Summary of Radio News on Burma 2007

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burmese PM returns from Singapore 
Burmese PM General Soe Win has returned home Thursday after two months of medical treatment at a hospital in Singapore.

Gen. Soe Win, who is reported to be suffering from leukaemia, was taken straight to a military hospital in Rangoon. His current condition is not known although Burmese authorities have said that he is in good health.

Junta leader Sr. Gen. Than Shwe and his deputy Vice Sr. Gen. Mg Aye were seen welcoming Gen. Soe Win. There were reports that Vice Sr. Gen. Mg Aye had to cancel a meeting of the Trade Council, which he is heading, to welcome back Gen. Soe Win. 

It is not known whether Gen Soe Win will be able to resume official duties

NLD members call for UN probe of ASSK's detention
Burma's main opposition NLD has called for a UN inquiry into the detention of ASSK.
More than 30 members of the NLD made the request in a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad.

The letter calls for ASSK's release and asks the UN to investigate the Depeyin attack four years ago when members of NLD were attacked by junta-backed mobs in central Burma.

Improvements for Burmese refugees
UNHCR said there have been improvements on general conditions of Burmese refugees in Thailand.
The U.N. Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees asked Thailand government to allow the 140,000 refugees from Burma living in border camps to work in the country.

A member of the Karen Refugees Committee agreed with UNHCR's remark on improving camp conditions. He also said many more refugees could resettle in third countries.

Mizzima News named 'Free Media Pioneer 2007'
The International Press Institute (IPI) has honoured the Burmese Mizzima News Agency with its 2007 Free Media Pioneer award.

The press institute issued a statement saying Mizzima has continued to provide accurate and timely news and information on Burma despite attempts by Burma's military government to limit media activities.

Mizzima News was founded in 1998 by a group of Burmese journalists in exile with the aim to promote awareness about the ongoing situation in Burma and to promote democracy and freedom of expression in the country.

CSW says aid worker executed in Burma
Christian Solidarity Worldwide says Burmese army has executed a humanitarian worker who was providing assistance in Burma's Karenni State.

The CSW says Saw Lee Reh Kyaw was captured by Burmese forces on April 8th, tortured and interrogated before being shot dead on April 10th.

The aid worker was a member of the humanitarian group Free Burma Rangers.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide says the tragic and brutal death of Saw Lee Reh Kyaw illustrates the brutality of the Burmese regime.

Summary of Radio News on Burma


Heavy rains, floods kill 5 in Rangoon
Burma's state-run newspapers reported Sunday that floods caused by heavy rains have killed five people in Rangoon.
A tropical storm that began late Thursday has brought the heaviest rainfall in 39 years in Rangoon, said meteorological department officials. Floods have submerged hundreds of houses, knocked down walls and toppled trees, the newspapers said.

The newspapers said four members of one family suffocated Saturday after inhaling fumes from a fire caused by a short circuit due to flooding in their home in western Rangoon. A woman also in the same township was electrocuted after stepping on a live power cable brought down by the storm.

Residents of Rangoon blamed the flooding on the city's poor drainage system.

China to help Burma build hydroelectric power plants
Burma's state-run newspapers reported that 7 hydroelectric power plants will be built by the China Power Investment Corporation in northern Burma's Kachin state along the Burma-China border.
The newspapers said the hydroelectric plants are expected to generate more than 13,000 megawatts of power.
It said the seven plants will generate more power than Burma's biggest hydro power project, a joint venture between the Burmese government and a Thai energy firm on the Salween River. Thailand's Thai MDX Group has invested six billion dollars in the joint project. There were no cost figures for the Chinese project.

India begins restoring historic highway to Burma and China
India is rebuilding the historic Stilwell highway that would connect India's northeastern state of Assam with Kunming, the capital of southwest China's Yunnan province. A major portion of the road, more than 1,000 kilometers, lies in Burma.

ASSK in good health: Doctors
Officials in Burma say ASSK is in good health after her doctor and an eye specialist visited her for a routine check-up.
The two doctors visited her on Thursday, and said she was in good condition.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Foreign Minister Sunday made a call for her release.

Singapore PM urged US not to let Burma issue harms relations with the region
Speaking in Washington Thursday, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged the U.S. not to let ASEAN's relationships with Burma harm U.S. relations with the regional grouping. He said the United States has a broader, strategic interest with the ASEAN and Washington should not allow its complaints with Burma to affect efforts to actively engage with ASEAN countries.

Summary of Radio News on Burma


Attacked human rights activists charged in Burma
Human rights activists, who were attacked by junta-backed mobs during a human rights awareness campaign at a village in Burma delta division on 18th April, were charged with inciting public unrest and causing defamation to the State.

The Hinthada Township court denied bail on activist Ko Myint Naing and five other villagers.
Ko Myint Naing counter-charges against the local authorities for involvement in causing bodily harm to the human rights activists, but the court did not hear the case.

Participants of May Day event at American centre arrested
Burmese authorities arrested 29 people after they joined the May Day event Tuesday at the American Centre in Rangoon. One of the organisers of the event was taken away while he was on his way to the American Centre. 20 were released Wednesday after they were interrogated about the activities at the Centre. 9 people are still remaining in detention, said sources in Rangoon. 

A new military offensive in Karen State displaced 18 villages
A new military offensive starting last week by the Burmese army against KNU Brigade 5 has displaced about 4000 villagers from 18 villages in Papun Township in Karen State.

Reports say that Burmese army troops attacked and burned villages in the area.

Fund raising event in Sydney for Burmese refugees
A fund raising event organised by the UNHCR office in Australia was held Wednesday in Sydney in Australia. The event raised Australian dollars 200,000 and the funds will be used for helping Burmese refugees along Burma borders with Thailand, Bangladesh and India. 

Summary of Radio News on Burma

May Day ceremonies held in Burma
May Day ceremonies were held in two towns in Burma despite the ban on public gatherings. About 200 people attended a gathering in Chauk Town in central Burma. Speakers at the gathering urged participants to fight for labour rights in the country.  Similarly, a ceremony was held in a village in Kyauk Gyi Township lower Burma's Pegu Division. About 300 villagers attended the ceremony, where participants protested against forced labour practice in the country.    

An NLD spokesperson said workers in Burma lack labours rights and they are subjected to exploitation.

NLD to launch a new campaign for the release of ASSK
NLD members including human rights activist Ma Su Su Nway have launched a one-month campaign beginning 1st May, praying and demanding for the release of ASSK and all other political prisoners in the country.

A group of campaigners wearing T-shirts with the portrait of ASSK were seen visiting Sule Pagoda in downtown Rangoon on Tuesday.  

NLD appeals for vice chairman release
The NLD has sent an appeal to the cabinet to free party's deputy chairman U Tin Oo, who has been under detention since May 30, 2003.  U Tin Oo and party general secretary ASSK were detained since their convoy was attacked by junta-backed thugs near Depayin in upper Burma.

Lawyer U Nyan Win of the NLD said the law under which U Tin Oo has been detained provides for the chance to appeal. But he said the military junta has neglected previous appeals. U Nyan Win said the military junta has no respect for the laws in the country.

Burma, Bangladesh agree for a first road link
Burma and Bangladesh signed an agreement on a direct road link between the two countries in an effort to boost tourism and trade.

The proposed road will stretch from Taungbro to Kyauktaw in Burma via Gundhum to Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, and will be constructed in two phases at an estimated cost of 141.37 million US dollars.

The road would be further extended to link Bangladesh with China and Thailand.

Press freedom declines around the world: Freedom House
Press freedom around the world deteriorated last year due to coups, attempts to stifle political opposition and regulate the use of the Internet, said a report by the Freedom House.

The watch group said there were particularly troubling trends in Asia, which had two of the world's most restrictive governments, North Korea and Burma.

Villagers attack Chinese Oil Company in Arakan State
Some 40 Arakanese local villagers attacked an oil-drilling site run by Chinese company CNOOC in Kyauk Pru Township in western Burma's Arakan State, on 28 April. According to local reports, the villagers were unhappy with the confiscation of their land by the Burmese authority without compensation. Local police detained 5 villagers for the attack.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burma, North Korea renew diplomatic ties
Burma and North Korea have restored diplomatic ties during an official visit to Burma this week by North Korea's deputy foreign minister, Kim Yong-il.

Burma's deputy foreign minister, Kyaw Thu, told reporters the agreement to restore diplomatic links was reached Thursday.

Ties between the two countries had severed 24 years ago when North Korea agents staged a bomb attack in Rangoon during a visit by the former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan. The bombing killed more than 20 people, including four South Korean ministers.

China welcomes the agreement saying it marked an improvement in relations between Burma and North Korea.
A spokesperson of South Korea government said Thursday that South Korea respects Burma's decision to restore diplomatic ties with North Korea.

Observers say that Burma's military is willing to purchase weapons and possibly nuclear technology from North Korea.
Burma's military, which faces economic and political sanctions from the West over its human rights abuses, has sought to widen diplomatic ties elsewhere, including Iran.

Pinheiro condemns attack on human rights activists in Burma
The UN special envoy on human rights in Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro expresses his concern on human rights situation in Burma.
Pinheiro said the assault on the two human rights activist had been brutal.

He said the attack highlighted the level of violence in Burma and the lack of intervention by police to protect the victims.

Injured human rights activist summoned by court
Ko Myint Naing, a member of the human rights activist group HRDP network, who was injured in the attack last week in a village in Hinthada Township in Burma delta division has been summoned to the township court to face trials on charges of inciting public unrest.

Meanwhile, more than 40 organisations from the Asia and Pacific region have made an appeal calling on the United Nations for the protection of the human rights defenders in Burma.

New highway between Burma and China border opens
A new highway road linking southwest China Yunan Province and northern Burma Kachin State has been opened. Construction works on the 50-mile road started last year, with over US$ 33 millions financial assistance from China. The highway road links Kachin State capital Myitkyina and Waing Maw border town on China-Burma border. The road will also connect to the Lido highway road in Myitkyina.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

North Korean deputy foreign minister in Burma
North Korean deputy FM Kim Yong-il arrived in Burma on Wednesday.
Mr. Kim is scheduled to hold talks with Burmese deputy FM U Kyaw Thu to finalise arrangements to restore links between the two countries, diplomatic sources said.

U Htay Aung, a researcher with the Thailand-based Network for Democracy and Development, said both countries are drawn together due to sanctions imposed on them by the West.

UN says report by Karen rights group inaccurate
The United Nations has criticised the Karen Human Rights Group for inaccurate points in a recent report about aid programs in Burma.

The U.N. says many of the points made in the report are either incorrect or outdated.
The report by the Karen Human Rights Group Tuesday accuses international aid donors of overlooking rights abuses in the country.

US, UN condemn attack on Burmese rights activists
The United States and the United Nations are condemning a recent attack on human rights activists in Burma.
The activists were trying to raise human rights awareness when they were attacked by mobs on April 18th in a village in delta division.

The U.S. State Department Wednesday called the attack deeply disturbing. It said the attack is part of a pattern by the Burmese government to intimidate and silence those who peacefully express their opinion.

Two top U.N. human rights officials, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro and Hina Jilani, said in a statement that the attacks highlight the local police's inability to protect victims. They called on Burma's government to take all necessary steps to protect human rights defenders.

Report on the plight of Burmese migrants in India 
Exiled Human Rights Education Institute of Burma and Women Rights groups compiled and released a report named "Surviving on the Unwelcoming Hills", which highlighted difficult situations Burmese migrants are facing in north-eastern Mizoram state of India

The director of HREIB, Ko Aung Myo Min told the BBC Burmese that about 40,000 migrants from Burma are being discriminated by the locals as well as the employers in Mizoram.

Burma ministry of home affairs to conduct security training courses
Sources from Burma say local ward and village authorities are ordered to recruit trainees among the local residents for the two-week security courses to be conducted by special branch officers from the ministry of home affairs. Each ward or village has to recruit 3 trainees out of the residents and the first training course will begin on 2nd May. The courses will be conducted nation-wide. 

Lone protestor arrested in Rangoon
Veteran protestor U Ohn Than, who staged a lone protest Wednesday in front of the busy Thein Gyi Market in down town Rangoon was arrested by security personnel. U Ohn Than was protesting against economic hardships and demanded for democracy in the country.    

U Ohn Than was detained a couple of times in the past for staging protests in Rangoon, including one in front of the UNDP office.

Summary of Radio News on Burma


Commodity prices increase 60% in Burma
Commodity prices in Burma have risen sharply, a report in the local "Weekly Eleven" news journal said.
The report, based on a household expenditure survey carried out by the weekly journal, said that prices of staple foods have risen by more than sixty per cent over the past year.

The US government has estimated that the rate of inflation in Burma in 2006 was over twenty per cent.
According to the consumers in Burma, commodity prices have risen up sharply within April.
Consumers' price hike in the month of April is approximately thirty percent and it is mainly due to the lack of production and supply of goods during the long New Year holidays, said a retired Rector of the Rangoon Institute of Economics.

Burmese army quartermaster general in India
Burma armed forces' Quartermaster General Lt. Gen. Tin Aung Myint Oo arrives in India on Monday. The trip of Tin Aung Myint Oo, who is in charge of the supplies of Burma's armed forces, is to negotiate arms purchases from India. Reports say that Burma is trying to purchase assault rifles, pistols and ammunitions from India.    

Cambodian Deputy PM in Burma
Burma's state-rum media reported that Cambodia Deputy PM Hor Namhong is visiting Burma. The reports said Hor Namhong had talks with Burmese FM Nyan Win on Monday in Naypyidaw.

The Cambodian government has not called for Burma to reform, but a group of lawmakers formed a special caucus last year to call for Burma's military government to move faster towards democracy.

More fighting in Karen State
More fighting between ethnic armed rebels group KNU and combined forces of Burmese army and DKBA troops have broken out in the areas of KNU Brigade 6 near Thai-Burma border.

Karen group warned about rights abuses in Burma
A report issued Tuesday by exiled Karen Human Rights Group says rights abuses are increasing as foreign-aided infrastructure projects go forward in Karen State.

The report says the building of dams, roads, agricultural schemes, military plantations, education and health projects involves the displacement of people and the use of forced labour.

The KHRG accuses Burma's military of manipulating development programs to expand military control of villages in western Karen State.

The group says foreign donors need to be aware of what is involved in projects run by Burma's ruling military.

Human rights group condemns attacks in Burma
The New York-based Human Rights Watch has called on Burma's military government to investigate and prosecute attacks against political and human rights activists.

In a statement released Tuesday, the group criticised the latest attacks on rights groups in Burma.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

EU extends sanctions against Burma
The European Union has extended its sanctions against Burma for another year, saying that Burma has made no progress on improving human rights.

EU foreign ministers announced the extension in a statement Monday in Luxembourg.
The sanctions include a ban on travel to Europe for top government officials and EU companies or organisations are not allowed to invest in Burma.

EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg also called on the Burmese military authorities to end their military campaign against civilians and free ASSK from house arrest.

Malaysian FM says ASEAN committed to democracy in Burma
Malaysia's foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar says the ASEAN will not stop trying to bring democracy to Burma.
Malaysia's state-run Bernama news agency quotes Syed Hamid Albar Monday as saying it will take time to convince Burma's military government to implement democratic reforms.

Syed Hamid said Burma's government has expressed a commitment to democracy, but says it wants to fully prepare for the change to ensure political stability and national security.

He acknowledged that Malaysia's previous efforts to lobby Burma to free ASSK had been unsuccessful, but he said Malaysia is committed to Burma's political reform.

Human Rights groups condemn attacks on Burmese activists
Human rights groups have condemned the last week's attack on Burmese activists in a village in Burma's delta division and called on the Burmese military government to investigate.

The U.S. Campaign for Burma filed a complaint Monday with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights about the attack.

The 88-Generation Students Group said in a statement Monday that the attack proves there is no security guarantee for the citizens of Burma.

Burmese state media said residents of the village drove out what it called "destructive elements" who were trying to incite public unrest.

Two human rights activists were seriously injured in the attack.

Rangoon protestors to be charged
China's Xinhua Newsagency said the 8 protestors detained Sunday in Rangoon will be charged for inciting public unrest. A group of activists staged a rare protest in Rangoon Sunday morning, demanding for better living condition in the country.

A report Monday in Burma state-run newspapers hinted the military government's intention to crack down on activists operating in the country.

The report said the move to restrict activists is aims at fulfilling the wishes of the majority of the public to live in peace.

The government's report said people unwilling to face instability in the country arrested the protestors Sunday but witnesses said it were plainclothes policemen and members of the pro-junta USDA who made the arrests.

The government's news report said 88-generation students were also waging timely campaign with the Sunday protestors.
Ko Mya Aye, one of the 88-generation students group leaders denied the accusation, but said they agree with the protestors against socio-economic problems.

The government's report praised the actions taken by the USDA and other government-backed groups against the human rights activists and the protestors as "preventive measures for ensuring peace and tranquillity".

Summary of Radio News on Burma


Demonstrators arrested in Rangoon
Burmese police have detained eight people at a rare demonstration in Rangoon demanding for improved living conditions.
About 10 people had gathered in front of a busy market in northeastern Rangoon Sunday morning, holding placards and chanting slogans for cheaper commodity prices and better electricity supplies. The protest ended peacefully within an hour but plainclothes policemen took away the protestors.

Witnesses say about 300 onlookers cheered and chanting slogans together with the demonstrators.
Most of the people detained Sunday had joined a similar rare protest in Rangoon in February.

Amnesty condemns attacks on Burmese human rights activists
Amnesty international says it is concerned about reports of an attack on Burmese human rights activists.
Burmese exiled media reported that two activists, members of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters organisation, were beaten by dozens of people as they left a village in Burma's delta division on Wednesday.

Amnesty said Friday that the two activists had been conducting activities to raise awareness about human rights.
Amnesty called on Burmese authorities to investigate the attack and bring those who carried it out to justice.

North Korea, Burma to resume ties
Diplomats in Rangoon say a North Korean official will soon be in Burma to sign an agreement resuming official ties between the two nations.

The diplomats say North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Yong Il will travel to Burma next week for the signing the agreement.

