Did Than Shwe’s Grandson Kidnap Model?

irrawaddy- The Rangoon rumor-mill is frequently active, but this might be the juiciest story for years—a soap opera-style plot involving Than Shwe’s grandson, a celebrity model, a jealous ex-boyfriend and a sordid kidnapping.

Sources close to Burmese celebrities told The Irrawaddy that rumors have spread like wildfire around Rangoon in the last two weeks that Snr-Gen Than Shwe’s favorite grandson, Nay Shwe Thway Aung, 17, helped a friend, Aung Myo, kidnap his ex-girlfriend, celebrity model Wut Hmone Shwe Yee. The two allegedly abducted Wut Hmone Shwe Yee from an unknown location in mid-December and drove her to Nay Shwe Thway Aung’s house in Hlaing Thayar Township where they held her for three days.
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(left to right) A free pass to medical school—Nay Chi Lin Let; Than Shwe’s favorite grandson, Nay Shwe Thway Aung; Kidnapped but released—Wut Hmone Shwe Ye

continue http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=14893

Farmers in Mon State strained by plummeting paddy prices

IMNA :Paddy prices are low in Mon State despite a weak harvest this year say farmers and traders, who blame the decrease on the global economic crisis.

According to a farmer on Belukyn Island, Chaungzone Township, 100 baskets of the un-husked rice currently sell for 0. 7-0.8 million kyat less than January 2008. A farmer in Mudon Township cited a similar decrease. In both locations, for instance, 100 baskets of low quality paddy fetches 3 million kyat, down from 3.8 to 4 million during the same time period in 2008. farmersh Rice traders report that rice values are down as well. In Moulmein, a 50 kilogram sack of rice is selling for 18,000 kyat. In 2008, the same amount of similar quality rice sold for 25,000 kyat. In Three Pagodas Pass, on the Thai-Burma border, traders report that the normally bustling black-market rice trade has also taken a hit; sacks selling for 1,000 baht last year are now worth just 750 baht. farmers

continue http://www.monnews-imna.com/newsupdate.php?ID=1285

Farmers in Pyapone in heavy debt

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Farmers in Irrawaddy delta’s Pyapone Township are stepped in severe debt as paddy yield has fallen to nearly one-third in the aftermath of the deadly cyclone Nargis that lashed the region in early May.

A rice merchant in Pyapone Township, one of the worst affected areas, said farmers are in deep trouble as they failed to produce sufficient paddy to repay their debts. They had taken loans to cultivate their land devastated in the cyclone.

He said some of the farmers, who normally produced at least 900 baskets (a basket is approximately 40 kilograms) from 18 acres of land, produced only 300 baskets.

“The decreasing yield is basically because of salinity in the land,” said the merchant, adding that the decline in the prices of paddy in the market has added to the farmers’ agony.

Most farmers in Pyapone Township and other parts of the Irrawaddy delta had taken loans to sow in the last season. But with the decrease in paddy yield and unexpected fall in prices, they were unable to earn enough money to repay the loans, the merchant explained.

“At this rate, the farmers might not be able to cultivate summer crops because they face severe shortage of money and are under heavy debt,” he said.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Cyclone Nargis left at least 570,000 hectares of farm land inundated in seawater and killed about 120,000 water buffalos or draught animals, leaving farmers struggling to continue with cultivation.

The FAO has said, following the cyclone at least 51,000 farmers are in need of help for cultivation.

“My friend owns 18 acres of land and he took about 3 million Kyat as loan to cultivate but he was only able to get back about 1.2 million Kyat from selling all paddy and now he is faced with a huge debt,” the merchant added. http://www.mizzima.com/nargis-impact/1518-farmers-in-pyapone-in-heavy-debt.html

http://democracyforburma.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/myanmar-farmers-lament-post-nargis-harvest/

http://democracyforburma.wordpress.com/2009/01/06/paddy-profits-eaten-up-by-middlemen-merchants/

http://democracyforburma.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/myanmar-grants-free-rice-export-from-yangon-region/
http://democracyforburma.wordpress.com/2009/01/01/myanmar-exports-150000-tons-of-rice-in-first-three-quarters-of-2008-09/

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Humanitarian crisis in Chin state likely to escalate in 2009: NGO

mizzima: by Salai Pi Pi
Thursday, 08 January 2009 22:24

New Delhi (Mizzima) – With crop yields declining due to severe weather conditions and the devastation caused by rat infestation, a humanitarian crisis is imminent for western Burma’s Chin state in 2009, a leading humanitarian worker in Chin state said.

Joseph Win Hlaing Oo, director of the Rangoon-based Country Agency for Rural Development in Myanmar (CAD), on Thursday said the humanitarian crisis in Chin state caused by both drought and rat infestation in 2008 is far from being over.

“This year, the situation seems to be getting worse,” Joseph told Mizzima, adding that people have already begun running short of food.

“People will need more help,” iterated Joseph, whose organization with help from the World Food Programme (WFP) has begun distributing aid supplies to a few villages in Chin state.

