Summary of Radio News on Burma 2006

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Workers at a joint-venture garment factory in Rangoon get compensation as the factory closes down
A PRIVATE Bumra-China joint venture garment factory in Hlaingthaya industrial zone compensated its workers as the factory no longer enable to continue its operation that begun in 1999 with more than 1,000 workers. About 150 workers who were still at the factory received compensation on December in accord with their length of service. Other factories are also facing such problems due to shortage of orders from overseas.

Junta suspends millitary exercise in Kachin State

BURMESE military shortened its millitary exercise period due to the request of Kachin Independence Organisation - KIO. The exercise was done close to KIO headquarters. KIO vice president Gen Zau Seng said the Burmese troops conducted military exercise annually in Kachin State but not very close to the headquarters.

South Korean Daewoo executives on trial for illegal arms sale to Burma

The trial of 14 South Korean executives, who have been indicted over the alleged illegal transfer of arms technology to Burma, has began Thursday in Seoul.

The head of Daewoo International, Lee Tae-Yong, along with 13 associates of the South Korean conglomerate, will face charges over the illegal transfer of arms technology worth more than US$130 million used to build an arms factory outside the Burmese town Prome, Pegu Division. If found guilty, they could face up to five years in jail.

A prosecutor at the High-Tech Crime Unit in Seoul, told the BBC Burmese Service that the trial had been adjourned until 30th January because the defendants' lawyers wanted time to prepare for the case.

US urges for UN Security Council resolution on Burma

In a statement Thursday, US State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey urged the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution to encourage Burma's leaders to change conditions in the country.

The U.S. State Department has voiced its concern about what it calls the deteriorating humanitarian and political situation in Burma, saying it poses a threat to stability in the region.

Casey said passage of a resolution would help Burma's leaders take concrete steps toward greater freedom and improved humanitarian conditions in the country.

The statement said the situation in Burma remains bleak. It said Washington remains committed to pursuing a Security Council resolution as soon as possible in the New Year.

The statement listed violence against ethnic minorities, forced labour, and the detention of more than 1100 political prisoners including ASSK.

Correspondents say any attempt to push through a UN resolution is expected to face opposition from Russia and China.

Burma's NC to adjourn on 29th December

Sources in Rangoon's National Convention camp say the current sitting of the National Covention, which began since 10th October, will be adjourned on the 29th December.

ASSK wins India's Netaji Subhas Award

India's Netaji Subhas Foundation, founded in honour of India's revolution leader Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, has honoured ASSK with the Netaji Subhas Award.

The award will be presented on 23rd January. NLD spokespersons and exiled oppostion groups say they welcome the news.

Burmese lady farmer jailed for reporting corruption

Daw Khin Win, a lady farmer from Kawhmu Township near Rangoon was sentenced to one-year in jail for allegedly falsely accusing the local authorities of corruption.

Authorities in Burma are now saying that complaints on corruption could be lodged with the authorities concern, but opposition sources say that those who lodged the complaints are being interrogated or intimidated.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Jailed Burmese journalist Win Tin wins Journalist of the Year Award
Reporters Without Borders awarded its top media freedom prizes Tuesday to journalists from Burma and Cuba, a Russian newspaper and an association of reporters from Congo.

Jailed Burmese journalist U Win Tin has won the Journalist of the Year Award.
The 76-year-old U Win Tin was sentenced in 1989 to 20 years in prison on charges of subversion and anti-regime propaganda.

Despite terrible prison conditions and chronic health problems, he has resisted repeated government demands to renounce the opposition NLD.

Author Maung Wun Tha of NLD said U Win Tin is highly respected both for his journalistic skills and his political vision.

Burma branded "worst for human rights"
The Conservative Party in UK said in their first annual human rights report that Burma breaks more human rights than any other country in the world.

AHRC demands Burma to solve unjustified case
The Hong Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission has issued a statement Wednesday demanding Burmese authorities to look into a case for justice in Burma's Bogalay Township. Two residents of the township, including a primary school teacher, were sentenced to two- year imprisonment in December 2005, for reporting a financial fraud case against the local authorities.

Burma's government allows media into prison
Burma's military government has allowed foreign and local journalists a rare look inside Mandalay prison in central Burma.

Government officials Monday allowed journalists from Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun, China's state-run Xinhua news agency and six Burmese publications into the prison.

The media were allowed in to cover the distribution of humanitarian aid to prisoners by the junta-backed Union of Solidarity and Development Association (USDA). The organization has taken over works previously performed by the ICRC. Burma's government halted Red Cross activities in the country two weeks ago.

The journalists report they were allowed to interview some of the prisoners, including two members of the opposition NLD. Officials say Mandalay prison holds 5771 prisoners, including 1002 women.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

EU urges Burma to allow ICRC to resume activities
The European Union is urging Burma's military government to reconsider its decision to close five field offices of the ICRC.

The EU Presidency - currently held by Finland - issued a statement late Tuesday saying it is very concerned about the impact the closures will have on the humanitarian situation in Burma.

Burma's military rulers last week ordered the ICRC to stop its work in five areas, Mandalay, Mawlamyine, Hpa-an, Taunggyi and Kyaing Tong.

After an international outcry, the military government described the closure order as "temporary" but it did not say when the Red Cross offices may reopen.

Burma prime minister Soe Win to attend ASEAN summit
Burmese state-run newspapers reported that Burma's PM General Soe Win will attend the 12th ASEAN summit in the Philippines next week.

The "New Light of Myanmar" reported Wednesday that the prime minister and a delegation will attend the summit as well as several sideline meetings to be held in the central Philippine province of Cebu.

The summit runs from December 10th through the 14th, but no specific dates were announced for the Burmese delegation's trip.

Last week, Burma's military leader, General Than Shwe, had informed Philippine officials that he would not be attending the summit because he is focusing on drafting Burma's new constitution.

This is the second year in a row the Burmese leader has decided not to attend the organization's summit, instead sending a representative.

South Korea indicts business executives over arms exports to Burma
Prosecutors in South Korea say fourteen officials from seven companies have been indicted on suspicion of illegally exporting defence equipment to Burma.

They said fourteen executives from seven firms were involved, including the head of Daewoo International. None has been detained.

Prosecutors allege that the accused violated an international non-proliferation agreement and sold equipments that helped build a factory and produce weapons in Burma.

Canadian human rights award for Su Su Nway
Activist Su Su Nway was honoured in Canada Wednesday for defying the forced labour practices of the Burmese military government.

"In this 21st century, to think people have to fight against forced labour - no pay, no negotiations. With torture and jailing and killing, it has become the signature of this regime," says Jean-Louis Roy, president of Rights and Democracy, the Montreal-based group that is giving Ma Su Su Nway its John Humphrey Freedom Award.

Dr.Sein Win, Prime Minister of NCGUB accepted the award on behalf of Ma Su Su Nway, who could not attend the ceremony in Ottawa.

Burmese Rohingyas boatpeople arrested in Thailand
Thai police have arrested more than 100 Rohingyas from Arakan State of western Burma, who landed in Thailand's coastal Phang Nga province after 10 days at sea in a small boat.

The Rohingyas are being interrogated at a police station in Phan Nga district and will be sent back to Burma, said a Thai security source.

Burmese prisoners to work in private sugar cane plantations
500 prisoners from Mandalay prison will be sent to work in sugar cane plantations owned by a private company. Prison authorities and Great Wall business group in Mandalay that owned the sugar cane plantations recently signed an agreement on hiring the prisoners as farm labourers. Wages of the prisoners will be given to the prison authorities and the money will be used for prison welfare activities, said the agreement.   

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Karen rebels targeting civilians: Burma's representative to the UN
The UNSC on 4th December held a hearing on the situations of unarmed civilains being attacked in armed conflicts. The deputy chief of UN humanitarian assistance, Jan Egeland, said in his report to the UNSC hearing that the situation in Burma is worrisome and there are over 500,000 IDPs in Burma who are barred from having access to humanitarian assistance.

The Burmese representative to the UN said, in his address at the hearing, that the Karen rebels are targeting civilians in an ongoing armed conflict in Karen State in eastern Burma. He said 17 ethnic armed groups in Burma have entered into legal fold and work together with the government in regional development projects. He said the KNU is the only remaining ethnic rebel group, and there are some drug gangs in Burma which are targeting civilians. He said his government is working on national reconciliation to resolve armed conflicts in the country.

Students group held press conference in Rangoon
Another 88-generation students (Union of Myanmar) group, led by controversial student leader Aye Lwin, held a press conference Tuesday in Rangoon. The press conference, held at Rangoon Young Men Buddhist Association (YMBA) building, was on the launch of anti-sanction campaign. The press conference was permitted by the authorities, a rare situation for political movements in the country.

Aye Lwin said his group, different from the students group led by Min Ko Naing, will work for public participation in anti-sanction camapign. Burma has been facing sanctions from the west for its human rights situation.

Aye Lwin said his group is not against the military government and the group's main causes of non-disintegration of the union, non-disintegration of national races and consolidation of the sovereignty are as the same as of the military government's.

A foreign journalist who attended the press briefing analyses that the group is expressing what they believe and their views look acceptable to the military regime. The journalist said the group's movement is totally different from the other 88 generation students group led by Ko Min Ko Naing.

Meanwhile, there are reports in Rangoon that the authorities have again obtained another custody remand for the detained 88-generation student leaders.

Burma Army Chief in India
General Thuya Shwe Mann, who ranks third in Burma's military heirarchy, is in India on an official visit. General Shwe Mann and India's Army Chief Tuesday opened a cross-country car rally of the two countries' armed forces at a border town on India-Burma border. The car rally begins in India and ends in Rangoon and is sponsored by General Motors of United States.   

A journalist of the Jane Defence Weekly Journal analyses that the Burmese general's trip is aimed at obtaining military hardware and assistance from India.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

US Envoy Bolton to leave UN post
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton will step down when his temporary appointment to the post expires next month.

Mr. Bolton said last Friday that a draft resolution on Burma will soon be distributed among member countries at the UNSC, possibly earlier next week.

Though Mr Bolton is to leave the UN office, there would be no change in US policy to carry on finding a solution for Burma at the Security Council, said U Aung Din of US Campaign for Burma.

AIPMC to push for ASEAN & UNSC actions on Burma
Members of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus are now gathering in the Philippines to discuss Burma issues ahead of the ASEAN Summit beginning on 11th December.

Burma's exiled MPs U Bo Hla Tint and Dr. San Aung are also in the Philippines and are holding discussions with Philippines Senators. AIPMC members say they will push the Philippines to take up Burma issue more seriously at the upcoming ASEAN Summit and to urge ASEAN members to support the move at the UNSC for a binding resolution on Burma.

Thai government's policies beneficial for democratic developments in Burma: Analysts
Exiled Burmese analysts say the current Thai government's policies on Burma show signs that they are more beneficial for democratic developments in Burma. U Myint Thein of the NCUB says the developments on the refugee's situations at the Thai-Burma border is a good sign, where Thai government has worked more closely with the UNHCR to solve the refugees' problems. 

Burma expert Win Min said, unlike the former Thaksin government, the current Thai government will be more active in pushing Burma for democratic reforms.

Investigations still underway at Burma Customs
Burma has purged about one fifth of its customs department staff and charged them with bribery and corruption as part of an ongoing anti-corruption drive, according to officials from the ministry of home affairs.

Most of the customs officers are from the border trade and business is as usual in the country, said some merchants from Rangoon.

However, U Aung Kyaw Zaw, an analyst on China border told the BBC Burmese that border trade on Burma China border was badly disrupted because of the arrests.

He said that the current drive is not just to combat corruption but it is a power struggle among the military leaders.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Opponents trying to destabilise Burma with AIDS criticism: military government
Burma's military government says allegations that HIV rates are on the rise in the country are part of a campaign by opponents to destabilise the country.

The secretary of Burma's ruling SPDC Lieutenant General Thein Sein says "destructive elements with a political agenda" are spreading "false accusations" that HIV and AIDS are spreading in Burma and trying to "block access to international assistance."

But, he said the government and civil society groups have been actively fighting the spread of the virus. The state-run "New Light of Myanmar" newspaper reported the official defended the government's efforts during a World AIDS Day event in Burma Friday.

His comments were made in response to criticism leveled by the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who says Burma has failed to address problems related to drugs, HIV/AIDS and other diseases in the country.

The UNAIDS co-ordinator & NGO officials in Burma say a total of 350,000 people in Burma are living with HIV/AIDS.

Burma's top leader to skip ASEAN Summit in Philippines
Officials in the Philippines say Burma's top military leader, General Than Shwe, will not attend an annual summit of the ASEAN this month in Manila.

Authorities in Manila said the Burmese leader informed them he will not attend the three-day ASEAN summit beginning December 11th because he is focusing on drafting the country's new constitution. Burma's prime minister general Soe Win will attend the meeting, said officials from both countries. This is the second year in a row the Burmese leader has decided not to attend the ASEAN summit.

Burmese custom officials arrested in corruption probe
Burmese officials say arrest warrants have been issued for about 100 customs officials charged with corruption.
Authorities issued the warrants last week after questioning all 500 Customs Department officials over the past few months.

Several officials have been sentenced to jail terms of up to 66 years for their alleged crimes.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

ICRC ready to discuss with the Burmese government
ICRC still was not informed why its field offices were ordered to close by the authority, said Thierry Ribaux, deputy head of the Red Cross in Rangoon. He said the authroity was possible misunderstanding of ICRC's activities and operations in the country as most of their operations were in border areas close to insurgent groups.  

About 90 Rohingya arrested in Thai waters
About 90 Rohingya attempting to enter Thailand by boats are arrested. They were in the sea for 10 days without enough food and water. Thai authority will deport them back. Rohingya are fleeing to other countries as Burmese government neither issue national identification cards for Rohingya nor allow them going other states.

Thousands flee Burmese army, says campaign group
THE New York-based Human Rights Watch campaign group said thousands of Burmese civilians were fleeing through the jungle in Karen state, to escape attacks by the army and to search for food.

The group said it had received reports of people walking for seventeen days to reach camps close to the border with Thailand.

The Asia director for Human Rights Watch, Brad Adams, said the Burmese military had attacked villages, used civilians for forced labour and stole their food and money.

The group said that forty-five ethnic Karen civilians had been killed by Burmese forces in the past year.
There's been no response from the Burmese government.

Depeyin incident
DAW Win Mya Mya from Mandalay NLD who witnessed the Depeyin massacre recalled the incident that occured more than three years ago.

Burma says it is making progress in HIV/AIDS fights
THE Ministry of Health said Burma was making progress in HIV/AIDS fights, adding that there were drops in the number of people infected with HIV over the past five years. The infection rates dropped to 1.3 per cent last year from 1.5 per cent in 2005, the Minister for Health Dr Kyaw Myint said, defending John Bolton's critism on Burma's failing in tackling HIV/AIDS.

Two men who were arrested relating with signature campaign moved from Tharyarwaddy prison to Taungoo prison
Ko Win Ko and Ko Phyo Zaw Latt who were arrested relating with signature campaign were moved from Tharyarwaddy prison to Taungoo prison. Bago Division NLD office is still helping to have them general power(GP) for their attorneys.

Journalist associations (RSF and BMA) condemn junta of intimidating the birthday ceremony of well-known writer
REPORTERS Without Borders and the Burma Media Association condemn junta of intimidating the 91st birthday ceremony of well-known writer and journalist Ludu Daw Amar. U Nyi Pu Lay, son of Ludu Daw Amar, said the celebration was filmed by the  military intelligence but they had asked permission beforehand. 

Regime version of Aung San Suu Kyi's health matters different from on the ground situation
NLD spokesperson U Nyan Win said what Brig-Gen Khin Yee had said about Aung San Suu Kyi's health matters was different from real situation. U Nyan Win said there were many restrictions for Aung San Suu Kyi's doctor to do regular medical check-ups though Khin Yee said allowing the doctor once a month. In reality allowing to have medical visits were very intermittent and the previous visit before the last one taking ultrasound was two months ago, he said. 

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Annan calls for action to protect children from conflict
THE UN Security Council issued a statement reiterating its commitment to protect children in conflict. In a statement, the council called on all nations in conflict to stop the recruitment of children.