Burma lifts ban on selling chicken in some bird flu affected areas
Burma state-run newspapers reported Sunday that restriction has been lifted on selling chicken in 5 townships in Rangoon that were affected by bird flu outbreaks. The reports said restriction was lifted after three weeks passed without any new cases of the bird flu virus.

Shop owners protested against increased municipal tax
Shop owners of Central Myo Ma Market in lower Burma Nyaung Lay Bin Township has raised their objection to the increased municipal tax. Municipal taxes are raised three folds the former rates across the country, prompting objections from shop owners and businesses in some towns and cities.  

Heavy fighting looming in Karen State
Heavy fighting looms ahead in the areas controlled by KNU's 7th Brigade in Karen State. Burmese army troops and cease-fire DKBA troops are reportedly beefing up troops in the area

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burmese army preparing for a major offensive against KNU
Reports from Thai-Burma border say that Burmese army is preparing for a major military offensive against the ethnic rebels group Karen National Union (KNU).

Recently, hundreds of local villagers from Karen State have been rounded up to work as military porters and sent to the Burmese army units along the Thai Burma border.

Eyewitnesses said a convoy of 20 trucks carrying ammunitions and food supplies was seen driving towards Burmese army bases near the border. Observers say that the Burmese army is preparing for a major attack on KNU's Regiment 202, commanded by Saw Ner Kaw, a son of the late KNU leader Bo Mya.

Commander of Burma's military southeast command Brigadier General Thet Naing Win visited the army units operating near the KNU areas Thursday morning. The Burmese army's tactical commander of the area also inspected troops on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and Burmese army troops overran five military camps belonged to the KNU.

The KNU military leaders are closely watching the development in the area and preparing for retaliation to a major offensive from the Burmese army.

Six die during Burma's water festival
Local media in Rangoon reported that six people died during the water festival. The reports said among the fatalities, three victims drowned, one died in a road accident and two others died during a fight among revellers.

Burmese authorities warned revellers to not wear indecent clothing and to not say anything that could harm national unity, during the water festival.

More than 300 persons died during a similar water festival in neighbouring Thailand.

Injured human rights activists transferred to Rangoon hospital
The two injured human rights activists have been moved from the township they were attacked to the General Hospital in Rangoon.

Members of the HRDP activists group say the attack was prepared in advance and carried out by the junta-back USDA members, and local authorities were also involved in the attack. They said local police officers were seen watching nearby during the attack.

An executive of the junta-back USDA told the BBC Burmese that the activists were provoking the local people and it was the local people who attacked them.

North Korean delegation to visit Burma
A North Korean delegation will visit Burma next week. The North Korean delegation might discuss with Burmese military leaders on resuming diplomatic tie, which have been halted more than two decades ago.

Illegal teak logs seized in Kachin State
The special branch police and members of Military Affairs Security (MAS) have seized six truckloads of illegal teak logs in northern Burma Kachin State. The teak logs, formerly seized during a recent military operation in the area, were allegedly stolen from the forests and transported to towns by the army officials who are close to the northern military command, an observer on China-Burma border said.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

New Delhi reopens Mizzima News Agency
Indian authorities have reopened the New Delhi headquarters of the Mizzima news agency run by exiled Burmese journalists it had closed earlier in the week.

Municipal authorities of New Delhi reopened the office of the news agency Wednesday after meeting with agency representatives. Mizzima staff members had held a peaceful demonstration outside of the municipal office to protest the closing.

According to a report on Mizzima's web site, editors were told the raid was part of a crackdown against commercial activities in residential areas.

New Delhi officials had conducted similar closures throughout the city.
Mizzima News Agency has produced independent news and commentary on Burma since 1998. It covers Burma's military government, human rights situation and India's policy toward Burma.

Burma's ailing prime minister to retire soon
The Irrawaddy magazine published by Burmese journalists based in Thailand has reported that Burma's PM General Soe Win may retire soon. He is reportedly suffering from leukemia.

The prime minister is known for his role in the bloody crackdown on democracy protesters in Rangoon in 1988 and also believed of being the mastermind behind the Depeyin attack on the motorcade of ASSK in 2003.

An unnamed government source says the prime minister's most likely successor will be Lieutenant-General Thein Sein, who is secretary of the SPDC.

Human rights activists attacked in Burma delta
A group of Rangoon based human rights activists led by human rights lawyer U Myint Aye was attacked Wednesday afternoon by thugs near a village in Hinthada Township in Burma's delta region. The activists were returning from a village after conducting a program on human rights education. A crowd, reportedly members of junta-backed USDA, waited and attacked the activists near the village entrance. Two human rights activists were injured and are being treated at the township hospital. U Myint Aye said they have filed a complaint with the local police station.

88-Generation students group leader Min Ko Naing said the attack was deliberate and aimed at silencing the opposition.
Fighting continue in Karen State
Fighting between armed ethnic rebels group Karen National Union (KNU) and cease-fire Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) have subsided near Thai-Burma border areas but fighting between KNU troops and Burmese army forces have intensified in inner areas of Karen State in southeast Burma. Local villagers fleeing the fighting to Thai-Burma border areas said that they daily saw wounded Burmese soldiers transported to hospitals in Pa-An and Kawkareik towns in Karen State.

Thai authorities have tightened security at the refugee camps along the border amidst reports that DKBA troops will attack the refugee camps.

Asia-Pacific economies expected to grow
The developing economies in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at 7.4 percent in 2007, says UNESCAP in its annual review of economic and social development.

Rangoon-based economist U Khin Mg Nyo says Burma's economy is also expected to be stable at a double-digit growth rate due to an increase in trade and investment from neighbouring countries.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Britain's Finance Minister praises ASSK
Britain's Finance Minister, Gordon Brown, has praised ASSK by calling her a true hero of our times.
In an extract from his new book, "Courage: Eight Portraits," published in the Guardian newspaper Monday, Mr. Brown says ASSK's struggle since her arrest in 1989 is the absolute expression of selflessness.
Mr. Brown writes that ASSK represents the power of the powerless -- a woman, a prisoner of conscience up against a state with one of the worst human rights records in the world.

India shuts down exiled Burmese news agency
Indian authorities in New Delhi have shut down the headquarters of Mizzima News Agency, an independent news agency run by exiled Burmese journalists.
Policemen and municipal officials ordered the news agency closed after sealing off its office where computers and other equipment are kept.
According to a report on the news agency's website, editors were told the raid was part of an overall crackdown against commercial activities in residential areas.
Mizzima News Agency has produced independent news and commentary on Burma since 1998. It also covers the human rights situation in Burma, the military government and Indian policy towards the country.

China shuts down border casinos

Chinese officials say they are shutting down more than one-hundred casinos along China's borders since 2005.
Chinese officials said they were concerned that the gambling operations were being used for money laundering activities.

Gambling is illegal in China but many Chinese travel across the border to Vietnam, Burma or Russia to gamble.
Beijing University has estimated that more than one-hundred-billion dollars was bet illegally or overseas last year.

Karen people flee fighting and forced portering in Burma's Karen State
Hundreds of ethnic Karen villagers have fled to Thai-Burma border and to inland Burma to escape the fighting between armed Karen National Union (KNU) rebels and cease-fire Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). KNU has accused the Burmese military of instigating and orchestrating the fighting between the Karen armed groups, which started since the first week of April.

Villagers said they were forced by DKBA troops and Burmese army to work as military porters in the major offensive against the KNU, which has claimed 4 KNU base camps in the recent week. DKBA denies the allegation, saying that villagers were only asked to participate in regional development works.

Chin people from Burma arrested in southern Thailand
A group of ethnic Chin people from Burma was arrested in southern Thailand. The Chin travellers, 14 men, 6 women and 2 children, were travelling without travel documents. They told Thai police that they were travelling to Malaysia to find jobs, because they were facing economic hardships back home.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

UN human rights experts say Burma discriminating against Muslim minorities
A group of UN human rights experts urge Burma's government to stop discriminations against Muslim minorities in the western part of the country.

The experts said in a statement issued Monday that the Rohingyas minorities are not able to exercise their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

They called on the government to repeal a 1982 law that denies citizenship to the Rohingyas. The UN experts say the law has led to various discriminatory practices including restricted access to medical care, food and housing.

As a consequence, they say, thousands of Rohingyas have fled to neighbouring countries, creating a complex humanitarian situation in the region.

The statement was signed by six UN experts, including the special envoy for human rights in Burma.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Thai marine police on Tuesday detained two boats carrying more than 150 Rohingya men from Burma off the western coast of South Thailand. Recently, increasing number of Rohingya boat people from Burma are arrested in Thailand and Malaysia. Thailand says, since the end of 2006, they have spotted and arrested more than 1200 Rohingya boat people in southern Thai waters.

Burma reopens border gate
Burmese authorities Wednesday reopens the Myawaddy-Maesod border gate, which was shut down since 28th March. Burma closed down the border gate in retaliation for Thailand's decision the previous week to close down the checkpoint following the kidnapping of two Thai border patrol policemen by the ethnic cease-fire Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).

Officials in Thailand say the closure of the checkpoint means losses of up to US$ 1.2 million in border trade each day.

Singapore invites Burmese junta leader for an official visit
Singapore has invited Burma's military junta leader Senior General Than Shwe for an official visit to Singapore.
According to a Singapore Foreign Ministry statement Wednesday, visiting Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo extended the official invitation during a meeting with Lt. Gen. Thein Sein, the secretary of the Burmese military junta. George Yeo is on a three-day visit to Burma.

The statement said the two discussed bilateral ties and exchanged views on forging closer economic exchanges, particularly in the area of trade and investment.

The statement says Thein Sein proposed that Burma could become a long-term supplier to Singapore of construction materials. He also encouraged Singaporean companies to invest in Burma.

Burmese activist freed after nearly a month in detention
Burmese activists say pro-democracy activist Thwin Lin Aung was released Monday after nearly a month in detention on suspicion of joining a US sponsored political training programme in Washington. Thwin Lin Aung was arrested on March 5th as he prepared to leave Rangoon airport.

Thwin Lin Aung said he was questioned about the activities of the American Center in Rangoon.
Thwin Lin Aung is a former political prisoner who spent more than six years in prison for his involvement in a protest in 1996.

Ethnic Shan environmental group protests against Tasang Dam in Shan State
Shan Sapawa Environmental Organisation urges the Thai company MDX, to pull out from the construction of the Tasang Dam on Salween River in eastern Burma Shan State.

A spokesman of the group told the BBC Burmese that around 60,000 villagers from areas adjoining the dam site and the projected flood zone are forced to be relocated in the past years.

The project will not only hurt the livelihood of the villagers but also damage the environment of the river, said the spokesman.

Thailand's MDX company has been preparing for the construction of the Tasang dam since 1989.

Residents of Chauk to protest against tax hikes
Residents of Chauk Town in central Burma are planning to send protest letters to the municipal authorities concerning tax hikes in the town. Residents say municipal authorities have significantly raised taxes and the town's people are being affected.  

Summary of Radio News on Burma

NLD accused of taking orders from US and UK
Burma's government-run New Light of Myanmar Newspaper wrote Sunday that Burma's main opposition NLD is depending too much on western powers and the party taking instructions from the US and UK embassies in Rangoon. The newspaper said that there were 29 contacts in March alone between NLD and the two embassies and the party is receiving instructions through letters and parcels sent by the embassies. 

NLD spokesman U Myint Thein denied the government's accusations and said that NLD was only receiving information and publications from the embassies through regular letters and parcels. He said NLD is a legitimate political party and is having contacts with the western embassies according to international relations and protocol.

Ethnic Shan democracy party calls for leaders' release
The ethnic Shan National League for Democracy is making calls for the release of their leaders including U Hkun Htun Oo, Sai Nyunt Lwin and other party leaders. A special appeal for them to the high court was rejected earlier last week.

U Hkun Htun Oo and party leaders were arrested more than two years ago and they were given long prison sentences for charges including treason. The SNLD won majority of votes after NLD in the 1990 election.

Burma jails two officials over forced labour
The state-run New Light of Myanmar, reported Saturday that two men were sentenced late last month over forced labour practice. The men were jailed just days after Burma signed an agreement with the ILO.
According to the agreement, ordinary Burmese people can report incidents of forced labour to the ILO office in Rangoon. The agreement allows the ILO liaison officer in Rangoon to make a preliminary investigation into allegations and guarantees that the government will not retaliate against those making complaints.
In another case, the government news report said five Forest Department personnel were dismissed from their jobs for forcing villagers to cut down trees.
The report did not mention any ILO involvement.

Mekong youth forum on human trafficking
Young people aged 13 to 19 from Cambodia, China, Laos, Burma, Vietnam and Thailand took part in the Mekong Youth Forum held in Bangkok

The forum discussed the risks of human trafficking affecting children and young people in the South East Asia region.
Reports say that children from Burma, as young as ten years old, are sold to traffickers by their parents in some cases.

One of the social welfare groups from Maesod, Social Action for Women (SAW),
is helping those children fleeing from Burma due to poverty, and some are rescued from human trafficking.

Ethnic Kachin groups staged protests over rape case
Exiled ethnic Kachin groups held protests in front of the Burmese embassies in Tokyo, London, Washington and Denmark, demanding justice for the rape victims in Putao in northern Burma Kachin State. Four Kachin schoolgirls aged between 14 and 16 were gang raped by Burmese army soldiers in February. The schoolgirls were later arrested and jailed after exiled independent Burmese media reported the case.

Burma's Navy Chief visits India
Burma's Navy Chief Vice Admiral Soe Thein is visiting India. Soe Thein is leading a Burmese navy delegation, which will discuss the two countries naval co-operation.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Leaked report revealed low morale in Burma's Army
"Burma army battalions are poorly managed, lacking resources and are plagued by desertion", according to a report in the latest issue of Jane's Defence Weekly citing a leaked top secret document on the meeting minutes of the Burmese military junta's quarterly meeting held in September 2006 at Nay Pyi Daw.

The report, it is said, details the problems face by the armed forces of the country.
"Battalion commanders are chastised for drinking excessively and for being fixated on profit making and womanising," the report said.

The leaked document revealed that military regiments in the country are undermanned. There are 284 regiments with less than 200 soldiers and there are 220 regiments, which have between 200 and 300 soldiers. A fully structured military regiment has 750 soldiers.

There are 13,700 Burmese soldiers found to have HIV/AIDS virus and thousands of soldiers are affected with Hepatitis B virus.  

Despite all the problems, the leaders of the country have ordered to recruit 7000 soldiers per month out of 7 million youth aged between 18 and 25 in the country. The report said Burmese military leaders are determined to expand the armed forces to reach 500,000 soldiers in the next few years.

Burmese army is also accused of conscripting child soldiers forcibly, to which authorities have denied.

Thai officials voice concern about closure of Burmese border checkpoints
Officials in Thailand are voicing their concern about the closure of a major border checkpoint between the two countries.

Burma shut its Myawaddy-Maesod border crossing on Wednesday. Officials in Thailand say the closure of the checkpoint could mean losses of up to US$ 1.2 million in border trade each day.

Residents from Myawaddy border town in Burma and Maesod in Thailand said businesses are being greatly affected by the border closure.

The move of Burma appears to be in retaliation for Thailand's decision last week to close down one of its checkpoints following the kidnapping last week of two Thai border patrol policemen by the cease-fire Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).

The DKBA has close links to Burma's military regime.

Woman farmer released from prison
Daw Khin Win, a Burmese woman farmer who was sentenced earlier this year to 1-year imprisonment for allegedly lodging false complaints against local authorities, was released Thursday after serving 3 months in prison. 

Daw Khin Win said she will continue to lodge complaints against the malpractice of local authorities and will seek legal action against those whom responsible for her false imprisonment.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

ILO defers Burma International Court challenge
The International Labour Organisation will defer a plan to take Burma to the International Court of Justice over forced labour, following a deal reached last month between the ILO and the Burmese military junta that gives victims means of redress.
The junta has promised victims freedom to submit complaints directly to the ILO officer in Rangoon, without retaliation from authorities.
The ILO said it would assess whether the scheme was workable before it decided whether to proceed with the legal challenge.

The Burmese junta has sentenced to six months imprisonment two ward authorities in Aung Lan Township in central Burma for forced labour practice, as a first case after the agreement with ILO.

Pinheiro calls for release of journalist U Win Tin
The UN special envoy on human rights in Burma Tuesday appealed to the Burmese military government to release the well-known journalist and poet U Win Tin, who has been in jail for nearly 18 years. Mr.Pinheiro also called for the release of all other political prisoners.

Prof. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said the processes of national reconciliation and democratic transition could be facilitated by the release of all political prisoners.

U Win Tin, earlier this month spent his 77th birthday in prison.

Activists accuse Burma of mounting a state of Terror
Human Rights activists from Burma are appealing to the UN Human Rights Council and the international community to maintain pressure on the Burmese military rulers to end repression on the country's ethnic Karen minority.

The Burmese activists accuse the Burmese military of waging a campaign of terror against people in Karen State in eastern Burma. The activists submit a study titled 'The State of Terror', prepared by the Karen Women's Organisation, which documented about 4,000 cases of human right abuse in nearly 200 villages.

90% of all documented human rights violations in the report are forced relocations and forced labouring or military portering. There are also abuses such as rape, beating, denial of food, water and shelter and denial of the right to legal redress. The author says increasing numbers of Karen are fleeing across the border into Thailand to escape the brutal treatment and many more people have become internally displaced.

U Win Naing, who represents the exiled government NCGUB, says a strong voice is needed from the United Nations to protect the people in Burma.

U Win Naing urges the UN Human Rights Council not to do away with the special rapporteurs that investigate human rights violations in countries around the world.

U Win Naing says his group supports international sanctions against the military government.

Bangladesh mistreats Burmese refugees: HRW
The Human Rights Watch has released a new report alleging that Muslim ethnic refugees from Burma are being mistreated in Bangladesh.

The report says there are about 250,000 Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh, and that many of them are mistreated by Bangladeshi authorities who want them out of their country.

More than 250,000 Rohingya from western Burma were forced into Bangladesh by the Burmese military in 1992 during a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign.

Iran invites Burmese FM to visit Tehran
Iran's Foreign Minister has invited Burmese FM to visit Tehran and expressed his hope that the two sides can boost co-operation.

