government departments.

Source: Kaladan Press

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Ten Imprisoned, Three Held for Interrogation

Burmese military authorities sentenced ten people in Arakan State, including three monks, to long terms of imprisonment, while another three monks continue to be detained in interrogation cells after the Saffron Revolution in Burma, reports the NLD in Arakan State.

The NLD report listed the following monks as those recently sentenced by military authorities in Arakan:

U Ithiriya, aged 28, from Sithuka monastery in Sittwe who was arrested on 29 September, 2007, and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. He is currently being held at Buthiduang prison.

U Kow Mala, aged 67, from Adidan monastery in Sittwe, who was arrested on 8 October 2007 and sentenced to two and a half years. He is currently detained at Sittwe prison.

U Wana Tha Ra, aged 23, from Radana Gon Bonmay monastery, who was arrested on 29 September, 2007, and sentenced to three years in prison. He is also being held at Sittwe prison.

Another three monks, U Panya Thiri, U Than Yama, and U Wayama, are still being held for interrogation at Sittwe prison, and have not yet been sentenced despite having been held by authorities for over three months.

The military government has also sentenced seven civilians for their alleged involvement in the recent monk-led protests, those are:

Ko Aung Naing Soe, aged 22 from Pauktaw Township, who was arrested in October and sentenced to three years and nine months in prison. He is currently at Thandwe prison in southern Arakan State.

Ko Aung Naing, 32 years old, from Sittwe, was arrested on 12 October, 2007, and was sentenced to two years and three months in prison. He is currently at Sittwe prison.

Ko Win Maung, who was a member of a village council in Manaung Township, was arrested on 27 November and sentenced to two and a half years. He has been sent to Kyaukpru prison from Manaung.

Ko Min Min Oo from Gwa Township has been detained at the notorious Insein prison, and has been charged by authorities on seven counts.

There are three NLD Arakan State members who were also sentenced to long prison terms: Ko Min Aung, 35 years old, is the secretary of the financial department of the NLD Arakan State who was arrested on 13 October 2007, and was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. He is currently in Thandwe prison. His sentence was reduced by the authority to seven and a half years after an appeal to the high court.

U Khin Hla, aged 60, is the secretary of the organization department for the NLD Arakan State and was arrested on 28 November, 2007. He was sentenced to four years in prison and is currently at Thandwe prison.

Ko Ray Thein, alias Bu Maung, is a member of the NLD from Buthidaung who was arrested on 19 November, 2007. He is currently missing and the location of his detention is unknown.

The NLD Arakan stated in the report that they have only collected the names of the aforementioned individuals in Arakan State after the Saffron Revolution, but many more people have been reported arrested and are missing around the state after the junta cracked down on those they believed played a part in the protests.

Source: Narinjara News

READ MORE---> Ten Imprisoned, Three Held for Interrogation...

Explosion reported in Myanmar capital

YANGON, Myanmar - An explosion in the capital of military-ruled Myanmar killed one woman Friday morning, a government official said.

The official, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to release information, said the explosion took place in a bathroom at the railway station in Naypyitaw at around 4:20 a.m.

He had no further details, and it was unclear whether the explosion was caused by a bomb. There were no immediate claims of responsibility and the government has not yet blamed any group.

Terrorism is rare but not unknown in Myanmar, which has been under military rule virtually continuously since 1962. The country experienced extreme political turmoil last September, when the government crushed non-violent, pro-democracy demonstration, detaining thousands and killing at least 31 people, according to a U.N. investigator, whose tally was twice the toll acknowledged by the junta.

Naypyitaw is in a remote area of the country, 250 miles to the north of Yangon, the country's former capital and biggest city. It became the country's new administrative capital — and main military stronghold — in November 2005, and is well-guarded.

The most deadly terrorist incident in recent years in Myanmar took place on May 7, 2005, when three bombs went off almost simultaneously at two upscale supermarkets and a convention center in Yangon. About two dozen people were killed and another 162 injured.

In that case as well as several other smaller bombings, the government blamed political opponents and ethnic rebels, though no firm evidence was ever produced. Government opponents deny carrying out attacks on civilians.

Source: AP - Yahoo News

READ MORE---> Explosion reported in Myanmar capital...

Bomb kills woman in Myanmar’s new capital

YANGON - A bomb exploded in the toilet of the railway station serving Myanmar’s new capital on Friday, killing a woman in the first such incident since the ruling junta moved there in November 2005, an official said.

