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Burma Headline News
____________________BURMA HEADLINE NEWS,12/22/96#2___________________
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Note: These news are late but valuable for researchers and news collectors.
BBC Summary of World Broadcasts December 18, 1996, Wednesday
HEADLINE: Sleeper factory contract signed with Chinese company
SOURCE: Source: Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 1049 gmt 9 Dec 96
China National Complete Plant Import and Export Yunnan Corp and Myanmar
(Burma) Railways have signed a build, operate and transfer (BOT) contract for
a concrete sleeper producing factory, Xinhua news agency reported. The Chinese
corporation will invest 12m US dollars to construct the factory in Mandalay and
plans to produce 300,000 concrete sleepers a year.
Copyright 1996 Xinhua News Agency, DECEMBER 18, 1996, WEDNESDAY
HEADLINE: myanmar securities, exchange law to be enacted soon
DATELINE: yangon, december 18; ITEM NO: 1218067
myanmar's securities and exchange law will be enacted very soon as a legal
basis for establishment of a securities market, the new light of myanmar today
quoted myanmar minister for finance and revenue brigadier-general win tin as
saying. speaking at a seminar here tuesday on treasury bonds, jointly sponsored
by the central bank of myanmar and the daiwa institute of research ltd of
japan, win tin said that the myanmar securities exchange center has initially
started handling securities and bonds for the over-the-counter market and
shall also undertake secondary securities market operations as a preparatory
step towards developing a full fledge securities exchange in myanmar. the
myanmar securities exchange center, which is a joint venture of the state-run
myanmar economic bank and daiwa institute of research ltd of japan, was
established in june this year following the issuance of government treasury
bonds in december 1993. myanmar's financial sector has been liberalized since
1990 by a step-by-step approach for efficiency and integration into the global
financial system with various measures taken including the issuance of
government treasury bonds and the establishment of the myanmar securities
The Boston Herald, December 17, 1996 Tuesday ALL EDITIONS
HEADLINE: BOOK BONUS: 'Chasing the Dragon'; Opium permeates culture of Burma
To report a 1994 Boston Herald series on America's resurgent heroin problem,
feature reporter Christopher Cox set out to follow the arc of the drug trail
from America's cities to its source: the poppy fields controlled by feudal
warlords in remotest Burma.
Sixty percent of America's heroin emanates from Burma, primarily from Shan
State, an off-limits region the size of Washington state. The drug trade was
dominated by Khun Sa, an opium kingpin who commanded the rebel Mong Tai Army.
Accompanied by Jay F. Sullivan, a Dover businessman searching for American
POWs, and Barry Flynn, a New Bedford native related to Khun Sa by marriage, Cox
embarked on a long journey to illicit Burma, a trip he recounts in a new book,
"Chasing the Dragon: Into the Heart of the Golden Triangle."
We headed north from Ho Mong. The brilliant heat soon made the wondrous
scenery an ordeal. We lumbered by Mae Ark, a village of Pa-O poppy farmers, then
past a fortified Mong Tai Army outpost. The hills grew more unruly, the
vegetation more tangled. Forests of teak, then pine. But always the stands of
bamboo. Every few miles, the undergrowth would thin, confessing the presence of
woodsmen living in bamboo lean-tos, surrounded by ash heaps and the detritus of
subsistence life: rusting cans, sun-faded soft-drink bottles, crinkled plastic
bags. The terrain forced us east, the road straining to hold a long, narrow
ridge. Flynn leaned his head out the window and shouted above the clatter made
by our struggling truck.
"This road is right on the border! The driver said there are sometimes Thai
border police here, waiting to surprise trucks!"
On our left, untamed Burma. To our right, an upland Thai valley. Ravines
scored the valley's lush slopes like the veins of a green leaf. Strips of raw
mountains were stacked in the haze as far as I could see. No huts, no fields,
no trails. Only this road, quite literally the borderline, running through the
wilderness. Should we encounter a border-police roadblock, we would surely be
arrested for unauthorized entry into the kingdom. I could think of only one
escape plan: jump out the left-hand side of the truck, land in Burma, and
* * *
We sat in the shade of a roadside stand in Nong Awo, a Pa-O village precisely
one-half mile from the end of the earth. The driver had stopped to refresh his
concentration and rest his overheating truck. Sun-seared hills, cleared for
firewood and crops, cut into the sky around us. Thirty households here - 160
people - and absolutely no prospects.