Over the past decade, member states had done much to protect children from the ravages of armed conflicts but this was just the beginning and more were needed to be done, Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other senior officials told the Security Council.

The main problem facing the children who recruited as child soldiers was lack of education, said Ko Aung Myo Min, Director of Human Rights Education Institute of Burma.

According to UN figures, two million children have been killed during an armed conflict and another six millions have been disabled or injured. Burma, Philippines and Nepal are the countries accused of abuses in Asia.

Ludu Daw Ahmar's birthday held
THE 91st birthday celebration of veteran writer Ludu Daw Ahmar is held today in her eldest daughter's home in Mandalay. Previously her birthday celebration was held regularly in Taung Lay Lone Monastery close to Taungthaman Lake in Mandalay. 

US and British Foreign Office urge Burma to reopen ICRC offices
THE State Department Sean McCormack urged Burma's generals to allow the humanitarian organization to continue its work, which includes helping thousands of people in sensitive border areas.

"I guess we shouldn't be surprised by the action, given the nature of the regime in Burma," McCormack said. "I would expect in the coming days it would be a topic of conversation in the council," he said.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office also issued a statement denouncing Burma's Red Cross ban.

A book on Burma was launched in Norway
THE Norwegian Burma Committee launched on November 28 the publication of 'Prisoners in Our Own Country' that details the struggle for democracy in Burma.

ICRC offices were closed only temporarily says Burmese Police Chief
POLICE director general Brig-Gen Khin Yi said at Wednesday press conference that the ICRC's offices outside Rangoon were closed only temporarily. But ICRC head quarters' spokeswoman Carla Haddad said Burmese authorities ordered the country office on November 23 to shutdown the field offices. She is hopeful that talk would be resumed between two sides to begin ICRC's operation in the country since the military government said the closure was only temporarily. 

88G students to lead campaign for fighting HIV/AIDS
The 88 Generation students will organise HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in World AIDS Day, which falls on December 1, by distributing pamphlets including ones issued by the UN agencies. Pamphlets will be distriuted in Rangoon and other cities. 

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Violence against women by Burmese military regime
THE educating campaign to fight violence against women is included as one of series of women related campaigns being held from November 25 to December 10 in Chiang Mai. Women's League of Burma urged UN and Thailand government in its announcement issued yesterday to help end up the Burmese troops' violence againt women. The league also urged Thailand not to invest in dams to be built on Salween River as such investment can generate forced labours and displacement of people.

ICRC and prisons
IT has been about one year that ICRC stopped visiting prisons in Burma.  ICRC is still striving to have access to the prisons in accord with its norms. ICRC was allowed since 1999 to visit the Burma's prisons, which have been critised for their poor conditions by international community.

U Sein Hla Oo, a NLD representative for Insein No (2) constituency, who had been jailed for 18 years in Insein and Myittkyina prisons said news of ICRC's visit had made the prison authorities to improve the condition of inmates as they were afraid of being reported.  

ICRC was allowed to meet with prisoners freely. ICRC stopped its visit in December last year after it was said their visits to be accompanied with government-backed associations.

There were insufficient supply of medicine in Burmese prisons after ICRC's decision to stop its visits as about 50 per cent of medication costs in the Burmese prisons were provided by ICRC, AAPP's joint-secretary Ko Bo Kyi said.  

The military government now was publicising its supports to inmates but Ko Bo Kyi said the supports were less than 10 per cent of what prisoners needed.

US welcomes U.N decision to denounce four countries including Burma for their human rights issue
The US welcoms passage by the UN general assembly's third committee of draft resolutions calling on the governments of Burma, Belarus, Iran and North Korea to end human rights violations

Summary of Radio News on Burma

UN General Assembly criticizes Burma for human rights abuses
The United Nations 61st General Assembly has criticised Burma for human rights abuses.
The General Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution that says Burma's government refused to investigate widespread human rights violations in the country. The resolution noted attacks by the military on villages in Karen State and other ethnic provinces.

Exiled Burmese government NCGUB's UN representative Dr. Thaung Tun said the resolution demands Burma to immediately release the detained student leaders and ASSK, and stop military attacks on civilians in Karen State.

Thai PM visited Burma
Thailand's Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont made his first visit to neighbouring Burma Thursday.
Mr. Chulanont met with SPDC leader Senior General Than Shwe in Burma's new capital, Naypyidaw. He also had a separate meeting with Burmese Prime Minister Soe Win.

The Thai premier said he offered to mediate between Burma and ASEAN.
During the press conference about his trip to Burma he also said he let the Burmese leaders know there were some disagreements among ASEAN countries on Burma issue.

Thailand's foreign minister indicated earlier this week that Bangkok may be rethinking its relationship with Burma.
Analysts in Bangkok say that the new Thai government wants to show that it will keep its distance from Burma's military rulers without allowing the relationship to deteriorate.

They say Mr. Surayud wants to strike a balance between Thailand's national interest and the growing clamour by the international community for Burma to stop violating human rights.

Thailand is highly dependent on Burma for the supply of natural gas, and Burma benefits considerably from the revenue from natural gas exports.

Thai officials say they still prefer a policy of constructive engagement with Burma rather than the sanctions adopted by the west.

UNHCR to open legal centers for Burmese refugees
The UNHCR is planning to open legal assistance centers for Burmese refugees in Thailand.
A representative of the UNHCR said Wednesday that the center at Ban Mae Nai Soi camp in north-western Thailand is the first of seven planned centers.

The UNHCR says more than 350 serious crimes were reported in refugee camps in Thailand since 2003, with rape and domestic violence the most common. It says the perpetrators of the violence are rarely arrested.

The refugee agency says its new legal assistance centers will help to direct cases to the Thai justice system and help improve the refugees' traditional justice system.

Oppression changes role of ethnic Karen women: KHRG
A new study shows that oppression by Burma's military government has changed the roles of women in the country's ethnic Karen population.

Thailand-based Karen Human Rights Group published the report this week.
The group conducted interviews with villagers to document abuses by the Burmese government in its campaign against ethnic Karen rebel forces.

The study's authors say that the stereotypes of women as helpless and vulnerable under difficult circumstances do not apply to the Karen women.

The authors say that as men are increasingly forced into labour, tortured, or murdered, women have taken up responsibility for providing household income as well as raising the family

Karen women are now said to be assuming leadership roles within their communities as well as raising and marketing crops, preparing and processing food, and even acting as liaisons between villages and the military, said the report.

Special appeal for imprisoned ethnic Shan leaders
Lawyers representing the imprisoned Shan leaders sent a special appeal letter to the High Court requesting an appeal for the imprisoned SNLD leader U Khun Tun Oo and his colleagues.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Thai PM visits Burma
Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont is scheduled to make his first official visit to Burma Thursday.
Thailand's foreign minister, energy minister, secretary-general of office of narcotics control board and secretary-general of Thailand's national security council will accompany Gen Surayud.

General Surayud is expected to meet leaders of the Burmese junta, including his counterpart, PM Geneneral Soe Win.
Thai foreign minister says discussions between the two nations will include economic relations and border security. But he also said Thailand is seeking a more transparent relationship with Burma's military government and not the so-called cozy commercial relationship that existed between Burma and former Thai PM Thaksin.

The Thai foreign minister said there are no immediate plans to cancel any of the controversial investment deals signed with Burma by the previous administration of Thaksin, but he said they could now be subject to progress in Burma on good governance and transparency.

Japan pledges $2.6 million to fight AIDS, Malaria in Burma
Japan has pledged 2.6 million dollars to the UNICEF to help Burma combat HIV-AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
The Japanese embassy in Rangoon announced the grant Wednesday. The money will pay for kits to test children for HIV infections and malaria, and medicine to treat malaria, measles and other diseases.

UNICEF and Japanese diplomats say the grant is intended to help Burmese mothers and youth, especially in rural areas.

Burma Media Association conference in Chiangmai
Burma Media Association, formed with exiled Burmese media groups, held a confercence in Thailand's Chianmai this week. The conference has discussed media ethnics and practices among Burmese media groups, said the participants. 

Karen women repeatedly attacked by Burmese military
Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) released a report, which accused the Burmese military of repeatedly attacking unarmed Karen women in Karen State in eastern Burma. The report detailed human rights abuses on Karen women by Burmese soldiers.

A spokesperson for the KHRG said they have sent copies of the report to the UN and other human rights groups.

There are child soldiers in Burma: UN report
A new UN report says Burma is among 12 countries around the world, which are still using child soldiers.
The UN report says although there are credible informations that the Burmese government forces and the ethnic armed rebel groups are using child soldiers, the UN organisations could not bring out any proof since no investigation could be conducted at the areas of on going armed conflicts. The report says since early 2005, the UN organisations received 12 cases of detailed complaints about child soldiers in Burma.

Burmese junta leader, Indian Air Chief held talks
Burma's state-run media says the country's military leader, General Than Shwe, has met with India's Air Chief Marshal.
The New Light of Myanmar says that the Burmese leader and Indian Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi met on Tuesday at Burma's new administrative capital, Naypyidaw.

Burma observers say discussions between India and Burma include the supply of military hardwares to Burma including light helicopters, radars, and electronic intelligence devices, and to upgarde Burma's fighter planes. Observers say that the increasing military power of Burma could pose a threat to regional stability.

Two Burmese arrested in Thailand for smuggling rare birds
Thai marine police arrested two Burmese who tried to slip into Thailand by boat with more than 800 endangered red-whiskered bulbuls. Thai police told the BBC Burmese that the birds, popular in Thailand for their melodic singing, can fetch up to 4,000 baht on the black market.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

India's Air Force Chief visits Burma
The Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi, is in Burma for a weeklong visit.
According to the correspondent of the Jane Defence Weekly, Rahual Behdi, the Indian Air Chief Marshal's visit is more than a good will visit, as India and Burma have steadily been increasing their bilateral relation including economic and military ties over the past years. The Indian Air Force Chief's visit is an important political gesture by India, said Mr Behdi.

During his visit, Mr Tyagi will discuss with Burmese military leaders about fighting the separatist rebels who operate in northeast of India and are based on the Burmese side of the border.

Student leaders' custody remand extended
The Burmese government extends remand on detained 88 generation student leaders for another two weeks until December 4, said Jimmy, a leader with the 88 generation students group.

Sources in Rangoon say the government is planning to charge the detained student leaders with different charges including section 5(j) of the emergency provision act. If convicted, they could face 7 years imprisonment.

Burma among the top in jailing journalists: RSF
A new report issued Monday by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders places Burma among the world's leaders in imprisoning journalists for - in its words - simply doing their jobs.

The report ranks Burma as fifth in the world with seven journalists imprisoned.
Notable among them is Win Tin, a reporter who has been jailed since 1989.
Reporters Without Borders says 130 journalists are currently imprisoned around the world for expressing criticism, making inquiries or issuing reports.

The group released its report this week in connection with its 17th annual Jailed Journalists Support Day, to be observed Thursday November 23rd.

Al-Jazeera granted exclusive access in Burma
The Arab television network al-Jazeera has aired exclusive news footage from Burma - in a rare foreign broadcast inside the reclusive nation.

Al-Jazeera's English broadcast aired footage from Naypidaw inside Burma Tuesday.
Independent news reporters are rarely allowed into the country.
During its broadcast, al-Jazeera was granted an interview with the country's minister of information, Brigadier-General Kyaw Hsan.

The broadcaster says the interview included the lack of aid to the Burmese people and the continued detention ASSK.
On its website, al-Jazeera says it believes it was granted access to film in both Naypidaw and Rangoon because Burma's military rulers see al-Jazeera as anti-American.

It says its journalists, however, had difficulty getting the views from all segments of Burmese society and were prevented from filming numerous times.

The Arab broadcaster said the difficulties it faced in Burma sharply illustrated the polarization and isolation inside the country.

Human rights groups and countries, including the United States, have repeatedly criticized Burma's military government for stifling freedom of expression and committing human rights abuses.

Public in some townships did not follow authorities' order to work as forced labour
Due to the monitoring and warnings of the ILO, the authorities in Burma are not daring in demanding the people to work as forced labour and the people are also opposing and disobeying orders of the authorities.

A resident of Twente Town near Rangoon said the township's authorities last week ordered the public to join public works such as cleaning the streets and drainages in the township but the people did not join the movement. The authorities also did not take any action on the people, said the resident.  

A similar incident was also reported in Rangoon's South Okkalapa Township, said a resident of Rangoon.

'D form' to be issued in Naypyidaw
Sources in Rangoon say Burmese citizens who are leaving the country on various reasons will have to go to the new administrative capital Naypyidaw to get the "D" form (departure form) before departure from the country. The new regulation will be effective after the end of November and there are people crowded at the 'D form' office in Rangoon, said the sources.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Thai interim PM to visit Burma Thursday
Thailand's foreign ministry officials say the country's interim prime minister, Surayud Chulanont, will visit Burma Thursday.

During his one-day visit, Gen Surayud is scheduled to meet Burma's military junta leader Senior General Than Shwe in the morning and Burma's prime minister General Soe Win in the afternoon in the new administrative capital Naypyidaw before flying back to Bangkok. Thai officials say bilateral issues will be discussed during the PM's visit.

Burma is the last of Mr. Surayud's trips to ASEAN nations.

Protests against Burmese timber in the Netherlands
Burmese pro-democracy activists in the Netherlands are staging demonstrations in eight cities on Monday to protest against the imports of Burmese timbers by private companies in the Netherlands. Protestors said they are targetting smaller companies because they want to raise awareness about human rights abuses in Burma, among the private timber companies in the Netherlands.

KNU issues news reports on Burmese military abuses in Karen State
The armed ethnic Karen National Union is issung regular reports on human rights abuses by the Burmese military in Karen State. KNU spokesman Pado Mahn Shar talks about the regular news reports and says that cases of rights abuses in Karen State are increasing with the Burmese military offensive against the Karens rebels has been escalating.

He says the gentlemen agreement for cease-fire between the Burmese military and the KNU has not been working, since there are 2 to 3 clashes every day between the Buremse and the Karen troops. Mahn Shar accuses the Burmese side of not honouring the gentlemen agreement. He said the KNU remains committed to holding peace talks with the Burmese military.

Burmese workers arrested in Malaysia 
About 20 Burmese workers with work permits are being arrested by officials in Kaula Lumpur during an operation against illegal migrant workers in Malaysia. Burmese sources in Kaula Lumpur said the 20 Burmese arrested Monday are holding official documents but they were arrested together with about 50 illegal migrant workers during raids on suspected locations in Kaula Lumpur.

Fund raising event in London for IDPs in Burma
Burmese democracy activists in the UK are organising a fund raising event on 2nd December in London for the Internally Displaced Persons in eastern Burma's Karen State. 

The Burma Democracy Movement Association-UK is organising the event.

Ethnic Shan New Year celebrations held in Lashio and border towns
Ethnic Shan groups on Monday held their traditional New Year celebrations in Lashio City in northern Shan State and also in the border towns with China.  The Shan literature and culture organisations were encourged this year to hold New Year celebrations by the Burmese military regional commander.

Previous years' celebrations were banned by the Buremse military. There were no obstructions by the authorities this year, said the organisers of the celebrations. Organisers were told by the authorities that they are free to hold traditional celebrations as long as they are free from politics.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Malaysia renews demand for Burma to release ASSK
Malaysia Sunday has renewed its demand for Burma to release ASSK.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar reiterated his country's concern for ASSK. He also expressed hope that the recent visit of the UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari to Burma would bring positive developments.

Bush called on ASEAN leaders to urge Burma for democratic reforms
Meeting with ASEAN leaders on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Hanoi, U.S. President Bush addressed the situation in Burma. U.S. officials said the president called on ASEAN leaders to urge Burma give its people greater freedom and an opportunity to participate in the government.

Condoleezza Rice: N. Korea, Burma, should follow Vietnam's example
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged North Korea and Burma to follow the example of Vietnam, which had put the war with the United States behind it in joining the international community and opening its economy to the world.

Speaking in Hanoi at a forum on the sidelines of the APEC summit, Dr. Rice said that if the leaders of North Korea and Burma were to follow the example of Vietnam, they would open a new path of peace and prosperity.