On Thursday, CAD began distributing about 700 rice bags to villagers affected by drought and rat infestation in Hakha township, home to the capital of Chin state.

Since the end of 2006, food security in the region has been gradually threatened by the infestation of rats, which are multiplying in great numbers after consuming a special bamboo flower that blossoms only once every 50 years in Chin state.

“Today, we started distributing rice bags to the people in four villages, including Pinam in Hakha township,” Joseph said.

But he said aid is not simply given, with villagers instead receiving aid in exchange for community work, such as assistance in the construction of roads to connect villages, under a program called “Food-for-Work”.

“We provide rice to villagers according to the work. We give [a total of] 100 bags of rice to 18 people on completion of a mile of road,” said Joseph, adding that the ‘Work-for-Food’ model was utilized to help villagers get the best out of aid supplies.

Joseph said CAD intends to reach at least 30,000 people in three townships – Hakha, Thangtlang and Matupi – with aid supplies. However his initial plan of distributing aid last November was derailed due to difficulties in purchasing good quality rice and high transportation cost.

Additionally, he said aid supplies are still insufficient, as many more villages in other parts of Chin state, including those that are close to the Indo-Burmese border, are yet to be covered. According to him, the food crisis is far more severe along the Indo-Burmese border.

“The problems in the areas close to the India-Burma border are more serious than other areas,” said Joseph, with the crux of the problem being a lack of proper roads and means of transportation to reach those areas.

According to an assessment done by the WFP and other relief agencies such as CAD, KARET, World Vision and Karuna (KMSS), at least 60,000 people from 139 villages in Chin state are severely affected by food scarcity caused by rat infestation.

In 2008, the WFP coordinated a relief aid program to help victims in Chin state with 1,451 tons of rice through international and local relief agencies, Joseph said. He added that an additional 800 million kyat (approximately US$ 600,000) will be made available for the first six months of 2009.

Meanwhile Van Lian Thang, spokesperson for the exile-based Chin Humanitarian and Relief Committee (CHRC), recently said people from at least 16 villages in northern Chin state are facing food insufficiency as the harvest of crops such maize and paddy has fallen sharply.

“Because the rate of crops harvested this year is very low, people from some villages in Tedim and Falam townships are facing a shortage of food,” said Van Lian Thang.
http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/1520-humanitarian-crisis-in-chin-state-likely-to-escalate-in-2009-ngo.html
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DTS article on R2P in Burmese (Responsibility 2 PROTECT)

nargis-cyclone-burma

(အာ-တူး-ပီ) သည္ (နာဂစ္)ေဘးဒုကၡဆိုးၾကီး က်ေရာက္ခ်ိန္၌ ျမန္မာ့ဒီမိုကေရစီ လႈတ္ရွားမႈအတြင္း စတင္၀င္ေရာက္ လာခဲ့ေသာ အသံုးအႏံႈးတခုျဖစ္ပါသည္။ Responsibility to protect (R2P or RtoP) ကို တိုက္ရိုက္ဘာသာျပန္ပါက “အကာအကြယ္ေပးရန္ တာ၀န္ရွိျခင္း” ပင္ျဖစ္သည္။ အမွန္မွာ ကမၻာတြင္ ၄င္းအသံုးေပၚခဲ့သည္မွာ မၾကာေသးပါေခ်။

http://bigbbrown.blogspot.com/2009/01/dts-article-on-r2p-in-burmese.html

http://democracyforburma.wordpress.com/2008/12/27/the-responsibility-to-protect-and-its-application-to-the-situation-in-burma/

Burma’s Agony: The International Humanitarian Response
Location: Asia Society
Event Date(s): June 9, 2008
Multimedia: AUDIO http://www.soros.org/initiatives/bpsai/events/humanitarian_20080609

Authorities ignoring rape and murder of 7-year-old girl in Pegu Division

logo2 January 8, 2009
HURFOM: A seven-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Ma U Pin village, Pegu Division last week. Local military authorities are refusing to take any action, though area residents and the Karen Women’s Organization (KWO) contend that the perpetrator is a soldier.
On December 27th, villagers report hearing a young girl scream and then, a little while later, a gunshot. According to a friend of the victim’s father, her family became worried when she did not return home that night. At dawn the next morning, a large group of villagers formed a search party.
At 10am, the young girl’s body was found hidden in bushes near her home. HURFOM sources said there was irrefutable evidence that she had been raped, and she was dead from a bullet wound in her chest.
HURFOM could not confirm the identity of the perpetrator, but a statement released by KWO contended that the perpetrator is a soldier.
HURFOM sources in the small, close-nit village also say they are certain the act was committed by a soldier. Earlier in the day on December 27th, a group of soldiers from Infantry Battalion No. 350, lead by Captain Thet Khine, arrived outside the village. A female resident, 45, said she saw a soldier enter the village in the evening. He disappeared, she said, and then she heard a scream and later a gunshot.
The bullet wound is also telling, the villagers say, for only soldiers in the area are permitted to carry firearms. “In our village, no one owns a gun – only soldiers can have gun,” said another source close to the family. “If the soldier did not do it, who did? But he [Captain Thet Khine] denies it.”
“We went to the Captain Thet Khine and told him the story of the rape, but the Captain did seem to care about it,” said the source close to the family. “He did not agree [that a soldier committed the crime]. But he did not do anything to investigate. He just treated it like it was something normal.”
In a statement released on January 6th, KWO demanded action from Burma’s military government. “KWO is appalled at this horrific crime, and that the SPDC authorities have failed to take any action over the case,” reads the statement. “KWO urges the international community to pressure the SPDC authorities to take action over this case, and to ensure that the victim’s family and other community members face no retaliation for their attempts to seek justice.”
This story courtesy of the Human Rights Foundation of Monland http://rehmonnya.org/archives/570

