Mekong tourism officials outline future orientation – THE TWELFTH MEETING OF ASEAN TOURISM MINISTERS

HANOI, Jan 10 (VNA) – The 2 nd meeting of Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) tourism ministers on Jan. 9 passed a joint declaration concerning recent progress in cooperation between the region’s tourism authorities and orientation for future development.

The GMS tourism ministers’ meeting took place within the framework of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) currently taking place in Hanoi.

GMS consists of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The joint declaration said that GMS’s tourism sector is continuing to grow and is standing firm against the fallout from the global financial crisis. Meanwhile, a new website for tourism promotion activities is to be launched soon, which will also act as a forum to effectively implement the Mekong tourism promotion strategy, which was adopted in 2005.

THE TWELFTH MEETING OF ASEAN TOURISM MINISTERS The Ministers, anticipating the global economic slowdown in 2009, agreed
to focus on Intra-ASEAN travel. The Ministers tasked the ASEAN Tourism
Officials to work closely with the private sector to work out a tactical program
which offers cost effective tour packages for Intra-ASEAN travellers and other
key markets of ASEAN. The Ministers reiterated their keen interest in promoting
youth travel and shall be a key segment target for 2009-2010.

Failure of international community before drama of Burmese people

asianews- Pascal Khoo Thwe, a Burmese dissident, adds up the balance of a tragic 2008: Nargis and the military dictatorship have pushed the population to the breaking point. The junta has deliberately allowed people to die in order to confiscate their land. He stresses that the struggle for democracy must begin with the people………..We must stop our reliance on a magic bullet formula in politics, by really listening to the concerns of those at the grassroots level.” Otherwise, there will be a repeat of the slaughter, massacres, and natural disasters on an even more devastating scale, which can be avoided only if the people are capable of facing the future “with less anxiety and emotion.” “The history of Burma,” he concludes, “has shown that good ideas or actions or foreign support alone are not enough to govern or rebuild a nation and maintain its soul.” continue

Instead, the United Nations secretary-general seems to be waiting for a miracle before he is prepared to visit Burma. Like a scientist afraid of his own experiment, he aims to plot the result before he begins the process.

Ban must visit Burma to begin the end-game
By Thaung Htun
09.01.2009 / 13:03 CET
A more active role by the UN’s secretary-general is one of ways the international community can deepen its engagement with Burma’s problems, argues the government-in-exile.
In backing a visit to Burma (Myanmar) by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the EU’s envoy, Peiro Fassino, in mid-December added to the clarion call for the UN to take a lead role in Burma. to continue

FSA investigation finds Aon made payments to Burma

By Postonline, Friday 9th January 2009: 16:39

In its report into Aon’s £5.25m fine over “failing to take reasonable care to organise and control its affairs responsibly and effectively, with adequate risk management systems”, some payments pay have been made to third party in Burma, the regulator said. continue

Read also Marsh brokered Burma aviation business into London

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Ashin Mettacara please vote for his blog— Burmese Monk blogger in running to win “Best Asian Blog”

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Weblog of a veteran Burmese Buddhist monk, Ashin Mattacara, which contains writings on Burma, has been selected among the finalists for the ‘Best Asian Bolg’ Award for 2008.

The Weblog, (, has garnered 870 votes in an online poll conducted since November of last year, currently ranking it second among votes received by finalists. continue

the Myitkyinar prison authority in Kachin State only informed visiting family members of noted comedian and film director Zargana on the 2nd of this month about a ban on prison visits by family members during the current month.

Chiang Maing (Mizzima) – Family members of political prisoners have had to return from journeys to remote prisons without ever having a chance to meet with those detained, a result of the latest hardship brought against political prisoners by Burma’s ruling military.

In one example, the Myitkyinar prison authority in Kachin State only informed visiting family members of noted comedian and film director Zargana on the 2nd of this month about a ban on prison visits by family members during the current month.

“They said that the ban is for all political prisoners, but only for this month. Apart from that, they said nothing. The higher authorities ordered them to do so, they said,” Tayza, elder brother of Zargana, told Mizzima.

The decision greatly inconvenienced family members in Rangoon, who instead of spending at least 120,000 kyat (approximately US$ 100) for return airfare, opted to take a train to the northern city, a journey of some three days. continue