EU plans to deliver Sakharov Prize to ASSK
The European Parliament has decided to send a small delegation to Burma to meet with its pro-democracy leader ASSK to deliver the prize she has won in 1990.

Irish MEP Simon Coveney told the BBC that the EU will request the Burmese government in coming weeks to allow this to happen.

He said the delegation will be composed of three MEPs from three different political groupings in the EU Parliament.

Medical check-up for ASSK allowed
The personal doctor of ASSK has been allowed to see her Thursday for the first time in three months.
The doctor, the only outsider allowed regular contact with ASSK, conducted an ultra-sound examination. No other informations were available.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

ILO to report Burma's forced labor issue to UN Security Council
The ILO says it intends to bring its concerns about the widespread use of forced labor in Burma before the UNSC and the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The ILO says it has decided to pass its files on allegations of forced labour in Burma to the ICC in an attempt to prosecute the ruling military leadership. ILO says some of the forced labour incidents in Burma may be considerd by the ICC as crimes against humanity

The ILO made the announcement Thursday following years of frustration with Burma's government over its unwillingness to crack down on forced labor practice. In June, the ILO demanded that Burma set up a credible mechanism for dealing with forced labor complaints by the end of October - and also threatened to take the issue to the International Court of Justice if the abuses persist.

The ILO called it unacceptable that a member state not only tolerated forced labor, but was itself responsible for it.
The ILO, in its latest report on the issue, referred to what it called the unprecedented gravity of the forced labour situation in Burma.

Although forced labour is officially outlawed in Burma, critics of the ruling military junta say the practice remains widespread, in particular in areas where the military is fighting ethnic rebels.

ASEAN-Bush meeting may cover Burma issue: Indonesia FM
Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda says ASEAN leaders are open to discussing Burma's lack of pogress on democratic reforms during a meeting with US President Bush later this week.

Mr. Bush is to meet seven ASEAN leaders in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, Saturday on the sidlelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

President Bush has urged ASEAN to put more pressure on Burma's military rulers to speed up democratic reforms and stop human rights abuses.

ASEAN governments also have called on Burma to show "tangible progress" on democracy and release political detainees.
Wirayuda says he hopes that there will be developments and changes for democracy in Burma after the visit of UN special envoy Mr. Gambari. Mr. Wirayuda also says he hopes that developments in Burma can be seen before the ASEAN Summit in December.

USDA trying to help political prisoners in Mandalay prison
The military junta's Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) is conducting prison visits in Mandalay and trying to help the political prisoners and their families, said sources in Mandalay.

Mandalay NLD executive Win Mya Mya said USDA members are visiting Mandalay prison and meeting with political prisoners. Political prisoners said the visiting USDA members are offering helps to them. The USDA district and township level executives and members are also visiting the families of the political prisoners and giving financial assistance, Daw Win Mya Mya said.

The USDA members reportedly said they are making the prison visits and offering helps to the political prisoners and their families for national reconciliation. 

Head of military college arrested
Maj Gen. Moe Hein, the head of Burma's National Defense College, has been arrested for corruption, according to sources from Burma.

Sources close to the military say abuse of power and corruption are the reasons for the arrest of Maj-Gen Moe Hein.
One source said Moe Hein is known for taking bribes, ranging from kyats 2 millions to 5 millions, from high-ranking military officers who have attended a course at the NDC specially designed for senior military officers, and are seeking promotions.

The deputy head of the NDC and five other senior military officers were also arrested in connection with the case.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

ILO expresses frustration over Burma
After the Governing Body meeting Wednesday, the ILO has expressed great frustration that Burmese government had not been able to agree on a mechanism to deal with complaints of forced labour within the framework set out in the ILO Conference.

ILO governing body said the Burmese authorities should, as a matter of utmost urgency, conclude with the ILO an agreement on a mechanism to deal with forced labour.

Protests against the Shwe Gas Project in Burma
Activists around the world on Wednesday staged protests against Daewoo International offices and South Korean embassies, demanding Daewoo to leave Burma and to stop funding the Burmese military regime.

Human rights and environment activists are among the protestors and they called for greater respect for human rights and the environment in Burma.

It is claimed that construction of gas pipelines could destroy the environment in the effected areas.
About 100 protestors gathered in front of the South Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and demanded Daewoo to leave Burma.

Similarly, about 50 protesters from the Australian Coalition for Democracy in Burma gathered at the Daewoo office in Sydney, Australia and delivered a protest letter.

About 30 protestors gathered at the Daewoo headoffice in Seoul, South Korea and delivered a statement of protest.
There were also similar protests in Bangkok, Thailand and the Heague in Netherland.

Prison conditions deteriorating in Burma: AAPP
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) Wednesday asked the UN Secretary General and members of UN Security Council to look into the deteriorating prison conditions in Burma.

Prisoners being forced to work as military porters in Burma
Common prisoners in Burma are being used as military porters by the Burmese army in the military offensive in eastern Burma Karen State. Prisoners who escaped to the Thai-Burma border said about 400 prisoners from prisons around the country were recently sent to the military bases in lower Burma and forced to work as military porters in the front lines.  

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Gambari says Burma's rulers need to produce concrete results for political reform
Speaking to reporters in Thailand Monday after returning from Burma, UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari said his four-day trip to Burma focused on getting Burma's military rulers to take concrete steps toward political reform and national reconciliation with the democratic opposition.

He said his first visit earlier this year had been a beginning but hard bargaining was now taking place.
He said a plea had been made for the release of ASSK and other political prisoners.
Mr Gambari said he had had frank and extensive talks with the head of the Burmese military government, senior general Than Shwe.

Mr. Gambari said ASSK is ressonably well but needs more regular medical visits.
Gambari says that ASSK welcomed the UN's continued commitment to address political and humanitarian issues in Burma. Gambari said, "She is very alert. She is concerned not just about her own welfare but the welfare of the people of Myanmar, all of them, and also, of course, the contribution that her party, the NLD, and others can make to peace, development, democracy and enjoyment of human rights."

Gambari said his talks with the military junta - including the top leader, General Than Shwe - were more frank and constructive than in May. He said he laid out UN concerns about Burma's human rights situation and political stagnation.

"The first meeting was diplomatic. It was an opening. But now there is some hard bargaining and give and take. But as I said - and the British have an expression - 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating'. So now it is up to the authorities to have
some concrete results from that visit."

Burma's opposition NLD calls for release of its leader

Burma's main opposition NLD party observed the 86th anniversary of the country's National Day with a renewed call for the release of ASSK.

The NLD held a small ceremony at its headquarters in Rangoon Tuesday. The party  issued a statement calling for the release of ASSK and all political prisoners.

Burma's National Day commemorates the 1920 strike by students, considered to be the start of the nation's movement for independence from Britain.

NLD members from Mandalay division have also held the aniversary of National Day ceremony Tuesday morning.
The 88-Generation Students Group also issued a statement calling for the release of political prisoners and talks for national reconciliation.

Meanwhile, the authorities on Tuesday banned democracy activists, who regularly go to the Shwe Dagon Pagoda every Tuesday to pray for ASSK and other political prisoners, from entering the pagoda.

Human rights activist released
Human rigths activist and former NLD executive U Myint Aye, who was detained by the authorities over one month ago, has been released Monday. U Myint Aye was detained after he issued a statement demanding for the release of the detained 88-generation student leaders.

He said during his detention he was kept in a library at Aung Thabye Aye Camp, where he was treated well as a guest. He said he had to explain to his captors about human rights and his activities in promoting human rights in the country during his 45 days in captivity.

ILO to discuss Burma issues Wednesday
ILO is scheduled to discuss Burma's forced labour issues on Wednesday, said ILO officials. ILO executive director Kari Tapiola said there was no agreement reached between ILO and the Burmese government over forced labour issues during previous meetings and the ILO governing body will discuss Burma's issues Wednesday and make a decision.

Burma remains as a religious freedom violator
The US State Department said Burma, China, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan would remain on the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) regarding religious freedoms.

Vietnam has been taken off the list and Uzbekistan has been added.
A respectable Buddhist Abbot in Rangoon says while Buddhism is the main religion in Burma, there is freedom of worship and there is no obvious discrimination against other religions in Burma. He said he does not know about particular cases on religious persecution.

An ethnic Chin Christian said there are discriminations and persecutions against the Chiristians in Chin State.
A Muslim from western Burma also said there are persecutions against the Muslims in Burma.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

UN Envoy ends visit to Burma
UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Mr. Ibrahim Gambari Ibrahim wrapped up his four-day visit to Burma Sunday, completing his second trip to the country this year. Mr. Gambari says he is very satisfied with his visit to Burma, where he met detained democracy leader ASSK on Saturday.

Earlier Saturday, Gambari traveled to the military regime's new administrative capital Naypyidaw and met with the ruling junta leader senior general Than Shwe.No details of their discussions have been released.

The United Nations says Gambari held frank and extensive talks with General Than Shwe.
On Saturday afternoon, ASSK was escorted from her lakeside compound in a three-car convoy to a nearby government house where Gambari is staying. Burma's police chief accompanied her.

Officials say the meeting between ASSK and Gambari lasted about an hour. No details were made public, but the UN released photos in which ASSK appeared to be healthy. Reports said Gambari relayed the message from General Than Shwe to ASSK.

UN officials say ASSK told Gambari she is in good health but needs more regular medical visits. This was the second time that Mr. Gambari has been allowed to see ASSK. The two last met in May.

Gambari also met Saturday with elders from ASSK's NLD party. NLD spokesperson U Nyan Win said Mr. Gambari explained to the NLD elders that junta leader senior general Than Shwe told him that the country will go ahead with its roadmap.

U Nyan Win says that he is encouraged that the UN Security Council is addressing human rights in the country.
Mr. Gambari has also met with delegates to the national convention being held in Rangoon.
UN officials say Mr. Gambari's assignment was to persuade Burma's military rulers to take tangible steps forward on human rights, democratic reform and national reconciliation.

Mr Gambari's visit took place as the United States plans to introduce a UN Security Council resolution on human rights abuses and lack of reforms in Burma but it has said it will wait until after Mr Gambari's visit before deciding on the wording.

"Mr.Gambari was more of the temporary detainee than temporary visitor of Burmese SPDC government" said Debbie Stothard of the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma.

88 Generation Students leader Jimmy, who proposed to meet Gambari but did not have the chance, said they are not encouraged or impressed by Mr. Gambari's visit.

National Veteran Politicians group member U Win Naing who says Burma is still stuck with political deadlock as both the SPDC and the NLD do not seem to be making compromises

KNU warns to retaliate if attacks continue
The ethnic armed rebels Karen National Union (KNU) says they will retaliate if the Burmese military's attacks on them continue. KNU spokesman Pado Mahn Shar warned the SPDC of counter measures if the attacks in Karen State continue. Meanwhile, exiled Burmese activists rallied in New York to end the attacks on Karen civilians and villages by the Burmese government forces in eastern Burma's Karen State.

ICRC says talks stalled with Burma
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reportedly said that the talks with the military government over prison visits in Burma are now stalled.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Gambari to meet Burmese leaders, ASSK
Senior UN envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, is making his second official visit to Burma. Gambari Thursday met Burmese FM Nyan Win and three other ministers in Rangoon. He is scheduled to meet Burmese junta leader Than Shwe during his four days visit to the country.

The military leaders have promised Gambari a meeting with ASSK during his visit. They last met in May, when Mr Gambari was the first foreigner to be allowed to meet her in more than two years.

Gambari's visit to Burma comes two months after the UNSC put the country's issue on its agenda. The United Nations said earlier this week that it wants to see Burma's military rulers take tangible steps forward on human rights, democratic reforms and national reconciliation. But the Burmese military usually ignores UN criticism and exhortations.

It is unclear what Gambari will be able to accomplish during his four days in the country.
Debbie Stothard of the ASEAN Network in Burma is hopeful that Gambari's visit can make a difference. She says Burma must release all political prisoners, stop its crackdown on minority ethnic groups and open a dialogue with civil society.

Rangoon court issued remand in custody for detained student leaders
The Bahan Township Court in Rangoon has issued a remand in custody for the 5 student leaders detained since September. 

The authorities have not confirmed the move, but the 88-generation students group says the military government is planning to charge the student leaders under the article 5 (J) of the emergency provision act.

The military government has previously said that the activists were being held for questioning in order to prevent internal unrest, instability and terrorism.

Since their leaders arrest, the 88-generation group has organised campaigns for the release of political prisoners in the country and the campaigns were claimed to be widely supported by the people.

Burma urges citizens to report cases of malpractice, corruption
Burma's state-run newspaperd say the government is urging people to report all possible cases of malpractice among staff in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The newspapers said Thursday that if any staff of the ministry commits malpractice involving money, property and even harassment of people, they will be thoroughly investigated.

The Home Affairs Ministry is responsible for security services, police, prisons and welfare. The article included the telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of officials in the ministry for citizens to call.

FAO to supply Burma with crop assistance
The U.N Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) says it will provide technical assistance to Burma for a three-year project to develop the nation's edible oil crop.

The FAO says in a statement released Thursday that the project will be funded through a 12.3 million dollar loan from the OPEC Fund for International Development.

The organization says the goal of the project is to increase Burma's oilseed production and improve oil processing technologies. It says the project will include the construction of two new oil processing plants as well as upgrading existing facilities.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Gambari arrives Burma on Thursday
The UN undersecretary general for political affairs, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, will arrive Burma on Thursday. He is in hopes of meeting with Burma's military leaders and opposition forces in the country including detained opposition leader ASSK.
Briefing reporters on the trip on Tuesday, a UN spokesman said Mr. Gambari hopes his visit will strengthen cooperation between the UN and Burma.
Burma's information minister Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan confirmed the visit, but would not say whether Gambari will be allowed to meet with ASSK.
Mr Gambari was the last foreigner allowed to meet ASSK when he visited Burma in May.

Opposition NLD, ethnic United Nationalities Alliance leaders and 88 generation students' leaders say they would like to meet with Mr. Gambari when he is in Rangoon, although many of them say they are not very optimistic about the visit.

ASSK still not allow to see doctor
NLD spokesman U Lwin said ASSK is still not allowed to see her family doctor for two months, but he said ASSK is believed to be in good health.

Burma among worst countries for Web Censorships
Burma is among the 13 countries listed in the Internet Enemies' List prepared by the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders. The 13 countries are reported as the worst culprits for systematic on-line censorship.

ILO has second option to put Burma issue at ICJ
ILO officials say ILO governing body will decide at its meeting on 15th November whether to bring Burma's forced labour issue at the International Court of Justice. The officials say ILO is still awaiting a reply from Burma on establising a mechanism to handle forced labour complaints in the country.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Hundreds join prayer services in Burma
About 100 people, wearing white and holding candles, Wednesday evening gathered at Maelamu Pagoda in the outskirt of Rangoon for a prayer service, praying for the detained student leaders and for the improvement of political situation in Burma. The 88 Generation Students have urged the people in Burma to pray for the release of political detainees and for peace in the country. 

Similar prayer services are being held in central Burma Chauk, Aung Lan and Pakkoku towns.

Arakan rebels appeared in Calcutta court
34 ethnic Arakanese and Karen rebels, who have been detained on the Andamans and Nicobar Islands since 1998, were on Wednesday produced before a court in Calcutta following an order from the Indian Supreme Court.

The rebels belong to the National Unity Party of Arakans (NUPA).
They were arrested by the Indian army in 1998 near the Landfall Island and charged with smuggling of weapons.
The rebels say they were double-crossed by Indian military intelligence, following improvement of India-Burma relations in the late 1990s.

Burmese activists meet Australian MPs
Activists from the Thai-Burma Border Consortium, a relief organisation that is helping refugees along the Thai-Burma border, and some Australian MPs met at the Australian parliament building in Camberra on 31st October. Discussions were focused on the issues of IDPs and refugees from eastern Burma and how TBBC and the Australian government will organise more relief assistance for the refugees and the IDPs. 

Australia is considering to give $ 500,000 to the TBBC, and is also considering to take in 1400 Burmese refugees this year.

