Elected members of parliament Dr Tin Min Htut and Nyi Pu appeared before Insein prison special court yesterday charged with sedition and disrupting the national convention.

Nyi Pu is the elected representative for Gwa township and an Arakan National League for Democracy organising committee member, while Dr Tin Min Htut is an elected MP from Panatanaw township in Irrawaddy division.
The two men, who were arrested in August 2007, were also charged under the electronics act.
In a separate development, four of the nine NLD youth members who were arrested last week, including Tun Tun Win of Sanchaung township NLD, have been taken to ward 3 of Insein prison, according to a family member of a political inmate.
The nine were arrested for taking part in a peaceful march from the NLD headquarters in Rangoon after attending a meeting. http://english.dvb.no/news.php?id=2068

A pro-junta group, the 88 generation students (Union of Myanmar), has said it is all set to contest the upcoming 2010 general election as drawn up by the ruling junta.

mizzima:Aye Lwin, a former 88 generation student and leader of the group, said they will have two parties to contest the election, believing the process could set Burma on the road to political reform, though democracy in Burma will admittedly require more time to evolve into a mature and stable political institution.”We will have two parties to contest the election,” Aye Lwin told Mizzima on Tuesday. While he will be leading the National Political League (Union of Myanmar) as its chairman, the 88 generation students (Union of Myanmar) will be led by other former students who participated in the 1988 general uprising.

“We are waiting for the announcement of the Election Law and specifics regarding the registration of political parties,” he said.

Aye Lwin added that the election is the only way forward for Burma, which has remained in a virtual political stalemate for the past 20 years.
continue http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/1510-pro-junta-group-announces-formation-of-political-parties.html

Shame on you Aye Lwin!

Nargis volunteer sentenced to 10 years imprisonment

New Delhi (Mizzima) – An individual arrested while undertaking volunteer relief services for victims of Cyclone Nargis was yesterday sentenced to ten years imprisonment by a court in Rangoon’s outlying district of South Dagon.

Khin Maung Win (29), a resident of South Dagon Township, yesterday at approximately 2 p.m. was sentenced to ten years imprisonment with hard labor, having been found guilty of establishing an unlawful organization and undertaking an illegal border crossing.

“Ko Khin Maung Win was given five years under an unlawful organization case and another five years through the Immigration Act, totaling ten years”, Rangoon lawyer Nyi Nyi Hlaing, who is familiar with this case, told Mizzima.

An eyewitnesses heard Khin Maung Win reciting a poem written by 88 Generation student leader Min Ko Naing, ‘I’ll plant the fighting peacock flag on the classroom walls’, as he was boarding a prison van to take him back to Insein prison following the sentencing.

Khin Maung Win is a member of the anti-junta organization ‘New Generation’ and was arrested on the 10th of October last year while acting as a relief campaign volunteer in storm ravaged areas of the country. Cyclone Nargis, which struck Burma on May 2-3 of last year, left around 140,000 people dead or missing.

Previously, Khin Maung Win worked in Malaysia and was forced to return illegally to Burma after losing his passport abroad.

“Most Burmese citizens who lose their passport return to Burma illegally. But only Ko Khin Maung Win was punished because of his political activities,” Nyi Nyi Hlaing iterated.

The ‘New Generation Group for Justice’, of which Khin Maung Win is reportedly a member, was formed in March 2008 by youth in Rangoon who subsequently took part in the ‘Red’ and ‘NO’ campaigns associated with drumming up support in opposition to the junta’s draft constitution, which was put to a referendum in May of last year.

Khin Maung Win officially married Pan Phyu Phyu Pwint (29) on the day of his sentencing by signing a marriage deed at the main entrance to Insein prison in the presence of the parents of both the bride and groom. http://www.mizzima.com/nargis-impact/1509-nargis-volunteer-sentenced-to-10-years-imprisonment.html

The 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have agreed to meet in Bangkok on Feb 27, 28 and March 1, said Mr Virasakdi Futrakul, permanent secretary of the foreign ministry.

BANGKOK – THAILAND on Wednesday named new dates for a delayed summit of Southeast Asian nations, but said arrangements for meetings with heavyweight partners including China and Japan would be made separately. http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/SE%2BAsia/Story/STIStory_322642.html

The world looks away as Burma mocks democracy

David Scott Mathieson: Dictatorships are not known for their sense of humour, nor do they appreciate being laughed at. It came as no surprise then when the ruling military regime in Burma recently sentenced the country’s best known comedian, named Zarganar, to 45 years in prison.

