Thursday, August 10th, 2006


Geneva: An anti-landmines campaign group said Thursday that it hoped two of Myanmar’s largest armed opposition movements would give up using the weapons, after a smaller rebel group committed itself to an international ban.
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The foreign secretary of the Philippines arrived in Myanmar Thursday, hoping to help the ruling junta on the road to restoring democracy in their country.
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Scholars in Burma have reacted with dismay to news that part of the National Library is to move to the new capital, Naypyidaw. “It’s miserable,” was the comment of the respected writer Paragu, who owns the Paragu Shantiniketan Library in Rangoon.
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Authorities in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, have launched a harsh crackdown on the illegal importation and use of cheap Chinese mobile phones.
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About 60 officials from Burma’s Customs Department and some 200 traders have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms in Rangoon and Lashio, Shan State, on charges of corruption and illegal trading, according to local sources.
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Burmese activist Tun Tun, who staged a solo protest on June 19 and made news headlines, was released from a mental hospital near Rangoon yesterday. Doctors have certified that he has no psychiatric problems.
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Yangon: Myanmar and Laos have agreed to set up border check points on each side to develop cross-border tourism, the local Yangon Times reported Thursday.
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Bangkok: The UK government has agreed to contribute Pounds 20m (Dollars 38m, Euros 30m) to fighting Aids, tuberculosis and malaria in Burma – the first donation to what is expected to be a Dollars 100m, five-year health fund for the prevention and treatment of the lethal diseases in the military-ruled country.
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Yangon: Myanmar has signed an agreement with Malaysia’s biggest energy company to conduct a feasibility study on refining and transporting natural gas to neighboring countries, state-run newspapers reported Thursday.
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August 14: By this October, my courageous sister and fellow Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi will have spent 11 years of her life in detention in Burma. Eleven years that she has sacrificed and dedicated to the freedom of her people. Like Gandhi before her, she has steadfastly rejected the use of violence in the struggle to free Burma from the clutches of its hardmen. And yet, even without tanks, guns or an army behind her – and from the solitude of house arrest – she continues to pose a threat to the scared military men of Burma.
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August 14: When the New Statesman asked me to submit a nomination for a poll of “heroes of our time” a few months ago, Aung San Suu Kyi was my instant choice. I visited her at her home in Rangoon a few years ago and she is one of the most inspirational people I have ever had the privilege to meet. She has enormous grace, serenity and humanity, and her determination never to leave her country until democracy is restored has earned her the admiration and respect of all those who believe the human spirit can overcome evil.
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Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s recent call to Asean to reassess its policy of non-interference in each other’s affairs deserves thoughtful consideration by all its members. Mr Abdullah was speaking in the context of Myanmar and the fact is that the 39-year-old grouping cannot repeatedly explain away Yangon’s litany of broken promises if it is to go forward with its credibility intact.
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