Eighteenth anniversary of All Burma Students Democratic Front
The armed All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) on 1st November held a ceremony to mark its 18th anniversary, at a camp on Thai-Burma border. A statement issued on the occasion said ABSDF will continue its armed struggle against the military dictatorship in Burma, together with the support from the public.

Illegal foreign workers in Malaysia facing violence
A Malaysian human rights group says the civilian police force called 'RELA', organised to arrest the illegal foreign workers in Malaysia, are using extreme force in their arrests. The human rights group SUARAM says there are complaints that members of 'RELA' are using unnecessary violence in rounding up illegal foreign workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Burma. The human rights group says many victims of the violences committed by 'RELA' members are later found to be holding legal and proper documents.

The human rights group is demanding for investigations on the complaints.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burmese activists begin week long prayer vigil
Burma's 88-generation student activists, calling for the release of political prisoners in Burma, have started a prayer vigil in Burma.

Around one-thousand activists and sympathisers wearing white and holding candles have gathered at the famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon marking the start of a weeklong campaign for peace and the freedom of political prisoners. Authorities heightened security at the pagoda but there were no arrests.

Reports from Rangoon say some Christian Churches in Rangoon also prayed for the imprisoned in Burma.
Burmese living in the US also organised a prayer service Sunday in support of the activities by the 88 Generation students.

The South Asian Forum for People's Initiatives has called for the release of ASSK and praised non-violet movements by the 88 Generation Students.

82,000 people displaced in Burma in past year
A new report estimates that 82,000 people have been displaced over the past year in Burma as a result of human rights abuses and atrocities by the government.

The report was released last week by the non-governmental organization, Thailand Burma Border Consortium. The group says Burma's northern Karen State and eastern Pegu Division are the most severely affected areas, with more than 27,000 people displaced due to counter-insurgency operations.

The study says 232 villages have been destroyed, forcibly relocated or abandoned in the past year. It says such actions over the past 10 years have displaced more than a million people.

The group says the study illustrates that Burma's military government is the primary perpetrator of these human rights abuses and is violating its obligations under international humanitarian law.

UN Gambari to visit Burma
Reports say that the UN Under Secretary General Ibrahim Gambari will arrive in Burma on 9 November.
Mr. Gambari was the last non-Burmese to meet ASSK during his previous visit in May.
The news of Mr. Gambari's visit comes a week after a report by the UN criticised the Burmese military government over human rights abuses in the east of the country, and the continued house arrest of ASSK.

A spokesman for the NLD, U Lwin, told the BBC Burmese that he hoped Mr Gambari's visit would force the military leaders in Burma to ease restrictions on ASSK.

Burmese woman jailed 12 years on human trafficking
Burma's state media report that a Burmese woman has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling two young women into prostitution in Malaysia.

The state-run newspaper reports that a Tachileik District court in eastern Burma's Shan state sentenced 41 year old Aye Naw under Burma's anti trafficking in person's law.

The report says she lured the young women by saying she had arranged jobs for them at a restaurant in a near-by Thai border town. Instead, she took them to a Malaysian border town where they were sold into prostitution.

The U.S. State Department lists Burma as a source country for men and women trafficked for purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. While Burma passed anti trafficking laws in 2005, the State Department says the government has made
only minimal progress in prosecuting traffickers.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

British Parliament urges stronger action on Burma
Members of the British parliament have called on the British government to raise Burma's human rights record during Thursday's United Nations Security Council meeting.

During a special session Wednesday in parliament's Westminster Hall, opposition Conservative Party lawmaker Stephen Crabb called on Prime Minister Tony Blair to take a more active role in pressuring Burma's military government on its human rights record.

Another Conservative Party member, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, cited the so-called "dirty list" of British companies doing business with Burma.

He called on the British government to contact the companies and explain that they are merely propping up Burma's government. Britain's minister for Europe, Geoff Hoon, noted the government already discourages companies from investing in Burma.

Burmese PM to visit China
Burmese state media report Thursday that the country's prime minister General Soe Win will attend a meeting in China next week commemorating relations between China and ASEAN nations.

The state-run newspapers say the Chinese government invited General Soe Win to the meeting in Nanning, the gathering that marks the 15th anniversary of relations between China and the ASEAN.

The Burmese state media also report Thursday that China's visiting army chief of staff General Liang Guanglie and his delegation concluded a three-day goodwill visit to the country on Wednesday.

ILO adviser's Burma visit focused on forced labour issues
Francis Maupain, a special adviser for the ILO, left Burma on Tuesday after concluding discussions with the Burmese junta on a possible mechanism for assessing cases of forced labour in the country.

Maupain met with Burmese minister of labour U Thaung and director-generals from other ministries in the hope of reaching a suitable framework to assess cases of forced labour in Burma. 

Richard Horsey, the ILO's representative in Rangoon, said the discussions with Burmese authorities during Mr. Maupain visit were not encouraging but he hopes there will be more discussions with the Burmese authorities in the future.

Students group to launch prayer campaign for detainees
The 88 Generation Students group is organising the week of "Multiple Religious Prayer" after the group ended its campaign to gather signatures on a petition calling for the release of political prisoners.

During the event, from 29 October to 4 November, sympathizers will be urged to wear white clothing and hold candlelight vigils in places of worship. The organizers say prayers will be offered for a peaceful resolution of the country's political crisis and for political prisoners.

Opposition NLD and the other opposition groups welcome the new campaign.

Burma accuses activists group of manipulation in signature campaign
Burma's state-run newspapers said campaigners of the signature campaign, organised by the 88 Generation Students group, have manipulated people in obtaining signatures.

The government's newspapers Thursday said NLD member 'Kamauk Shwe Maung' has used manipulative methods in collecting signatures in Mandalay. Shwe Maung denied the allegation, saying he only collected signatures among activists and opposition sympathisers.

The organisers claimed that they have collected over 550,000 signatures during the three weeks long campaign, which ended this week.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

No agreement between ILO and Burma over forced labour
Francis Maupain, a special advisor for the ILO has visited Burma to discuss with the military authorities over a possible mechansim for assessing forced labour complaints in the country.

ILO' Executive Director Mr Kari Tapiola said there has been no agreement reached to set up a mechanism to handle forced labour complaints. Issues such as ILO's role to deal with the complaints and strong presence of ILO in Burma could not be agreed, said Mr Tapiola to the BBC.

ILO has called on the Burmese junta to agree to a mechanism by the end of October. The findings of Mr Maupin's visit will be reported to the ILO's Governing Body meeting in November.

ICRC met Burmese home minister
The ICRC's resident representative for Burma has met Burma's home minister on 23rd October. Discussion details were not available. The ICRC has not been allowed to conduct prison visits in Burma since last year. Conditions in the prisons in Burma are reportedly in deteriorating situation since the ICRC had to stop prison visits.  

Chin human rights group praises US waiver for Burmese refugees
An ethnic Chin human rights group has praised the U.S. State Department decision to waive anti-terrorism laws to allow ethnic Chin refugees from Burma to resettle in the United States.

The Chin Human Rights Organization issued a statement Wednesday saying the ruling will allow the refugees a chance to start a new life and have a brighter future.

The State Department said the exemption allows the United States to resume processing of thousands of vulnerable ethnic Chin refugees.

The State Department twice issued a similar waiver to allow ethnic Karen refugees from Burma to be resettled in the United States.

NMSP supports UNSC move
The ethnic cease-fire New Mon State Party says they do not agree with the Mon splinter group which issued a statement this week denouncing the UNSC move to include Burma on UNSC agenda.

NMSP says they support UNSC involvement in Burma. NMSP has stopped attending the junta's national convention and only has sent observers to the NC.

Political Prisoner Dr. Than Nyein ill in prison
Political prisoner Dr. Than Nyein is seriously ill in Prome Prison, his wife told the VOA. Dr. Than Nyein, an NLD MP, is suffering from high blood pressure, urinary and gastric diseases, but he is not allowed to receive proper medical treatments, said his wife Daw Khin Aye.

Dr. Than Nyein was arrested in 1997 and sentenced to seven years imprisonment for arranging a public rally. After his sentence expired, the authorities repeatedly extended his detention with Act - 10A.

'The Lady of Burma' play to be staged in London 
A new play about ASSK will be staged at the Old Vic Theatre, London on 12 November.
The play is organised by the Burma Campaign UK. The play is a one-woman play starring Liana Gould and written and directed by Richard Shannon.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

China's Army Chief of Staff meets Burmese leaders
Burmese state media say China's Army Chief of General Staff, General Liang Guanglie, has met with Burmese leaders in Naypyidaw.

The Burmese official newspapers say General Liang led a Chinese delegation on a goodwill visit to Burma Sunday. The paper says Liang met with Burma's leader, General Than Shwe, and other top officials.

No details of the talks were released.
Burma's observers say that the visit by China's army chief is possibly to help mend the sour relationship between Burma and the UN. China was known as the main player in arranging the visit of UN under-secretary general Gambari to Burma in May.

China is Burma's strongest ally, providing the country with economic and military assistance.

The signature campaign in Burma has collected more than 530,000 signatures
The signature campaign in Burma, designed for a petition calling for the release of political prisoners, ended Monday with more than 530,000 signatures collected.

Student activists who organised the campaign said the signatures they have collected represent the wills of the 50 millions populace in the country. The student activists say they will send the signatures to the UN and the military junta.

The petition asks the military government to free political prisoners and to hold talks with opposition forces.
Speaking to the BBC, 88 Generation student leader Ko Mya Aye said they were seeking a peaceful political transformation in Burma and encouraging the people to participate in political activities.

The campaign began on October 2 after six pro-democracy activists were arrested on accusation of inciting unrests.

ASSK spends 11 years under detention
Burmese democracy icon ASSK on Tuesday has spent exactly 11 years under detention, counting the days of her detention.

Democracy activists around the world are planning ceremonies to honour her determination and courage.
The student union at the London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) will present her with an honorary presidency, and the Irish activists are planning to hold a candle-lit vigil in Dublin.

The Rafto House in Norway is to open a room named ASSK's room on Tueday in honour of ASSK. The room will serve as a resource centre for exiled Burmese democracy activists.

Fighting between SSA troops and splinter group
There was a fighting on 20th October between troops of ethnic rebels Shan State Army and members a splinter group, which recently surrendered to the Burmese military. SSA troops attacked a camp of the splinter group led by Col. Mein Sein, now a local militia troop in eastern Shan State. Two members of the splinter group were reportedly killed and three arrested by the SSA troops.

Burma remains among the countries with least press freedom
Burma was among the top 5 countries with least press freedom, said a report of the Paris-based RSF media rights group. Burma ranks 164 out of the list of 168 countries surveyed by RSF in 2006. 

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Pinheiro presents Burma human rights situation report at UN
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, presented his annual human rights situation report on Burma at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday.

The report includes the recent arrests of former student leaders and the death of political prisoner Ko Thet Win Aung while serving a 59-year term.

Mr.Pinheiro also renews his appeal to the Burmese authorities to authorise the ICRC to continue to carry their activities in the country. He also said the persecution of opposition members and human rights advocates in Burma is an obstacle to a transition to democracy. The envoy said the stability of the country is not well-served by the detention of political leaders or severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms.

Mr. Pinheiro said the failure to investigate rights abuses was particularly acute in ethnic areas like eastern Burma, where the plight of civilians was a source of worry.

He also highlighted the continued house arrest of ASSK.
Mr. Pinheiro said he has not been permitted to conduct a fact-finding mission in Burma in three years.
In response, the Burmese UN representative told the General Assembly that the report from Mr. Pinheiro on Burma lacks objectivity and contains unfounded allegations.

The Burmese UN representative said no country could claim to be perfect where human rights were concerned, and that Burma remained committed and co-operative. The Burmese representative said they have been making every effort to promote and protect the human rights of the people, especially in fulfilling basic requirements such as food, clothing and shelter.

The Burmese representative also said Mr. Pinheiro has visited Burma on six occasions, with the government extending the fullest possible cooperation.

Pinheiro did note that the Burmese government has recently responded to a number of official communications. He expressed hope that the cooperation would include an invitation for a visit before his mandate ends.

Burmese students welcome Mr. Pinheiro report
88 Generation Students Group welcomes Mr Pinheiro's report and calls for proper treatment of political prisoners inside Burma's jails.

Ko Mya Aye, one of the student activists, told the BBC Burmese that Mr Pinheiro's six-year long efforts helped improved the situation of political prisoners but much more was still needed to be done to get proper recognition for political prisoners.

Criminalisation on human rights activists and student leaders was unacceptable, Ko Mya Aye said in the interview with the BBC Burmese.

Without proper treatment on political prisoners, the tragedies will continue in Burma, said Ko Mya Aye.

Thet Win Aung's memorial services held
Family, friends and colleagues held religious ceremonies to remember political prisoner Ko Thet Win Aung who died in Mandalay prison last week.

The family of Thet Win Aung held a religious memorial service in Rangoon on Sunday. Friends and colleagues in the Thai-Burma border town of Maesod held a religious ceremony at a Buddhist monastery to remember their fallen comrade. 

Exiled Burmese activists in London also commemorate the 7th day memorial service for Thet Win Aung.
Western governments have expressed their concern over the death of Thet Win Aung.

Police threatened participants of the signature campaign
Supporters of the signature campaign are reportedly threatened by the local police in Zigon township in lower Burma Bago Division.

The campaign calling for the release of student leaders and political prisoners have gathered more than 350,000 sigantures from the people and will be finalised Monday.

Released activist talked about prison conditions
U Thet Wai, an activist who was released from prison last week, told the BBC Burmese Service that the conditions inside the jail were appalling and corruption was rife among prison officials.

Two pro-democracy activists, U Ohn Than and U Thet Wai have been released from prisons after serving two-year jail sentences.

U Ohn Than was jailed for staging solo demonstration in front of a UN office in Rangoon and U Thet Wai, NLD leader for Rangoon's San Chaung Township was jailed for helping U Ohn Than.

US to allow Chin refugees from Burma to be resettled in United States
A statement from the U.S. State Department says the US Secretary of State has waived an anti-terrorism law to allow ethnic-Chin refugees from Burma to be resettled in the United States, even if they provided material support to the ethnic rebels.

However, the statement says Chin refugees living in Malaysia, Thailand and India must meet all other eligibility requirements for resettlement, including that they pose no danger to the United States.

The State Department twice issued a similar waiver to allow ethnic Karen refugees from Burma to be resettled in the United States.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Pinheiro to present Burma's human rights report at UN
UN's human rights envoy for Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro will present his annual human rights situation report at the UN General Assembly on Friday.

Dr Thaung Tun of the NCGUB said the report includes the massacre in Depayin and asks the UN General Assembly to take necessary measures to stop Burmese junta from continuing atrocities against civilians during armed conflicts in eastern Burma. Sources say Mr. Pinheiro highlights the plight of displaced ethnic Karens in his report

The report may carry weight when the UN Security Council considers Burma's case, Dr Thaung Tun added.

Burmese signature campaign supporter jailed
Student activists in Burma say one of their supporters has been jailed for three years for collecting signatures in protest against the detention last month of prominent student leaders.

The 88 Generation Students Group said the man, Win Ko, was arrested near Rangoon and convicted, without access to a lawyer, on charges of gambling and obstructing the work of authorities.

The signature campaign was launched after the arrests in September of five leading activists from the 88 Generation group.

The organisers claim they have collected more than 300,000 signatures.

Wilton Park Conference on Burma
The Wilton Park Conference on Burma will be held from 2 to 4 of November. The conference will focus issues on responding to the problems of Burma.

The conference will discuss how international community can provide effective humanitarian assistance to the country, the political implications of engaging with the military government, for the prevailence of civil societies in Burma and who will work for changes in the country.

Government officials from some western countries will attend the conference together with Burma experts, representatives from international organisations and Brumese political activists.

Protesters release from Burmese jails
Two activists, who were imprisoned for staging separate lone protests in front of the UNDP office in Rangoon, were released from prisons this week.

NLD members U Thet Wai and U Ohn Than were arrested and sentenced two years ago for staging demonstrations in front of the UN office.