A young Pa-O man, a landless farm laborer, squatted nearby, smoking a
cheroot. He wore a dirty blue shirt, soiled gray pants, an expression of dazed
fatalism. Sengjoe immediately diagnosed the malady. "He's an opium addict," our
guide said. "Look at the way he sits. Look at the eyes. The lips. The black
The addict managed a sleepy smile. Life was a ceaseless, free fix. He tended
poppies for a hilltribe farmer; he was paid in opium. He had become his own
The addict sat at our wobbly table, puffed his cheroot, and tried to focus
his opaque eyes on the task he would repeat at least 20 times today and every
day: the opium ceremony. He gently laid his instruments on the table. A flimsy
bamboo pipe. A scavenged glass jar containing fresh opium. A small wick-lamp
filled with tallow. Addicts preferred the fat of buffalo or cow as a fuel over
kerosene - better opium flavor. His paraphernalia were cheap, worn. He was a
very heavy smoker.
The opium sizzled in the greasy fire. The addict rested his head on a filthy
rag, gently prodded the contents of his pipe bowl with a stylet, inhaled deeply,
purposefully. Soon he was enveloped by thick fumes that smelled of chocolate. He
smiled. The human lungs possess a huge amount of surface area for absorption.
The effects of opium are immediate.
Just 20 years old, he was a shambling, slack-jawed corpse, cursed to spend
his remaining days drifting between scattered Pa-O villages, searching for poppy
farmers who needed extra help and were willing to pay in opium. He gently placed
another loaded pipe to the oily flame, then put his lips to his ruin. * * *
The Shan guide walked rapidly along the worn trail. We scrambled over downed
tree trunks and crumbling paddy dikes to keep pace. Within five minutes, we
walked gingerly across a log spanning a stream.
4:15 p.m. Thailand.
A few hundred yards into the kingdom we passed a Border Patrol Police laager
site, a simple lean-to shelter of deadwood and split bamboo. Fresh BPP
jungle-boot prints scalloped the muck. The guide briefly spoke with two
middle-aged women, bent by time and chores, who were scrubbing clothes in the
"Kawn sip naa-thii," said one of the women. Ten minutes before.
Take it slow and easy. We didn't want to run up the back of any BPP soldiers,
then have to try out our cover story: we were lost trekkers who had found a
local Shan kind enough to lead us back to safety. Another half-mile along the
trail and the odds that the BPP would buy such a story plummeted. Waist-high
poppy plants spread across at least an acre of bottomland. Their bare,
glaucous-green bulbs bore the fresh, longitudinal scars that were the poppy
farmer's harvest hallmark. The field was active, illegal and completly ignored
by the Thai Border Patrol Police.
We walked judiciously, following bootprints and the stream's meander. The
hike grew more difficult - sucking paddy muck, clutching thickets, harassing
mosquitoes. A secondary path forked from the valley trail; we left the stream
and began a steep, steady ascent with empty canteens.
We had climbed at least 1,000 feet above the stream when we passed through a
jawlike wooden gate of a hilltribe settlement of two dozen huts. It was impolite
to pass through an Akha village without stopping, but the first blush of sunset
already smeared the evening sky.
We struggleduphill for another half mile, skirting untethered cattle and
forest being put to the torch for fields of rice, maize and poppy, until the
trail finally leveled. The guide turned, smiled. The road. Even better, the
truck to Chiang Mai. Best of all, the driver waving a one-liter bottle of water.
We hurried, delirious with thirst, to the vehicle.
After two hours of anxiety, our relief was palpable. We had avoided the
Border Patrol Police. Our gear had escaped search and seizure. Low on water, we
had hiked six miles in brutal heat and humidity, climbing nearly 1,500 feet.
But we had made it.
From "Chasing the Dragon," by Christopher R. Cox. Copyright 1996 by
Christopher R. Cox. Reprinted by arrangement with Henry Holt & Co. Inc.
