December 2008

On Nov. 28 my brother, Thet Zin, a Burmese journalist brave enough to remain in his country, was sentenced to seven years in prison by the military junta there. His crime? Possession of a U.N. report about the military’s crackdown on demonstrations by monks and democracy activists in September 2007 — known around the world as the “Saffron Revolution.” (more…)

Thai authorities in the border town of Mae Sot have arrested an armed group of Burmese nationals, including women, who reportedly said that the Burmese military government had sent them to Thailand, according to BBC Burmese radio on Monday. (more…)

New Delhi – As a step forward along the roadmap to democracy, Burma’s military junta will soon announce an Election Law that will set guidelines and criteria for the formation of political parties to contest the upcoming 2010 general election, sources said. (more…)

A Burmese lawyer now in exile says authorities tortured evidence out of his clients. (more…)

Pyapon – Fishermen hit by Cyclone Nargis are struggling to pay back government loans meant to jumpstart their livelihoods. (more…)

Teknaf, Bangladesh – Bamboos in Arakan State are gradually disappearing because businessmen in collaboration with a section of the authorities have been exporting it to Bangladesh, said a bamboo trader from Maungdaw Township on condition of anonymity. (more…)

A celebration for AIDS day ceremony was held today in the head quarter of the NLD. About 40 people including people living with HIV/AIDS and their family members attended the celebration with fried noodles and cold drinks fed. Ko Aung Naing from Rangoon Division Youth Committee acted as the master of ceremony. U Hla Min introduced how AIDS section of the NLD emerged and Ma Phyu Phyu Thin explained what they have done so far. Ko Yar Zar who has been helping people living with HIV/AIDS talked about the difficulties facing them. At last U Aung Shwe remarked and opened a lucky draw section for 250 people. Lucky draw included longyi, towel, and other utensils. 35 children were given presents. The celebration was over successfully. (more…)

All that is certain is that Burma has a nuclear programme. It may be years, if not decades, away from developing nuclear-weapons capability. But the fact that the country’s military leadership is experimenting with nuclear power is cause for concern (more…)

New Delhi – In contrast to what many observers expected, Burma’s military junta plans to abolish its proxy organization – Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) – opting not to transform it into a political party for the purpose of participating in the upcoming 2010 election, sources close to the military said. (more…)

Yangon – Military-ruled Myanmar, one of the most isolated countries in the world, has largely escaped the global financial upheaval triggered by “extravagant” Americans, state media said on Thursday.

A government plan to cash in on tourist trips to the cyclone-devastated Irrawaddy delta region has run into problems because of restrictions placed on travelers there. (more…)

Chiang Mai  – Eighty four tour and travel companies have been stripped off of their license by Burma’s directorate of Hotels and Tourism for failing to renew their license, officials said. (more…)

Hanoi – Trade turnover between Viet Nam and Myanmar this year will be about US$130 million, according to the Viet Nam General Department of Customs. By the end of November, trade turn-over between the two sides was $118 million, a year-on-year increase of 21.3 per cent. (more…)

After a long gap in timber trade on the Sino-Burma border, China has resumed importing timber from Kachin state in northern Burma as of early December, said local sources. Environmentalists said the impact on the ecology would be terrible due the rampant logging. (more…)

40 Burmese migrant workers in Malaysia were deported to Burma yesterday morning after a protest, causing uncertainty among Burmese migrant communities in the country. A Burmese employee at an electronic company in Johor state said the workers were deported because they had protested against tightening regulations on migrant workers. (more…)

Tokyo – Japan has decided to accept about 30 Myanmar refugees who are living in camps in Thailand, officials said on Thursday, marking a new stage in Tokyo’s acceptance of refugees. (more…)

India has been putting pressure on these nations to stop such activities New Delhi  – Many Indian insurgent groups are operating from Bangladesh and Myanmar and India is putting pressure on its neighbours through diplomatic channels to stop such activities. It is also focussing on completing the fencing of the border with Bangladesh to check illegal immigration and infiltration. (more…)

Guwahati – It is really a horrible time for India to think of about what is happening in our neighbourhood. China attained a strategic advantage in securing the construction of Gwadar port in Pakistan, the end point of all gas pipe lines from Central Asian states. She has also managed her all weather ally Pakistan to agree for construction of pipe lines to transport petroleum and natural gas to China through Pakistan. If this project materialises, China would not only enclose India in her western flank, but would also dampen her desire to formulate cordial relations with West and Central Asia. In another crucial strategic development in the eastern part of India, China struck an energy deal with Myanmar to construct a China-Myanmar oil pipeline. The 2380 km pipe line will start from Kyaukphyu where the gas will come ashore and carry it to Kunming. To execute this deal, China will offer 83 million US dollar to Myanmar and invest billions of dollars to construct this strategic Sino-Myanmar oil and gas pipe lines, limiting the eastern boundary of India’s sphere of influence and a big blow to her ‘Look East Policy’.

Brussels – The European Commission on Thursday decided give an extra 40.5 million euros (58.7 million dollars) in aid for two million vulnerable people in Myanmar, notably those affected by cyclone Nargis in May. (more…)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has criticized the Burmese government for not following through on its promises of advancement towards democracy. (more…)

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