Burma opens gem emporium to generate foreign currency
Burma's government has opened a gem auction, where it says it hopes to earn 75 million dollars in sales to foreign buyers.

The nation's military government holds the trade fairs twice each year as a source of foreign currency.
The managing director of the state-run gem authority Thein Swe says the latest fair in Rangoon will feature nearly 5,000 gems, including jade, pearls and raw stones.

He says the fair will draw buyers from China, Thailand and eight other nations. Some Western gem dealers also are expected to attend, despite sanctions by Western governments against trade with Burma.

Revered Buddhist Mon Abbot passed away in Thailand
The revered Buddhist ethnic Mon Abbot U Raza Ottama, passed away on 18th October in Thailand at the age of 92.  The ethnic Mon Abbot had moved from Burma to Thailand 30 years ago and is widely revered in Thailand both by Burmese and Thai people including the royal family of Thailand.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Detained Student Leader Min Ko Naing's birthday ceremony held in Rangoon
At least 300 activists gathered Wednesday in Rangoon at the home of jailed student leader Min Ko Naing to mark his 44th birthday. A religious ceremony was held and guests were served with traditional foods.

Witnesses said plainclothes police officers monitored the event but they did not take any action.
Organizers called on supporters to wear white shirts in sympathy of the detained student leaders. They also said they had collected over 300,000 signatures for a petition to demand the release of all political prisoners in the country.

'White Expression' campaign ended with success: activists
Leaders of 88-generation students group claim success on their effort to convince the military government to release their colleagues under detention.

The 'White Expression' movement called on the general public to wear white shirts to express their intention for changes in the country is clean as white.

Ko Mya Aye, one of the leaders who has involved in the campaign, said he himself has witnessed massive support on their movement at least in Rangoon and Mandalay.

'White Expression' is an offshoot programme which is an integral part of 'Signature Campaign', a movement to collect signatures of the public demanding the release of student leaders and to initiate political dialogues leading towards national reconciliation.

Activists say they have collected more than 300,000 signatures and the campaign continues for another week.
Jimmy, another student activist who is also actively involved in the campaigns, said the government can not solve the country's problems by detaining the activists.

Northcote Parkinson Fund calls for release of Min Ko Naing
At the 2006 Civil Courage prize award ceremony, two award winners of 2005 Min Ko Naing and Russian journalist Anna Politovskaya were praised for their courage.

This year's award was given to Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais.
The trustee of Northcote Parkinson Fund who sponsored the prizes told the BBC Burmese that they are worried about Min Ko Naing's health and urged the military regime to free the students unconditionally and immediately.

US troubled by the death of Ko Thet Win Aung
The United States said it was "deeply troubled" by the death of jailed activist Thet Win Aung in Burma.
A State Department statement reads, "This death demonstrates the tragic price the people of Burma are forced to pay for opposing the repressive policies of the regime and standing up for their human and democratic rights."

The United States also "condemns the continued detention of the six pro-democracy activists arrested in September: Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kywe, Min Zeya, Pyone Cho, and Myint Aye.

UNHCR encouraged by new Thai policy on Burmese refugees
The office of the UNHCR says it is encouraged by the high priority the new government of Thailand is giving to the plight of Burmese refugees in Thailand.

The UN agency says Thailand's new prime minister told a meeting of UN agency heads in Bangkok last week that one of his administration's top priorities is improving conditions in the nine refugee camps run by his government.

The UNHCR Tuesday urged Thailand to issue identity cards to all 140,000 refugees now living in Thai refugee camps and to allow them to move outside the camps to look for work. The agency said such a move could also help Thailand meet its need for a larger workforce.

Prisoners disguised and forced to work
Burmese authorities disguised prisoners as soldiers and fire fighters, and forcing them to work in road repair works in western Burma's Arakan State, news from the state said.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burmese student activist dies in prison
Burmese student activist Thet Win Aung, who is serving a 59-year prison term, has died in prison.
Thet Win Aung's father U Win Maung said Special Branch police officers had informed the family of the death, but no detail was given on the circumstances of the death. He speculated that Thet Win Aung might have had a heart attack after hearing news that his brother Pyone Cho, also a student leader, had recently been arrested.

Amnesty International said it is deeply concerned by Thet Win Aung's death in Mandalay Prison and called on authorities to investigate the circumstances surrounding it.
Thet Win Aung had been imprisoned since 1998 for organizing student protests. Ko Thet Win Aung was arrested in 1998 and sentenced to 52 years, which was extended to 59 years subsequently. He had suffered torture during interrogation and has been suffering from several illnesses making him unable to walk unassisted.

Ko Thet Win Aung's older brother Ko Pyone Cho is also a famous student leader with the '88 Generation Students Group' and has been detained by the authorities since last month.

Burma accuses 'big nations' of threatening the country
Burmese junta's secretary-1 General Thein Sein says "some big nations" are threatening Burma's culture and nationalist spirit.
In comments published in Burma's state-run media, General Thein Sein said some nations are using their wealth, technology and influence in the world news media to politically and culturally influence Burma. He also said outside powers are negatively influencing the country's youth. He did not name the countries.

Burmese authorities interrupt a religious ceremony in Rangoon
The local authorities at Rangoon North Okkalapa Township interrupted a Katina robe offering religious ceremony organised by former members of Democracy and Peace Party (DPP) at a local monastery and interrogated the monks and their followers.

DPP former members organised the religious ceremony at the monastery to offer donations to the monks. About 400 devotees including NLD leaders and 88 generation students attended the event.

At the near end of the event, members of Special Branch police agents, pro-junta USDA members and local authorities came to the monastery and interrogated the organisers, and then told them to stop the ceremony.

AAPP takes up activist Myint Aye's case with UN representative
Thailand based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) Monday took up the case of a Burmese human rights activist Myint Aye, arrested last month by Burmese authorities, with the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders.

Myint Aye, who was taken away by Special Branch police agents following the arrest of five 88 generation student leaders, has not been in touch with his family and his whereabouts is unknown, said the AAPP.

The AAPP hopes that after the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders reviews Myint Aye's case, they will question the military regime in Burma about the nature of the charges against him and the reason for his continued detention.

Myint Aye has been arrested four times prior to his current detention and was a former NLD chairman of Rangoon Kyimyindine Township. The latest arrest of Myint Aye came after a human rights group led by Myint Aye issued a statement regarding the re-arrest of 88 generation students Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kywe, Min Zeya and Pyone Cho.

Myint Aye had begun his activities in 2005 by talking and explaining to people, particularly youths about the United Nations declaration on Human Rights.

Floods leave worries of diseases in Burma
The water level has been receding in the worst affected areas in central Burma but many people cannot yet return to their homes and there are worries of water-borne diseases.

The BBC Burmese has interviewed a resident of Let Pan Village in Kyaukse Township, who said official relief help has started to arrive with nurses dispatched to treat the people.

Thousands of people stay in makeshift camps along Rangoon-Mandalay Highway as their homes are still submerged.
The water had risen quickly but receding slowly, the local people told the BBC.


Burma removed from money-laundering blacklist
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international financial watchdog, has removed Burma from a list of nations that do not cooperate in the global fight against money laundering. The announcement was made on Friday. The Paris-based FATF, which works to stem the flow of drug money and terrorist funding, said Burma had made good progress in implementing its anti-money-laundering system.

Twenty-three countries were listed in 2001 as non-cooperative. Burma had been the last remaining nation on the list.
The Burmese military government has welcomed the move, but Burma's Police Colonel Sit Aye, who heads the country's trans-national crimes suppression task force, said that it could do more if the United States were to end its ban on the use of dollars by Burma.

Col Sit Aye said that the private Asia Wealth Bank and Myanmar Mayflower Bank - accused by the United States of money laundering and of being linked to drug traffickers - were deregistered in 2005.

The chairman of the private Myanmar Universal Bank was given a life sentence last year under the money laundering law, the police colonel said.

Col Sit Aye also said property transactions in the country would be scrutinised for money laundering and tax evasion.
Burmese people have to rely on illegal money transfer services in making money transfer between Burma and foreign countries, due to unreasonable banking and foreign currency regulations in Burma.

Earlier this year, the European Union criticized Burma's efforts to end money laundering, calling them insufficient.

UNODC says Burma's opium production declining
The UNODC says poppy cultivation in Burma has plunged this year, with production falling 34% since 2005.
The agency said that opium cultivation in Burma fell to just over 21,000 hectares in 2006.
The U.N. and Burmese government figures say that opium poppy cultivation in the notorious "Golden Triangle" - where Thailand, Laos and Burma's border meet - has dropped 85 percent since 1998.

Ethnic group says opium production increasing in Shan and Kayah States
Despite the UNODC's report saying that there is reduction in opium production, the Ethnic Youth Network group says there are more opium poppy fields in the townships in Southern Shan State and Kayah State in eastern Burma.

The group accused the regional military and people's militia forces as levying taxes on the opium production.
A Shan resident in Taunggyi said the poppy cultivations are shifting from the border areas to the inner villages and the destructions of poppy plantations in the media are only to convince the outside world.

Student activists in petition drive
Pro-democracy 88-generation student activists in Burma say the petition campaign calling for the release of detained political activists and for political dialogue in the country has gathered more than 220,000 signatures so far.

Kyaw Min Yuu @ Jimmy, one of the campaign's organizers, says the petition is a way for people to participate peacefully in politics.

The signature campaign and the 'white expression' campaign were seen as a rare show of protest in Burma.
Campaign organisers say that the campaings are gaining momentum and more people are now taking part in the campaigns.

Floods hit many parts of Burma
Floods wreak havoc in many cities and townships of Burma.
The worst affected areas are Mandalay and Kyaukse townships in central Burma, Naung Shwe Township in Shan States, and Kyauk Tan Township in Rangoon Division.

The local people in upper Burma said the floods were due to the opening of water gates of dams by the authorities in attempts to prevent the dams from being busted.

Local residents say there are still no efforts by the authorities to assist the flood victims.

Prisoner porters fled from Burmese military troops
Groups of prisoners who were used as porters for the Burmese army in the offensive against Karen rebel groups in lower Burma's Taungoo area have escaped to Thai-Burma border.

They told the BBC Burmese that they were treated inhumanely by the army.
At least 600 prisoners were taken from prisons in Myaung Mya, Insein and Myit Kyi Nar with the promise of reducing their sentences significantly, said the prisoners.

They said they did not receive enough food and some of those who fell sick were shot dead.
Burmese government switched to use prisoners in stead of civilians as military porters, to carry supply and ammunitions for their soldiers in the front lines, after outcry from human rights groups.

Exiled Burmese groups attend IPU conference in Geneva
Representatives from of exiled Burmese groups are attending the conference of Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva to testify human rights situations in Burma.

The Burmese democracy forces have asked the IPU to pressure Russia and China to support Burma's democracy movement.

Young Monks Union formed in Burma
The newly reformed Young Monks Union of Burma issued a statement this weekend, calling the military government to heed the people's desire for democracy or face the consequences. A responsible monk of the dissident Young Monks Union said the monks union was reorganised in August this year and they now have over 500 members across the country.

There are also reports that young generation students have recently formed the University Correspondence Students Union and the University Students Union in Rangoon.   


UK government's human rights report highlights abuses in Burma 
The UK government Thursday issued official annual human rights report, which focused on six countries including Buma with poor human rights records.

The photo of the jailed ethnic Shan SNLD leader Khun Tun Oo was inserted on the cover page of the 356-page report, an indication of the UK government's attention on human rights situation in Burma. The report highlights the detention of over 1000 political prisoners in the country including ASSK, the mounting pressures on the main opposition NLD, the military aggressions in the ethnic Shan and Karen regions and deteriorating relationship with the ILO, which is working to eradicate force labour practice in the country. The report also mentioned that the UK would continue its efforts in bringing Burma before the UN Security Council.     
Burma Campaign UK, the London-based campaign group, however, accused the British government of doing little to press the Burmese military junta to introduce political reform.

The group issued its "Alternative Human Rights Report" on Thursday to coincide with the government's report.
The BCUK criticised the government report, saying it lacked priority for human rights in general, and showed a disparity in approach.

The group also charged that, with Britain ranking as the second largest investor in Burma, the British government "inexplicably refuses to impose unilateral investment sanctions."

The government's report explicitly says the UK government does not encourage trade and investment with Burma.
The BCUK nevertheless recognized Britain's leading role within the EU for stronger measures against the Burmese regime and its efforts to bring Burma before the UN Security Council.

3-D Fund starts work in Burma
The EU backed 3D fund, designed to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in Burma, officially starts its work in the country Thursday with a signing ceremony of MOU with the Burmese authorities in the new administrative capital Naypyidaw.

Burmese junta slows to respond to diseases: US researchers
Dr Chris Beyrer of Johns Hopkins University and colleagues collected data inside and outside Burma and found that the military government is impeding the health community's efforts to control the threats of infectious diseases in the country. They said many children are suffering from infectious diseases, which the junta is slow to tackle. They found the junta's investment in healthcare is too little compared to what it is spending on the military.

Dr Beyrer told the BBC Burmese that the regime's restrictions on the local and international NGOs seriously limit the help they can offer to the people. In such situation, the international donors could not continue funding for activities in Burma, Dr Beyrer said.

Teachers in Rangoon barred from the political campaigns
Teachers at Dagon University in Rangoon have been prohibited from taking part in the petition campaigns led by the 88-generation student group to demand the release of their leaders.

A leader of the students group said Thursday that teachers at Dagon University have been told not to sign petitions that have been circulating since Tuesday. In addition, they have been required to sign a document stating that they will not participate in the petition campaigns.

As of Thursday, the student group has collected about 210,000 signatures from Rangoon and other cities across the country, according to the student leaders. The campaign, initially designed to finish on October 14, will now be extended to October 23 due to difficulties in communicating with people in rural areas of Burma, said the student leaders.

Hundreds of people in cities across the country have also participated in the 'White Expression' campaign despite the group's limited ability to publicise it, said the student leaders.

Ethnic Arakan party held 18th founding anniversary ceremony in Rangoon
The ethnic Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) Thursday held a ceremony in a Buddhist monastery in Rangoon to mark the group's 18th founding anniversary. The ceremony also coincides with the birthday of the group's general secretary U Aye Thar Aung.    

About 200 people, many of them political activists and wearing white shirts to express their support for the 'white expression' campaign organised by the 88-generation students, attended the ceremony.

Burmese troops move in to ethnic ceasefire areas
Burmese junta troops are moving in to areas close to the Mon and Kachin ceasefire groups, said sources in Burma.


NC resumes with criticisms on the US, UN and the NLD
The national convention has resumed in Burma since Tuesday and the opening day gathering was mainly focused on criticising the US, the UNSC and the main opposition NLD, reports from Burma said.

On the first general assembly of the current gathering, a delegate from the ceasefire National Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K) criticised the NLD for boycotting the NC and accused the main opposition party of seeking power by a short cut.

An NLD spokesman denies the accusation and said the party is only seeking a more meaningful political dialogue in the country.

The NDA-K chairman, contacted by RFA, said he did not know in advance that the NDA-K delegate was to criticise the NLD at the NC.

There are reports that out of 25 ceasefire groups, which attended the May 2004 national convention, there are only 19 groups now attending the current gathering. There was no official explanation why there was a decrease in the number of ceasefire groups attending the NC.

Ethnic ceasefire New Mon State Party (NMSP) is attending the NC only as an observer.
The other ceasefire groups which are not on the attendees list at the current NC are Palaung State Liberation Party (PSLP), Shan State Nationals People Liberation Organisation (SSNPLO), Mao Thai Army (MTA) and Shan State Special Region 7.

Students' campaign continues in Burma
88-generation students' leader Mya Aye says that they are having supports from the people on the 'white expression' campaign and the 'signature campaign' that have collected over two hundred thousand signatures.

Exiled Burmese activists from Norway held a tele-conference with 88-generation student leaders inside Burma in support of their ongoing campaigns in Burma.

One of the organizers from Norway told the BBC Burmese that chatting with overseas Burmese is not violating any laws and they wish activists in other countries will follow as part of an international movement.

Reports from Burma say that the authorities still have not intervened in the campaigns and there was only one report of 2 NLD members from lower Burma Lepadan Township were arrested for their active moves in the campaigns.