Iranian state media said that during a meeting with Burma's deputy foreign minister U Kyaw Thu Wednesday, the Iran FM expressed Tehran's desire to strengthen economic co-operations between the two countries.

Iran state media said the Burmese official echoed the interest in strengthening ties, and also noted Burma's desire to open an embassy in Tehran.

Burma closes border gates with Thailand
Large quantities of goods were left stranded along the Burmese border after Burma closed its checkpoints along the border with Thailand, in retaliation for Thailand's earlier closure of two border checkpoints. Burma's closure of its Three Pagodas and Myawaddy checkpoints obstructed trade along the border.

Thai and Burmese traders were told by Burmese troops that the checkpoints would be closed indefinitely.
The move followed Thailand's closure over the weekend of the Three Pagodas Pass checkpoint and the Singkhon border pass, in protest against the abductions of two Thai border patrol policemen by cease-fire ethnic DKBA.

Thailand reopened the border passes after the officers were released on Monday.
There are reports that the Burmese military is unhappy that Thailand negotiated for the release of its police officers directly with the DKBA, not through the Burmese military authorities. Sources on the border said Burma is demanding apology from Thailand for the direct dealing with the DKBA.

Three Chinese anti-drugs police shot dead on Myanmar border
Three Chinese police officers died and three were injured in a shootout with suspected drug traffickers on the border with Burma, Chinese state media said Wednesday.

The officers were mounting a surveillance operation when they were attacked Sunday in the border county of Yijiang in the south-western province of Yunnan.

The three injured officers were in stable condition.
Yunnan police were hunting for the suspected drug traffickers, who escaped across the border after the gunfight.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burma making progress toward democracy: Military junta
Burma's information minister Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan says the country is making progress toward democracy.
The minister made the remarks in the new capital Naypyitaw Monday at the first news conference opens to foreign journalists. 

Kyaw Hsan said the remaining parts of the constitution will be adopted at the next national convention which is expected to be held in May or in the later part of this year.

The constitutional convention was established as the first stage of a 7-steps roadmap.
It is intended to help establish power-sharing agreements between a future elected government and the ruling military.
Kyaw Hsan rejected accusations that the military is responsible for human rights abuses in the country. He also denied accusations that authorities mistreated prisoners.

The information minister told journalists that the military junta had no plans to release ASSK from house arrest. He said it depends on ASSK to be released and ASSK should change her mindset against the military government.

He also hinted that the pro-junta USDA (Union Solidarity and Development Association) could participate in elections in the future if that was what the people wanted.

Kyaw Hsan confirmed during the news conference that the Prime Minister General Soe Win is receiving treatment in Singapore. He said the prime minister's condition was good.

Around 50 foreign journalists have been allowed to enter the country to cover celebrations marking Armed Forces' Day on Tuesday.

At the Monday news conference, Burma's police chief Police Brigadier General Khin Yi accused the International Committee of the Red Cross of blackmail, saying the organisation is favouring the country's political prisoners. Khin Yi said the ICRC only visited those prisoners who had harmed national stability and that it refused to be accompanied by Burmese officials.

He suggested the ICRC decision to close two field offices in the country as a result of the prison visit ban amounts to blackmail.
Earlier this month, the Red Cross said its humanitarian work in Burma was at near-paralysis because of obstruction by the military government.

Burma trade surplus reached 1.4 billion dollars in 2006
Burma gained a trade surplus of 1.4 billion dollars in 2006, on total exports worth 3.5 billion dollars, a senior economic official told the press conference Monday.
Myint Myint Soe, director-general of Burma's ministry of national planning and economic development, said total exports amounted to over 3.5 billion dollars and imports over 2 billion as of the end of 2006. She said the country gained a surplus of more than 1.4 billion in balance of trade and 1.9 billion dollars in the current-account balance.
Burma's main export item is natural gas, being exported to neighbouring Thailand.
The economic official told journalists that Burma's inflation rate was 10.7 per cent in 2006, up considerably from 3.8 per cent in 2005.
She said total foreign investments at the end of 2006 amounted to 14.2 billion dollars, with 409 foreign companies from 29 different countries operating in the country.

Demonstration in front of NLD headquarters

Authorities informed Burma's main opposition NLD that some people will stage protest Tuesday against NLD at it headquarters where the party will hold a ceremony to mark the 62nd anniversary of Revolution Day.

Karen rebels release Thai border policemen
Authorities in Thailand said two border policemen have been released four days after they were kidnapped and taken to Burma by the cease-fire ethnic rebels group Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).

Demonstrations in 15 countries against Shwe Gas project in Burma
Protests against Korea's Daewoo International, for allegedly selling military equipment to Burma in exchange for energy contracts, took place in 15 countries around the world Monday. Indian government was also targeted for allegedly selling guns and tanks to the Burmese regime to secure energy supplies.
Protests were held across the world including in France, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia. 

In Bangkok, activists staged protest at the Korean embassy demanding that both Daewoo and India withdraw from deals worth up to 17 billion dollars in taxes and fees to the ruling military regime.
Daewoo International, along with three other Korean and Indian corporations, are stakeholders in the Shwe Natural Gas Project, an offshore field that may hold up 10 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Fourteen Daewoo executives, including Daewoo President Lee Tae-yong, were indicted in South Korea in December for illegally selling military equipment to Burma.
Daewoo told the court earlier that it had no criminal intention in selling the equipment to Burma, and had ultimately acted in the interests of Korea. The case was adjourned until April 12.
The protestors against the project said construction of gas pipelines would also cause human rights abuses, because the Burmese military habitually use forced labour, uproot local communities and confiscate land.

UNHCR welcomes the release of Burmese babies from Malaysia prisons
The UNHCR says it has welcomed Malaysia's decision to release six Burmese babies arrested with their relatives and held for weeks for not having valid travel documents.

The agency said in a statement Monday the babies, all between the ages of four and six weeks, were released along with their mothers into UN custody last Thursday.

The UNHCR thanked authorities in Kuala Lumpur for releasing the babies and their parents from detention, calling it a humanitarian act. In total, 25 people were released.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burma held Armed Forces Day
Burma held its annual Armed Forces Day military parade in the country's new capital, Nay Pyi Daw on Tuesday. The ruling military puts on a grandiose show of military might and defiance at the parade. Foreign reporters were invited to attend the annual event for the first time.

Burma's military junta leader Senior General Than Shwe made an address to the 15,000 soldiers on the parade ground. In the nationally televised address, Than Shwe accused "powerful countries" of trying to undermine national unity in the country. He also accused the powerful countries of trying to weaken the armed forces and the civil services. Than Shwe said one of the most important priorities for the country is maintaining sovereignty. He also said the country is making progress toward democracy.

Although Than Shwe reportedly is suffering from ill health, the 74 year old general stood about one and a half hour after he stood up out of the sunroof of his stretch Mercedes as he inspected troops under the hot morning sun.

Many Burmese watchers believe that this will be his final Armed Forces Day before he steps down.
According to one analyst, Larry Jagan, the faces in the military may change but the policies will not; the iron grip of the military will remain. He said personnel changes in the military are not going to change the fundamental nature of the Burmese military rule

NLD held Resistance Day ceremony
Burma main opposition NLD held the annual Resistance Day ceremony Tuesday at the party's headquarters in Rangoon. About 500 opposition supporters, including veteran politicians, 88-generation student leaders and foreign diplomats attended the ceremony.

The NLD party issued a statement on the occasion, urging the military government to convene parliament with elected representatives, to release political prisoners and to solve economic hardships of the people.

The 88-generation students also issued a statement on the occasion, saying that it was not only the military that fought and expelled the invading fascists 62 years ago, but also that students and politicians were involved in the revolution. The 88-generation students urge the military to co-operate with the opposition forces to solve the country's problems.  

ADB report says Burma's economy still facing challenges
A report released on Tuesday by Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Burma continues to face significant economic challenges despite lucrative natural gas exports.

The report said high prices for natural gas exports and a good harvest led to a modest pickup in economic activity. But macroeconomic stability remains elusive with monetized fiscal deficits feeding high inflation.

The report also stressed that inefficiencies in public expenditure management as well as capital spending associated with a shift of the new capital to Naypyidaw have attributed to poor economic performance. The ADB said Burma needs economic reforms.

ILO Governing Gody to discuss Burma issue Wednesday
The ILO liaison officer in Burma, Mr Richard Horsey, said the ILO Governing Body will discuss Burma's forced labour issue on Wednesday at a meeting of the Governing Body.

KNPP camp under attack
A strategic camp of the armed ethnic rebels group Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) in eastern Burma Karenni State was attacked by the Burmese army with heavy artillery shelling on Monday and Tuesday evenings. KNPP spokesman Ramond Khoo said Burmese troops fired altogether 6 heavy artillery shells on the KNPP camp on Thai-Burma border and there was no casualty. He said the shelling might have started after soldiers from both sides were involved in cross-camp exchanges of verbal insults.

India's Mizzoram State stops poultry imports from Burma
India's northeastern state of Missoram has stopped poultry imports from Burma amidst reports of bird flu outbreaks in Burma.

Burma Tuesday confirmed 5 cases of bird flu outbreaks in the capital Rangoon since the end of February. 

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Lone protester arrested in Rangoon
Police have detained an activist who staged a solo protest in Rangoon Thursday calling for freedom of religion.
Htin Kyaw was arrested in front of a busy market in Rangoon, while shouting slogans calling for religious freedom in the country.

Friends of Htin Kyaw say he was unhappy that officials prevented him from becoming a monk at a local monastery.
Htin Kyaw has been arrested a few times since last month. He was first arrested in late February after leading a demonstration in downtown Rangoon calling for political freedom and better living conditions. He was arrested two more times after holding a news conference that focused on similar issues.

Thai troops on alert along Burmese border
News reports from Thailand said Thai troops at Burmese border are put on alert after an unknown armed group from Burma stormed a Thai army post on Wednesday. One Thai soldier was killed in the clash in northern Thailand Mae Hong Son province.

A spokesman for the ethnic armed Karenni Nationals Progressive Party (KNPP), which operates in the area, said it was Burmese army troops that attacked the Thai army post. He said some Burmese army troops must have mistakenly attacked the Thai army post, since Burmese military columns are currently clearing Karenni rebels in the area. 

A spokesman of the Thai military said the attack might have been a mistake of identity since there is no problem between the Burmese and Thai military forces.

Karenni rebels holding peace talks with Burmese military
Ethnic Karanni armed rebels group Karenni Nationals Progessive Pary (KNPP) is meeting with Burmese military authorities for peace talks, sources from eastern Burma Kayah State said.

UN warned over future availability of water
The United Nations has marked World Water Day Thursday with a warning that, on every continent, supplies of water are coming under pressure.

By 2025, the UN says, two-thirds of people on the planet could be living with water shortages.
A researcher in Burma, Dr. Nyo Maung, told the BBC Burmese that future availability of clean water in Burma depends on conservation of forests and control of pollution in Burma's rivers

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burmese PM in Singapore hospital with serious health problem
Reports say Burmese Prime Minister Soe Win is taking treatment in Singapore General Hospital for an unspecified health problem.

An unnamed Burmese embassy official in Singapore Wednesday said General Soe Win arrived in Singapore several weeks ago and his health condition is somewhat serious.

Some news sources reported last week that General Soe Win may be suffering from leukaemia.

FAO wants tougher bird flu controls in Burma
The UN's FAO reported a new outbreak of bird flu in Burma on Wednesday and called for more stringent measures to control the spread of the virus.
About 1,600 chickens contracted the virus and died during the weekend at a farm in Nyaunghnapin, about 25 miles north of Rangoon, said Tang Zang Ping, the representative for the FAO.
Authorities slaughtered more than 20,000 birds as a precautionary measure, he said.
Mr. Tan said there should be stricter controls on the movement of poultry and poultry products.
Burmese authorities warned in a statement that despite preparedness and designating restricted zones and controlled zones, there can be more bird flu outbreaks in the country.

Karen villagers return to KNLA-controlled area
Armed ethnic Karen National Union (KNU) says about 30 villagers who went together with a splinter group of Karen Nationals Liberation Army's Brigade 7 led by Brig. Gen. Htin Maung, which recently entered into a peace deal with the Burmese military, have returned to KNLA-controlled area on Thai Burma border. The villagers say they were forced to work in road construction works and they did not receive proper assistance that were initially promised to them. The KNU says they will welcome those deserters who would like to return to the KNU.   

Authorities arrested two activists for distributing UN human rights leaflets
Burmese authorities on Tuesday arrested two activists in central Burma Pegu Division for allegedly distributing the text of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Local police Tuesday arrested Kyaw Kyaw Oo and Kyaw Swe, staff members of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters in Prome, while distributing pamphlets of the UDHR. The two were interrogated and were released on Wednesday. They were warned that their actions violate press and publishing laws and they could face prison terms. 

Summary of Radio News on Burma


Burmese PM in Singapore hospital
Burma's Prime Minister General Soe Win is in a Singapore hospital with an unspecified medical problem, an embassy official said Tuesday.

Soe Win arrived some time ago and is in the Singapore General Hospital, said the official who asked not to be identified. The official declined to provide details of his condition. "He is here in a private capacity and it is true that he is here for medical reasons," the official said.

Soe Win is the suspected mastermind of the deadly Depeyin attack on ASSK's convoy four years ago in central Burma.

Burma plans to hold election in later part of 2008: NMSP
An official of ethnic cease-fire New Mon State Party (NMSP) said the Burmese military government is planning to hold elections in the later part of 2008.  

The Mon official, who attended a meeting held early March between Burmese military officials and ethnic cease-fire groups, said they were told by Burmese officials that the military government is planning to hold national referendum in the first six month of 2008 and elections in the later part of 2008. Cease-fire groups are urged to enter the election, said the Mon official.

Thousands of chickens slaughtered in new bird flu outbreak near Rangoon
Authorities have slaughtered thousands of chickens after discovering another outbreak of bird flu in Rangoon over the weekend. The discovery of bird flue on a chicken farm in Hmawbi, a northern suburb of Rangoon, is the fifth such outbreak in the country this year.

The national consultant at the FAO in Rangoon said officials are taking effective precautionary measures and there is still no report of human case in Burma.

Summary of Radio News on Burma


ASSK honoured in India
The Netaji Subhas Foundation in India has honoured ASSK with an award for her struggle for democracy in Burma.
The foundation recognised ASSK on Monday at a ceremony in Kolkata. A representative of ASSK received the award and a cash prize on behalf of her.
The foundation said in a statement that it wants to send a strong message that the Indian people stand behind democratic movements in Burma.

UN Chief expresses concerns over lack of democratic progress in Burma
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in an interview with the VOA that he is concerned about the lack of progress in the democratisation process in Burma.

Mr. Ban Ki-Moon said he is going to use the experience of UN special envoy for Burma, Mr. Gambari, to help the Burmese people to democratise their systems.

Three Diseases Fund provides 20 million US dollars in Burma
The "Three Diseases Fund" has provided assistance worth of US$ 20 million for new projects to reduce human suffering in Burma.

The fund started their operation in Burma in late 2006 after the withdrawal of Global Fund from Burma.
Mr. Andrew Jacob, a top official from the "Three D Fund", which is organised by donor countries from European countries and Australia, told the BBC that they are confident that their fund will reach to people in need.

He said it is important to maintain transparency and accountability in the "Three D Fund" supporting. He also said whether their support can reach remote areas is still one of their main concerns.

Ethnic Chin rebels group enters peace talk with Burmese military
Leaders from Chin National Front (CNF), an ethnic armed rebels group based on the border bewteen India and Burma, said they are happy with the outcome of their recent talks with Burmese military officials.

Dr. Shwe Khar, a leader of the CNF said they have agreed with their Burmese counterparts to hold more talks in the near future.

The CNF has been fighting against the Burmese army for almost twenty years to gain autonomy in their areas.

Another bird flu outbreak reported in Rangoon
An official with the FAO in Rangoon said they have detected another bird flu outbreak in Hmawbi Township, a northern suburb of Rangoon

Summary of Radio News on Burma


EU and ASEAN agree to boost ties; EU urges ASEAN to pressure Burma
The EU and ASEAN Friday released a joint statement during a meeting in Nuremberg. In the statement, foreign ministers from both regions pledged to co-operate more on political and economic issues. The two groups' effort to establish a free trade deal is hampered by the situation in Burma.

EU officials urged ASEAN counterparts to pressure Burma to improve its human rights record, and to call for the release of ASSK.

In January, ASEAN agreed to work to establish a free trade zone with the EU by 2015.

ICRC to close two offices in Burma
In a statement Friday, the ICRC says it will close two of its offices in Burma because its work in the country is at "near-paralysis." The organisation says its staff members are unable to independently conduct prison visits and trips to sensitive border areas.

The statement says the ICRC will close offices in Mawlamyine in southeast Burma and Kyaing Tong in eastern Burma, and will review whether to keep open its remaining three field offices.

FAO says Burma needs help to fight bird flu
The FAO says that while Burma responded quickly to outbreaks of bird flu last month, it needs more help to continue its fight against the disease in the long term.

The FAO says that the source of an outbreak that spread to four townships around Rangoon in late February is still unknown.

To help prevent further outbreaks, the FAO says that more intensive surveillance was needed around Rangoon. It is also recommending that the country strengthen its lab capabilities, animal health services and public awareness campaigns.

The FAO is providing Burma with 1.4 million dollars in emergency assistance to help fight the disease.

UK expresses concerns about effective use of 3D funds in Burma
The Three Diseases Fund Board is holding a meeting in Burma to give new aid for work to fight HIV, TB and malaria in Burma.

Out of one hundred million dollars aid from Western countries, UK will contribute twenty million pounds.
The UK Minister for Development, Gareth Thomas told the BBC about the concerns for the fund to reach the most in need and asked for an effective monitoring system.

MkOne withdraws clothing from Burma
MkOne, the high street value fashion store in U.K, has withdrawn from its stores a range of clothes imported from Burma.

MkOne claimed to have had no knowledge of where the clothes came from and conducted an investigation once The Observer newspaper made them aware that Burma is ruled by military dictatorship, where human rights abuses are rampant, labour unions are banned and forced labour practices exist.

