Wednesday, January 12th, 2005
Burma’s military government says it will reconvene the constitutional convention in mid-February. Critics maintain the convention will do little to produce true political reform in Burma as long as opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, remains under house arrest.
The chairman Burma’s constitutional convention, Lieutenant General Thein Sein, announced Wednesday the political gathering would reopen February 17 after a seven-month break.
An 81-year-old American said Tuesday he was roughed up by police in Myanmar and questioned for hours after staging a one-man protest against the government.
Joseph Moynahan, a self-described veteran peace activist, spoke to the Associated Press in Bangkok, Thailand, after being expelled by Myanmar authorities following his short demonstration Friday in Yangon.
Source: Irrawaddy web site, Bangkok, in English 11 Jan 05
Text of report by Aung Su Shin, carried in English by Thailand-based Burmese exile publication Irrawaddy web site on 11 January
Mea Sot: Burma Army forces launched an assault Tuesday 11 January on a Karen National Union (KNU) military camp in a border area opposite the Umphang district of Thailand’s Tak Province.
Hundreds of Karen villagers in Burma have fled to Thailand to escape fighting between Burma Army forces and Karen rebels, Thai officials reported Wednesday.
Karen ethnic villager at the Thai-Burma border flee their homes after Burmese troops raided a stronghold of its largest rebel group, the Karen National Union, January 11, 2005.
Some local authorities had tried to prevent reports of the ongoing conflict right on the border in Maehongson from getting out fearing the news would stop the holiday makers from visiting the province, according to local sources.
India today sought more oil and gas blocks in Myanmar for exploration and production. The country also expressed interest in upgrading a refinery there, offering a US$20 million line of credit.
At a meeting with Myanmar Prime Minister Soe Win in Yangoon today, Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar expressed “deep interest in expanding (India’s) participation in Myanmar’s energy sector.”
Some 1.8 million foreigners live in Thailand, nearly half of them migrant workers from neighboring Myanmar, government officials said Wednesday in the country’s first accounting of the foreign-born population.
While all of those people have at least some rights in Thailand, they will not necessarily be granted citizenship, General Winai Phattiyakul told reporters after a meeting of the National Security Council on the subject.
In protest against the tri-state gas pipeline meeting to be held in Burma’s capital, Rangoon, an exiled Burmese campaign group has sent a memorandum to the Indian embassy in Rangoon urging India to postpone the extraction of Shwe natural gas from Burma until a democratically elected government is installed.
The coordinator of a Thai NGO on Wednesday spoke out against sensationalist Thai media reports that Burmese gangs were looting areas of southern Thailand affected by the tsunami.
“The media is presenting the alleged crimes of a small group which is causing damage to them [the Burmese in Thailand] as a whole,” said Nassir Achwarin, coordinator of the Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma, who claimed that the reports were xenophobic in nature.
India is making overtures to its eastern neighbours in an effort to open up oil and gas resources that could be crucial to its future energy security.
WMRC Perspective: Significance
India is holding three-way talks with its eastern neighbours, Myanmar and Bangladesh, in an attempt to extend oil and gas co-operation.
BANGKOK — In secret hideouts in the mountains of Thailand, hundreds of fugitive migrants are holding religious ceremonies for the tsunami victims who have been largely forgotten.
At least 700 migrant workers from Myanmar were killed when the tsunamis hit Thailand, according to new estimates by human-rights workers who have conducted the first detailed survey of the migrants since the disaster.