Flooding in Burma kills at least 10
Heavy monsoon rains over the past several days have left at least 10 people dead in Burma.
State-run media in Burma report that at least 10 people have died in flooding in and around the central city of Mandalay in recent days. The reports say flooding disrupted train service in the area including Rangoon-Mandalay rail link and has closed roads.

3 D Fund to begin operation in Burma
The 3 Diseases Fund is to start its operations in Burma on Thursday. The US$ 100 million 3-D Fund replaces the Global Fund, which withdrawn from Burma last year due to restrictions in the country on foreign aid workers. The UK, EU member states and Australia are the main financiers of the new 3-D Fund.


Burma restarts constitutional convention
The military government in Burma has reopened its national convention aimed at drafting a new constitution. At the opening ceremony, Lieutenant-General Thein Sein, chairman of the NC commission, strongly criticised the US and the United Nations Security Council for putting Burma on UNSC's agenda. Thein Sein also criticized pro-democracy activists he said were trying to undermine the government.

The convention, attended by a-thousand handpicked delegates, has been meeting intermittently for the last thirteen years.

The NC commission secretary Brig-gen Kyaw Hsan said he hoped the constitution will be completed soon if there are no obstacles.

The main opposition NLD boycotts the proceedings, but NLD spokesperson Nyan Win said that the door for dialogue with the government is always open.

Meanwhile the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan calls on the military regime to make the proceedings more credible and inclusive.

A BBC correspondent who has been given permission to attend the gathering says the convention been widely criticised as a tool for legitimising the military's hold on power, but the military authorities say it is the only forum under which Burma's future can be discussed.

Burma analyst Prof Robert Taylor said the convention was nearing completion, and only history would tell if the constition out of the convention is suitable for Burma.

Meanwhile, exiled Burmese pro-democracy activists in India and Malaysia staged demonstrations against the NC in Burma.

EU demands Burma to free ASSK
The European Union has again pressed Burma to free ASSK.
Speaking in Kuala Lumpur, E.U. External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner urged Burma to change its policies, release ASSK and other political prisoners and start a democratization process.
She also called on members of the ASEN to pressure Burma toward pro-democratic reforms.
The ASEAN mainly focuses on improving the region's economies through trade and investment deals, but it has also pressed Burma to improve its human rights record and pursue democratic reforms.

'White Expression' campaign begins in Burma
The 88-generation students say people are joining the 'White Expression' campaign in defiance of the detention of student leaders and political activists in the country. 

Meanwhile, two NLD member were reportedly arrested in lower Burma's Letpadan township for their role in the ongoing signature campaign, launched last week by the 88-generation students group to appeal for the release of their leaders.

Student leaders say that more and more people are joining the signature campaign and the 'white expression' campaign. 

Floods in the surrounding areas of Mandalay
Reports from central Burma say that heavy rains have caused floods in some of the surrounding townships of Mandalay. Some water dams were burst due to continuous rains in the last few days and the surrounding areas were submerged. Some bridges were damaged and road transports were disrupted in some townships, said the reports. There were also reports of casulties, but the number of deaths was not confirmed.   


Opponents to the National Convention will be crushed: Burmese minister
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Burmese information minister Brigadier-General Kyaw Hsan said all those who oppose the National Convention will be crushed.

The on-again, off-again constitutional talks in Burma, which has been going on for thirteen years, will resume for the tenth time on Tuesday.

Burma's chief judge told reporters Sunday that the delegates will be debating, among other things, the rights of citizens and the role of the military, which has ruled Burma since 1962.

The convention is the first stage of a 7-step road map initiated by the military towards democratic reform in the country. Opposition NLD party has boycotted the convention, saying it is aimed merely at entrenching the military's hold on power.

Professor David Steinberg of the Georgetown University says that the constitution that will come out of the National Convention will only serve the purpose of the military to prolong their rule.

Meanwhile, the UNSC is about to hear debate on the lack of reform in Burma. The ASEAN has also been putting pressure on the generals in Burma to make genuine moves toward democracy.

Carl Thayer, a professor from the University of New South Wales, says the main reason for holding the convention is to ease the international pressure on the regime.

Even as it prepares for the convention, the regime has arrested several prominent pro-democracy activists. Last month, the military detained 5 prominent student leaders.

Human rights groups say the arrested activists were only attempting to open a "dialogue" with the military, in order to put forward opinions on the convention.

One human rights activist says the arrests were a means of silencing the opposition, in order to get some of the convention's delayed objectives completed.

The arrests have triggered an unusual campaign of defiance in the country, with tens-of-thousands of people signing a petition calling for the release of the detainees.

The Burmese information minister told the press conference Sunday that the military regime will hand over power to the people after drafting the constitution as required by the current situation in Burma.

Asked whether neighbouring Thailand's situation to handover power to the people within one year after the military coup will help acclerate Burma's democratic process, the minister said although the military's intention is the same, the situation in Burma is not like Thailand.

The United Nations, meanwhile, has confirmed that U.N. Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari, is due to visit Burma in early November. Gambari was in Burma in May on a special assignment from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Students launch 'White Expression' campaign
The dissident 88-generation students group in Burma is launching a campaign to demand the release of their leaders, who are being detained since two weeks ago.

The group is asking people across Burma to wear white shirts for a week starting on Tuesday until October 18 which is the 44th birthday of one of the detained student leaders, Min Ko Naing.

A member of the 88 Students Group said that the campaign is called 'White Expression' to signify the honesty and devotion of the students for the good of the country.

Signature campaign on going in Burma
The 88-generation student leaders in Rangoon said over 120,000 people have already participated in the signiture campaign, appealing for the release of political prisoners and to start talks for national reconciliation.

Burma has no nuclear tie with North Korea: Information minister
Burma's information minister Kyaw Hsan told reporters Sunday that there is no tie between Burma and North Korea to development nuclear technology in Burma.


Burma says UN will have no effect on national convention
Burma's information minister says the recent action by the United Nations Security Council to add Burma to its agenda will have no effect on the national convention set to resume on Tuesday.

General Kyaw Hsan, Burma's information minister and secretary of the convention's convening commission, also told reporters at a press conference Sunday that there would be no dialogue between the military government and the opposition NLD and vowed to "crush" any opposition to the national convention.

He said the constitutional convention, which the NLD has boycotted, would be the best place for discussion.

Signature campaign gathered momentum in Burma
88-generation student leaders said they had collected more than 110,000 signatures from across the country for a petition to the military government for the release of their detained leaders.

Prominent writers, artists and politicians such as Ludu Daw Ahmar, Thakhin Tin Mya, U Aye Thar Aung, Maung Wun Tha, Tharawaddy San San Nwe and Zarganar were among those who signed the petition.

The signature campaign was launched last week following the arrest of 88-generation students leaders, Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kywe, Min Zayya and Pyone Cho. The military government says the student leaders are being held under questioning to prevent "unrest" and "sabotage." Burma's state-run media last week has accused the five student leaders and their associates of creating instability in the country and having ties with exiled opposition groups.

The 88-generation students group dismissed the charges as groundless.

'White Expression' campaign to be launched by student leaders
Student leaders said they will launch a 'white expression' campaign to express public supports for the detained student leaders and to demand for the release of all detained political prisoners. The 88-generation students group has urged supporters to wear white coloured clothings starting 10th October.

Meanwhile, veteran politicians in Rangoon wrote an open letter to Senior Gen. Than Shwe, urging him to begin political talks with the opposition and to release 88 generation student leaders.

EU calls on Burmese government to release student leaders
The European Union is calling on Burma's military government to release five detained student activists.
EU officials said in a statement issued on Thursday that the arrests caused deep concerns.
They say a genuine process of democratization can only be achieved by dialogue between the government and other political or societal forces.

ASEAN lawmakers urge UN to press for Burma reform
Lawmakers representing Asia's Inter-Parliamentary Burma Caucus have appealed to the UN Security Council to force Burma's military government to make democratic reforms.

Representatives from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines told reporters in New York last week that the situation in Burma is becoming intolerable and the nation is becoming a security threat to the region and the world.

Thai graft investigators probe loans to Burma
An anti-corruption committee established by Thailand's military coup leaders is investigating an alleged loan or loans made by the Thai Export-Import Bank to Burma's military government.

Thai media reports say the Assets Examination Committee is looking into details of the loaning of at least 100 million dollars to Burma.

The reports says the loans may have been designed to strengthen the Burmese operations of the Shin Corp telecommunications company, then owned by the family of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.


88 generation students issue statement on the detention of leaders
The 88-generation students group issued a statement late Thursday, demanding an explanation from the authorities for the detention of their three leaders and urged for their immediate and unconditional release.

The three student leaders, Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Htay Kywe spent their second night in detention on Thursday after they were taken away from their homes early Wednesday. Family members were told that some high-ranking officials wanted to talk to them.

On Thursday, there was no communication from the authorities who sent a police official to each of the three's homes to fetch new clothes and some toiletries on Wednesday night.

Sources in Rangoon said the student leaders were forced to sign an assertion that they are aware of act 5/96, an act protecting the national convention. It was reported that the student leaders refused to sign the assertion. According to the act 5/96, one cannot "undermine", "belittle" and "make people misunderstand" the NC and the panelties range from 5 years to 20 years imprisonment.

Min Zeya, another student leader expressed concern for his colleagues as it was unusual to detain them for such a long time, if they were actually taken away for "discussions with authorities". Min Zeya said the prolong detention of the student leaders could harm the much anticipated peaceful national reconciliation process.

There has been a series of outcry from Burmese pro-democracy supporters and organisations over the latest action of the military officials who are known for using the method of arbitrary detention.

A spokesperson for the US States Department said the US is deeply troubled by the reports of the detention and questioning of the three democracy activists and demands for their immediate and unconditional release.

NLD party spokesman Myint Thein said the NLD central executive committee is deeply concerned over the detention of the student leaders. Myint Thein said the student leaders are not seeking confrontation with the government but they are only trying for the prevalence of democracy on the path of national reconciliation.

The exiled government NCGUB issued a statement Thursday, condemning the detention and calls for and immediate release of the student leaders.

The ASEAN Inter-Parlaimentary Myanmar Caucus also issued a statement on Thursday and expressed their concern over the detention of the student leaders. AIPMC's general secretary Roshan Jason said the action of the Burmese junta shows that they are not really interested in implementing democratic reforms and respect human rights in the country.

ABSDF chairman Than Ke said the detention of the student leaders will not benefited the country but will only lead to negative consequences.

Burma Democratic Front general secretary Naing Aung said they condemn the detention and urge the military government for a fair and transparent dialogue with the opposition forces.

Pinheiro urges Burmese Government to release student leaders
U.N. human rights envoy on Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, has called on Burma's military government to immediately release the three students' leaders detained since Wednesday.

Mr. Pinheiro issued a statement Thursday saying the detention of the student leaders brings into question the government's commitment to democratic reform.

Pinherio says he is worried about the democracy activists because of numerous recent reports of human rights violations during pre-trial detention in Burma.

The three students' leaders were taken from their homes Wednesday, which was exactly the same day Pinheiro presented his report to the UN Human Rights Council.

Pinheiro said next positive step is to allow him visit Burma.

Burmese authorities released rice merchants from detention
Burmese authorities this week released the detained prominent rice merchants on condition that they will not come back to the business in two years. They were also forced to pay taxes ranging from kyats 15 millions to 30 millions. The prominent rice merchants, including the former rice merchants association chairman, were detained in July after rice prices in the country were increasing significantly.

KNU delegation cancelled trip to Burma
A six-member Karen National Union delegation has cancelled a scheduled trip to Burma for talks with the Burmese military government. David Taw, head of the KNU's foreign affairs committee, said the KNU delegation had planned to leave for Burma on Thursday but but the plan has been cancelled because of the Burmese government complaints over the chosen delegates.

David Tarkapaw, another KNU spokesman, said the planned trip was initiated by the Thai military during the Thai military's recent visit to Burma.

Ethnic ceasefire Kachin groups heading for Rangoon to attend NC
Representatives from the ceasefire Kachin Independent Organisation (KIO) and the National Democratic Army-Kachin are leaving their bases in northern Burma Kachin State and heading for Rangoon to attend the upcoming National Convention.

India selling military hardwares to Burma
India is finalising the deal to sell military equipments to Burma, hoping in return of Burma's help in expelling Indian separatist rebels from Burmese side of the border, said sources in India.


Prominent student leaders held by Burmese authorities
Three renowned Burmese student leaders Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Htay Kywe were taken away from their respective homes early Wednesday morning by members of special branch (SB) police. They were picked up on the day of the 18th anniversary of the founding of the National League for Democracy.

The three were student activists during the 1998 nation-wide uprising against military rule and had served long prison sentences.

The officers who came to take them away told family members that the student leaders were not arrested but 'asked to follow them for discussions' with the authorities.

Another student leader Zaw Min, who contacted a senior SB official during the day, said he was reassured by the official that the three are not detained but being held for discussions with a senior authority.

The brother of Htay Kywe said when his brother was taken away long time ago, the authorities also said it would take only 15 minutes for questioning, but was released only after 15 years in jail.

Another student leader Min Zeyar said he believes the authorities are not detaining the threee student leaders since there are no reasons to detain them because they have not broken any law. He continued that the student leaders are only demanding peacefully to find a solution for the country's problems through political means. He also said the student leaders have not incited public unrest or created instability in the country.  

The student leaders have been steadfastly calling for national reconciliation through political dialogue. 
Sources in Rangoon said the action of the authorities could have been an attempt to bar the student leaders from attending the NLD ceremony held at the party HQs Wednesday.

The three student leaders have not been released on Thursday morning, their families told the BBC Burmese.
On Wednesday night a police official came to the house of each student leader to fetch new clothes and toiletries for them. The official told the families that the discussions with the senior government officials are still continuing.

Exiled student leader Moe Thee Zun, who is now residing in the US, said he is very angry at the action of the military authorities in randomly detaining the student leaders.

Exiled National Council of Union of Burma issued a statement Wednesday and denounced the detention of the student leaders.

NLD marks 18th anniversary of party formation
Burma's main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) marked the 18th anniversary of its formation Wednesday with a political ceremony at its HQs in Rangoon.

NLD representatives throughout the country including elected MPs, and ethnic national leaders, veteran politicians, student leaders and foreign diplomats attended the ceremony. Eyewitnesses said there were about 350 people at the ceremony.

At that ceremony, representatives from the divisions and states read out their difficulties regarding politics and organising. They also mentioned how they overcame them and how things should be carried out in the future.

A statement was issued and the party reiterated its call for political dialogue without delay. The statement also called for the release of ASSK and all political prisoners.

The NLD party also received messages from foreign dignitaries at the occasion.
NLD secretary U Lwin said national reconciliation is essential for the country.
The exiled National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) and armed student group, All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) also issued statements to mark the event, expressing their support for the emergence of national reconciliation and meaningful political dialogues.

Ethnic Mon party welcomes UNSC move
The ethnic ceasefire  New Mon State Party's general secretary Naing Han Thar said they welcome the move at the UNSC to include Burma in the council's agenda. He said, "The best way to solve the country's problems would have been within the country. But, with the problem still not solved we welcome the UN involvement in resolving the political stalemate. We want to solve it peacefully," he added.

He also said the NMSP will attend the upcoming NC in Burma as an observer.

Ceasefire ethnic Karen group denounced UNSC move
The ceasefire ethnic Democratic Karen Buddhist Army issued a statement Tuesday denouncing the move to include Burma in the UNSC agenda.


UNSC to discuss Burma issue on Friday
The US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, announced on Tuesday that the UN undersecretary-general Mr Ibrahim Gambari will brief the Security Council members on Friday on developments in Burma.

Burma condemns its place on UNSC agenda
Burma's foreign minister has told the U.N. General Assembly that it was a "glaring abuse" of the U.N. Security Council mandate for the council to put Burma on its permanent agenda.

Nyan Win did not name names Tuesday, but claimed the move was made by "some strong and powerful states" who ganged up on Burma to further their political agendas.

The UN Security Council has scheduled a private meeting on Burma for Friday.