‘A woman died in the explosion at about 4:30 a.m. inside the bathroom of Pyinmana Railway Station,’ a station official told Reuters. He gave no further information.

Small bomb blasts at public places such as Buddhist temples, markets and fairs are relatively common in the former Burma, which has been under military rule since 1962 and riven by multiple ethnic guerrilla conflicts.

The regime normally points the finger at dissident groups, ranging from pro-democracy activists in exile to ethnic militias who have been fighting for greater autonomy or even independence for more than five decades.

The ruling generals moved abruptly from the colonial era capital, Yangon, to Naypyidaw, an unfinished administrative centre in jungle-clad hills 240 miles (380 km) to the north, in November 2005.

The junta argued the move closer to the heart of the country would increase government efficiency.

Dissidents have posited alternative theories ranging from fear of a sea-borne US invasion to establishment of a new dynastic capital in the tradition of Burma’s ancient kings.

Source: Khaleej Times

READ MORE---> Bomb kills woman in Myanmar’s new capital...

Myanmar warns against using illegally-imported medicines

The Myanmar health authorities have warned local people not to use illegally-imported medicines, saying the quality of such medicines can not be guaranteed, the official newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported on Friday.

An announcement of the Ministry of Health carried on the newspaper said that some medicines, which were seized recently, were illegally imported across border and not registered in Myanmar.

The report cited such medicines as Magnesia tablet, Dezawin tablet and Lin Chee Tan Rheumatism pill manufactured by some four Thai companies and one unknown manufacturer.

The Myanmar health authorities are strengthening the supervision of security of food and drug on sale in the markets and examination is occasionally carried out to ensure that drugs imported are only genuine, potent and quality ones, and those produced locally shall meet the set standard for public safe consumption.

Myanmar enacted the National Food Law in March 1997, forming a special food and drug authority in a bid to enable the public to consume food of genuine quality, free from danger and hygienic problem, and to control and regulate the production, import, export, storage, packaging, distribution and sale of them systematically.

According to statistics of the Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar imported pharmaceutical products valued at 100 million U.S. dollars in 2006-07, an increase by 25 percent from 2005-06 when it was 80 million dollars.

These pharmaceuticals were mainly imported from some Asian nations such as India, Bangladesh, China, Thailand and Indonesia.

Of the imports, only 10 percent came from European countries.

Source: Peoplecom

READ MORE---> Myanmar warns against using illegally-imported medicines...

Myanmar's detained Suu Kyi taken to state guesthouse

Reporting by Aung Hla Tun
Editing by Darren Schuettler and Alex Richardson

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was taken to a government guesthouse on Friday where she is believed to have met a senior junta official, witnesses said.

"I saw the car enter the guesthouse and leave an hour later," one witness told Reuters.

There was no immediate word from the military government or Suu Kyi's party, but she probably met Aung Kyi, a senior member of the ruling military junta.

If confirmed, it would be their fourth meeting since Aung Kyi was appointed go-between after last September's crackdown on pro-democracy protests triggered global outrage.

They last met on November 19 when diplomats speculated their talks might have focused on the junta's preconditions for negotiations between Suu Kyi and regime leader Senior General Than Shwe.

He has offered direct talks if Suu Kyi abandons confrontation and her support for sanctions against the military, which has ruled the former Burma for 45 years.

Source: Reuters - Yahoo News

READ MORE---> Myanmar's detained Suu Kyi taken to state guesthouse...

NLD chairperson in San Chaung arrested

By Htet Aung Kyaw

The chairman of the National League for Democracy in San Chaung township, Rangoon, was arrested by authorities while attending a court hearing on Wednesday.

An eyewitness said the San Chaung NLD chairman and former political prisoner U Thet Wei, 50, was arrested by police at Kyauktada township court at a hearing for solo demonstrator U Ohn Than.

"It was around 1pm in the afternoon when I saw him having an argument with a police officer at the court," said the eyewitness.

"The deputy police chief arrived and he and another police officer took U Thet Wei into an empty room where they questioned him for about 30 minutes. Then the security vehicle arrived and took him to Kyauktada police station."

U Thet Wei's family said their enquiries about him at the police station met with no response yesterday.

An NLD spokesperson, U Nyan Win, said that the party was frustrated by the continued arrests and harassment of NLD members.

