The newly formed Shan State Congress’s Executive Committee will hold their first meeting on 30 January on the Thai-Burma border, following the decision made in a three-day conference in December 2008, at Loi Tai Leng, the headquarters of Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), according to Maj Lao Hseng, the spokesperson for the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS).

By Hseng Khio Fah
14 January 2009

There are 3 issues that will be discussed by the committee members of Shan State Congress (SSC): to draft the constitution of the Shan State Congress, to plan and take action for 2009, and to manage the SSC’s activities.

The 7 person committee would be headed by one member from each of the following groups, Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO), Tai Coordination Committee (TCC) and Wa National Organization (WNO) and 3 members of RCSS as decided at the conference, 21-23.

“All committee members will be in the meeting, but we have yet to know who the representatives will be from other groups,” Maj Lao Hseng said.

At present, only two groups have named their delegates. The 3 confirmed members representing RCSS are, Maj. Lao Hseng, Maj. Hsiao Harn and Sao Ood Kehsi. Hpo Thein Shin has been chosen to represent the LDU. The rest of the member groups have yet to make their choices public.

“Every person [living in Shan State] is invited to participate in, and support the Shan State Congress. Because it is for every person of Shan State,” Maj Lao Hseng added.

This congress, according to the conference, would be one of the main pillars in creating unity among the diverse nationalities of Shan State. It would allow all groups, who are currently working separately towards similar goals to come together, according to Khun Thurein, General Secretary of PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO).

“We would like to tell all Shan State nationalities that they should participate to make our Shan State Congress active and successful,” he said. http://www.shanland.org/politics/2009/shan-state-congress-ec-to-hold-first-meeting

Shan State Congress formed http://www.shanland.org/politics/2008/shan-state-congress-formed

http://shanhumanright.blogspot.com/

Sittwe: 697.5 megawatts of electricity will be produced by four hydropower projects in Arakan States if all goes according to plan, said electric power minister Colonel Zaw Min during a meeting with Senior General Maung Aye during his visit to a hydropower project in southern Arakan.

The Burmese military government has four hydropower projects in the works for Arakan State. Two of the projects are currently under construction while another two are awaiting implementation.

Col. Zaw Min said during the meeting that there are two hydropower projects – Tha Htay Chaung and Ann Chaung – that are now under construction and will be complete within the next few years.

The authorities expect the Tha Htay Chaung plant located in Thandwe Township to produce 111 megawatts of power, while the Ann Chaung plant in Ann Township is espected to produce ten megawatts of power. http://www.narinjara.com/details.asp?id=2028

http://www.salweenwatch.org/

British ambassador to Burma, Mark Canning, talks to The Irrawaddy about the role of the UN and Asean in Burma, the Cyclone Nargis relief effort and his expectations for the election in 2010

Mark My Words – Question: How do you assess events in Burma in 2008?
Answer: It was a bad year on almost all fronts. It was especially cruel that on top of all their other problems, the people of this country had to cope with the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis—but at least there we’ve seen some good progress. After a difficult start, relief reached those who needed it, a creative mechanism was established for overseeing the operation and a number of tricky problems were overcome.

Elsewhere, there was no movement, in fact quite the opposite. The UN secretary-general himself said very recently that the degree of cooperation between Myanmar and the UN had been unsatisfactory. There was no move towards any sort of dialogue between the government and the opposition. There was continued repression.

The number of political prisoners doubled, and more than 200 activists, who’ve done nothing but espouse peaceful protests, were given massive prison sentences. Aung San Suu Kyi remains locked away and prevented from playing the conciliatory role she could fulfil if allowed. The various concessions made at the turn of the year, like the series of meetings between her and the labour minister came to nothing. The population has been told to expect the introduction of “disciplined democracy” in 2010—they’ve seen plenty of the former but not much of the latter. continue http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=14924

ASSISTANCE ASSOCIATION FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS(BURMA) PRESS RELEASE 14.01.2009

banner1Breaking News

For Immediate Release

14 January 2009
ABFSU member sentenced to 104 years in jail
A member of the Upper Burma (Mandalay) branch of the All Burma Federation of Students Unions has been sentenced to a total of 104 years in jail, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) can confirm. Bo Min Yu Ko aka Phyo Gyi, in his early 20s, was arrested on 18 September 2008. He was handed his final sentence on 3 January by Obo Prison Court in Mandalay Division. He was charged under many different sections of law, including 6 counts under Section 13/1 of the Immigration Act alone. Bo Min Yu Ko was not allowed to have a defense lawyer and his family were not allowed to attend his court hearing.
“This is yet another harsh and cruel sentence handed down by the regime’s kangaroo courts. The courts are not independent and simply follow orders from the regime. Criminals sentenced on drug charges are often given relatively light sentences, but political activists are given very long terms of imprisonment,” said Bo Kyi, Joint-Secretary of AAPP.
Since the recent spate of sentencing began in October 2008, at least 280 political activists have been sentenced. Bo Min Yu Ko’s 104-year sentence is the harshest punishment handed out so far.
“Political activists are systematically denied their legal and human rights. Bo Min Yu Ko had no chance to prepare a defence. Until now, he has not been allowed to meet with his family,” said Bo Kyi. “ASEAN leaders mustn’t bury their heads in the sand. The forthcoming ASEAN summit is the perfect opportunity for them to discuss this issue frankly with the military leaders. They must call on them to immediately release all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and start an open dialogue for national reconciliation.”