Photo Caption: OUT OF BURMA: At top, author Cox and driver's wife rest in
the back of the escape vehicle; right, their Shan guide passes through an Akha
village; below, a Pa-O enjoys a fix. Herald photo by Jay Sullivan, top; photos
by Christopher Cox, right and below
Copyright 1996 Xinhua News Agency, DECEMBER 17, 1996, TUESDAY
HEADLINE: myanmar poet awarded japan's great poet laureate
DATELINE: yangon, december 17; ITEM NO: 1217068
myanmar famous poet htilar sitthu has been awarded the great poet laureate
presented by the indochina venture forum of japan, the new light of myanmar
reported today. htilar sitthu, also known as u soe nyunt, is deputy minister
for culture of myanmar. he was honored here on monday by the japanese forum
for his works "old yellow leaf from the mekong river" which attained literature
of international level, the report said. he is the first myanmar national who
won the great poet laureate presented by a foreign country, the report added.
South China Morning Post, December 15, 1996
HEADLINE: Doubts cast on survival of Chavalit
BYLINE: From SIMON HOLT in Bangkok
General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh says he will keep his promise to dissolve
Parliament after two years when a new constitution is drawn up - but few believe
he will survive in office that long.
After being in power for just a few weeks, people have already started
questioning the ability of the former army chief.
If the new Prime Minister does not survive, that effectively means Thais can
expect two elections within the next two years - one after General Chavalit's
downfall and the other to welcome a new constitution.
General Chavalit has received a battering from opposition MPs reminiscent of
attacks against former leaders Chuan Leekpai and Banharn Silpa-archa.
General Chavalit and his wife, Khunying Pankrua, have also been linked to
illegal logging deals with Laos, Burma and Cambodia by the opposition during a
government policy speech
And he has been accused of pushing for a suspect deal to buy new Fa-18 jets
with Amraam missiles from the United States.
General Chavalit has had problems from the start because his Government
includes most ministers of the disastrous Banharn administration.
But he has frantically tried to raise his image by using two of his New
Aspiration Party's quota seats in the coalition to fill important economic
postings - Amnuay Viravan as Finance Minister and Narongchai Akrasance as
Commerce Minister - with non-MPs.
During the election campaign, he promised to appoint an economic "dream
team". But he has now been accused by former deputy prime minister Dr Supachai
Panitchapkdi - widely respected for his economic prowess - of installing a pair
with little power to resolve economic crises.
General Chavalit struck a deal with General Chatichai Choonhaven, leader of
the second biggest coalition party, Chart Pattana, to appoint him as the
Government's senior economic adviser.
That move was also criticised because it created confusion. "Who is really
in charge of the economy?" asked Dr Supachai.
When faced with accusations over logging, General Chavalit defended himself
by claiming that as defence minister he was not authorised to oversee such
A week earlier, there were threats from one opposition party led by Samak
Sundaravej, to quit the Government because his Prachakorn Thai party was not
given full authority to tackle Bangkok's traffic mess as promised.
Other groups say the premier has broken pre-election promises by not giving
them portfolios. They agreed to remain in the Government after a further
promise that the Cabinet would be reshuffled in three months' time.
Observers say the attacks, although not officially launched during a censure
motion, show the premier is already under severe pressure.
Thai columnists suggest he may be in for a quicker awakening than expected,
perhaps facing a censure motion if he cannot fulfil pre-election pledges to
rectify economic crisis and restore the faith of investors.
General Chavalit on Friday made what some said was the first attempt to
improve his image by sacking police chief Poj Boonyachinda in the face of a
scandal that the police force was turning its back on corrupt senior officers
and, in turn, not combating gambling, prostitution and drug trafficking.
Others said it was a move to direct attention away from allegations against
himself and his family.
The Washington Times, December 14, 1996, Saturday, Final Edition
HEADLINE: Burma reopens road, keeps eye on students
BYLINE: FROM WIRE DISPATCHES AND STAFF REPORTS
DATELINE: RANGOON, BURMA
After a week of student protests, the government opened a main road in
northern Rangoon yesterday, but kept schools and universities closed to
discourage further demonstrations.
