Friday, October 19th, 2007


President Bush imposed a new round of financial sanctions against Myanmar today, targeting eleven additional members of the military-run government responsible for a crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.
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THE PRESIDENT: Laura, thank you for joining; and Madam Secretary. In the last few weeks, the world has been inspired by the courage of the Burmese people. Ordinary men and women have taken to the streets in peaceful marches to demand their freedom and call for democratic change. The world has also been horrified by the response of Burma’s military junta. Monks have been beaten and killed. (more…)

U Gambira, a leader of the All-Burma Monks’ Alliance that spearheaded nationwide protests in Burma in September, became a fugitive following the deadly Sept. 26-27 crackdown on protesters nationwide.
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Government authorities have arrested family members of U Gambira, a monk wanted for his involvement in anti-government demonstrations, and say they will not release them until U Gambira has been detained.
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Hundreds of pro-democracy supporters are being detained daily by Myanmar’s military junta, and it may never be clear how many died during the violent suppression of their protests, a senior British diplomat said Friday.
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The appointment by Burma’s ruling junta of a committee to write a draft constitution, without the participation of the opposition National League for Democracy, is being regarded as further proof that the generals have no intention of listening to international pleas for an all-inconclusive process of national reconciliation.
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Over 50 villagers have been arrested by the Burma Army on suspicion of helping the Karenni Army attack IB 54 (Infantry Battalion) stationed between Chikel and Dawtakhar village, early this month in Loi Kaw township, Kayah State, Karenni Army commander General Bee Htoo said.
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Gen Thura Shwe Mann has effectively taken over day-to-day command of the armed forces and the country’s internal affairs as instructed by Snr-Gen Than Shwe, according to unconfirmed reports from Naypyidaw.
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Fear of Demonetization Curbs Remittances to Burma
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One in ten Burmese is going to bed hungry and an estimated five million people do not have enough food, UN officials said yesterday. The hunger gripping rural communities has spread to cities because of the steep increases in the costs of fuel and other commodities which provoked last month’s nationwide protests against the ruling military junta.
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The International Committee of the Red Cross said that it is “deeply worried” about the fate of those arrested in Burma.
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ASEAN’S immediate task should be to bring Myanmar’s ruling junta to the negotiating table, said a foreign policy adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi’s party.
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Moves to link China’s role in Myanmar to a boycott of next summer’s Olympics would be “inappropriate and unpopular,” the vice major of Beijing said Friday.
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Contrary to the news that the Indian Ambassador in Rangoon and the Foreign Secretary met detained Burmese pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, party activists and foreign diplomats in the former capital said they were unaware of any such meeting.
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As Burma’s junta clamps down on citizen journalists in the wake of the brutal repression it unleashed on monks and pro-democracy protestors, the ‘media-in-exile’ are hard put to maintain the information flow on events in their country.
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President Bush on Thursday punished two perennial adversaries – Myanmar and Cuba – for alleged “human trafficking,” the forced labor and prostitution that the United States calls a modern-day form of slavery.
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A major rally is slated for November 15 in Sydney which will demand that the Australian government stop its secret cooperation with the Burmese military junta.
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It was not a surprise that the Burmese junta violently cracked down on the “saffron revolution.” The generals had lost all credibility in the eyes of their people, and were left with only one tool of control – repression.
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The pressure rises-but not far enough
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Towards the end of the latest wave of unrest in Burma, where the Myanmar junta fired on peaceful, monk-led protests, killing many, our Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Sue van der Merwe called the Myanmar Ambassador in South Africa into her office. Her statement to the ambassador was not flattering about his government’s actions.
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