"There are currently 102 people detained; some awaiting trial and some are serving prison sentences,” he said.

“It is unclear on what grounds they have been given these punishments; we are getting very frustrated with this."

As of 9 January, six NLD party members and five other people had been arrested so far this year.

The NLD members were Ko Kyaw Kyaw, Ko Kyaw Zin Win and two others from Daw Pon township, and Ma Htet Htet Aung from [New] South Dagon township.

Ko Ko Maung and Ko Min Han from Mingalardon township were among the other people detained, along with an unknown monk and two students.

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

READ MORE---> NLD chairperson in San Chaung arrested...

Kachin State Day ignored, commander uses inappropriate words

The Burmese military junta has completely ignored the Kachin State Day. The regime's military commander addressed the inaugural ceremony with inappropriate words in front of audiences at a special ceremony of the 60th anniversary of Kachin State Day, yesterday, sources said.

Maj-Gen Ohn Myint, commander of Kachin State (northern command) greeted the inaugural ceremony with romantic words "Ngou (wou) Ai Nii" in Chinese and "Nang hpe ngai tsawra ai" in Kachin, meaning "I love you" in English when he started to deliver his speech of about 15 minutes, said a local participant.

The commander's speech was delivered to thousands of majority Kachin participants at the special ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of Kachin State Day in Kachin National Manau Park in Myitkyina, capital of Kachin State, Northern Burma, the attendees said.

This is not the first times the Commander Maj-Gen Ohn Myint has spoken inappropriate words. He has already said several unacceptable words related to ethnic identity to native Kachins and Red Shans, said local sources.

Source: Kachin News

READ MORE---> Kachin State Day ignored, commander uses inappropriate words...

NLD Member Released in Human Rights Case - Thet Wai

By Saw Yan Naing

The chairman of Sanchaung Township’s National League for Democracy was released on Friday following his recent arrest for possessing a memory card and documents regarding human rights abuses in Burma, according to Nyan Win, the party’s spokesperson.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Friday, a source close to Thet Wai confirmed that he had been released on 500,000 kyat bail from a court in Kyauktada Township in Rangoon that day. Thet Wai returned to his work at the NLD headquarters later on Friday.

A lawyer in Rangoon, Aung Thein, confirmed that Thet Wai had been arrested for accepting material from a pro-democracy activist, Ohn Than, who was himself arrested by police and plainclothes security officials after staging a demonstration outside the United States embassy in Rangoon in August.

The material in question apparently contained information relating to human rights abuses in Burmese prisons and forced labor issues, and was written by Ohn Than during his incarceration in the notorious Insein prison. Sources said that he intended to hand the information over to the International Labor Organization.

Aung Thein said that Thet Wai was prosecuted under article 505 (B)—instigation or destruction of stability or government— a charge that is expected to result in three years’ imprisonment.

Meanwhile, another pro-democratic human rights activist, Htin Kyaw, was charged under Article 124 (A)—disrespecting the government of the country—and would probably be sentenced to life imprisonment, said the lawyer.

Htin Kyaw is one of the prominent activists who were arrested by Burmese authorities in August following protests against the increase in fuel prices.

He went on hunger strike in protest against the human rights abuses in the prison for several weeks while he was detained in Rangoon’s Insein prison.

Source: Irrawaddy News

READ MORE---> NLD Member Released in Human Rights Case - Thet Wai...

Gambari to Visit India, China in January

By Lalit K Jha - United Nations

The UN Special Envoy on Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, is scheduled to visit India and China in January to continue his consultations with two of Burma’s key neighbors, a top UN official said on Thursday.

Calling India and China two major players in Burma, the UN spokesperson said the dates of his visit to the two countries have not yet been finalized.

“He is planning during this month to go to India and China,” said the spokesperson. It is understood that Gambari is trying to schedule appointments with top leaders of India and China before announcing the dates.

“As you know, a number of things have happened in terms of consultation with different actors and different international leaders involved with the crisis,” his spokesperson said. “As far as I know, he is just going to go further into discussions with two major actors in the situation in Myanmar [Burma].”

Gambari has an invitation from the Burmese government to return to the country to carry forward his mission of restoration of democracy and protection of human rights in the country.

“He has a standing invitation to go back to Burma,” said the spokesperson. The visit will be scheduled sometime after his Gambari’s visits to India and China.