MkOne's chief executive, said suppliers should not source from Burma and the company was not aware of the issues.
Customs figures show that the UK imports tens of millions of pounds worth of clothes from Burma.

Karen villagers call for peace in war zones
Around seven hundred ethnic Karen villagers Sunday staged a rare demonstration near Maesod on Thai-Burma border.
The villagers called for an end to the fighting between Karen National Union and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army.
The villagers also blamed the Burmese military government for instigating the fighting between the two rival groups, which erupted in recent weeks.

88-Students call for a stop in harassing the dissidents
The 88-generation students group issued a statement over the weekend, calling on the authorities to stop harassing the dissident students. The students group said they are facing mounting harassment from the authorities and some of their members have been either detained, or harass by junta-backed thugs in recent weeks. The students group said dissident students taking courses at the US Information Service (USIS) in Rangoon are facing questionings by the authorities. The group also said a dissident student on his way abroad for further studies was arrested recently at Rangoon airport and being detained since then.  

Burma arrests 328 suspected drug dealers
Burma's state-run "The New Light of Myanmar" reports Friday that the 270 men and 58 women were arrested in raids last month. Police also seized 73 kilograms of opium, 15 kilograms of heroin and various other illicit drugs in more than 100 raids in the country.

Daewoo in court for exporting military equipment to Burma
South Korea's Daewoo International faces charges for exporting military equipment to Burma. The Daewoo's representative told the court in the first hearing last week in Seoul that the company has no criminal intention in exporting the equipment to Burma. The representative said that the company has exported the equipment to Burma in the interests of Korea.

Russian firms to explore oil, gas in Burma
Two Russian oil companies will conduct oil and gas exploration and production in an inland area of Burma.
Under production sharing contracts with Burma's state-run Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, the Silver Wave Sputnik Petroleum Pte Ltd and the Silver Wave Energy Pte Ltd of the Russian Federation will carry out the undertakings at an inland block B2, said sources from MOGE.

Summary of Radio News on Burma


Veteran politician U Win Naing & activist Htin Kyaw arrested
Burma's special branch police Thursday took away veteran politician Amyotharye U Win Naing and activist Htin Kyaw after the two held a press conference.

Sources said the two men were taken into custody at about 2pm after they have finished the press conference at U Win Naing's house in Rangoon.

The special police reportedly told family members that some senior officials in Naypyidaw want to ask them some questions.

The press conference began around noon Thursday and was attended by reporters working for local and international media groups.

Sources said the two men talked to the media about the lack of political freedom and poor living conditions in the country.

Htin Kyaw, the leader of a recent demonstration in downtown Rangoon last month, was briefly detained and questioned by special branch on Tuesday.

Man charged in Rangoon for posting signs on his fence wall mocking the government 
A man in Rangoon Thingangyun Township was arrested and charged for writing and posting signs on his fence complaining about high commodity prices and mocking the ariticles in the state-run newspapers.

Special police arrested a 65-year-old former sailor U Thein Zan Wednesday after he wrote politically sensitive satirical phrases over official newspaper clippings he had stuck on his fence wall.

He was brought before the township court Thursday and charged for provoking public unrest.
The court hearing was attended by leaders and members of the 88-generation students group. Opposition NLD legal support group is defending U Thien Zan in the court.

Exiled Burmese women marched in Chaingmai
Exiled Burmese women in northern Thai City of Chaingmai marched on the International Women's day to demand for more security for Burmese women.

The Women League of Burma, an umbrella group of exiled Burmese women organisations, calls on ASEAN to put more pressure on the Burmese military regime to stop violence against women in Burma.

KNU base overran by Burmese and DKBA troops
A combined force of Burmese army troops and troops from the cease-fire Karen splinter group Democratic Karen Buddhist Army DKBA overran a base the ethnic rebels Karen National Union, on Thai-Burma border after fierce fighting.

The KNU said the Burmese military has broken a gentleman agreement for cease-fire and attacked a base of KNU Brigade 6. 

About 150 Karen villagers fled the fighting and are now taking shelter across the border in Thailand.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burmese authorities detain protesters
Htin Kyaw, an activist who led a demonstration in Rangoon last month says the government has detained eight protesters who took part in the demonstration.

Htin Kyaw says he and seven others were taken into custody Tuesday night. He said he was released early Wednesday morning but the others remain in detention.

The activists were among about 25 people who rallied in Rangoon on 22nd February calling for lower consumer prices, and improved health care and education.

Burmese authorities earlier had arrested and released nine other demonstrators.
Htin Kyaw said he was warned not to stage anymore demonstration.
Similarly, U Thu Wai, the leader of Democracy Party in Burma, was recently summoned by Special Branch police and warned not to plan to stage demonstrations.

Meanwhile, Veteran Politician Amyothaye U Win Naing said he will hold a news conference Thursday to issue a statement entitled 'a situation threatening peace for the Burmese people'. 

U Win Naing said he hopes the authorities will allow him to hold the news conference.

Burma among world's worst human rights offenders: U.S. report
The U.S. State Department has released its 2006 Human Rights report, naming Burma among the world's worst human rights offenders.

The annual report said Burma's human rights record worsened last year because the country banned aid groups from visiting prisoners, detained opposition leaders and increased attacks on ethnic minorities. The report also said military officials in Burma were also said to have committed murder, rape and torture, abused prisoners and arbitrarily imprisoned citizens for political reasons.

Taxes and licence fees increased in Burma
The authorities have increased taxes and licence fees in Burma, said residents in Mandalay and Bago divisions. Residents in Mandalay said licence fees for butcher licences in their division have increased about 30% this year, causing meat prices to increase significantly. Another resident in Bago Division said transport licence fees including trishaw licence fees were increased significantly this year.

BBC TV documentary shows the plight of displaced Karen refugees in Burma
BBC TV channel 4 broadcasts a documentary entitled 'Cooking in Danger Zone', which recorded and shows the plight of displaced Karen refugees in eastern Burma's Karen State. The documentary shows the BBC TV crew venturing deep inside Burma with a group of Karen rebels, near to the Burmese troops positions in the conflict zones. 

Summary of Radio News on Burma


88-generation students group ends the 'open heart' campaign
The leaders of the 88-generation students group said Sunday that the 'open heart' letter campaign initiated by the group has ended successfully. They said they have received over 12,000 letters during the campaign, which started on 4th January. The students group distributed 20,000 envelopes and asked the public to write letters to Burmese military junta leader Senior General Than Shwe about their grievances. The students said they will forward the letters to the Senior General.

High HIV risk for Burmese fishermen
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a report that nearly one hundred thousand fishermen from Burma may have been infected with HIV virus. FAO estimates that there are more than six hundred thousand fishermen in Burma.

Dr Edward Allison, one of the authors of the report, told the BBC that fishing communities in some poor countries have the highest HIV rates, a little-known phenomenon caused mainly by fishermen's travels and a custom of trading sex for fish.

Burma's Academy Award ceremony held in Naypyidaw
Burma's 2005 Academy Award Ceremony was held for the first time in the new administrative capital Naypyidaw after a few months of delay due to uncompleted construction works on the venue. People from the country's movie industry flocked to Naypyidaw to attend the ceremony Monday evening. This year top awards went to the movies and casts of patriotic movies, said the industry sources.

Political prisoners health conditions deteriorating in Burmese prisons
Health conditions of political prisoners Ko Nyi Nyi Oo and U Aung Kin are deteriorating in Burmese prisons, family members and Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said Monday. U Aung Kin, who taught with his students about Burma's independence hero General Aung San and ASSK, was given a 3-years prison sentence in 2005 on charges of illegally conducting a private tuition. U Aung Kin has been staging hunger strike since 12th February because he was denied access to medical treatments for his stomach disease.    

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burma confirms more bird flu outbreaks in Rangoon: Wild birds blamed for the outbreaks
Burma's official newspapers confirmed that the outbreaks of bird flu have spread to at least three more townships in Rangoon.

The latest outbreaks were discovered in Hlaing Thayar and Insein township, western suburbs of Rangoon. Earlier this week authorities confirmed a new outbreak of the H5N1 virus on poultry farms in Rangoon's western suburbs.
Burmese officials said crows and sparrows may have carried the H5N1 virus to a poultry farm in the suburbs of Rangoon sparking the latest outbreaks.

Official reports said a few dozens of dead wild birds were also found around Rangoon but they were not infected with H5N1 virus.
Officials said they have imposed restrictions on the infected areas and about three hundred people who had direct contacts with infected fowls are quarantined.

No human cases have been announced in the country.

Malaysian police arrested Burmese boat people
Malaysian maritime police said they have intercepted a fishing boat Sunday morning and detained 108 Burmese nationals who were trying to enter the country illegally. Malaysian police said the 20-feet boat was designed to carry only 10 people.

Malaysian police said all the 108 Burmese were males between ages 12 and 52, who had been at sea for 15 days without valid travel documents.

Police are investigating whether a syndicate is behind them to smuggle people into Malaysia.
Meanwhile, human rights activists said Chin refugees in Malaysia are facing a series of crack down by the Malaysian authorities.

Burma's poppy cultivation down, production of synthetic drugs sharply up: US Report
The U.S. State Department said although Burma's opium poppy cultivation has declined the production and trafficking of synthetic drugs has significantly increased in 2006.

In its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report released Thursday, the U.S. State Department said Burma remains the second largest opium poppy grower in the world.

The report said Burma is a regional leader in trafficking of synthetic drugs, such as amphetamine-type stimulants.
The report said Burma was one of only two countries in the world the other being Venezuela that had "failed demonstrably" to meet international counter-narcotics obligations.

India doubles development aid to Burma
India will nearly double its development aid to Burma in 2007, earmarking 18 million dollars in funds to help with projects in Burma.

India's Foreign Ministry unveiled the 2007-2008 budget during a meeting in the legislature on Wednesday. Last year's development aid for Burma was 10 million dollars.

Meanwhile, a Burmese trade delegation is in India seeking ways to increase bilateral trade with India.

Burma Lawyers' Council calls for reform in the country's judiciary system
Thailand based exiled Burma Lawyers' Council has made a call for reforms in Burma's judiciary system. The BLC said the country's Bar Council should be invigorated and corruption should be stamped out in the country's judiciary system.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Bird flu outbreak in Rangoon
The World Organisation for Animal Health reported a new outbreak of H5N1 strain of bird flu virus in Burma. The group said the strain that can infect humans was detected at poultry farms in the western suburbs of Rangoon.

The group said nearly seventy chickens and ducks had died and around 1300 birds had been slaughtered in a bid to contain the disease.

The new outbreak is the first such case in the country since last April.

ICRC to close offices in Burma
The ICRC's deputy chief of mission in Rangoon said the organisation is closing down two offices, one in Kengtung in eastern Burma and another one in Moulmein in southeast Burma.

The deputy chief of mission told the BBC Burmese that restrictions imposed on the organisation make the operation very difficult.

Protest against Salween dam project
Environmental activists and villagers gathered outside Thailand's Ministry of Energy Wednesday to protest against the Salween dam project. The protesters asked the Thai government to hold-off on the project, and warned that it could displace tens of thousands of ethnic residents in Burma, as well as villagers in Thailand.

Similar protests will be held outside Thai embassies around the world to protest the project.
Activists warn that the dam project will threaten the river's ecosystem and endangered wildlife.
Construction of the first of the four dams is scheduled to begin in December. The Hutgyi dam would be built on a portion of the Salween River near Thai-Burmese border.

Summary of Radio News on Burma


Rare protest in Rangoon
A group of protestors held a demonstration Thursday in Rangoon, a rare show of defiance to the country's military government.

Eyewitnesses said the protesters carried placards and shouted slogans, and protested against high consumer prices, electricity shortages, and low health and education standards, among their other grievances.

The protesters marched up and down a road in downtown Rangoon for about 30 minutes and said that that they were "peacefully" making their demands. Eyewitnesses said hundreds of bystanders followed the protestors in support of the demonstration.

Witnesses said police initially took no action, but later ordered the group to disperse when they reached a main junction.

Eyewitnesses said at least two protesters were taken away by police. Two local correspondents working for Japan's Kyodo News agency and Nippon Television Network were also detained.

Special appeal for jailed ethnic Shan leaders
Lawyers for the imprisoned ethnic Shan leaders, including SNLD leader Khun Tun Oo, have lodged a special appeal to the Supreme Court in Rangoon Thursday. The defence lawyers from NLD legal assist group asked the Court to review verdicts on their clients, who were given long prison sentences in late 2005 on various charges including high treason.

Most Burmese in Thailand working illegally: Burma's state-run media
Burmese state-run newspapers report Thursday that only 80,000 of the estimated 300,000 Burmese working across the border in Thailand hold labour permits issued by the Thai government.

The report is a rare admission by the Burmese military government that thousands of its citizens are working illegally abroad. Rights groups say the number could be closer to a million.

Burmese migrant workers fill a wide range of jobs in Thailand, including in fisheries, manufacturing, construction, hotel and restaurant industries.

Terrorists responsible for bus bombing: Burma's state-run newspapers
Burma's state-run newspapers said terrorists were responsible for a bomb blast on a passenger bus in south-east Burma.
The "New Light of Myanmar" reported that the bomb exploded Tuesday morning at the bus station in Mawlamyine (Moulmein) in southeast Burma.

No human casualty was reported in the blast.

Government banned performances of funds raising artists
The Burmese government has banned art performances of an artists group named 'White Rainbow', which is performing art shows and poem recitals to raise funds for the children of HIV/AIDS sufferers. The ban came after 88-Generation Student Group's leader Min Ko Naing attended and joined a recent performance of the group in Rangoon. 

The group, which comprises of some 50 well-known artists in Burma, has raised millions of kyats in four performances recently.

Burmese troops seized NSCN camp
India's northeast Naga separatists rebels group NSCN said a major camp of the group was seized by Burmese troops after fierce fighting since last week. 12 Naga rebels were reportedly killed in the Burmese military offensive. 

Summary of Radio News on Burma

NLD MP's prison term extended
The prison term of NLD MP Daw May Win Myint has been extended for another year, said NLD sources. Her prison term has been extended for three times since 2004 after she had completed serving her sentence. Daw May Win Myint was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment in 1997 for her attempts to form a NLD youth wing. NLD spokesman U Myint Thein said Daw May Win Myint is suffering from heart disease and high blood pressure and her family is worried for her health.

Exiled opposition groups meeting on Thai-Burma border
Burma's exiled opposition groups and members of the Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC) have held a meeting in a location on Thai-Burma border to discuss future plans of the exiled opposition groups. 

Gold mining activities threaten world's largest tiger reserve in Kachin State
The Kachin Development Networking Group, KDNG, in its latest report said gold mining activities are threatening the environment of Hukaung valley tiger reserve in nothern Burma Kachin State. There are over 100 gold mines in the valley, said the report.

The KDNG secretary told the BBC Burmese that gold mining activities are polluting the reserve's waterways and threatening wildlife in the area.

Another report on human rights violation in Burma
Earth Rights International has released a 75-page report documenting human rights violations and environmental degradation in Burma committed by the military government and its business partners.

The report, entitled "Turning Treasure into Tears" highlights the connection between human rights violations, environmental degradation and business expansion in Burma by the military government and its cronies.

Another Karen rebel group joins the cease-fire KNLA Brigade 7
Another splinter group from the armed ethnic rebels Karen National Union (KNU) this week joined the KNLA Brigade 7, which has recently entered into cease-fire with the Burmese military government. About 30 members of KNU rebels led by Maj. Yin Nu and their family members totalling around 70 joined the cease-fire KNLA Brigade 7.  

8 people detained for organising public lectures on literature
8 people in lower Burma's Pauk Kaung and Paung Tale towns were arrested this week by the Military Affairs Security for organising public lectures on literature in the townships.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burma sentences 33 to life in prison for human trafficking
Burmese state-run media reported that a special court in the country has sentenced 33 people to life imprisonment for human trafficking.

The state-run newspaper, "New Light of Myanmar", says authorities rescued two women last July from a guesthouse in the northeastern Shan State, which led to the arrest of 64 suspected traffickers.

Burmese military raided illegal logging operations in Kachin State
Troops under the Burmese military northern command have raided and seized tons of timber in an operation against the illegal loggers in northern Burma's Kachin State. The Burmese troops have also confiscated fifty logging trucks in Mansi in Kachin State.

The area where the Burmese military troops had raided is reportedly close to the ethnic cease-fire Kachin Independence Organisation's (KIO) 4th Brigade and the KIO headquarters to the north.

A spokesperson of the KIO said there is no tension between the Burmese military and the KIO. He said that the operation conducted by Burmese military troops could be a usual operation to combat illegal logging.

One local timber trader said a company that has links with the Burmese military command is benefiting from buying the seized timber from the military command.

Observers said the Burmese military operation is a move to put pressure on the cease-fire KIO.

Burmese military attacks Naga rebels bases
Naga separatists in northeast India have said their bases in the jungles inside Burma have come under heavy attack by the Burmese military forces in northwest Burma.

Fire destroyed market in central Burma's Pakkokku Town
A fire broke out early Monday morning at the central market in Pakkoku Town in central Burma, destroying almost half the market. Damages were estimated at about kyats 300 millions. No human casualty was reported. Witnesses said many people were seen looting goods from the shops, instead of helping to put down the fire.   

Rangoon traffic in disorder after the transfer of traffic policemen
Motorists in Rangoon are complaining that traffics in many parts of the city are in disorder, as more than 500 traffic policemen from the city have been transferred to border towns and rural areas. A senior police officer said the traffic police forces in Rangoon and Mandalay will be replaced with better educated policemen. Sources close to the military say that about 1000 soldiers from Infantry Brigade 77 and 11 are being trained to become traffic policemen in Rangoon and Mandalay. 

Summary of Radio News on Burma


Pinheiro criticises Burma for extending house arrest of U Tin Oo
The UN special envoy on human rights in Burma, Prof. Sergio Pinheiro, said he deeply regrets on the Burmese government's recent decision to extend the house arrest of NLD vice chairman Tin Oo.

Mr. Pinheiro urged Burma's government Friday to unconditionally release Tin Oo and all remaining political prisoners. He said their release will be critical in facilitating national reconciliation and moving Burma towards democracy.