US notes anniversary of founding of Burma's NLD
The U.S. State Department has marked the 18th anniversary of the founding of the Burma's main opposition NLD on September 27th with a statement expressing support for detained party leader ASSK.

The statement also praises the U.N. Security Council for putting Burma on its permanent agenda and said the repression on the NLD by the Burmese military cause impacts on stability in the region.

Japan to encourage Burma for reforms
A Japanese foreign ministry's spokesperson told BBC Burmese that, under new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,  Japan would continue to encourage as well as pressure Burmese government for democratic reforms.

Dr Aye Chan, a professor at Kanda University, said Japan might approach ASEAN for pressure on Burma.

Thailand not to change policy on Burma
A spokesperson of the Thai military council told BBC Burmese that their foreign policy to Burma does not change and they want to see development in democratic reforms in Burma.


Poppy cultivation increasing in Burma
An ethnic Shan news group says at a press conference in Vienna, Austria, that poppy cultivation is increasing in Burma citing ground surveys conducted by the group.  The report came amidst the UNODC and Burmese government's claims that poppy cultivation is decreasing and narcotics trade is now under controlled in Burma. The Shan news group says that poppy-growing areas are increasing in middle and southern regions of Shan State in eastern Burma. The group says that poppy fields now replaced the former tea plantations in ethnic Palaung region. The group also says methaphetamine production is increasing significantly and drugs addiction rate in very high in the regions. The group says that out of 120 Burmese infantry regiments in the regions, 60 are involved in drug trade.

Burmese democracy activists attend UN human rights commission's conference
A delegation of exiled Burmese democracy activists is attending the UN human rights commission's conference, which begins last week. The Burmese delegation members include one representative each from Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP) and NY based Burma UN Service, and 2 representatives from the Women League of Burma. UN's human rights special envoy to Burma, Prof. Pinheiro, is scheduled to submit a report on Burma's human rights situation at the conference on 27th October.  

Ceasefire KIA on UNSC's move
Ethnic ceasefire groups are facing pressures from the Burmese military government to denounce the US move to include Burma's situation in the formal agenda of UN Security Council.

A spokesperson from the ceasefire Kachin Independence Army (KIA) said that the issue will be replied to the Burmese military after discussions at the KIA central committee.

Another Kachin movement group named KNC has denounced the upcoming National Convention and urged all the ceasefire groups to boycott it.

Air Bagan to start flights to China's Kunming
Burma's private airline, Air Bagan, will fly to China's Kunming in December as its first international flight, the airline announced on Monday.

The airline will fly the route Rangoon-Mandalay-Kunming-Rangoon for thrice a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the airline's marketing department said.

Air Bagan is also planning to fly to Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia in the early phase of its international flight. Air Bagan, the third largest domestic private airline after Air Mandalay and Yangon Airways, stands as the first full private investment airline in Burma owned by the Htoo Company of Burmese national and inaugurated in November 2004.

The airline has been flying between Rangoon and 17 domestic destinations using one 108-seat Fokker-100 aircraft, two France-made 70-seat ATR-72 aircraft and three 46-seat ATR-42 aircraft.

Storm hits parts of Arakan State in western Burma
A storm last week caused several damages in western Burma's Arakan State. Many townships in the western border were hit by the strom that caused heavy rains and high waves in the coastal areas, and all forms of transportation have been stopped since 20 September. Many plantations and rice fields were destroyed, said residents of the state.

Until Monday, all waterway transportations are still suspended, with many ships and boats anchored at ports throughout Arakan State.


No changes within the military posts in Burma
Sources from Burma said that there were no changes with the top military posts in the country.
Some media reports and rumors said Friday that SPDC chairman Senior-General Than Shwe, who is also commander-in-chief of the Defence Services, has handed over his military C-in-C post to General Shwe Mann, who is ranking the third most powerful in the military, while remaining as the head of state.

The rumors also said vice-chairman of the junta Vice Senior-General Maung Aye, who is deputy C-in-C of the defence services and commander-in-chief of the army, has also transfered his military post to commander of southwestern command Major-General Myint Aung, while remaining as deputy head of state.

All top military leaders, senior SPDC members and cabinet ministers were seen on Friday night government's TV news, attending the coordination meeting of Special Projects Implementation Committee held at the new administrative capital Naypyidaw.

Ceasefire groups urged to denounce UNSC
The military government in Burma is reportedly pressing ethnic ceasefire groups to denounce the movement in the UNSC to discuss Burma's situation.

U Zakhung Ting Ying of NDA-K, Kachin ceasefire group said the authorities have contacted them to denounce the UNSC move as an intervention of internal affairs.

NDA-K will comply with the request of the authorities even though it does not reflect their views, said U Zakhong Ting Ying.

Karen state administration change
Reports from southeastern Burma's Karen State say there have been changes in state administrative personels, from military officers to civilians, who are former military officers.

A resident of Pa-an who is close to the authorities said that the changes encompass pesonnel replacements at the state level as well as at the district and township levels.

Sources close to the authorities say the new administrative apparatus will be under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Burma -Thai border posts reopen
Border trading posts between Burma and Thailand are reopened Sunday after five days of closure since the military coup in Thailand.

Burmese traders are seen crossing from Mae Sot, Mae Sai and Ranong border posts. Frozen seafood and fish are rushed into Thailand after about one week's closure of the border trade.

Bangladesh released 41 Burmese prisoners
Bangladesh authorities on Sunday have released 41 Burmese prisoners detained for illegal entry, illegal fishing and logging in Bangladesh territory.


Burmese government silent over Thai coup
The Burmese military government has been silent over the Tuesday night military coup in Thailand with only a small news report was inserted Thursday in the government's newspapers. 

Some Burmese opposition groups did not welcome the military move in neighbouring Thailand. "Political problems should only be solved with political means," Min Ko Naing, a prominent student leader, said Wednesday.

Some Burmese dissidents were supportive of the coup, saying that Thaksin-led government had been very close to Burma's military leaders.

A spokesman for armed ethnic Karen National Union (KNU) said it will be easier for the ethnic armed opposition groups in Burma border areas to deal with the new military leaders in Thailand since they are both soldiers and they can understand each other.

The value of Burmese currency Kyat has fallen to kyats 1380 per US dollar from previous 1359 per US$ following the closure of all border trading points between Thailand and Burma. Burma heavily depends on Thai commodities imported across the borders. 

Court dismissed the case of NLD party members 
A court in central Burma dismissed the case of the NLD party members who were charged with fabricating and defaming local authorities. The government prosecutor has withdrawn the case Wednesday, said legal sources in Burma.

NLD MP U Thein Zan, and two others, U Zaw Htay and U Aung Than Tun, from Aung Lan township in central Burma were accused of helping the family of a forced labour victim by helping them report the case to ILO.

The ILO has cautiously welcomed the news of the dismissal of the case. The ILO has requested the Burmese authorities to drop the case before the next ILO governing body's meeting in November.

KNU prisoner released from Burma jail
Lance coporal Ricky Thet from armed ethnic Karen National Union (KNU), who has been imprisoned since 1982 at the age of 29, was released Thursday from central Burma's Thayet Jail.

Ricky Thet and fellow members were captured and imprisoned for their armed attempt to seize control of the Burmese broadcasting station in Rangoon.

Ricky Thet said the condition within the prison was bad with poor healthcare and shortage of medicines.


CRPP supports UNSC move
Burma's opposition Committee Representing People's Parliament (CRPP) issues a statement saying it supports voted decision by the U.N. Security Council member countries to include Burma in its agenda.

Last week, the UNSC voted 10 to four to put Burma on its agenda.
The United States requested the action, saying the long-standing human rights problems in Burma have resulted in regional consequences.

Burma's military government strongly criticized the U.N. decision, calling the action a misuse of Security Council power.

China and Russia were among the nations voting against the proposal.

US First Lady Laura Bush chaired Burma meeting at UN
U.S. First Lady Laura Bush says she would like to see the UNSC pass a resolution on Burma as soon as possible.
Mrs. Bush told a panel of diplomats and Burma experts on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York Tuesday that the sooner a resolution is passed the better.

She said the United States will work hard with other members of the Security Council to ensure a resolution is agreed upon.

Burma criticises US and Japan over UNSC move
The military government in Burma has strongly criticised the United States and Japan over their role in getting the UNSC to vote to add it to the list of countries deemed a threat to international peace and security.

Burmese state media Tuesday accused the US of fabricating allegations to secure Friday's council vote, and condemned Japan for reversing its friendly policy towards Burma to side with Washington.

A spokesperson from Japanese foreign ministry said they were concerned over the recent situations in Burma.
Indonesia's ambassador to the UK, Mr Marti Natalegawa, commented on the Burma issue from ASEAN perspective that there are increased frustrations among ASEAN leaders over the situations in Burma.

NLD reacted to military government's claims about the legality of house arrest of ASSK, by saying that the military should quote a specific law in detaining ASSK and ASSK should also has the right to defend herself according to the law.

The Burmese government's Tuesday announcement also said they will not negotiate with NLD or ASSK and will crush all internal and external elements that obstruct the country's 7-point road map.  

Burma issues warnings against terrorists attacks
The Burmese government's Wednesday newspapers said members of armed All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) and ethnic armed Karen National Union (KNU) have infiltrated into the country since 18th September to stage terrorist attacks.

The government newspapers also said the 88 generation student leaders, some CRPP members, veteran politicians and some NLD members are involved in activities, in cooperation with the underground members of Burma Communist Party, to incite unrests in the country following the UNSC decision to put the country on its agenda. The government will crush any unrest within the country, the newspapers said.

A spokesman for the ABSDF rejected the government's accusations.

Thailand seals borders with Burma
Thailand Wednesday has sealed its borders with Burma and Laos following the military coup in the Kingdom. Thai military said the closure of border gates is to prevent former government members from escaping to neighbouring countries.

Due to the border closure, food and commodity prices have increased significantly in the Burmese border towns, residents of the Burmese border towns said. 


US criticises Burma's anti-drug efforts
The US government has criticised Venezuela and Burma in its annual report to Congress on global efforts to fight narcotic drugs.

The report said these countries "failed demonstrably" to fight illegal drugs.
The State Department said Burma has not taken decisive action against drug gangs and its actions against methamphetamine stimulants are unsatisfactory. Burma's performance is also lackluster in the areas of demand reduction, interdiction, anti-money laundering and combating corruption, the report said.

Burmese gathered at Bush House in London for talks on Burma 
People of different ethnic background from Burma join academics and politicians in BBC's "Question Time" programme on the day of the eighteenth anniversary of military coup in Burma.

In a heated but well tolerated debate, participants exchange their views as to the possible ways to change current political stalemate in Burma.

Students, monks and activists make use of the opportunity to express their individual opinions on the current issues of the country, which is under military rule for exactly eighteen years Monday.

The BBC Burmese Service has introduced the 'Question Time' programme earlier this year to provide public opinions for the ordinary listeners. Listeners can meet with Burmese politicians and experts and they can raise questions and discuss issues interactively.

Burmese activists staged protests in K.L. and Bangkok
Exiled Burmese activists on Monday staged protests in front of Burmese embassies in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok to mark the 18th anniversary of the bloody military coup in Burma. The activists demanded for UNSC intervention in Burma, the release of ASSK and political dialogue in the country.

Burmese government tightening taxation policy.
Burma has taken new measures to tighten levying of taxes to raise state revenue, local media said.
A recent order of the Ministry of Finance and Revenue said foreigners working in the country are to pay 15 per cent income tax in foreign exchange if earned in foreign currencies with effect from the current financial year which began in April.

The order states that local nationals are also required to pay 10 per cent income tax in foreign exchange if they earned foreign currencies.

The order also designates that foreign companies engaged in oil and gas projects in the country are to pay 40 to 50 per cent income tax in foreign exchange if derived from the sale, exchange and transfer of share, assets, ownership and benefit. The measure will be effective at a date back from 15 June 2000, the local Weekly Eleven News reported Monday.

Burma has been stepping up levying of income tax since June this year.


UNSC decides to put Burma on its agenda; China opposes the decision
The UNSC on Friday has decided to put the situation of Burma on its agenda. The decision was adopted by a 10-4 vote, with one abstention from Tanzania.

China, together with Russia, Qatar and Congo, voted against the decision.
Chinese Permanent Representative Wang Guangya said neither Burma's neighbours nor most of the ASEAN member states consider Burma's situation a threat to peace and security in the region, and some countries that lie far away have argued that the country's situation poses a threat to international peace and security. He said this is a far cry from reality.

"As long as the situation in the country does not pose any threat to peace and security in the region and the world at large, China is opposed to putting the Myanmar issue on the agenda of the Security Council," he said.

Although regional news agencies are widely reporting about the UNSC decision on Burma, the Burmese government still remains silent on Sunday.

Burmese opposition groups welcome the UNSC decision
Burma's main opposition party NLD and 88 generation students leaders have issued statements Saturday, welcoming the UNSC decision to put the situation of Burma on its agenda.

NLD's statement said they heartily welcome the UNSC decision and urge the international community to continue putting pressures on the military junta. The statement said the UNSC decision will lead to finding a solution for the political stalemate in the country.

88 generation student leaders said they welcome the UNSC decision because the decision is a significant move in the direction of democratisation and national reconciliation in the country.  The 88 generation students said national reconciliation and democratisation process in Burma should be all inclusive of political forces in the country. Student leader Min Ko Naing said the most important step for national reconciliation would be dialogue between the military government and the opposition forces.  

Exiled Burmese government NCGUB issued a statement welcoming the UNSC decision and said the decision is a historical warning for the Burmese military junta.

The armed ethnic Karen National Union (KNU) said they heartily welcome the news together with the general public in the country and urges all the opposition groups in the country to continue with their efforts for natinal reconciliation. 

The umbrella group of 24 ethnic armed groups in Burma, the Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB) and the ethnic armed Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF) say the welcome the UNSC decision and urge all the ethnic groups to be united and call for tripatite talks in the country.

Pinheiro welcomes UNSC decision
The UN special envoy for Burma on human rights, Prof. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said the UNSC decision on Burma is a significant move and he hopes the move will lead to political dialogues for national reconciliation and improved human rights situations in the country.

China to donate rice to former poppy farmers
The Chinese authorities in Yunnan Province have pledged to donate 10,000 tons of rice to former poppy farmers in nothern Burma's Kachin State and Shan States. The rice donation is a part of opium eradication programme in northern Burma and the rice will be distributed through cease-fire groups in the region, said a spokesman for cease-fire NDAK. The cease-fire groups include KIO, NDAK, UWSA and Kokang groups.  


US asks UNSC to put Burma on agenda
The United States has formally requested the U.N. Security Council add Burma to its agenda.
Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Kristen Silverberg says that the long-standing human rights problems in Burma have resulted in regional consequences.

She cites a report compiled by former Czech President Vaclav Havel and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu of South Africa as saying the flow of refugees from Burma causes instability, drug trafficking, human trafficking and the spread of communicable disease.

Silverberg says the U.S. is "disappointed" with the way the new Human Rights Council of the U.N. has handled Burma so far. She says Washington will press the matter at the U.N. General Assembly.

Laura Bush to push for UN action on Burma
U.S. President Bush's wife, Laura Bush, is to host talks about Burma on the fringes of the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly next week in New York.

A spokeswoman for Mrs Bush said the aim was to raise awareness about humanitarian crisis in Burma and to gain support for an American-sponsored Security Council resolution.

The resolution calls for the release from house arrest of ASSK, inclusive political talks and access to Burma for humanitarian workers.

The meeting next week in New York is expected to bring together officials from US and UN and representatives from aid agencies.

Burma in the World Bank's fragile countries list
According to a report from the Independent Evaluation Group -- an entity of the World Bank -- the number of countries, which are referred to as fragile states, has risen from seventeen in 2003 to twenty-six in 2006.

Burma is included in the list of the World Bank's fragile countries.

Thailand and Burma reach military cooperation agreements
Thailand's army chief says he and Burma's military government have agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation to address problems on their common border.

General Sonthi said he reached the agreements following meetings with top Burmese officials during his three-day visit to Burma this week.

The army chief said the agreements include joint efforts to crack down on drug trafficking and other cross-border offenses. A local-level joint border committee will coordinate the tasks. The two sides also agreed to hold more joint military talks.

