Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007


Rangoon, Burma – Soldiers announced they were hunting pro-democracy protesters in Burma’s largest city Wednesday and the top U.S. diplomat in the country said she heard that military police were pulling people out of their homes during the night.
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UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari’s four-day shuttle diplomacy between Burma’s top generals and the country’s detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi concluded on Tuesday.
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Security envelopes Rangoon with riot police and soldiers scouring the city with photographs in their hand to arrest participants in last weeks protests, which posed a direct threat to nearly half a century of military rule in Burma.
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Over 10,000 people in the Arakan town of Man Aung staged another protest yesterday against the Burmese government’s harassment of demonstrators.
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The family of Burma’s junta chief, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, is still out of the country following the bloody crackdown on monks and pro-democracy demonstrators, according to a Western diplomat in Rangoon.
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Government authorities are initiating a media campaign targeting citizen journalists who took footage of government brutality during the recent protests in Rangoon and distributed it to foreign media, according to journalists and reporters in Burma’s former capital.
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Rumors are rife in the Burmese community in exile that famous Burmese movie star Kyaw Thu and wife Shwe Zikuat have fled Burma and are taking shelter in a Buddhist monastery in a refugee camp along the Thai-Burma border.
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Teknaf, Bangladesh : Eleven monks were arrested in Teknaf by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) yesterday when they were entering Bangladesh from Burma , said a local from the border.
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The wooden shacks of Mae La Camp have multiplied ceaselessly over the years, rising in a lush green forest only a few miles from the border with Burma. Over time, they have spread across several hilltops, spanned a little stream and become long-term shelter for 40,000 Burmese refugees.
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As international condemnation mounts against Myanmar’s military government and its recent armed crackdown on street demonstrators, the country’s money-spinning oil-and-gas sector could soon be the target of new and tighter Western-led sanctions. Should new bans on energy trade and investment come to pass, more than any other regional country Thailand will find itself caught between a diplomatic rock and an economic hard place.
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Beijing — Burma’s bloody crackdown has silenced Buddhist monks and other protesters but raised calls for China, the country’s top ally, to push for change in the isolated, military-led nation also known as Myanmar.
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New Delhi: India has strongly opposed sanctions on Burma but at the same time has asked the military regime to “consider undertaking an inquiry into recent incidents and the use of force” against the people in the peaceful protests in the country.
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For the first time, an outraged United Nations Human Rights Council has condemned the Burmese military junta for its violent crackdown on protesters and demanded it be allowed to immediately investigate the situation in Burma.
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The United States or the European Union must spearhead an initiative with China, India, Japan and ASEAN states to prod Myanmar’s ruling junta to end its brutal crackdown on dissent and embrace democratic reforms, experts say.
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European Union member states agreed Wednesday to impose new sanctions on the government of Myanmar while looking for ways to boost humanitarian aid to the country’s population.
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A UN envoy remained tightlipped Wednesday about his meetings with Burma’s junta chief and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, a highly watched mission that followed the regime’s deadly crackdown on democracy protesters.
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“Leave Burma Now”: ITUC Tells Multinationals
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UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari ended his mission to Burma on Tuesday, leaving the Burmese people still helpless before a ruthless regime determined to stamp out opposition no matter how much abhorrence it arouses in the international community.
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At this writing, on Friday, September 28, the Burmese military regime has brought its heavy hammer down on the thousands of people demonstrating against the country’s 45-year-old dictatorship. Police and troops have fired on protesters, killing at least 13 people. Buddhist monasteries have been raided and sealed, including the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most famous and beautiful building in Rangoon, and some 200 monks are under arrest. Internet traffic, which dissidents used to report events to the world, has been cut. (more…)

The shouting and hand-wringing by politicians over Burma is almost over. Soon, attention will turn to the inglorious task of finding a scapegoat for political embarrassment. In Brussels there are calls for more sanctions against the Rangoon junta and, in response to big talk from the French President, his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is waving a little stick and a European company, perhaps Total, will be held up to example.
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