Meanwhile, the U S-based Human Rights Watch has also criticised Burma military government for the extension of house arrest of U Tin Oo.

"The Burmese government relies on China and Russia's backing to flout the international community's demands to free political prisoners like U Tin Oo," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Burma, India sign bilateral agreements
Burma's state-run "New Light of Myanmar" newspaper reported that Burma's deputy minister of home affairs, Brigadier General Phone Swe, and his Indian counterpart V.K. Duggal signed bilateral agreements Friday in Rangoon following the two countries' 13th national-level meeting.
The agreements were on border trade, trans-national development projects and to combat drug smuggling.
India's government is also concerned that separatist rebels in northeast India are taking refuge in neighbouring Burma. There are reports that some four thousand separatist rebels are running about 50 camps in the jungles in Burma.
Burma's military government has promised India that it will crackdown on the rebels, but New Delhi thinks Burma is not doing enough.

Indonesia urges Burma to speed up democratisation process
Burmese foreign minister U Nyan Win met with the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday at the end of a joint ministerial meeting in Jakarta.

The Indonesian president has reportedly told Burmese FM Nyan Win that more progress was needed in Burma's efforts to establish democracy.

During the Burmese FM Nyan Win visit, the two countries signed agreements including an agreement that could open door for Indonesia to help train military and police officers from Burma.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda told reporters that he was encouraged by Burma's pledge to complete a constitution this year.

Wirayuda said if Burma's drafting of constitution is successful, it would advance the process of democratisation in the country.

Burma warns opposition CRPP
Burma's state-run newspaper the 'New Light of Myanmar' says Police Chief Brigadier General Khin Yi summoned opposition NLD Chairman U Aung Shwe to police headquarters Thursday to deliver a warning.

Last Monday, the Committee Representing People's Parliament (CRPP), a coalition group of opposition MPs which is led by the NLD, met and demanded for the release of ASSK.

The police chief told U Aung Shwe that the CRPP was illegal and said that its demands were unlikely to bring about any good for the nation and the public.

Shan State Army seeking peace
The leader of the ethnic armed rebels Shan State Army (South), Colonel Yawd Serk, said his group is willing to join hands with the other cease-fire groups, the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the SSA (North). A SSA (South) spokesman said although there are some clashes among the Shan armed groups, there is a common understanding among them and the situation on confidence building among them is improving.

Burmese official discusses bird flu and animal diseases with international experts
Burma's state-run newspaper the "New Light of Myanmar" reported Friday that the head of Burma's livestock breeding and veterinary department U Maung Maung Nyunt discussed the findings of a bird flu survey with officials from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in central Burma's Mandalay last week.
The newspaper also said the veterinary department official met with the director of the Japan International Cooperation Agency in Mandalay earlier this month.
The officials discussed the delivery of aid for the control of bird flu, foot and mouth disease and hog cholera.
Burma declared itself free of bird flu last September and has not reported an outbreak since last April.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burma to finish drafting constitution in 2007: Indonesia FM
Burma will finish the drafting of its new constitution this year, Indonesian FM Hassan Wirajuda said, quoting Burmese FM Nyan Win following a meeting between them.

Wirajuda said the two discussed issues related to progress towards democracy in Burma.
Mr. Wirajuda said Nyan Win refused to give a timetable for the release of ASSK and other political prisoners, but he said Nyan Win told him that doctors would continue to be allowed to visit ASSK.

British Official protests the continued house arrest of NLD top executive
UK Foreign Office official Ian McCartney issued a statement Thursday saying it was deplorable for the Burmese government to extend the house arrest of NLD vice chairman Tin Oo.

Mr. McCartney called on the Burmese military government to release all the political prisoners and to let political parties operate without fear of harassment. He said that releasing the political prisoners would show that the military is committed to restoring democracy.

South Africa again defends its vote at the UNSC on Burma issue
South Africa's defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota told reporters Thursday that South Africa voted against the UNSC draft resolution concerning human rights violations in Burma because South Africa believes the matter should involve more countries.

The minister said South Africa -- without any reservation -- condemns the abuse of human rights and the arrests of pro-democracy activists in Burma.

South Africa has said the matter is better suited to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Burmese military 'forces' hundreds of military officers to retire
Burmese officials say the military recently has forced about 800 army officers into retirement.
The layoffs are part of a plan to retire about three thousand officers in an attempt to modernise the country's military forces.

Sources in Burma say that the retired military officers will be joining other government offices and civil services. 

CRPP warned by police chief
Burma's police chief Khin Yi Thursday afternoon summoned Committee Representing People's Parliament (CRPP) leaders, including NLD Chairman Aung Shwe and CRPP secretary Aye Thar Aung, to warn them that their organisation is 'illegal'. U Aye Thar Aung said they will soon hold a meeting to discuss the future of CRPP.

Burma and India held discussions on border security and development issues
An Indian delegation, headed by Home Secretary V K Duggal, discussed security issues, measures against drug trafficking, border management, border trade and trans-border development plans with Burmese authorities led by Burma's deputy home minister Brig Gen Phone Swe at the new capital Nay Pyi Daw.

Duggal is on a four-day visit to Burma since Tuesday.
Burma has assured India that it will not allow separatist militants from notheast India to operate from Burma's soil but India is seeking more commitment from the Burmese side.

At least one Burmese crew dead in South Korean ship sank
South Korea's maritime officials said at least one Burmese crew was killed when a South Korean cargo ship sank Wednesday in bad weather off the Japanese coast.

Two other Burmese crewmembers have been rescued.
The rest of the 11 crewmen are still missing. The crew consisted of five Burmese, four South Koreans and two Indonesians.

Temporary passport offices on Thai-Burma border closed
The temporary passport offices on Thai-Burma borders, which were set up since last November to issue temporary passports for Burmese citizens to enable them to enter and work legally in Thailand, were closed this week. Sources on the border said both the Thai and Burmese authorities have suspended the process to issue passports and visas for Burmese migrant workers to enter and work legally in Thailand.   

Prices slightly decline in Burma
Gold prices and US dollar exchange rates have decline slightly this week, businessmen in Rangoon said.  Gold prices have declined from kyats 445,000 per tical last week to kyats 444,000 per tical this week and US$ exchange rates have declined from kyats 1310 per dollar a few weeks ago to kyats 1280 per dollar this week. Gasoline price has also declined to kyats 3800 per gallon from previous kyats 3900 per gallon. Prices usually decline in Burma at this time of the year when the Chinese New Year is approaching, said a businessman in Rangoon.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Indonesia and Burmese officials hold bilateral talks
Indonesian and Burmese officials are meeting in Jakarta to discuss bilateral issues.
Indonesia's foreign affairs department said participants at the two-day meeting will discuss for co-operations in security, tourism, trade and investment.
The meeting is the first ministerial level meeting for bilateral co-operation between the two countries.

The two countries' officials are also discussing problems of democratisation in Burma.
Djoko Susilo, MP of Indonesia Parliamentary and a member of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, said he has no big expectations out of the meeting, but said he hopes to see some achievement through co-operation within the ASEAN members.

Demonstrators in Philippines called for the release of ASSK
About fifty protesters celebrated St Valentine's Day in Manila by demonstrating in front of the Burmese embassy calling for the release of ASSK.

Holding heart-shaped signs and balloons, members of the Free Burma Coalition gathered to show their solidarity and love for ASSK on Valentine's Day.
Protesters said they want to show their love for ASSK and the Burmese people, and their commitment for freedom and democracy in Burma.

Pro-junta demonstration in Tokyo
The state-run New Light of Myanmar said on Tuesday about 25 members of the Myanmar Friendship Association in Japan protested in front of the US and British embassies in Tokyo to protest against the two countries' efforts "to interfere in Burma's internal affairs."

The report said protesters submitted letters calling on the US and British governments to abandon their efforts at the UNSC.

Dr Min Nyo, director of the Burma Office in Tokyo, said the demonstration was organised by pro-junta Burmese in Japan. The group's name initially belonged to the Japan-Myanmar Culture Association, founded in the 1970s by Japanese World War II veterans in the Osaka and Tokyo area. The group changed its name in 1988 to the Japan-Myanmar Relationship Association.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burma extends house arrest of NLD's deputy leader
Burma's government has extended the house arrest of deputy NLD leader U Tin Oo by one year.
Home Ministry officials visited his home Tuesday afternoon and read out a government order extending his detention by one year.

He was arrested together with ASSK in 2003 after the Depeyin attack.
NLD spokesman Nyan Win said they will make an appeal.

Burma's Children Day celebrated by NLD
Burma's main opposition NLD Tuesday celebrated Burma's Children Day with activities for children at the party's headquarters in Rangoon. NLD has designated 13th February, the birthday of Burma's independence hero General Aung San, as Burma's Children Day. The activities for children at the NLD headquarters included games, art competition and contests on essay writing and poem reciting about Gen. Aung San.

Activists and observers in Burma said successive Burmese military governments have been trying to ignore Gen. Aung San as the national hero.

88-Generation Students leader Min Ko Naing said many children in Burma lack basic children rights, subject to economic exploitations and many are suffering from malnutrition.

New UN Secretary General to continue working for Burma's national reconciliation
The new UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is concerned over Burma issue, and will continue working to accelerate national reconciliation process in the country, his spokesperson told the BBC Burmese Service. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon recently announced that Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, who has been working on Burma, will be replaced with a former U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia to continue with the increasing works on Burma.

Australian parliamentarians' motion on Burma
A group of Australian opposition and elected MPs have put up a draft motion at the Australian parliament aim at criticising the Burmese military government. The draft motion mentions the issues of political prisoners and the abuses on women and children in Burma. A Burmese activist in Australia said there are increasing concerns over Burma among Australian elected and opposition politicians since Burma issue was listed on the UNSC agenda.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burma's opposition groups marked Union Day
Burma's main opposition National League for Democracy marked the 60th anniversary of Union Day with a gathering at the party's headquarters in Rangoon and stressed that the future of Burma depends on the unity within the country.

The ceremony at the NLD headquarters Monday ended peacefully in the afternoon although there were rumours that pro-junta groups including women and youth groups were preparing to stage demonstration in front of the party headquarters.

The United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), the umbrella group of ethnic political parties, also marked the Union Day with a dinner at a restaurant in Rangoon. The reception was attended by opposition groups including some leaders of the NLD and leaders of the 88-Generation Students Group. UNA had originally planned to hold the dinner at another restaurant in Rangoon but authorities ordered the restaurant to be closed indefinitely. Sources said the restaurant was closed by the order of Rangoon Mayor Brig. Aung Thein Linn, who is one of the top executives of the junta-backed Union Solidarity & Development Association (USDA).

The 88-Generation Students leaders, in a statement to mark the Union Day, called for a meaningful dialogue in the country. One of the students' leaders, Ko Ko Gyi, said they are committed to achieve a dialogue with the military regime in the future.

Foreign nations stirring ethnic conflict: Burma's junta leader
In the Union Day speech published in Burma's state-run newspapers Monday, Burmese military junta leader Sr. General Than Shwe said foreign countries aiming to dominate Burma are trying to spark conflicts between the country's ethnic groups.

Than Shwe said in his public address that the 7-point roadmap outlined by the military is the only way for the country to move towards democracy.

The Burmese military government celebrated the Union Day with cultural shows and military parades in the new capital Naypyidaw.

Karen women facing abuses by Burmese military: Karen women rights group
A new report released Monday by the Karen Women's Organisation said Burma's military is committing widespread human rights abuses against the ethnic Karen, particularly aimed at women. The report said a recent military offensive against the Karen in southeastern Burma has accelerated abuses that include rape and torture.

Women and children are also subjected to forced labour and displaced from their homes, the report said.
A spokesperson of the KWO said the report documented about 4,000 cases of rape, torture, murder and forced labour committed by some 40 military regiments in eastern Burma's Karen State . 

UN acted illegally on Burma: SA president
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has criticised the UN Security Council, for pushing through a resolution to force Burma to undertake democratic reforms, in an interview to the South Africa public broadcaster.

Mbeki accused the UNSC of breaching international law and of violating specific mandate under the UN Charter.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

KNU splinter rebel group welcomed by Burmese officials
Burmese officials held a ceremony to welcome a splinter rebel group led by Brig-Gen. Htain Maung, from the armed ethnic rebels Karen National Union.

A government spokesman said a peace ceremony was held Sunday in Htokawhto village in Kawkareik Township in Karen State. The ceremony was attended by senior military officials, about 300 members of the KNLA brigade 7 and about 3,000 local people.

Brig. Htain Maung said at the ceremony that only those who have fought bitter battles can appreciate peace. He added there can be no development without peace.

Htain Maung and a few hundreds of his followers broke from the main KNU two weeks ago. The KNU spokesman Pado Mahn Shar said KNU have about 10,000 fighters and the split will not affect the KNU.

Pado Manshar said genuine peace can only be achieved through political dialogue.

88-Generation Students Group accused of planning terrorist activities
The Burmese government is trying to destroy the image of 88 Generation Students group by accusing the group of planning terrorist activities, said Ko Htay Kywe of the group.

There was an official news report in the state-run newspapers, which warned that the armed All Burma Students' Democratic Front and Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors, dubbed terrorist groups by the government, sent nine individuals into the country at the end of last month to launch terrorist attacks.

The report says the government is stepping up security measures, and urging the public to expose subversive acts of terrorist operatives.

Meanwhile, state-run newspapers reported that a man was killed Saturday while trying to plant a bomb in a mosque in lower Burma's Kyauktaga Town.

Canada to welcome 2000 Burmese refugees from Thai refugee camps
Canada has announced it will accept two thousand Karen refugees from Burma over the next two years.
The ethnic Karens have fled Burma following military offensives by the Burmese army against the armed rebels Karen National Union. Many of them have been living in Thai refugee camps for up to 20 years.

Last year, Canada agreed to accept 810 Karen refugees. 712 have already arrived in Canada.

Pro-junta groups held meeting in Rangoon
Pro-junta activists who called themselves 88-Generation Students (Union of Myanmar)' held a meeting with other political groups in Rangoon Friday. About 500 people, who are reportedly from pro-junta organisations, attended the meeting. Ko Aye Lwin, leader of the pro-junta student group strongly criticised the main opposition NLD in an interview after the meeting.

Summary of Radio News on Burma


Burma supports Iran's nuclear programme
Burma's foreign minister says his country supports Iran's nuclear programme.
During a meeting Sunday with the Iranian Ambassador, Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win said all countries have the right to access and use nuclear technology.

The Burmese foreign minister also said it is illogical for countries with a nuclear arsenal to bar other countries from peaceful nuclear technology.

The Iranian ambassador said Burma is not a threat to international peace and security. He said human rights situation in the country is a domestic issue.

Burma and China to strengthen military ties
China's official Xinhua news agency said visiting Burma's military chief of staff, Thura Shwe Mann, and the chief of staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, met in Beijing last week and have agreed to strengthen military ties between the two countries. 

NLD members suggest to boycott Chinese goods
NLD township level organising committee members in Rangoon, who are attending a 4-day meeting in Rangoon NLD headquarters to discuss about the US-drafted UNSC resolution vetoed by China and Russia, are suggesting to call on the people to boycott Chinese goods. Some organising committee members have proposed at the meeting to publicly denounced China and Russia, said Rangoon division NLD spokesperson Dr. Than Win.   

NLD executive harassed by authorities
Daw Win Mya Mya, an executive of NLD from Mandalay, was harassed by authorities on her way to Rangoon by train on 5th February.  Daw Win Mya Mya said security personnel boarded the train at Pegu Station near Rangoon, came strait to her seat, asked her name and search her luggage without giving any explanation. She was the only person on the train who was searched by the security personnel. NLD spokesman Myint Thein said such action by the authorities is a kind of harassment to the NLD members.     

'Guiding Star' assistance group formed
U Aye Myint, the lawyer cum activist from Pegu Division near Rangoon, said an assistance group named 'The Guiding Star" has been formed in the country with intellectuals, doctors and lawyers. He said the group will educate people about their rights and assist people who face injustice and harassment by the authorities.     

Tour companies ordered to report about suspicious tourists' movements
Tour operators in Burma are ordered by the ministry of tourism to report any suspicious movement of tourists. The directive, recently issued by the ministry said tour operators are responsible to report to the tourism authorities about any suspicious movement of the tourists, who are on package tours of the tour operators. A staff of a tour company said the move is to prevent foreign journalists from taking news in the country and to prevent members of drug gangs from illegal activities while they are on a tour in the country. 

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Assassination attempt foiled in Kachin splinter group 
A plot to assassinate Colonel La Sang Awn-wa, the leader of a breakaway group of the ethnic cease-fire Kachin Independence Organisation, has been foiled.

Ten Kachin soldiers accused of the assassination attempt were arrested but their leaders have escaped, said a Kachin youth close to Colonel La Sang Awn-wa.

Seven wireless sets and six guns were seized from the group.
Meanwhile, the KIO has held a ceremony Monday to mark the 47th anniversary of its founding day at their headquarters in Laiza border town on China-Burma border. The KIO Chairman said at the ceremony that the KIO is having several successes in its regional development projects and is working together with the Burmese military regime at the National Convention for the emergence of a new national constitution.

An exiled Kachin group, the Kachin Nationals Organisation, Monday stage a demonstration in New Delhi, India and denounced the Burmese military junta for causing divisions among Kachin groups. The KNA warned the Kachin cease-fire groups KIO, NDAK and KIA that the groups could not bring any benefits to the Kachin populace during the time of cease-fire with the Burmese military.  

A similar demonstration by members of the KNO group was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Monday.
U Pu Kyin Shin Htan, a member of United Nationalities League, has told the BBC Burmese that there will always be discord among ethnic groups if there is no federal constitution with equal rights for them in Burma.

60th Anniversary of the founding of KNU
A small ceremony was held Monday at a location on the Thai-Burma border to mark the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the armed ethnic rebels group Karen National Union.

The annual ceremony was downsized after KNLA brigade 7 commander Brig. Htein Maung was expelled recently from the KNU for his un-approved role in peace negotiation with the Burmese military regime.

KNU announced at the ceremony that the KNU will continue to seek opportinities for peace with the Burmese military through dialogue.