The trip is General Sonthi's first official visit to Burma since becoming Thailand's army chief.

Burmese army accused of child recruitment
Human rights campaigners have accused the military government in Burma of continuing to recruit large numbers of children to fight in the army.

The Human Rights Education Institute says the practice is continuing despite the establishment of a high-level committee designed to end it. The exiled organisation, based in Thailand, says that boy soldiers invariably suffer extreme stress. A government official denied the allegations.

Following international criticism, the Burmese military set up a committee two years ago to try to end the recruitment of child soldiers.

One million children in Burma unable to attend schools
A new report by Save the Children U.K says that about one million children in Burma are unable to attend schools. Burmese military government said 97% of the country's children have enrolled in primary schools. 


Burma continue using land mines
A new report by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines says Burma is one of three governments that continue to use landmines.

In its annual report issued Wednesday, the group says Burma, Nepal and Russia have not signed the 1997 Ottawa Convention banning mine use.

In Burma, both the ruling military and ethnic armies fighting the government use antipersonnel mines extensively, the report said.

The report says 231 people were killed by landmines in Burma last year, and there is evidence the government is continuing to manufacture more mines.

The group says Burma defends its use of landmines, saying it believes all states have the right to self-defense and a total ban on mines would not be effective.

U Saw Maw Ke of Mae Tao clinic from Mae Sod Thai border town said that the number of land mine victims has increased every year.

Thai senator, Kraisak Choonhavan, says that Burma is a critical case in Southeast Asia.
Mr. Choonhavan said, "Burma is probably the most dangerous country, the most contaminated country in this region - equal to the places like Afghanistan. Along the Thai Burma border the mining of antipersonnel mines has not decreased at all - it has increased."

India and Burma start talks
India and Burma have started talks in New Delhi aimed at stamping out insurgency along the border. The talks will focus on stopping the supply of arms to separatist rebels operating on both sides of the border, officials said.

India says insurgent groups from the northeastern states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur have bases in Burma, and wants the authorities in Rangoon to help flush them out.

An Indian Home Ministry official said the talks would also focus on effective management of the border and efforts to stop drug trafficking.

Parts of the border, which is more than 1600 kilometres long, are still unfenced: officials say that makes it easy for drugs to be smuggled and for Indian militants to cross into Burma.

India has been pursuing closer relations with Burma despite international criticism of the Burmese military government.

Thai Army Chief ends Burma visit
Thai Army Chief of Staff, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, has ended his three-day visit to Burma. During the visit, he met with Burma's junta leader Than Shwe and other senior Burmese military officials.

China deported illegal Burmese workers
China has repatriated 22 Burmese citizens for illegally entering and working in China. Burmese officials took over the 22 repatriates at a border gate in Yunnan Province, which borders Burma. The Burmese workers entered China from Yunnan and were hired to work in a dockyard in China's eastern port of Zhejiang. They were arrested in a routine check. The provincial officials of Zhejiang spent nearly one month finding out the identities of the workers and sent a task force to escort the workers to Yunnan early this month.

Burma communist party urges NLD to make political advances
The outlawed Burma Communist Party (BCP) has issued a statement on 10th September, urging the main opposition NLD to make political advances because the military government is planning to totally stamp out NLD soon. The BCP statement urges NLD to make new initiations for dialogue with the military government. The statement also suggests the NLD to assign younger generation leaders.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win and Han Thar Myint said they do not receive the statement and they know nothing about the statement.

Security tightens at the houses of opposition activists
Reports from Rangoon said authorities have stepped up security at the houses of opposition leaders and activists. Security at the house of ASSK has also been stepped up, said eyewitnesses. Security agents are visiting opposition activists and CRPP members, inquiring about their movements. Observers say that the authorities are taking precautions for the upcoming anniversary of the CRPP founding day. 


IOM launches health education programme for Burmese migrants
International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has launched a health education programme aiming at Burmese workers living in Thailand to have awareness of the danger of bird flu.

A Thai based IOM officer said it is important to educate the Burmese migrants because they have been living in Thailand for a long time and most of them are working in the poultry farms. Educational leaflets are to be distributed through NGOs and health care centres, said the IOM officer.

Meanwhile, backpack health workers are working along Thai and Burma border and inside Burma to help educate Burmese people about birdflu.

Thai Army Chief met Burmese junta leader
Visiting Thai Army Chief of Staff, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, has met with Burmese junta leader Sr. Gen. Than Shwe and his deputy vice Sr. Gen. Mg Aye on Monday at Naypyidaw. The Thai Army Chief of Staff told reporters before his departure from Thailand that he will discuss issues of mutual interest with the Burmese leaders. Gen. Sonthi revealed that his discussions with the Burmese military leaders would include bilateral cooperation between the Thai and Burmese military to address narcotics problems along the border. Gen. Sonthi blamed the armed ethnic groups in Burma for the drug problem along the border.

Burma observers say the Thai Army Chief 's visit is mainly on business interests such as natural gas purchases and the construction of Hatgyi hydropower dam on Salween River.   

FATF warns against financial transactions with Burma
The internationl monetary watch group against money laundering, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), says countries should take caution in conducting financial transactions with Burma. Burma remains the only country in the world in the FATF's list of 'countries of non-cooperation' in combating money laundering and Burma stands no chance in receiving aid and assistance from international financial institutions. Burma recently took some actions aimed at combating money laundering, but FATF says the actions are not enough. A team of FAFT experts will visit Burma this month to assess developments in the country.  

Authorities order teashop owners to report about political talks
Township authorities in Hlaing Thayar Township in Rangoon have ordered teashop owners to immediately report those who take part in political talks in their teashops, said a tea shop owner.

About 500 teashop owners were summoned by local authorities in the last week of August and ordered that the shop owners should keep watch on customers who are involve in political talks and report immediately to the authorities.

Burmese refugees turn down training offer by UNHCR
Refugees from Burma living in Bangladesh have turned down the offer by UNHCR to take vocational trainings to improve their lives. The UNHCR offers traning courses such as sewing and plumber, but the refugees said the trainings are not applicable in their daily lives. The refugees are constantly demanding for resettlement in a third country.

Burmese activists continue hunger strikes in Washington DC
Burmese pro-democracy activists in Washington DC demanding for the release of ASSK are continuing a series of hunger strikes outside the embassies of countries supporting the Burma's military junta. The hunger strikes started on 4 September with a vigil outside the Chinese embassy.

The activists continued their campaign outside the Russian embassy on the eighth day of the strikes. After finishing the vigil at the Russian embassy, they are continuing it at the Indian embassy from 12 September and will move on to the UN building in New York on 16 September until they finish the strikes on 21st September.


ASEM Summit urges Burma to heed the internation calls for reform   
The ASEM Summit in Helsinki ended Monday with a collective call on Burma to heed the international calls for democratic reforms in the country. Chairman of the ASEM Meeting and Prime Minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen said although the call made on Burma at the ASEM meeting was non-binding, Burma should take the advantage of mutual co-operations between EU and ASEAN and find a solution to move towards democracy. Burmese FM Nyan Win made an address at a closed-door meeting at the Summit about their country's road map and developments, but Mr. Vanhanen said he was not convinced and satisfied with Burma's moves towards democratic and humanitarian development.

Thai Army Chief of Staff visits Burma
Thailand's Army Chief of Staff, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, has arrived Monday in Burma for a 3-day official visit. The Thai Army Chief of Staff has met Burma's junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe and vice senior general Maung Aye at Naypyidaw on the same day.

Observers say the Thai Army Chief is in Burma to strengthen military ties and to discuss co-operations in combating narcotics trade, and the issue of armed ethnic groups along the two countries common border. 

 AIPO meeting in the Philippines disucssed Burma
The ASEAN Interparliamentary Organisation (AIPO) is holding a meeting in the Philippines. Members of Parliaments from ASEAN countries are attending the meeting. Exiled National Coalition Governemnt of Union of Burma (NCGUB)'s minister Dr. San Aung and exiled MP Daw San San are at the meeting representing Burma. Dr. San Aung said they will explain the current deteriorating political and economic situations of Burma and urge ASEAN MPs to pressure Burma's military government for national reconciliation and democratic reforms in the country. 

Burmese activists stage protest in front of Daewoo office in Korea
Burmese activists in South Korea staged a demonstration in front of Daewoo headquarters in Seoul, after there were reports that the company is being investigated for supplying military hardwares to Burma without approval from the South Korean government. Daewoo officials denied the allegations. Government investigators say they can not make any comment since the case is still under investigation.

Burmese migrant workers on strike in Maesod
About 700 Burmese migrant workers from a knitting factory in Thai-Burma border town of Maesod are staging a strike at the factory. The strike started Monday when a group of men, reported to be Thai policemen, sexually abused three Burmese female workers from the factory last Sunday. The workers are demanding for labour registrations, since many of them at the factory are working without work permits. The workers said the girls were abused because they did not have work permits. The workers are also demanding for improved working and living conditions at the factory.     

Ethnic Kachin cease-fire groups to attend the NC
The ethnic Kachin cease-fire groups, the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and National Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K), say that they will continue to attend the national convention, which is scheduled to resume on 10th October. Spokesmen of the groups say their groups will continue participating in the Burmese military government's road map, although the demands of ethnic groups were not discussed at the N.C.

Authorities scrutinise religious donations
The authorities in Burma are not only putting pressures on the NGOs, but also started to scrutinise religious donations in the country. Authorities in central Burma's Mandalay recently scrutinised the well-known 'Malon Rice Donation Group', a Buddhist religious group which has been donating rice to Buddhist monks, nuns and the poor people for over 100 years. Authorities have started to investigate the activities of the group in the first week of September and devotees are surprised by the action of the authorities, said a member of the group.      


EU urges Burma for democratic reforms
Finland deputy foreign minister said EU countries have urged Burma to improve human rights situations and begin democratic reforms in the country.

EU and Asian leaders are gathering in Helsinki for the ASEM Summit, which begins Sunday to discuss trade and security issues between the two regions, representing about 40% of the world's population.

Burma's foreign minister Nyan Win, who is representing Burma at the Summit, reportedly replied to the calls for reforms in Burma that his country needs more time to move towards democracy.

China's PM, who is also attending the ASEM summit, said human rights issues and free trade issues should be separated. China said human rights violations in Burma are Burma's own internal affair and China upholds non-interference policy on Burma issue.

Exiled Burmese activists in Finland are staging demonstrations in Helsinki, protesting against the invitation of the Burmese military delegation to the ASEM Summit. Exiled Burmese activists are demanding for more pressures on Burma.  

Burma criticised US over push at the UNSC
The Burmese military government Saturday criticised the US over the US's attempt to include Burma issue in the UNSC agenda. An article in the government's newspapers said the US is trying to topple the current Burmese military government to install it's own puppet government in the country. The articles said some lawmakers in the US, in collaboration with exiled Burmese politicians, are trying to manipulate the UNSC over Burma issue. 

Burma to resume NC on 10th October
Burma announced Saturday that the next session of the national convention will resume on 10th October at the Nyaung Hnapin Camp near Rangoon. The chairman of the NC convening committee, Lt. Gen. Thein Sein, said invitations for the delegates will be sent out soon and delegates should report to the camp three days ahead of the convention. 

Burma imposes tax on owners of motorbikes
Burmese government's revenue department announces that tax will be imposed on owners of motorbikes in the country. Township revenue offices across the country announced this week that 7.5% tax on the market price of the motorbikes will be imposed. The announcement says owners will have to pay between kyats 50,000 (approx: US$ 37) to 150,000 (approx: US$ 111) as tax. Burmese government last year issued licences to illegally imported motorbikes, charging registration fees and custom duties ranging from kyats 50,000 to kyats 200,000 for each bike, depending on the market price of the bike.

Sources in Burma say the government is increasingly imposing various taxes in the country. Burma's observers say the move is the latest in the government's attempt to collect revenues from all possible tax bases.     


EU criticised Burma human rights record ahead of ASEM
The EU Wednesday criticised the "appalling" state of human rights in Burma, saying the country had made no progress on democratic reforms.

"The EU is disappointed with the lack of democratic reforms and human rights in Burma," Finnish FM Erkki Tuomioja said in a speech ahead of the ASEM meeting.

Tuomioja said having Burma at the ASEM would be a chance to press the Burmese military government to change. Serious human rights violations and the democracy situation in Burma will be discussed in the ASEM Summit, Tuomioja said.

Burma is expected to be represented by its foreign minister at the ASEM meeting in Helsinki this weekend.

Burma declares itself 'free of bird flu'
Burmese authorities announced that bird flu in the country has been eradicated.
The announcement follows a three-month detection programme, run by Burmese officials and foreign experts from FAO.
Burma reported its first outbreak of the disease in March around the central city of Mandalay.
The government slaughtered about 660,000 birds and has insisted the outbreaks have been under control since the first week of April. Authorities banned the transport and sale of poultry in the affected region, but restrictions were lifted in May.

Veterinary department Director General U Maung Maung Nyunt said they have carried out necessary surveys all over the country.

UN considering a second visit to Burma by Gambari
A UN spokesperson said another possible visit by UN Under Secretary-General Gambari to Burma is under consideration.

Dr. Salai Tun Than returns to the U.S
Dr. Salai Tun Than, who planned to stage a lone protest on ASSK's birthday in June in Rangoon, has departed for the U.S from Bangkok after a failed attempt to return to Burma.  

Dr. Salai Tun Than, 78, was imprisoned in Burma after he staged a lone protest in front of the city hall in Rangoon. He travelled to the U.S after his release from prison last year and was making attempts to return to Burma to stage a lone protest on ASSK's birthday. He was banned from boarding the plane to Rangoon at Bangkok airport.


Finland defends the inviting of Burmese government to the ASEM 
Finland, the current chair of EU, has defended the group's decision to invite the Burmese military government to the upcoming ASEM meeting, despite EU sanction of visa ban on Burmese military officials.

Finland foreign ministry officials said that the official EU line stipulated that it was possible to issue visas to Burmese leaders for multi-national meetings at which human rights and democracy are discussed.

The ASEM meeting is going to be held in Helsinki on September 10 but it is still not clear that who will be heading the Burmese delegation.

Dr. Thaung Tun of exiled Burmese opposition government, National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, said the ASEM meeting could produce a concerted effort to pressure the Burmese military government. 

Border tension rises between Burma and Bangladesh
Bangladesh has despatched its troops to the border with Burma due to tension between the two countries over the ownership of six islands in Naff River.

Burmese side has not responded the complaint from Bangladesh earlier this month after Burma posted flags on disputed islands. A high ranking official from Burma who was visiting Bangladesh last week cut short his trip on Sunday, raising concerns that the dispute is not going to end any time soon.

Bangladesh and Burma also had a border dispute in 2001, which flared up to a brief exchange of fire between the two sides across the border.

Border trade between the two countries have been affected by the latest dispute.

Students' army honours 'fallen heros'
The armed exiled Burmese student army, All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF), honours their fallen and wounded comrades by commemorating the 'Democracy Heros Day' on 5th September. The chairman of ABSDF, Than Ke, said since the founding of the ABSDF in 1988, there were over 300 comrades died in actions, 400 wounded and 240 died of natural causes. He said the ABSDF continues to fight the Burmese military government although the group has weakened significantly in recent years.   

AIPMC discussed Burma issue in Indonesia Parliament
Members of ASEAN Inter-parliamentary Myanmar Caucus held a discussion Tuesday at the Indonesia Parliament. Malaysia MP Dr. Wan Aziza, NCGUB minister Dr. San Aung, Palaung woman Ma Cherry and Karen man Saw Henry from Burma testified before the parliament hearing on deteriorating situations on human rights, economics, narcotic drugs and health sectors in Burma.

Court hearing of those who reported the death of force labour victim
Three members of opposition NLD are facing trial in a district court in central Burma Thayet Town. The Thayet district court Tuesday summoned NLD members U Thein Zan, U Zaw Htay and U Aung Than Tun for another court hearing. The NLD members are being accused of giving false information to the ILO on the death of Ko Win Lwin, who died from landslide in December 2004 during a force labour session.