May 2005


AT the top of Gon Kha hill on the border between Thailand and Burma, the rebels of the Shan State Army shelter inside sandbagged wooden fortifications and dug-outs.

Less than half a mile away at the foot of the hill are six enemy positions.

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May 30: About 500 Shan refugees will have to return to Shan State on Tuesday, the deadline set by the Thai Army by which the group must be escorted back across the Thai-Burmese border.

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May 30: Calling for a halt to the Salween dam project along the Thai-Burma border, the local people have embarked on a mass petition campaign under the banner of Karen social and environment group. Karen Rivers Watch (KRW), a coalition of Karen social and community organisations, has been collecting signatures of individuals since April one opposing construction of the dam.

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Malaysia’s government will not block a motion seeking to deny Myanmar the ASEAN chairmanship when parliament reconvenes next month, Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said Tuesday.

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The word crisis in Chinese has two characters: The first means “danger,” and the second “opportunity.” This is how the issue of Myanmar’s chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should be dealt with, given Rangoon’s obstinate posture on human rights, freedom and democracy.

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Myanmar is keen on bringing India closer to the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) and has said that it would use the Bimstec agreement, currently being negotiated between Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan, to achieve the purpose.

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Thai authorities have issued a deadline of June 30 for all migrant workers in Thailand to register for work permits. The registration period begins on June 1, and any migrant worker who fails to comply by the deadline will face arrest and deportation.

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Forced labor will be the focus of the 177-nation International Labor Conference starting Tuesday, with the situation in Myanmar at the top of the agenda.

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May 30: May is a month for anniversaries in Southeast Asia. Last week, we celebrated the seventh anniversary of Indonesian democracy that followed the collapse of the Suharto regime and three decades of military rule after the reformasi uprising in 1998.

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May 26: Thailand Must Admit Civilians Forcibly Displaced

In a new offensive in Shan state, the Burmese army and its proxies have targeted and forcibly relocated thousands of civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. Thailand must allow civilians to cross the border to gain sanctuary from these attacks.

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May 30: Finding George Orwell in Burma – Emma Larkin The Penguin Press

In the middle of May bombs struck Burma’s capital, leaving 19 dead and numerous wounded. The government blamed dissident ethnic groups, then exiled opponents based in Thailand, and finally the CIA. Its adversaries traced the carnage to a government plot to distract world attention from its iniquities, while others saw an ongoing power struggle following a former prime minister’s ejection. An Orwellian situation by all accounts.

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Myanmar’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) marked a bleak anniversary Friday 15 years after its never-recognized election victory, and called for the release of its “terrorized” leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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Myanmar’s military is waging a campaign of torture, rape and execution against ethnic Shan villagers and forcing the displacement of thousands in its latest offensive, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Friday.

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Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party on Friday marked the 15th anniversary of its aborted 1990 election victory by reiterating its long-standing calls for a dialogue with the ruling military junta and the release of all political prisoners including its leaders.

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May 26: Members of Shan State National Army (SSNA) who are still remaining at Namtu and Theinni (Hsenwi) areas in northern Shan State near the Sino-Burmese border, have been surrounded by Burmese troops and pressured to surrender, according to sources from ceasefire groups in nearby Lashio.

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The exiled Mizzima news group reported Friday that Burma’s military regime had lifted a ban on its website.

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The Bangladesh army has started a combing operation in the remote area of the hill district town of Bandaban, opposite townships in Burma’s western Arakan state since May 19, 2005, according to an official source.

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The Bangladesh army has started a combing operation in the remote area of the hill district town of Bandaban, opposite townships in Burma’s western Arakan state since May 19, 2005, according to an official source.

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May 26: Industry chamber PHDCCI has recommended to the Government to strategically engage Myanmar so as to make it a bridge between South and South East Asia for India’s products to ASEAN.

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The Norway-based opposition radio, Democratic Voice of Burma, is to launch a Burmese language television service on Saturday, the first such broadcasts to be beamed into Burma from abroad.

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