NCGUB to be reformed
The exiled Burmese government, National Coalition Government of Union of Burma (NCGUB) will be transformed into an organisation based on federalism. The upcoming meeting between NCGUB and the National Council of Union of Burma (NCUB), an umbrella group of armed ethnic groups and pro-democracy organisations, will discuss the future of the NCGUB.

The delegates of NCGUB and NCUB have met government officials of Germany and called for tougher EU's Common Position on Burma.

Border trade customs exchange rate changed
In an attempt to raise revenue from foreign trade, the Burmese government has changed its border trade customs exchange rate to kyats 1200 per US$ from previous kyats 850 per US$. Customs duties and taxes on imported goods are now collected with the new exchange rate since January, said border trade businessmen. The new customs exchange rate has been applied at the 13 border trading posts on China, Thailand, India and Bangladesh borders. In the last two years, the government has occasionally adjusted the customs exchange rate to a rate closer to the prevailing market exchange rate. However, the official exchange rate remains at around kyats 6 to the dollar while black market exchange rate is at kyats 1275 per US$. Government's statistics showed that Burma exported over US$ 3 billions and imported over US$ 2 billions worth of goods in 2005-o6 fiscal year but economic observers say that the government's statistics are not reliable. Observers believed that many foreign trade activities are not recorded and illegal economic activities in Burma are about half the size of the formal economy.  

A businessman at the Thai-Burma border town of Myawaddy said the official border trade practices and the new exchange rate have greatly affected businesses at the border.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

88-Generation Students Group extends letter campaign
The 88-generation student leaders said they will carry on with the 'Open Heart' letter campaign.
Min Ko Naing, a leader of the students group said the campaign has to be extended for various reasons, including poor communication and transportation in Burma to send back the letters and the lack of writing skills among the rural population.

He said the group is satisfied with the feedback and effectiveness of the campaign. He said there were letters, expressing grievances on the current situations, even from some policemen and government employees.

NLD says the demonstrations in front of the US and UK embassies are illegal
The NLD said Friday that the demonstrations held in front of the US and UK embassies in Rangoon by pro-government groups are illegal. NLD spokesman U Myint Thein said Burma prohibits the gathering of more than 5 persons and also prohibits the holding public protests.

Government newspapers said last week that the demonstrations were carried out by highly patriotic nationals who could no more tolerate the interference in Burma's internal affairs by the U.S. and UK. The government newspapers praised the demonstrations and urged the public to support the protests.

Karen forum denounced KNLA defected group
A 4-day ethnic Karen conference has concluded at a location on the Thai-Burma border.
The Karen forum criticised the KNLA defected group and said any action that would create division in the KNU will not be acceptable by the Karen people. The Forum was attended by representatives of Karen people living inside Burma and also by representatives of exiled Karen groups.   

Muslims in western Burma banned from travelling
Muslim people in western Burma are banned from travelling from township to township and to other areas of the country, said residents of western Burma Arakan State. A resident said even Muslim students, who were allowed to travel to the cities for studies, are now banned from travelling to inland Burma.  

Burmese state-run media claimed that people criticised opposition CRPP
The state-run newspapers said the people of Burma are criticising the Committee Representing the People's Parliament (CRPP) for planning to lead political activities together with the NLD in collusion with Burma Communist Party.

The newspapers said the CRPP is planning to lead a ceremony at the NLD headquarters on 12 February 2007 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Union Day, together with internal and external destructive elements, leftist politicians and saboteurs.

U Aye Tha Aung, secretary of CRPP denied the allegations.

India to invest in Burma port
India is planning to build western Burma's Sittwe port and make the Kaladan River navigable in order to increase trade with Burma.
The port project, at the estimated costs of US$ 103 millions, is the latest in a string of co-operations between India and Burma.
The Human Rights Watch has criticised India's investments in Burma. The rights group says India is helping to prop up the Burma's military regime.

Shan National Day held in New York
The exiled ethnic Shan people from Burma held the 60th anniversary of Shan National Day on Saturday in New York. About 200 people attended the ceremony, which included presentations of traditional songs and dances and serving of traditional foods.
Meanwhile, the spokesman of Shan National League for Democracy (SNLD) in Burma said the health conditions of their imprisoned leaders have been deteriorating. Many SNLD leaders, including Chairman U Khun Tun Oo, have been sentenced to long prison terms since 2005 on charges of high treason.

Summary of Radio News on Burma


Burmese government praises the demonstrations against U.S. & U.K.
The state-run media in Burma says patriotic nationalists carried out protests in front of the embassies of U.S. and U.K. to criticise the two countries for interfering in the internal affairs of Burma.

A news article in the New Light of Myanmar newspaper Thursday said the protests reflect the Burmese people's objection to acts of hegemony. The article also urges the public to support the demonstrations but also warned that other unlawful demonstrations will not be allowed. 

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, about 30 supporters of the military government held demonstrations outside the U.S. and UK embassies in Rangoon.

Observers said the demonstrations were carried out by organisations backed by the junta.

Desmond Tutu urges India to work for the release of ASSK
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu urges India to work for the release of ASSK.
Accepting the Gandhi Peace Prize in New Delhi, Tutu urged India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to work for freedom of ASSK.

India's Prime Minister Singh's office said Tutu's remarks were only his "personal views."

Burmese government censors private media: RSF
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in its annual report that the private media in Burma is still subjected to strict censorship.

The group says security services have stepped up surveillance of the private media and civilians have reportedly been trained to identify international media "informers."

RSF also says seven journalists, including renowned journalist U Win Tin, are in prison in Burma and the press freedom group calls for the release of the journalists.

Torture and corruption rampant in Burmese prisons: AAPP
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the rights group for political prisoners in Burma, said torture and corruption are rampant in Burma's prisons.

In a report released Wednesday, the group said the government's plans to put prisons on self-funding basis will encourage more abuses. The report said prisoners are asked to arrange for their own food and medicines in the prisons.

Former political prisoners said prisoners are sent to hard labour camps if they do not bribe the prison authorities.

Thai government watching the split in KNU
Thai officials say Thai government is closely watching the split in Karen National Union. Thai officials say that if the situations worsen in Karen State due to the KNU split, there could be a new influx of Karen refugees from Burma crossing the border into Thailand.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Another demonstration in front of the US embassy in Rangoon
Burmese government supporters held another demonstration in front of the US embassy in Rangoon. There were about 40 people participating in the protest Wednesday afternoon against the failed US-drafted UNSC resolution on Burma. Witnesses said there were more people and the protestors were more organised than the Tuesday protest. The posters held by them were more daring than the other day with many posters said, "go away evil..." International reporters were not informed in advance but there were people with cameras filming from the other side of the road.

88-Generation Students Group leader Min Ko Naing said it is a good sign that the government is allowing certain groups to hold demonstrations. He said they will also test the situation by holding a protest in front of the city hall in Rangoon to express the grievances of the populace.  He said the people of Burma should know that they also have the rights to freely express their grievances. 

Thailand increases quota for migrant Burmese workers
Thailand has decided to allow additional 10,000 migrant workers from Burma to work in Thailand this year.
Thai Labour Minister said the Thai government will also allow about 500,000 Burmese workers to renew their work permits this year.

Dismissed Karen rebels commander celebrate 58th anniversary of Karen Revolution Day
Brigadier General Htain Maung, the dismissed commander of the ethnic rebels group Karen National Union's armed wing Karen National Liberation Army's 7th Brigade, and his followers held a ceremony to celebrate the 58th anniversary of Karen Revolution Day. About 200 KNLA commanders attended the ceremony.

The personal assistant of the dismissed commander said peace negotiation with the Burmese military is still underway and they are also in good terms with the cease-fire Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). 

He said there is no plan to move their troops at the moment as talks are still ongoing among the commanders of the KNLA.

Burma's watcher Professor Joseph Silverstein of the U.S. said the latest split in the Karen National Union is a big blow to the KNU and the organisation will be weakened significantly in the future. He speculates that the Burmese military will not negotiate with the KNU anymore, since they are defeating over the Karen rebels group.

Japan to aid former poppy farmers in Burma
The Japanese Foreign Ministry announced Monday it will provide financial assistance to former poppy farmers and their families in Burma through the UN's Trust Fund for Human Security.

The project aims to improve living conditions of the farmers by implementing programs to create income-generating opportunities through agriculture.

Former poppy farmers in eastern Burma's Shan State are impoverished due to the absence of alternative income opportunities following a ban on poppy cultivation.

Large quantity of narcotics seized in north-east Burma
Burma's narcotics police have seized a large quantity of narcotic drugs in northeast Burma's Namkham Township on 28th January. 20 kg of heroin, 50 kg of raw opium, 1 million tablets of methamphetamine stimulant drugs were seized from two houses owned by relatives of the leader of a local militia force.  

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Diseases from Burma spread across its borders
Health experts meeting in Bangkok this week warned that infectious diseases from Burma, including tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria, are spreading across its borders to neighbouring countries.

The experts also expressed concern about Burma's ability to meet any new health threats, such as an outbreak of avian flu.

Tom Lee, of the Global Health Access Program at the University of California, says infectious diseases from Burma are spreading across the border into India.

Lee says HIV/AIDS rates on the Indian side of the Burmese-Indian border are as high as eight percent. He says there is also evidence in India of drug-resistant malaria from the Burmese side.

The conference was co-sponsored by two major U.S. universities and Thailand's Mahidol University.

It brought together health providers, academics and humanitarian workers from Thailand, the United States, Bangladesh and India, along with Burmese exiles and health workers from China's Yunnan Province.

Burma has been a major source of illegal narcotics into China. Heroin crosses the border into Yunnan, and the AIDS virus, spread by heroin addicts, has followed in its wake.

Andrew Moss, an epidemiologist from the University of California, says Chinese officials, too, are starting to take note of the health threat from Burma.

"The Chinese realise they have serious public health issues on the border. They have realised this for a long time with HIV. The Chinese are now clear it's a pretty vulnerable border, from the infectious disease point of view."

Chris Beyrer, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, says there are fears about Burma's capacity to deal with a possible human bird flu epidemic.

Burma is a kind of non-traditional regional threat by spreading diseases through its borders, said Dr.Chris Beyrer.

ASEAN leaders discussed Burma issue at the World Economic Forum
ASEAN leaders have discussed Burma issue Friday at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. Philippines President Gloria Arroyo said ASEAN has been increasingly urging Burma to move faster in implementing its democratic roadmap and to release ASSK. Mrs. Arroyo said ASEAN should be able to take responsibility in what is happening among its neighbours.

Malaysia Prime Minister Abdula Badawi said ASEAN members were reluctant to discuss Burma issue in the previous times but Burma issue has now been discussed openly among members. He said ASEAN members do not see any democratic development in Burma yet, but the conflicts and instability in the country are their own internal affairs and ASEAN has no intention to intervene.

Vietnam Prime Minister Nguen Tandan said the non-intervention policy and mutual respects among member states are the core causes for ASEAN's success.

Thai military head visit Burma
A military delegation led by the Supreme Commander of Thai Armed Forces Gen Boonsrang Niampradit visited Burma Saturday. The Thai goodwill military delegation departed Burma Sunday. The Thai military chief told reporters before departure to Burma that border issues and narcotics issues will be discussed during his trip.

WAN reiterates call for release of Journalist U Win Tin
World Association of Newspapers(WAN) again urged the Burmese military government to immediately release U Win Tin and four other journalists still held in prisons.

U Win Tin, winner of WAN's 2001 Golden Pen of Freedom award, has been held in Rangoon's Insein prison for the past 17 years.

Burmese pro-democracy activist files defamation suit against local media
Naw Ohn Hla, a Burmese pro-democracy activist, has filed a defamation suit against more than 120 publishers and editors of local private publications for printing articles attacking her character.

Naw Ohn Hla, a former member of the opposition NLD, said some of the publications portrayed her as a prostitute and this is why she has decided to sue them.

Naw Ohn Hla is one of about a dozen women who gather every Tuesday at Rangoon's Shwedagon pagoda to pray for the release of political prisoners in Burma, including ASSK.

Detained customs officers released in Burma
The Burmese military authorities have released about 250 customs officials who had been detained in an anti-corruption drive last year.

The released officers have not been charged and have been told to report for work on Monday. A number of officials still remain in custody, while some fled the country.

Last October, the director general of the customs department was among more than one hundred officials to be given long prison sentences.

SSA calls for engagement with China and Russia
Armed ethnic Shan State Army (south) leader Col Yawdserk said pro-democracy groups and ethnic people of Burma should engage with China and Russia in a constructive manner to let them hear the true situation of the country.

China and Russia were strongly criticised by pro-democracy groups, following the two countries vetoing of US initiated UNSC draft resolution on Burma.

Sai Lao Hsen, a SSA spokesperson said "The two countries may be hearing only from one side, and that is from the Burmese military, we should let them know what is really happening in Burma". The SSA spokesperson also said that the SSA is ready to enter talks through political means with the Burmese military government.

Terrorists alert in Kachin State
Authorities in northern Burma Kachin State have raised a terrorists alert and security measures have been increased in the State. Some people were arrested on suspicion of having links to underground groups and some smugglers, who smuggled dynamites to be used in the jade mines, were also arrested

Summary of Radio News on Burma

British MPs discuss resolution on religious freedom in Burma
A motion calling for the UNSC to pass a binding resolution that calls on the Burmese military government to cease religious persecutions, release all political prisoners and to allow international organisations access to the country, was proposed Thursday by British Conservative Party MP Stephen Crabb. 50 British MPs have signed and supported the motion.

The motion comes just days after a British-based human rights organisation, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, released a new report on discrimination and persecution against Christians in Burma.

Burma's ethnic delegates meet British minister
Representatives from the ethnic Chin and Kachin groups met with the UK Minister of Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs Ian McCartney.

The ethnic delegation raised concerns about violation of religious rights in Burma and called on the UK government to urge the UN Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion and Belief to conduct an investigation into the situation in Burma.

Burma accuses US of trying to replace government
Burma's military government has accused the United States of plotting to replace it with a puppet government.
he state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper Thursday said the United States unsuccessful attempt to pass a U.N. Security Council resolution against Burma this month was part of its efforts to destabilise the nation.

Burma says the United States is trying to make it a satellite country that will do what the U.S. wants.
President Bush said in his State of the Union address Tuesday that the United States will continue to speak out for the cause of freedom in Burma.

Exiled activist groups refute government's warning against terrorist acts
Burma's state-run newspapers Thursday said anti-government groups in exiled are conspiring a plot to commit terrorist acts to cause unrest in Burma.

The government's newspapers said the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors (VBSW) claimed responsibility for the recent explosion of a letter bomb in Rangoon. The newspapers also accused armed All Burma Student Democratic Front (ABSDF) and Free Trade Union of Burma (FTUB) of plotting terrorist acts in the country.

Both ABSDF and FTUB denied the government's accusation, saying that they are only seeking and demanding for a peaceful political solution for the problems of the country.

KNU and KNLA issue statements

Armed ethnic Karen National Union (KNU) issued a statement concerning Brigadier General Htin Maung, commander of Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) 7th-brigade who held peace talks with the Burmese military authorities in early January 2007.

KNU said General Htin Maung lead the KNLA delegation to Burma without the mandate of KNU. The KNU statement criticised General Htin Maung of lacking political knowledge.

KNLA liaison officer, Major Maung Kyaw said their peace plans were forwarded to KNU headquarters before the visit but there was no response from the KNU headquarters. The KNLA spokesman said KNU headquarters has been acting dishonestly.

Major Maung Kyaw said the peace talks between KNLA and the Burmese military were constructive but they still have to wait and see how the Burmese military will fulfil the agreements to improve ground situations such as stopping military offensives and movements of troops.

Fake ASSK speeches circulating in central Burma
Documents that are said to be speeches of ASSK have been in circulation in central Burma's Magwe Town. The documents undermine and discredit ASSK by mentioning fake speeches of ASSK that could create misunderstanding among the NLD leadership, the public and between religious groups in the country, said NLD sources. 

Veteran politicians being harassed
Veteran politicians Thakin Thein Pe and Thakin Chan Tun said they have been harassed and insulted by unknown people while staying at their homes. They said they are being harassed and insulted because they have recently held a ceremony to support the movement of the 88-generation students.  

Fake currency notes seized in Burma
Police arrested 6 persons and seized kyats 30 millions worth of kyat 1000 denomination fake currency notes about three weeks ago in central Burma Monywa Town. Another 2 Burmese nationals were also arrested last week by Chinese and Burmese police in Burma-China border town of Gyegaung while the two were trying to exchange money with fake Buremese currency notes. The two Burmese nationals were later transferred to Burma.

The fake currency notes are reportedly coming from Burma-China border areas

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Bush urges progress in Cuba, Belarus and Burma
U.S. President Bush, in his State of the Union speech Wednesday, reaffirmed his support for democracy movement in Burma.

He said the United States will continue to speak out for the cause of freedom in Cuba, Belarus and Burma.

Exiled Burmese activists in India protest against Russia and China
About 60 exiled Burmese democracy activists in India staged protests this week in front of Russian and Chinese embassies in New Delhi. The Burmese activists, including members of Burma's ethnic groups, said they are protesting against Russia and China for vetoing the UNSC draft resolution on Burma.

Burma likely to harden stance after the UNSC vote: Malaysian FM
Malaysia's Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar says Burma's military government is likely to harden its stance following the failed UNSC resolution demanding democratic reforms in the country.

During a meeting Wednesday with Denmark's foreign minister, Mr. Albar said the U.S. drafted resolution may make Burma more hesitant to change and work with the international community.

Mr. Albar said he believes that engagement is a better approach than sanctions. He also said he agrees with China and Russia regarding the UNSC resolution, that Burma is not a threat to international peace and security.

Mr. Albar said, with the ASEAN charter underway, it will be in a better position to handle Burma than the UNSC.

Family members of Burmese tsunami victims received compensations in Thailand
Family members of 3 Burmese tsunami victims received compensations from Thai authorities this week.  Each family of the 3 dead Burmese tsunami victims received bahts 20,000. A total of 10 Burmese families have so far received compensations from Thai authorities. It is believed that over 1000 Burmese had died when the deadly Asian tsunami struck southern Thailand two years ago.