Source: Irrawaddy News

READ MORE---> Gambari to Visit India, China in January...

Suu Kyi Meets Junta’s Liaison Officer Again

By Wai Moe

Burma’s detained opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, met with the Burmese junta’s liaison officer, ex Maj-Gen Aung Kyi, on Friday, according to sources in Rangoon.

A convoy of vehicles, which was said to transport Suu Kyi, left her lakeside residence about 1 p.m. and returned about 2 p.m.

The meeting between Suu Kyi and Aung Kyi, who is also Minister of Labor, was the forth since the crackdown on pro-democracy protests in September. The meeting has not been officially confirmed by authorities or Suu Kyi supporters.

“In the past we couldn’t talk with the junta. If we can talk, it is a good sign for the political process,” said Nyan Win, a spokesperson for the National League for Democracy (NLD). “To reconcile with each other, we must start talks.”

The third meeting between Suu Kyi and Aung Kyi was on November 19, during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Singapore.

The NLD openly criticized the process in December, after two months without any meetings, saying the government needed to move faster and that no NLD officials had been allowed to meet with Suu Kyi, which was a specific request made by Suu Kyi during her meeting with the United Nation’s special envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, in early November.

Aung Kyi, who was appointed as liaison officer on October 9 last year, said during s press conference in December in Naypyidaw that his three meetings with the Nobel peace prize winner had yielded "positive developments."

“I met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for three times. We have made progress at the meetings. The first meeting was aimed at gaining understanding between us. The second meeting was to discuss frameworks for the future. The third meeting was to discuss the facts that should be included in the framework,” said Aung Kyi during the press conference.

“We will release information related to the meetings when necessary,” he said. “Regarding the time frame, we will continue to hold meetings with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. We need to consider what to discuss and why. We are choosing ‘What’ and ‘Why.’ So, we will take ‘Where,’ ‘How’ and ‘When’ into consideration in the future.”

Some members of the international community and dissident groups say the junta is not really interested in dialogue, noting that Snr-Gen Than Shwe, the head of the junta, has shown no sign of honoring a commitment to meet with Suu Kyi himself, which he made in talks with Gambari.

The junta leaders offered to meet with Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest, but only on condition she renounce calls for international sanctions against the military regime, which has been widely condemned for its crackdown on the anti-junta protests in September.

The NLD sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently expressing its readiness to accept the U.N. special envoy’s mediation efforts for political dialogue and national reconciliation.

Source: Irrawaddy News

READ MORE---> Suu Kyi Meets Junta’s Liaison Officer Again...

Press Statement by Hon Larry Bagnell, MP

Press Statement by Hon Larry Bagnell, MP

Chairman Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Burma
Embargoed for 1 pm (Pacific Time), January 11th, 2008

Vancouver - I have just returned from a week-long trip to the Thai-Burmese border. The aim of my trip was to help support the people of Burma in their struggle for democracy, and to find out what else Canada could do to support this struggle.

On this trip I met with Burmese opposition groups and alliances, ethnic nationalities, activists, environmental groups, women’s groups, students, labour groups, Dr. Cynthia Maung, monks, ex-political prisoners, deserters from the regime’s army, and NGO aid groups supporting refugees and internally displaced. I also spent a day at a refugee camp on the border.

There were a number of common themes that I heard from these groups:

Despite the brutal crackdown on the September uprising, I was impressed by the strong spirit of resistance of the people of Burma, and the increasing strength of the opposition organizations and their will to cooperate.

I learned that, though it may appear to the international community that the worst of the violence is over in Burma, atrocities in the ethnic states including rape, forced displacement, forced labour and extrajudicial killings are going on daily.

I heard the desire for the UN to continue and intensify their efforts to ensure that the Burmese military regime immediately enters into dialogue with the opposition National League for Democracy and ethnic nationalities, as well as increase pressure to cease the regime’s human rights abuses and atrocities.

I was encouraged to be presented the draft of a future constitution for a federal union of Burma. I was even more impressed about the inclusive process of constitutional development for a future democratic Burma, which includes all the major opposition and ethnic groups.

Another recurring theme was that Burma’s opposition are looking for much more concrete support from ASEAN and nations of the region.

I heard that planned trans-national pipelines and huge dams on the Salween and other rivers, funded by foreign investment, would deprive Burma’s people of their resources and provide a huge increase in revenues to the dictatorship. This will allow them to buy more weapons to further oppress the people, and lead to massive displacements, forced labour, and other human rights abuses.

