Peter Hitchens: Inside Burma – one of the world’s most beautiful and ugliest countries and the last ghost of the British Empire

The Mail on Sunday columnist infiltrates this sinister state and uncovers the Generals’ secret new capital–worlds-beautiful-ugliest-countries-ghost-British-Empire.html

see also Capital Blues from multimedia section

United Wa State Army, an ethnic armed rebels that has a ceasefire agreement with Burma’s military regime,

said it is facing renewed pressure by the junta to give-up armed struggle.

A UWSA official in an interview with Mizzima said, Maj-Gen Kyaw Phyoe, a regional Commander of the Burma Army based in Keng Tung had literally step up efforts to persuade the armed rebel to give up armed struggle and ‘exchange arms for peace’. continue

All Burma Federation of Student Unions statement on the Lengthy Sentences of Democratic Activists Inside Burma

The Statement on the Lengthy Sentences of Democratic Activists Inside Burma

Date: December 10, 2008

1. The world and peoples throughout Burma have seen clearly that the SPDC, the military regime, had violently cracked down on the peaceful demonstrators in August and September of 2007 which came about in response to a rapid increase in fuel prices. People including activists, students and reporters, assisting victims of cyclone Nargis, were also arrested in 2008. SPDC has sentenced students, monks and other people arrested in connection with the protests to unreasonably lengthy prison terms at the end of 2008; sentences that are in fact longer than an average human life-span in Burma.

2. While the people of Burma and the international community are working intensively toward the establishment of a democratic society in Burma, the SPDC has unleashed a variety of tactics that continue to threaten the internationally recognized democratic norms and has embarked upon a campaign of oppression against democracy.

3. It is apparent that the SPDC has implemented their anti-democracy mission as follows:

(a) Absolute elimination of opposition voices by killing people involved in the street demonstrations.

(b) Sentencing of the remaining democratic political activists and aid volunteers of Cyclone Nargis with heavy punishments meted out by one-sided jurisdiction in the kangaroo law courts.

(c) Continuing oppression within the prisons with actions that include the transfer of democratic activists to very remote prisons and labor concentration camps lacking even the most fundamental health care.

4. These actions demonstrate their opposition to the democratic principles which demand the release all the political prisoners and establishment of political talks to build a modernized democratic state. The disregard for the international opinion by military dictatorship has clearly been revealed through the brutal manner of its actions.

5. Moreover, the heavy handed suppression of the pro-democracy activists, are meant serve as an example that threatens all public lives and to create a climate of fear for the upcoming 2010 election which they believe will establish the legitimacy of the military dictatorship.

6. Therefore, All Burma Federation of Student Unions (Foreign Affairs Committee) has strongly condemned the lengthy sentences and harsh repression upon the monks, students, people and the democratic forces who have been working against the atrocities of the government to prolong their military dictatorship and to oppose democracy.

7. The unfair offensive of the SPDC upon activists trying to promote national reconciliation in Burma will not solve the nation’s current problems and conflicts. In fact they contribute to them.

We of the, All Burma Federation of Student Unions (FAC), have declared that we will cooperate with the public at large and will quicken our activities in several fronts in our struggle against the actions of the government to prolong their military dictatorship and to oppose democracy.

Foreign Affairs Committee

All Burma Federation of Student Unions

New command moves to Thai-Kayah border

Mongpan-based Military Operations Command #17 with light infantry battalions (LIDs) have arrived at the mountain range overlooking Maehongson, according to sources on the border.

14 December 2008

The 5 battalions include:
LID 295 Wan Htam, Mongpan (supplanting IB 426 at Sop Pai)
LID 520 Mongpan
LID 525 Langkherh (supplanting LIB 336 at Daw Mu Ma)
LID 574 Kengtawng, Mongnai
LID 578 Langkherh

According to another source, three of the said battalions are still on their way from Shadaw, northwest of Maehongson.

MOC #17 is under the command of Brig Gen Tun Maung Win, said a Thai security officer quoting the anti-Rangoon Karenni Army (KA) chief of staff Bee Htoo.

The KA is based at Doi Yamu, the mountain range southwest of Maehongson. Several failed attempts were made in 2005 and 2006 to seize it. More than 1,000 shells had fallen inside the Thai soil, reported The Manager Online on 12 December.

Weekly Diary, No. 331 (6 – 12 December 2008)

Daughter of Burma’s ex-military strongman freed

ap2by Mizzima News
Saturday, 13 December The military government released the daughter of Burma’s long time strongman Ne Win from house-arrest on Friday morning, according to the BBC.

56 year-old Sandar Win was arrested in her lake-side villa for six years. She has now been released with no conditions, the BBC Burmese service said citing sources in Rangoon.