January 2010

Yangon — A Myanmar court has handed down a 13-year jail term to a journalist for working for exiled media, his legal counsel said Friday, as the ruling junta continues its crackdown on dissent. (more…)

New Delhi – The political prisoners population in military-ruled Burma increased to 2,177 over the course of 2009, with over 120 are reportedly suffering from illness due to deplorable prison conditions, claims a new activist group report. (more…)

Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed her lawyer Nyan Win with an ice-cream. “I made it myself,” she said. “Eat it up quickly before it melts.” (more…)

An imprisoned leader of the dissident 88 Generation Students group has called for a blanket amnesty for Burma’s political prisoners before this year’s election and an inclusive political process as two of the cornerstones of the group’s election policy. (more…)

For the first time this year, senior leaders of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and the Burmese junta met in Myitkyina, the capital of Burma’s northern Kachin State today to resolve the standoff on transforming the Kachin Independence Army, said sources close to Kachin delegates. (more…)

BANGKOK – The controversy over the scale of Myanmar’s opium production took another turn with the release of a new report that claims cultivation has surged in territories where the military government has recently taken control. The report draws more extreme conclusions than recent research released by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), whose Bangkok-based representatives declined an invitation to attend the new report’s release. (more…)

The New Year brings a slender ray of hope for a benighted part of the world. But in Burma, every silver lining has alongside it a dark cloud. (more…)

If the rumors are right, in about 10 months the people of Burma will be called to vote for the first time in 20 years. A new parliament and a new political class will be put side by side with the ruling junta. The elections will be held under the 2008 Constitution, which is one of the most undemocratic in the world. Inalienable rights could be restricted at any time “for national security” and the army will enjoy a large discretionary immunity. (more…)

Opium poppy cultivation in Burma is swelling all over again in areas controlled by the military regime or the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), according to a report just published by the Paluang Women’s Organization (PWO). Shockingly, number of drug addicts is increasing rapidly in Shan state where opium is now being grown. At the same time as the rising of poppy growing is also killing the traditional tea cultivation in northern parts of the country. (more…)

Yangon — Myanmar’s detained pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday described as “unfair” a minister’s comment that she would be released in November as it pre-empted a court decision, her lawyer said. (more…)

Already under pressure from Naypyidaw over the Border Guard Force issue, the ethnic cease-fire groups faced a fresh blow as a key leader of the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) based in Mongla in eastern Burma was killed on Wednesday. (more…)

With the anti-Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam movement gaining momentum, signatures collected demanding a halt to the project in Burma’s Northern Kachin State were handed over today by ethnic Kachins in Singapore to the Chinese Embassy in the city-state, said anti-dam activists. (more…)

Reporter Ngwe Soe Lin of the Norway-based opposition radio station Democratic Voice of Burma was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment yesterday by the Rangoon Western District Court sitting inside Insein prison, close associates said. (more…)

Ruili, China – Ask residents of the dusty Chinese border town of Ruili what they think of their neighbour and supposed friend Myanmar and one word features prominently — “luan,” or chaotic. (more…)

Several Burmese armed groups, including the Karen National Union, could soon merge with Burma’s government-in-exile to form a parallel government prior to elections this year. (more…)

Chiang Mai – Thailand has increased surveillance along the Thai-Burma border since the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) came into full effect early this month, over fears of agricultural smuggling, particularly rice, entering the Kingdom. (more…)

The World Bank is considering providing Burma with assistance more than two decades after relations were frozen following the bloody suppression of the 1988 democracy movement. (more…)

Yangon – Myanmar has been expanding its rice market to more countries, exporting the agricultural crop to Russia, Ukraine, Australia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in addition to the present rice exporting countries, rice traders said on Thursday. (more…)

Washington — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday he is still searching for a replacement for Ibrahim Gambari as the new special UN envoy for Burma. (more…)

BANGKOK— Haiti President René Préval on Wednesday said that the country’s legislative elections would be postponed indefinitely due to the impact of the Jan. 12 earthquake. The change of plans stands in stark contrast to the Burmese junta, which didn’t let the devastation wrought by Cyclone Nargis in May 2008 get in the way of a nationwide constitutional referendum that proceeded as planned mere days later. (more…)

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