The people I met expressed support for Canada’s humanitarian aid to Burma and increased economic sanctions against the regime. However, after hearing about the continuing atrocities and suffering in Burma during my trip, I am even more committed to working towards further sanctions and humanitarian aid by Canada and the rest of the international community in order to reduce this suffering and restore democracy to Burma.

I will be convening a meeting of the Parliamentary Friends of Burma when Parliament returns, to discuss the various suggestions by the Burmese people and their organisations as to how we can do more to help this tragic situation.

Source: Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB)

READ MORE---> Press Statement by Hon Larry Bagnell, MP...

Larry Bagnell, the Chairman of Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Burma

Mr. Larry Bagnell, the Chairman of Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Burma seen in a press briefing at Chiang Mai, Thailand on Thursday after his short trip to refugee camps along Thai-Burma border. The parliamentarian call for more sanctions against Burma miltary junta including to prohibit all Burmese ships and planes to travel Canada.
Also Read: Press Release

READ MORE---> Larry Bagnell, the Chairman of Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Burma...

Young Martyr Maung Thet Piane Soe

Original Source: Nicknayman
Translated: Nay Chi U - Who is Who in Burma

During the September Golden Colour Revolution, a young person called Maung Thet Piane Soe aka Kalama Gyi decided to join other protesters on the road, demonstrating for lower commodity prices, the release of political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, National Reconciliation and the apology from the military government to the monks in Pakkoku.

On 27 September, the tenth day of the public protests, Maung Thet Piane Soe could be seen actively marching in the front line, wearing a T shirt which read ,' Free Aung San Suu Kyi', heading towards Tar Mwe', from Sule' Pagoda.

As the protesters approaching Tar Mwe High School No. 3, they were attacked by armed troops, wearing Division 66 badges, which brutally and violently crashed down the peaceful protesters. Maung Thet Piane Soe, who was marching at the front line was shot in the head which killed him instantly.

The soldiers kicked his body into the drain after taken his possessions including a school bag and some cash.

Maung Thet Piane Soe, who lived in 20, Min Nanda Road, Bo Tun Zan, Daw Pone was also a National League for Democracy Youth Member. The youngest of U Myint Win and Daw Aye Pyone's the three sons, he went to school at High School No 1 in Daw Pone. However, at Year 9, he had to take a gap year from his study,due to the high tuition fees that the family no longer could afford.

He was also actively involved in Daw Pone Youths Working Group's Re-organization in May, 2007 and known for his reliability as well as his helpful and supportive manners.

Maung Thet Piane Soe was 15 year and 4 months when he was shot and killed by junta's soldiers.

READ MORE---> Young Martyr Maung Thet Piane Soe...

Youth arrested for singing political song - Sai Maung Tun

By Kwarn Lake
Shan Herald Agency for News

A Shan youth has been arrested by the Burmese authorities for singing a Shan song at the Shan New Year celebration in Mong Yai, northern Shan State, Burma, according to local sources.

Sai Maung Tun, 25, a member of Shan Literature and Cultural Committee (SLCC) – Mong Yai, was arrested after singing a Shan political song titled, 'The day Shans gain freedom', according to the sources.

The song written by the late song writer Sai Mu, is popular not only among Shan communities but also among the resistance groups.

He was arrested on January 7 by the local police from his home, said the source.

"He works in the farm to support his family and he has never had any connections with any political organizations and never talks about politics", said a resident of Mong Yai.

The SLCC had invited a local music band of four youth singers to entertain the Mong Yai residents during the New Year celebration.

Colonel Kyi Myint, a local authority, had also ordered his subordinates to arrest the band. However, he withdrew the order after receiving apology from the president of the SLCC, said the source.

Shan New Year in Mong Yai was celebrated from January 1 to 4, while the actual date of Shan New Year 2102 fell on December 10, 2007.

The Mong Yai Shan Literature and Cultural Committee had initially decided not to organize the celebrations due to lack of funds. However, the event took place because Col. Kyi Myint had ordered the SLCC to collect cash from local communities and organize it.

Meanwhile, the celebration of 60th anniversary of Independence Day was also ordered by the authorities to be held on the same days at Mong Yai high school.

READ MORE---> Youth arrested for singing political song - Sai Maung Tun...

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