Zarganar (which means pliers in Burmese — he was a practising dentist) was arrested in June for staging private relief operations for survivors of Burma’s devastating cyclone in May, and for speaking out about the poor response by the authorities. These efforts, and his unique blend of sardonic wit and absurd reflections about the crushing repression of the military government, landed him in prison for his third stretch in the past 15 years.

Zarganar’s sentencing is part of an astonishingly brutal campaign by the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in Burma to eradicate all political opposition in the country ahead of planned elections in 2010. In recent months, hundreds of prominent activists, Buddhist monks and nuns, journalists, labour activists, bloggers and hip-hop artists have been sentenced to lengthy jail terms. Some of them are facing between 100 and 150 years back in prison, many for their third or fourth times. Even some of the lawyers representing these activists have been imprisoned, for speaking out about the grossly unfair secret trials held in jail or in closed courthouses.

The activists include a brave labour rights representative named Ma Su Su Nyay, who was handed more than 12 years, and Min Ko Naing, the leader of Burma’s 1988 student-led uprising who has already received more than 65 years just on a few charges; his sentencing will probably land him 150 years back in jail, where he spent most of the time between 1988 to 2004 in solitary confinement. Both of them have been past recipients of Canada’s John Humphrey Freedom Award. Continue

Kachin state, waiting for an ecological disaster (dams)

Kachin State in northern Burma is sitting on a powder keg of an ecological disaster. From impending dam related devastation to the rape of the environment in terms of incalculable damage to the flora and fauna has rendered the state extremely vulnerable. Rampant felling of trees and the wanton killing of myriad wildlife for filthy lucre for export to China has led to a serious situation which is far from being addressed.
For instance a series of earth quakes in China’s southwest Yunnan province, bordering Burma has thrown up the spectre of future Chinese-made dam disasters in northern Burma. There was an earthquake of 4.9 magnitude on the Richter scale in Ruili (Shweli) on the China-Burma border last week. China’s Yunnan province and Kachin state in northern Burma sit on the same earth quake fault line. READ ALL http://www.kachinnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=689

Paddy profits eaten up by middlemen merchants

Written by KNG
Tuesday, 06 January 2009 21:36
This rice harvesting season, the Burmese ruling junta is buying paddy at a fixed-price higher than last year but farmers in Burma’s northern Kachin state do not stand to benefit, said local sources.

The reason is that the junta is not buying paddy directly from farmers in Mohnyin, Namma, Hopin and Mogaung townships, where most people cultivate paddy, unlike last year. It is buying paddy from paddy merchants, said farmers’ sources in Mohnyin.

continue http://www.kachinnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=690:paddy-profits-eaten-up-by-middlemen-merchants&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50

Migrant workers taxed by corrupt police in Ye Township

Tue 06 Jan 2009, Lyeah Mon, IMNA
Police in northern Ye Township are taxing migrant workers returning from Thailand and Malaysia, say local sources.

“Police are waiting at the entrance gate of our village. If they receive information about migrants returning home, they will wait for the migrant workers at the gate. One person has to pay 10,000 kyat,” said a migrant worker who recently returned from Thailand to Thabyay Ywa Thit village. “If they do not see the migrant worker in the evening, they will come to the worker’s home the next morning and demand money,” he added.

“When we come back along the road, we do not need to pay checkpoint taxes because we pay the whole cost to the broker [to organize the trip back from Thailand]. But when we arrive at our village, the police specially demand the money. If we do not pay them 10,000 kyat, our belongings on the bus would be seized,” agreed a villager who recently returned to nearby Hnitkayin village. “The police frighten people, and we have to pay. People who sneak home have to pay 20,000 kyat as a fine.” continue

HURFOM: Burmese Army troops in northern Tenesserim Division forced all residents of Amae village to abandon their homes and plantations in November. On the same day, the troops also raped a seventeen-year-old girl and severely beat a young boy.

Captain Pan Zar and 80 troops from Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 107 entered the village on November 11th. After accusing the residents of supporting an armed Mon rebel group in the area, the troops ordered the villagers to relocate. Each household was also ordered to pay the soldiers 50,000 kyat, and the residents are prohibited from visiting farms and plantations in the area.
The villagers were given virtually no time to prepare for their departure. Local sources said they left the next day, bringing only what they could carry and leaving behind the majority of their belongings, as well the timber and other valuable construction materials in their homes.
The soldiers assaulted at least one villager as they ordered the villagers to relocate. “One young man from the village asked the captain, ‘if you do like this, where will we go to live?’ said an eyewitness from Amae. “The captain replied, ‘you can go and live anywhere, but not in this area. After that he grabbed the young man and hit him in the head with the butt of his rifle. Once the young man had fallen down, the capt

read all http://rehmonnya.org/archives/568logo3