NLD to hold essay competition on General Aung San's birthday
Burma's main opposition NLD says it will hold an essay competition to mark the birthday of Burma's independence hero Gen. Aung San, which falls on the 13th of February. Winners will receive Aung San Suu Kyi awards, said the party sources. 

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burma slowing down ASEAN: German Ambassador to Philippines
Germany's ambassador to the Philippines, Axel Raimund Weishaupt, has criticised Burma for its slow progress toward democracy. Mr. Weishaupt said Burma's military government is slowing down the ASEAN.

He urged ASEAN members to be firmer with Burma.
Germany currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Christians in Burma facing persecution: CSW
A report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide launched in London says Christians in Burma are facing persecution.

The report says abuses against Christians in Burma are widespread and systematic. The report highlights cases of Christians being forcibly converted to Buddhism and churches being burnt down.

A mother superior of St. Francis convent in Rangoon told the BBC Burmese that their church activities can be carried out without restrictions. She said since she is stationed in Rangoon she does not know about situations in other areas of the country.

Burma's renowned poet Tin Moe passed away
One of Burma's well-known poets and a strong supporter of Burma's democracy movement has died at the age of 73. Family members say he collapsed Monday at a coffee shop in California where he is living in exile.

U Tin Moe began his writing career in 1959 and won many literary awards including Prince Claus award from the Netherlands. He is known for writing textbooks and children's books and served as the poetry editor of the Ludu Daily Newspaper in Mandalay.

He took part in the pro-democracy movement in 1988 and was imprisoned in 1991. He served a four-year sentence and later moved to Belgium in 1999 and then to the United States. He was an NLD executive.

His works are banned in Burma.

Burmese sex workers arrested in Thailand
Police in Thailand border town of Ranong arrested thirty Burmese sex workers. The Burmese women, aged between 16 and 30, were arrested Tuesday from Karaoke bars and night-clubs where they are working as sex workers.

Private sugar refineries shut down in central Burma
Authorities have shut down brown slab-sugar refineries operated by sugar cane farmers in central Burma's Magwe division. Sugar cane farmers in the area are forced to sell their sugar canes only to the government owned refinery at lower than market prices. Sugar cane farmers say the government's buying price is only a third to the prices they fetch in the free markets.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Indian External Affairs Minister met Burmese junta's deputy leader
The Indian external affairs minister, Pranab Mukherjee, who had visited Burma last week, met with Burmese military junta's deputy leader Vice Senior Gen. Mg Aye.

During the meeting, Burma has promised to help India control separatist rebels by not allowing the rebels to use Burmese territory.

Mg Aye reportedly asked India's assistance in maintenance and repair of the MIG 29s bought from Russia. Mg Aye told Mukherjee that Burma still could not decide about natural gas sales to India because Burma is still assessing the potential of the gas fields.

Mukherjee told Burma side that India has earmarked US$ 100 million for construction of highway roads linking India's Mizorum State and western Burma's Rakkhine State. Mukherjee also said India has reserved US$ 10 million loan to Burma for road constructions inside Burma. Mukherjee said they have also discussed the fencing of the two countries common border.

Discussions on Burma reported to UN secretary-general: Philippines
The Philippines Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo said he has summarised and reported to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon about the major discussions at the recent ASEAN Summit, including Burma's democracy issue. 

NLD opens human rights and HIV/AIDS prevention course
NLD has launched a second course on human rights and HIV/AIDS prevention as part of its human resources development programme initiated by ASSK. NLD spokesman Myint Thein said the courses are being conducted amidst limitations and difficulties. Myint Thein said there was no disturbance or harassment from the authorities.   

HIV cases on the rise among Burmese migrants on Thai-Burma border
A health official at Thailand's Maesod border town said HIV/AIDS infection cases are rising among the Burmese migrant workers on Thai-Burma border. The official, speaking at an opening ceremony on a course to prevent HIV/AIDS, said infection cases are high among Burmese sex workers and Burmese pregnant women. The official said 11 out of 100 Burmese prostitutes were tested positive and over 3 out of 100 Burmese pregnant women were tested positive. 50 Burmese volunteers are attending the course on prevention of HIV/AIDS at Maesod hospital.

22 Rohinjas boat people arrested at Ranong border town in Thailand
A group of 22 Rohinjas from Burma were arrested while they were trying to enter illegally by boat to Thailand's Ranong border town. The group left western Burma Rakkhine State about a month ago.

Thai police said 3 members of the group will be charged with human trafficking because they organised and led the group to Thailand.

The three face 5-years imprisonment if convicted. The rest of the group will be repatriated across the Thai-Burma border.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

India foreign minister ends Burma visit
Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee ended a three-day visit to Burma on Sunday.
During his visit, he met with Burmese prime minister and the foreign minister at the new capital Naypyidaw.
On his return, he told to reporters that India is seeking assurance from Burma not to harbour Indian rebels in Burmese territory.

He also revealed that Burmese government wanted military equipment from India on which India has agreed to supply some.
Other issues he has discussed with Burmese leaders during the visit include the construction of a gas pipeline to India from Burma.

He described the visit as a success.
A statement from Indian foreign ministry says New Delhi welcomes Burma's commitment not to allow hostile activities against India, but expects Rangoon's continued and sustained co-operation.

The statement also stressed the need for an early conclusion of a bilateral investment promotion treaty and an agreement on avoidance of double taxation.

The two sides called for boosting bilateral ties and closer economic and energy co-operation, and signed several agreements.

Burma to decide in May on a gas pipeline to India
The director of Burma's energy planning department, U Soe Myint says Burma will make a final decision on the pipeline in May after provisional estimates are certified.

He says Burma will first use gas from its two reserve blocks for local consumption, and then if there is a surplus, will look to export it.

Desmond Tutu 'disappointed' by South Africa's Burma vote
The retired South African archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu has expressed his deep disappointment at South Africa's vote to block the UNSC resolution on Burma, saying it was a betrayal of his country's "noble past".

KIO supports the veto by China and Russia at UNSC
The ethnic cease-fire Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) issued a statement to support the veto by China and Russia over a resolution on Burma. The KIO's statement said Burma's issues should be discussed by all nationalities inside the country.
Previously, there were reports that KIO refused to denounce the motion to discuss Burma's issue at the UNSC. A KIO spokesman denied reports that KIO received pressures from the Burmese military to support the veto by China and Russia.

Indonesia proposed "Trilateral Commission" for Burma
Indonesia has proposed to form a "Trilateral Commission" for Burma on ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Cebu last week, a spokesperson of Indonesia's foreign ministry said.

According to the spokesperson, the commission will consist of three countries, which are Philippine as a present ASEAN chairman, Singapore as the next ASEAN Chairman and Indonesia as non-permanent member of UN Security Council.

The spokesperson said their proposal was supported by the other ASEAN members and they are now waiting for a response from the Burmese government.

Burmese in Singapore launched campaign against double taxation
Some Burmese living in Singapore have launched a campaign against the Burmese government over double taxation on Burmese people working in Singapore. 

Campaigners say that there is a bilateral agreement between Singapore and Burma over avoidance of double taxation.
Burmese people working overseas are required to pay 10% income tax at their embassies.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Burmese state media accuse ASSK of tax evasion
Burmese state media have accused ASSK of tax evasion by spending money from her Nobel Peace Prize overseas instead of within Burma.

The government newspapers say ASSK has asked her family members living abroad to spend the money that she has received from international awards for her work.

ASSK won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 while still under house arrest. The award was worth about one million dollars.
A spokesman from her opposition NLD party said she did not personally received the prize money and prize monies are not taxable. 

East Timor regrets failed UNSC resolution on Burma
East Timor Prime Minister and Nobel peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta says he is disappointed that the UNSC failed to pass a resolution on Burma.

In a statement Thursday, Mr. Ramos-Horta said that some Security Council members may be right when they say Burma is not a threat to regional security because it does not possess biological or nuclear weapons capability.

But he said Burma's human rights situation, rampant drug trafficking problem, unchecked HIV rates, and high internally displaced populations do pose a threat to regional, if not, international security.

Mr. Ramos-Horta also argued that the inability of the U.N. Human Rights Commission to address the problem should also be a wake up call to the Security Council.

Asian Human Rights Commission appeals unlawful conviction of Shan leaders
AHRC issued a statement calling for appeals on behalf of Khun Htun Oo and eight Shan leaders sentenced for treason and other offences.

The accused and other Shan leaders have lodged special appeals in the Supreme Court against life imprisonment on the ground that they formed an illegal organisation.

AHRC member U Min Lwin said the convictions are invalid as the case was summarily heard by a tribunal outside the area of legal jurisdiction.

There are other flawed information, allegations and the AHRC statement is meant to inform the international community about the unlawful sentences, said U Min Lwin.

India Foreign Minister to visit Burma
India Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee will make a three-day visit to Burma starting Friday. Observers say he will seek Burma's help in flushing out the United Liberation Front of Asam (ULFA) insurgents operating on the border areas during his visit.

Bilateral talks between the two countries will also include economic issues especially for natural gas production, said the observers.

UNICEF-Educational Project in Tsunami affected areas in Burma
UNICEF and partners have introduced a programme called EXCEL to some communities in Burma affected by the tsunami - offering out-of-school children basic education and essential life skills. For many children, this is the first education they have ever received.

Trained young educators travel to coastal villages three times a week to meet and work with the children. Together, they explore topics such as communication skills, decision-making and how to protect themselves from exploitation and HIV.

"EXCEL is like a bridge for better future of children. It prepares them to go back to school one day when their families financial situation improves."

To date, more than 8600 children have completed the 9-month program. Many of them are working children and nearly half are girls

During the process, some 350 young educators have also been trained to help bring knowledge and skills to the most exploited and vulnerable children in Burma.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

South Africa defends opposition to UNSC resolution on Burma
South Africa is defending its decision last week to vote against a UNSC resolution critical of Burma.
Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad says while South Africa is concerned about human rights violations in Burma, it does not believe the military-ruled nation is a threat to international peace and security.

Pahad says the UN Human Rights Council is a more suitable venue to address problems in Burma. He says South Africa will continue to seek the release of ASSK.

Prayer campaigners could not lodge complaint with police
The prayer campaigners who were attacked by junta-backed thugs Tuesday at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda went to the township police station near the pagoda Wednesday to open a criminal case against those who attacked them. However, they were not successful in lodging the complaint because the police refused to accept their complaint.

Progress in the 'Open Heart' letter campaign
The 'Open Heart' letter campaign has a good response from the Burmese people across the country, said Jimmy, one of the 88-generation student leaders.

The 88-generation student leaders started to organise a series of movements like the signature campaign and the white expression campaign after five of their colleagues were detained.

Jimmy said, according to the reply letters, it is very clear that people are suffering greatly under the government's repression.

He rejected the claims reported in an article of Wednesday government's newspapers that there is no political prisoner in Burma. The article said ASSK is not a political prisoner and the reason for detaining her is because she is always on a course of confrontation with the government and she is a threat to national security.

Rice & paddy prices increased in Burma
Rice and paddy prices have increased significantly in recent days in Burma, reaching to prices almost double than last year's prices. Sources in the country say not only the merchants but also the farmers are holding their paddy stocks in anticipation of further price hike, driving paddy prices to increase further

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Pro-government groups welcome the veto at UNSC
Some political and social groups in Burma welcome the joint action of Russia and China to veto the draft resolution on Burma submitted by the US at the UNSC..

The State-run newspapers on Tuesday carried comments and articles criticising the US and the UK for 'attempting to interfere in the internal affairs of Burma'.

Ko Aye Lwin, leader of another pro-junta 88-generation students group which opposes the international sanctions on Burma, said that those who sponsored the resolution and those who supported it had done so in their own self-interests.

A spokesman for the main opposition NLD said the party is convinced that there is a very strong case for the Security Council to consider the case of Burma.

Destructive elements behind letter bomb: state media
A report Tuesday in the state-run newspapers said the explosion Monday at a postal office in Rangoon was a "timely attempt" to disrupt stability in the country and blamed the blast on what it called "internal and external destructive elements." The report said the return address on the package was for an embassy in Burma, but did not say which one.
In the past, the military government has blamed bomb attacks on exile groups.
Some dissidents say the blasts are carried out by government-linked groups to justify tighter security in the country.

Burma assured India for co-operation in fighting insurgency
Burma has assured India that it will extend full co-operation in dealing with north- eastern insurgent groups taking refuge in that country, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Singh, who spoke to Burmese prime minister Gen. Soe Win in the Philippine city of Cebu, said they exchanged views to intensify co-operation in dealing with these insurgent groups.

Prayer campaigners assaulted at Shwedagon pagoda
A group of opposition activists, who were attending a regular Tuesday prayer service for
political prisoners at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, were assaulted and driven out of the pagoda by police and junta-backed USDA members.
An activist said he was beaten by policemen and USDA members.
Another activist said they were driven out of the pagoda by about 200 pagoda police, USDA members and special police

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Bomb explosion injures postal worker in a post office in Rangoon
Officials and witnesses in Rangoon said an explosion at a local post office has wounded a postal worker.
The explosion occurred around 12:50 p.m. at Rangoon's Bahan township post office near Shwe Gone Dine junction.
Officials suspected the explosion had been caused by a letter bomb. No other injuries were reported.
Officials also said a parcel bomb was found last Thursday at the Central Post Office in Rangoon.

NLD criticises China, Russia for blocking UNSC resolution on Burma
Burma's main opposition NLD has criticised China and Russia for blocking the U.S.-drafted UNSC resolution on Burma, calling the move unethical.

The NLD on Monday called on the two veto-wielding countries to reconsider their positions for the sake of the Burmese people.

NLD says it will keep finding all possible ways and means for national reconciliation in Burma.

Burma worried about new ASEAN Charter
Indonesia's foreign minister said Burmese government is worried about efforts by ASEAN to create new rules that could allow for disciplinary action against errant members.

Activist from Burma among finalists for 2007 World's Children's Prize
Organizers of the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child have announced this year's three finalists for the award in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.

On Monday, Burma's Cynthia Maung, Inderjit Khurana of India and Betty Makoni of Zimbabwe were named the finalists for the prize honouring those who defend youth rights.

Cynthia Maung is nominated for her fight for health and education for thousands of children in refugee camps in Thailand.

Malaria cases rising in Thailand
Health officials in Thailand say Malaria infection rate has risen in Thailand partly because of the Burmese migrants.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Russia, China veto US-drafted UNSC resolution on Burma
China and Russia have cast a veto in the U.N. Security Council to block the U.S.-drafted resolution that would have urged Burma's military government to release all political prisoners, speed up progress toward democracy and to stop attacks against ethnic minorities.

The sponsors of the resolution were able to get the nine votes necessary to adopt a resolution in the 15-member Council.

France, Italy, Belgium, Slovakia, Ghana and Peru joined them in voting 'yes'. But South Africa joined Russia and China in voting 'no'. Three other elected members, Indonesia, Qatar and Congo, abstained.

China and Russia said the Security Council is not the proper place to discuss Burma because it does not pose a threat to international peace and security.

Acting U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff expressed deep disappointment at the outcome.
Afterward, he spoke directly to Burma's people, urging them not to be discouraged.
Mr. Wolff said, "It is important to underscore that despite votes against by two permanent members, all members spoke about the situation in Burma. All of them recognised there are problems in the area of human rights, social issues, political freedom, and the people of Burma should not feel disheartened by this. This was an effort to bring this situation to attention of the world community and to send a clear signal that we haven't forgotten you and we won't forget you."

Friday's vote marked the first time Russia has used its veto since April, 2004, the first time China has exercised its veto since February, 1999, and the first time Beijing and Moscow have joined in a veto since 1972.

Burma's U.N. Ambassador Kyaw Tint Swe said he was encouraged by the resolution's failure. He told the Security Council Burma has good relations with all other Southeast Asian nations.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi praised Russia and China Saturday for vetoing the resolution, saying the Security Council is not the proper place to discuss Burma.

Britain's U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones-Parry said despite the resolution's defeat, he sees positive elements in the outcome.

Jones-Parry said, "It was quite clear in the statements made in the discussions, that we all share a deep concern about the plight of the beleaguered people of Burma. Concern about the lack of political progress, the poverty, the disease, the detentions, the fact that democratically-elected leaders are actually imprisoned, all those things are shared by members of the council."

Burmese military hails the veto at the UNSC as a victory
Burma's military leaders have hailed the veto of the US-drafted UNSC resolution as a victory.
In the radio and television statements, the junta said the United States and Britain were trying to use the UN as a tool to interfere in Burma's affairs.

Burmese activists condemn UN veto
Pro-democracy activists inside and outside Burma have condemned the veto of the UNSC resolution.
NLD spokesperson Myint Thein said those who voted against and vetoed the resolution should remember that they will be responsible for any consequence of their action. 

Min Ko Naing, the recently released 88-generation students leader, said his group would carry on its struggle with or without outside help.

Another 88-generation students' leader, Ko Ko Gyi, said the UNSC resolution is not their ultimate goal and they are not discouraged by the resolution's failure.

Exiled opposition government NCGUB's UN representative Dr. Thaung Tun said they strongly condemned the action of Russia and China.

ASEAN calls for reform in Burma
The ASEAN has issued a statement at the close of its annual summit calling on Burma to release political prisoners and hold talks with all political parties.

ASEAN officials have also offered to help Burma with humanitarian problems such as infectious diseases and refugees.
The statement said ASEAN has concentrated too much on political and economic engagement with Burma. It said that focusing on humanitarian issues offers the group a new approach.

The closing statement also said ASEAN needs to take responsibility for Burma, which is facing international demands to enact democratic reforms. It encouraged Burma to preserve the group's credibility as an effective regional organisation.

ASEAN's statement is the first collective call to action on Burma since the United States failed to pass a draft resolution in the UNSC.

Officials close to the summit say Philippine President Gloria Arroyo took a stronger stance during a meeting with Burmese Prime Minister Soe Win.