Burma Army holds talks with Wa (Thugs and Thieves)

Kengtung-based Triangle Region Commander Kyaw Phyoe, during his recent whirlwind tour of the Thai-Burma border, had held a 4-hour meeting with Wa commanders at Hwe Aw, opposite Chiangmai’s Chiangdao district, according to border sources.

8 January 2009

Hwe Aw, 25 miles north of the border, is where Wei Xueying, the younger brother of the Wa regional commander Xuegang, is based. Dinner was also served to the junta commander.

Details however have yet to emerge. The current dispute with the Wa over the presence of the latter’s troops at Pakhi, opposite Fang district, 160km north of Chiangmai, was certain to be one of the topics, according to border watchers.

The United Wa State Army (UWSA) was just as sure to counter the Burma Army’s charge with one of their own: the presence of Burma troops at Boundary Post (BP) #2, also opposite Fang.

“The Wa had been collecting B 350 ($10) each from travelers using the BP-2 route to come to Thailand,” said a local Shan who was working as a guide for travelers. “But they stopped coming after Burmese troops set up another checkpoint on the route to collect an extra B 350 fee from them.”

The UWSA’s 248th Brigade had retaliated what it regarded as infringement by the Burma Army in their operative sector by sending its own troops to Pakhi where the Burma Army units were operating.

The controversy had reportedly resulted in an exchange of fire between the two on 21 December.

“They might also discussed recent Wa attempt to publicize its status as the Government of Wa State,” said a senior watcher.

In addition, the Burma Army had been negotiating with the Wa for consent to set up a heavy weapons unit on a hill between Hwe Aw and Nakawngmu, a village 2 miles further.

Kyaw Phyoe left for Monghsat on his way to Kengtung yesterday.

Tension between the two sides has been on the rise since Naypyitaw has pushed for Wa surrender before the 2010 elections. The Wa Self-Administered Region, as designated by the new constitution, had also failed to include Wa domains along the Thai-Burma border, as proposed by the Wa. http://www.shanland.org/

Many condolences on the death of U Saw Mra Aung


Many political parties inside and outside of Burma have sent condolences to Arakan League for Democracy and the family on the loss of Dr U saw Mra Aung, who was president of Arakan league for Democracy, a biggest ethnic political party in Burma.

United Nationalities league for Democracy (Liberated Area) said in the condolence letter that U Saw Mra Aung was working for democracy and equal rights for all ethnic people in Burma. U Saw Mra also accepted the position of chairman of parliament in order to fight against military government unitedly among pro democracy groups when CRPP was formed in 1998. Therefore the death of U Saw Mra Aung is a great loss for all people in Burma.

The Burma Campaign UK ( BCUK) also sent a condolence letter on the loss of U Saw Mra Aung and expressed that the Death of Dr. Saw Mya Aung is a great loss for the Arakan people and the movement of ethnic nationalities in the struggle for democracy, human rights and freedom in Burma. continue http://www.narinjara.com/details.asp?id=2020

http://picasaweb.google.com/thadarmay/DrSawMraAung#slideshow/5288798977349778402

read also http://democracyforburma.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/condolence-letter-for-dr-saw-mra-aung-from-all-arakan-students-and-youth/

Reliefweb CYCLON NARGIS MAP ALL CLUSTERS WHO/WHAT/WHERE

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/LPAA-7N4GH7OpenDocument

Myanmar: Cyclone Nargis Who/What/Where Health (as of 22 Dec 2008) http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/LPAA-7N4F8J?OpenDocument

Myanmar: Cyclone Nargis Who/What/Where WASH (as of 18 Dec 2008) http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/LPAA-7N4F75?OpenDocument
Myanmar: Cyclone Nargis – Who/What/Where Emergency Shelter (as of 18 Dec 2008) http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/LPAA-7N4EQJ?OpenDocument
Myanmar: Cyclone Nargis – Who/What/Where Food (as of 22 Dec 2008) http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/LPAA-7N4EWZ?OpenDocument

READ ALSO Nargis ” IRIN NEWS” Burma http://www.irinnews.org/Asia-Country.aspx?Country=MM