Pyay Road, a main thoroughfare used by commuters, was opened along with
intersections where students demonstrated just days earlier in the most
serious show of civil dissent since the nationwide democracy uprising of 1988,
which also was sparked by student protests.
Agence France Presse, December 13, 1996 13:01 GMT
HEADLINE: 100 protesters demonstrate against Unocal's Burma pipeline
DATELINE: LOS ANGELES, Dec 13
A family of Burmese refugees chained themselves to a Unocal gasoline tanker
Friday to protest human rights abuses linked to the oil company's construction
of a pipeline in southern Burma.
About 100 protestors turned out for the protest and some strung 16-meter (50
foot) long banners between palm trees saying, "Unocal Burma Pipeline Equals
Forced Labor and Forced Ruin."
Thirteen demonstrators were arrested for "trespassing and unlawful assemply"
after climbing a watertower and a Unocal truck to unfurl banners that read: "No
Dollars for Burma's Thugs" above a Unocal 76 sign.
"Unocal's project has provided 20 million dollars in support to a military
regime that maintains its power through torture, rape and forced labor," said
Maung Shwe, who fled Burma after the 1988 crackdown by the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC).
"Until Unocal stops doing business with Burma, people should stop doing
business with Unocal," said the 41-year-old woman who now lives in Alhambra,
Unocal and its partner, Total of France, are building a natural-gas pipeline
from the Andanan Sea through the rainforests of southern Burma into Thailand.
Earth Rights International, a human rights watchdog group, claims SLORC has
forced members of the Karen and Mon ethnic groups to work on the pipeline and
Unocal has denied the allegations, insisting that it has raised the standard
of living for those working on the project.
The demonstrations came as student protests surged in Burma.
In Tokyo, Burmese pro-democracy activists in Japan staged a demonstration in
front of the Burmese Embassy in support of student protesters in their home
Groups of about 10 demonstrators took turns to stand in silence at the
embassy gates, holding up signs with slogans such as: "Release all detained
students and student leader Min Ko Naing."
Asiaweek, December 13, 1996
HEADLINE: Yangon's Way
BYLINE: K. Sabesan, Singapore
To date I have been a proud Southeast Asian, belonging to a region which is
fast transforming itself into a core of economic dynamism locomoting the rest of
Asia into the Pacific Century. However, two recent incidents have left me quite
in distress ["Attacking Suu Kyi" and "Melee Over a Meeting," THE NATIONS, Nov.
22]. In Myanmar, the convoy of Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was
attacked. This could not have taken place at a worse time given that some ASEAN
nations were considering slowing Myanmar's entry to the regional grouping.
In Malaysia, a non-governmental organization meet on East Timor was stormed
by a group of protesters belonging to the Youth groups of the main component
parties of the ruling National Front coalition. This act certainly was most
unparliamentary. I have always counted on the Malaysian government to uphold
democratic ethics like freedom of expression and at the same time ensure
economic prosperity. This incident came as an unpleasant surprise to me and to
all those who believe in human rights.
It has been an established fact in regional politics that East Timor is part
and parcel of Indonesia. All matters pertaining to it are considered Indonesia's
domestic issues. This leaves unanswered the question as to why the Malaysian
government did not resort to stern measures, such as invoking the Internal
Security Act, to stop the conference. An outright ban by the Home Ministry" or
briefly detaining the organizers beforehand may have helped cool the situation.
The San Francisco Examiner, December 13, 1996, Friday; Second Edition
HEADLINE: City urged not to give Mitsubishi contract ;
Critic cites firm's business ties to Burma as reason
SOURCE: OF THE EXAMINER STAFF
BYLINE: KATHLEEN SULLIVAN
Awarding a $ 137 million airport light rail system contract to Mitsubishi
Heavy Industries Inc. will make a mockery of the San Francisco Human Rights
Commission and violate the spirit of The City's Burma ordinance, an airport
commissioner has charged.
Burma Headline News is providing news and articles covering about Burma in
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Most of the news are searching by members of Democratic Burmese Students
Organization (DBSO-USA and DBSO-Japan) from Lexis Nexis and Wire Services.
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