Officials say Mrs. Arroyo called for the release of ASSK during the meeting with Soe Win.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Released student leaders welcome UNSC move
The freed student leaders say they welcome the US-proposed UNSC move on Burma and support the 'Open Heart' campaign in the country, recently started by their colleagues. 88-generation student leaders--- Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kywe, Min Zeya and Pyone Cho --- were released early Thursday morning after their detention since last September.

Their detention coincided with the resumption of the National Convention and their release also coincides with the cessation of the NC, said Min Ko Naing.

Min Ko Naing also said, their release also coincides with the United States' introduction of a draft UNSC resolution calling on Burma to free all political prisoners.

The NLD party welcomed the release, and said it hopes that more political prisoners will soon be released.

ASEAN will not defend Burma from UN pressure
ASEAN countries have told Burma that they will not defend Burmese government from international pressure unless it accelerates promised democratic reforms.

Foreign ministers from ASEAN gave the warning Thursday as they met in Cebu, Philippines, ahead of an annual summit of the region's leaders.

A spokesman of the ASEAN Summit said the ministers urged Burma to speed up its promised "road map" to democracy and called on Burma to release political prisoners.

NLD welcomes UNSC resolution on Burma
Burma's main opposition NLD has issued a statement Thursday, requesting UNSC members to support the US-proposed draft resolution on Burma. The statement said since the draft resolution does not seek for actions to punish the country but to urge the military government for changes towards democracy, the NLD welcomes the UNSC involvement for Burma's national reconciliation.

China opposes the draft UNSC resolution on Burma
China says it opposes the draft resolution submitted by the United States to the U.N. Security Council declaring Burma's military government a threat to regional security.

A spokesman of China's Foreign Ministry said Thursday that China is firmly against the interference of the U.N. Security Council in Burma's internal affairs.

Russia also opposes the resolution.

Karen rebels' delegation arrived back from Burma
A delegate led by KNLA No. 7 Brigade commander Brigadier General Htain Maung arrived back to their base on Thai-Burma border, after talks with Burmese military authorities.

Sources close to the delegation said talks included acknowledgement of positions of KNU troops deployment, withdrawal of Burmese troops from KNU areas and repatriation of Karen refugees.

However, as the central committee of KNU did not approve the delegation, it is not known that whether the KNU headquarters will endorsed the talks with the Burmese military.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

88-Generation student leaders released
The five student leaders, who have been detained since September last year, were released early Thursday morning. 
Student leaders-- Min Ko Naing, Min Zeya, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kywe and Pyone Cho - were released from different police stations in Rangoon where they were detained and were sent back individually to their respective homes around 1 a.m. Thursday morning..

Ko Htay Kywe, one of the student leaders, told the press that they were treated well. He said the authorities asked them whether they have any connection with the bombings in the country. The students were also asked to give their opinion on the National Convention and political, economic and social conditions of the country. They were also asked whether they were receiving foreign financial assistance. However, they did not have to sign any documents before the release, said Htay Kywe.

The UN, the ASEAN and the international community have demanded for their release.
Fellow 88-Generation students have also launched public campaigns in the country for their release.

EU allocates $20.2 million in humanitarian aid for Burma
The European Union says it has allocated US$ 20.2 million dollars in humanitarian aid for Burma.
The head of the EU's Humanitarian Aid Department said the funds will be used to help refugees on the Burma-Thailand border and for some one million people suffering food shortages in Burma. The official said that many groups in Burma are living in extremely vulnerable conditions.

The aid will be used to help support basic health care, emergency food assistance, and provide water and sanitation programs to remote areas of the country.

The funds will also be used to help support the ICRC, and make sure that it is protected as authorities and armed opposition groups continue to fight in some areas of the country.

The EU estimates that the ongoing conflict between the government and ethnic minority groups has led to an influx of over 150,000 refugees to Thailand and displaced an estimated 500,000 internally.

ASEAN foreign ministers urged Burma to release political prisoners
On Wednesday, ASEAN foreign ministers have called on Burma to release political prisoners in the country. Burma's foreign minister Nyan Win, who is in the Philippines ahead of the ASEAN Summit, was urged by his ASEAN counterparts to take heed of international calls for the release of all political prisoners in the country including ASSK.

Thailand opposes the draft UNSC resolution on Burma
Thailand joins countries that oppose US-proposed draft UN Security Council resolution on Burma. The United States is circulating a draft resolution in the UNSC calling Burma's human rights situation a threat to regional security.

Thailand has joined Russia and China in opposing the draft resolution. Indonesia and South Africa have also voiced their opposition to the draft resolution.

A spokesman for the Thai foreign ministry said Burma poses no threat to Thailand's stability.
However, Burma's main opposition NLD has welcomed the US's initiative

Summary of Radio News on Burma

U.S. presents draft resolution on Burma at the UNSC
The United States on Tuesday has presented a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council calling on Burma to release political prisoners and stop violence against ethnic minorities. The draft resolution describes the deteriorating conditions in Burma as a serious risk to regional security. The resolution faces opposition from two other powerful Council members, Russia and China.

A spokesman at the US Mission to the UN said the resolution also call on Burma to begin a process of political reform, which includes freeing of political prisoners.

He said the US hoped the draft would be ready in its final form by the end of the week, and a vote to adopt it will be conducted on Friday.

China's U.N. Ambassador told reporters Monday that he does not think the Security Council is the place to address the Burma issue. Russia's UN Ambassador, who holds the Security Council presidency this month, told reporters Tuesday that Moscow is still unhappy Burma was placed on the Council's permanent agenda last year.

U Aung Din of the US Campaign for Burma in Washington DC, said despite the possible veto by the Chinese and the Russians, the US government seems confident that the resolution will gain majority vote in the Council.

U.S. diplomats privately admit that they expect Russian and Chinese opposition will delay a vote.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Monday personally urged Burma's military government to release ASSK and other political prisoners.

Indonesia & South Africa express disagreement over resolution on Burma
Indonesian and South Africa have expressed disagreement with US draft resolution on Burma.
Indonesian FM spokesperson said Indonesia does not believe Burma's situation is a threat to international security and peace. Indonesia is not opposing the draft resolution's form and substance but could not agree in principle that Burma issue should be address at the UNSC. He said the UN should find more effective ways to overcome the problems in Burma. However, he said ASEAN and international community are frustrated with the current situation in Burma. He said the upcoming ASEAN summit will discuss Burma's situation and probably the UNSC draft resolution.

Similarly, South Africa has also expressed its opposition to the draft resolution on Burma.

Junta leader back in Burma
Senior General Than Shwe is reportedly arrived back in Naypyidaw from Singapore.
The General, along with his wife Daw Kyaing Kyaing, arrived back in Naypyidaw Tuesday evening after undergoing treatment in Singapore General Hospital.

Burmese activist wins Martin Luther King Prize
The Martin Luther King Prize for 2007 has been awarded to an exiled Burmese pro-democracy activist, Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong.

Dr Sakhong is the General Secretary of Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC), a political coalition advocating a tripartite dialogue to solve the political impasse in Burma.

The prize, established by a group of peace activists in Sweden and worth twenty-five thousand dollars, will be presented to Dr Sakhong at the Swedish parliament next week.

Dr Sakhong was detained several times by Burma's military rulers and fled the country in 1990 to settle in Sweden. Dr. Sakhong said he will soon return to Thai-Burma border to continue his political activities.

Villagers' farmlands confiscated and sold to private company
About 300 acres of private farmlands in Kyaung Kone Township in Burma's delta region were confiscated by local authorities and sold to Ayar Shwe War Company, a company owned by a son of Gen. Thura Shwe Mann, one of the junta's top leaders. Authorities earlier last year confiscated the farmlands from local villagers by saying that Aung Thet Mann, owner of Ayar Shwe War Company, will plant physic nuts on the land. Villagers who opposed the land confiscation were arrested and sent to prison.

A farmer said they will continue to fight and oppose the land confiscation.

Is Burma acquiring nuclear weapons?
Dictators Watch human rights group Monday accused Burma of exporting "Yellow Cakes" to North Korea and Iran in exchange for nuclear weapons from those countries. The group says North Korean ships visit Burma to deliver nuclear weapons, and loaded Uranium from Burma. Burmese military observers say there is no credible prove that Burma is capable of acquiring nuclear weapons and nuclear technology.    

Summary of Radio News on Burma

New UN chief calls on Burma to release political prisoners
The new U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, says he welcomes Burma's announcement that it freed as many as 40 political prisoners in a recent amnesty, but he called on the military government to do more. Mr. Ban says Burma needs to free all political prisoners including ASSK.
Mr. Ban's spokeswoman said Monday Burmese authorities need to make "concrete progress" on issues such as human rights and democratic reforms.

General Than Shwe discharged from hospital
Burma's military junta leader Senior General Than Shwe was discharged from the General Hospital in Singapore Sunday, a reporter of the Reuters news agency told the BBC Burmese.

Patriotic NLD issue statement
A group of former NLD members in Mandalay, calling themselves Patriotic NLD, issued a statement Sunday.  The group, which claimed to have about 1700 members, held a meeting and press conference Sunday in Mandalay and said they are different from the main opposition NLD. The meeting was attended by about 200 people, including USDA members. The group's statement attacks the main opposition NLD and also the ICRC. The group says they would like to work with the military authorities for national reconciliation.

Thailand to release remaining loan to Burma
Thailand's financial authorities said the remaining granted loans from EXIM Bank of Thailand to Burma can be claimed by Burma during the next 6 months.

Burmese military to procure rice
The Burmese military has invited tenders for the procurement of rice for its servicemen. The offer price this year is said to be on a par with the market price. Farmers and traders in Burma are sceptical about the military's offer. Market sources say, if the military is to purchase rice at market prices, it will make both farmers and traders happy. 

Thai police deported Shan migrants
Thai police Sunday arrested and deported Shan migrants from Burma, who were on their way to northern Thailand's Chiang Mai. The Shan migrants were arrested while being transported from Burma border to Chiang Mai as visitors of the 'Flowers Festival' being held in Chiang Mai. Thai police said the Shan migrants were on fake travel documents.

HIV/AIDS medicines run out in Burma
The medicines being provided to the HIV/AIDS patients have run out in the clinics in Burma. The patients and carers speak of the looming death for many HIV/AIDS sufferers in the country.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Rumours spread over the health condition of Burmese leader
The absence of Burma's military leader at an Independence Day dinner last week is generating rumours about his health.
Diplomats say 73 year old General Than Shwe did not attend the Independence Day dinner Thursday because he was having a medical check up in Singapore. It was the first time since Than Shwe took power in 1992 that he did not host the annual dinner.

Instead, the military government's second-in-command, General Maung Aye, hosted this year's event.
Diplomats say they were told that Than Shwe's medical check up in Singapore was routine. However, there were reports that Than Shwe is suffering from hypertension, diabetes and other diseases. There are also rumours that he is suffering from intestine cancer.

The military government has dismissed rumours that the senior leader is gravely ill.
An employee of the Burmese embassy in Singapore said Than Shwe has been receiving medical treatment in Singapore General Hospital.
Journalists saw tight security in the hospital but his medical details cannot be confirmed.

Two Nobel peace laureates protest Burmese military regime
Two Nobel peace laureates joined activists Friday in front of the Burmese Embassy in Washington D.C. to protest the detention of political prisoners and to push for a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Burmese regime.

The laureates, Dr. Shirin Ebadi and Jody Williams, also tried unsuccessfully to file visa applications for permission to travel to Burma and meet with fellow Nobel laureate ASSK.

Dr. Sein Win, the prime minister of exiled government; National Coalition Government of Union of Burma also participated in the demonstration in front of the Burmese Embassy.

Burma refuses visa request from Nobel Laureates
Burma's military government has refused to issue a visa to Nobel Peace laureate and former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung.

Aides to Mr. Kim say Burma's embassy in Seoul rejected his request for a visa and refused to even accept his application. Embassy officials said Mr. Kim's request to visit pro-democracy leader and fellow Nobel laureate ASSK was an attempt to interfere in Burma's internal affairs.

Mr. Kim is one of 12 Nobel laureates who submit visa applications at Burmese embassies around the world.

Indonesia rejects US draft resolution on Burma for UN
Indonesia has rejected a draft resolution on Burma that the United States has proposed to the United Nations Security Council.

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda says the draft resolution slows progress towards democracy in Burma. He says the international community should find more effective ways to help overcome the problems in Burma.

NLD executive sentenced to six years imprisonment
U Myint Tun, an NLD executive from Shwe Pyi Tha Township near Rangoon was sentenced to six years imprisonment on charges of manslaughter.

Prosecutors say he was responsible for the death by of a worker from a nearby teashop. The worker died from an electric shock. 

The lawyer of U Myint Tun and U Myint Tun's wife say the case has no evidence that he was guilty of the charges and the appeal is on the way.

Detained student leaders stage hunger strike
There are reports that the detained 88-generation student leaders Min Ko Naing and his colleagues are staging hunger strike. Jimmy, a fellow student leader said they heard reports about the student leaders' hunger strike but could not confirm the report. Jimmy said they are concern for the health condition of the detained student leaders. 

88-generation students "Open Heart" campaign continues
The 88-generation students group claim that they are receiving wide supports for their recently launched "Open Heart" Campaign, urging the public to write letters about their grievances to the military junta leader Senior General Than Shwe. Observers say that the student's "Open Heart" campaign will not have much impact on the situation of Burma but the students are praised for their continuous struggle under constant oppressions by the military authorities.

Landmine injured two civilians on Thai-Burma border
Two Karen villagers were seriously injured Sunday by a landmine near the Thai-Burma border town of Maesod. They are being hospitalised in Maesot hospital.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

NLD calls on Independence Day to release ASSK
Burma's main opposition NLD party held a ceremony to mark the 59th anniversary of Independence Day. NLD supporters and NLD members gathered at the NLD's headquarters in Rangoon Thursday to attend the ceremony. The party issued a statement on the occasion, urging the military government to release ASSK and enter into dialogue with the opposition.

88 generation students group calls for real freedom in the country
The 88-generation students group marked the country's 59th independence anniversary Thursday with a call for what they called real freedom and independence in the country.

The group says that although Burma was freed from colonialism in 1948, the Burmese people have not enjoyed any true freedom since the military coup in 1962.

The group says there has been no progress in the country's development since the coup, and said people have instead lost their rights of freedom of religion and expression.

88-generation students group launches another public campaign
On Burma's Independence Day, the 88 Generation Students launched a public campaign called 'Open Heart' Campaign, in which people are urged to write letters to the military junta chief describing the situation they are in.

Mya Aye, a leader of the group, said they have distributed 10,000 envelopes Thursday. The campaign will take a month, said the group's leaders.

Burma marks Independence Day with prisoners' release
Burma's military government said it has granted amnesty to some 28-hundred prisoners to mark the country's Independence Day on Thursday. State media said the amnesty had been granted to those who had shown improved moral behaviour and spiritual values.

Pro-democracy groups and exiled activists said twenty-nine political prisoners were among those released, but some well-known political prisoners such as journalist U Win Tin and Shan politician Khun Tun Oo were not among them. The groups said petty thieves and other minor criminals made up the majority of those released.

However, press rights groups are welcoming the release of two Burmese journalists as part of the amnesty.
Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association say that Thaung Tun and Than Win Hlaing were freed after nearly seven years in prison. The organisations say the two were jailed for writing books and articles that angered the Burmese government.

The main opposition NLD says that about 40 political prisoners, 15 of them NLD members, were among those released Thursday. NLD MP Thaung Tun from Lashio in northern Shan State, was among those released, said NLD sources.

KNLA delegation in Burma for peace talks with the military junta
A delegation of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) No. 7 Brigade, an armed wing of the Karen National Union (KNU), is in Burma for peace talks with the Burmese military junta. Brigadier General Htay Maung, commander of the KNLA Brigade 7, is leading the 8-member delegation. The group will report to KNU high level officials after their return from Burma, said Lt. Col. Tun Kyaing of KNLA Brigade 7.

However, KNU spokesman David Tarkapaw said the group is not representing the KNU.
Colonel Nerda Mya, the son of the late KNU leader Bo Mya, said the KNLA delegation is in Burma on behalf of the Karen people. He said there will be criticisms about the KNLA delegation but he said the group will continue to work for the Karen people. 

Russia against Security Council talks on Burma: Russian ambassador to the UN
Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told reporters at a press conference in New York on Wednesday that Russia remained opposed to Security Council talks on Burma.

Churkin said Russia, which is president of the Security Council for January, does not believe the situation in Burma poses any threat to international peace and security.

But he said that certain matters, including the human rights situation in Burma, should be addressed.
Churkin said that no formal discussions on the situation in Burma had been held at the UNSC but said the council would meet with new UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday to discuss threats to international security.

Summary of Radio News on Burma

Opposition NLD party holding art exhibition
Burma's opposition NLD party says it is holding a political art exhibition to raise money for political prisoners and their families.

More than 50 paintings with political themes will be sold at the exhibition to be held until 7th January. Paintings with prices ranging from US$ 50 to US$ 600 were on display. The proceeds from the sales will go to assistance for political prisoners, NLD spokespersons said.

Arrest of Chinese businessman halted Burma-China border trade
Chinese merchants have stopped coming to buy goods from Burma's Muse 105-mile border trade zone since last week, in protest of the arrest of a Chinese businessman in Muse border town. Burmese authorities recently arrested a young Chinese businessman named Teik Yan Lin, on suspicion of having connection with narcotics trafficking. Over 200 Chinese border trade businessmen from China Ruili border town lodged a complaint with the China External Affairs Office in Ruili, firmly saying that the young businessman was not related to drug trafficking. The Chinese border businessmen also complained that Burmese narcotic police tortured Teik Yan Lin during interrogations.

Sources in Muse border town said the Burmese narcotic police officers mistakenly arrested Teik Yan Lin.  
Muse border trade zone is the largest border trade zone in Burma with daily transactions of average US$ 1 million per day.

Poor people queue for food at monasteries in Rangoon suburbs
BBC Burmese reported that hundreds of people, many of them women and children are seen every day around noon in front of monasteries in Rangoon's suburbs. They are there to receive food handouts given by monks, the report said.

The poor people told the BBC Burmese that they cannot feed their families as many of them have either no income or cannot just afford the rising commodity prices.

The monks said they put aside some foods from what they received to give away to those poverty-stricken people.