-ENDS-

http://www.aappb.org/

Myanmar dissident gets 104 years in jail

earthtime, Wed, 14 Jan 2009 09:18:02 GMT
Author : DPA
Yangon – A Mandalay court has sentenced a student activist to 104 years in jail for attending a meeting marking the first anniversary of the “saffron revolution” on the Thai-Myanmar border, a prisoner support group said Wednesday. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), Bo Min Yu Ko, in his early 20’s, was arrested on September 18, 2008 after attended a meeting on the Thai-Myanmar border to commemorate the first anniversary of the monk-led protests that rocked Yangon and parts of upper Myanmar in August and September of 2007.
Obo Prison Court in Mandalay Division on January 3 found Bo Min guilty of various charges including six violations of Myanmar’s immigration laws, and sentenced the man to 104 years in jail, said the AAPP.
Bo Min Yo Ko is a member of the Upper Burma (Mandalay) branch of the All Burma Federation of Students Unions.
He was denied a defence lawyer and his family members were not allowed to attend his court hearing, said the AAPP in a statement.
“This is yet another harsh and cruel sentence handed down by the regime’s kangaroo courts,” said Bo Kyi, Joint-Secretary of AAPP. “The courts are not independent and simply follow orders from the regime.”
Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962.
Since October, 2008, Myanmar’s judiciary has handed down hundreds of jail sentences ranging up to 65 years to politcal prisoners in an apparent effort to clear the country of dissent prior to a scheduled general election in 2010.
Of the estimated 280 political activists who have been sentenced to jail over the past three months, Bo Min’s 104-year sentence is the harshest punishment handed out so far.
The AAPP, a non-governmental organisation that monitors the conditions of political prisoners in Myanmar, called on the upcoming summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be held in Hua Hin, Thailand, next month, to raise the issue of Myanmar’s judicial crackdown on dissent.
“The forthcoming ASEAN summit is the perfect opportunity for them to discuss this issue frankly with the military leaders,” said Bo Kyi. “They must call on them to immediately release all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and start an open dialogue for national reconciliation.”
Suu Kyi, who heads the National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party, has been under house arrest for 13 of the past 18 years.
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/250471,myanmar-dissident-gets-104-years-in-jail.html

All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU)

104 Years Given to Political Dissident

…..“Criminals sentenced on drug charges are often given relatively light sentences, but political activists are given very long terms of imprisonment,” Bo Kyi said.

Meanwhile, three other members of the ABFSU (Upper Burma) were sentenced by an Obo Prison court in late December.

Kay Thi Aung, 23, who is pregnant, was sentenced to 26 years; Ko Nyi was sentenced to 50 years; and Wai Myo Htoo was sentenced to 26 years, according to Tun Tun, an ABFSU member.

Since October 2008, Burmese military courts set up in prisons across the country have sentenced scores of political dissidents and their supporters on charges relating to involvement in peaceful demonstrations or freedom of expression. At least 280 political activists have been sentenced. http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=14922

Myanmar junta frees 6 activists, but group says another gets 104-year jail sentence

By Associated Press
8:27 AM EST, January 14, 2009
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Military-ruled Myanmar has freed six people who recently called for the release of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but sentenced another activist to 104 years in prison, relatives and an activist group said Wednesday.

Six members of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party who marched for her release on Dec. 30 in the country’s biggest city, Yangon, were freed without charge Wednesday, said the detainees’ relatives. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of harassment by the authorities.

Three others activists remained in detention, according to the relatives. continue http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-ap-as-myanmar-political-prisoners,0,5736733.story

The ‘National Coalition Government of Union of Burma’ (NCGUB) in exile will elect its new Prime Minister at a meeting to be held in Ireland this month

MP’s to elect new NCGUB PM in exile
by Nem Davies
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:25

New Delhi (Mizzima) –The ‘National Coalition Government of Union of Burma’ (NCGUB) in exile will elect its new Prime Minister at a meeting to be held in Ireland this month.

Dr. San Aung, one of the Council of Ministers of NCGUB, said that the MPs in exile will elect their new PM at this meeting held once every four years by secret ballot.

Over 30 MPs from the ‘Members of Parliamentary Union’ (MPU) will attend the meeting and they will elect the new PM, discuss the current political situation in Burma and their future plans.

The first part of the 10-day meeting will be the exclusive MP meeting and the second half (5-daya meeting) will be attended by ‘Ethnic Nationalities Council’ (ENC), ‘Student and the Youth Congress of Burma’ (SYCB) among others.

Meanwhile, Dr. San Aung also said that the recent announcement made by exile based alliance, ‘National Council of Union of Burma’ (NCUB), announcing its plan of forming a new government of their own should not have been made.

“NCUB is not a party, it’s an alliance. The resolution of this alliance should be adopted by consensus only after thorough deliberations. No one can flout and bypass this rule. If a member organization of this alliance wants to do something, it can do it on its own, but cannot misuse and exploit the leverage of this alliance,” he said.

The ‘National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma’ (NCGUB) was formed with MPs-elect in exile who won the 1990 general elections and are based in Washington D.C. USA. Dr. Sein Win, the cousin brother of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, is serving as PM in this government. http://www.mizzima.com/news/regional/1541-mps-to-elect-new-ncgub-pm-in-exile.html

China provides more military trucks to Burma

by Myo Gyi
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 16:04

Ruili, China (Mizzima) – Five military trucks, believed to be capable of carrying up to 100 tons in weight, were driven to the Burmese side of the border from China through the Sino-Burmese border gate, eyewitnesses said.

The trucks, which were driven through the Jiegao-Mahnwingyi border gate, were seen being guided by several Burmese military officers.

“The trucks had a label reading ‘Sino Truk’. They were driven from the Mahnwingyi gate to the Burmese side at about 9:30 a.m. (Burmese Time). There were some Burmese military officers in the trucks,” an eyewitness told Mizzima.

The eyewitness said the trucks were empty but there were people in civilian dresses, who are believed to be Burmese army men. continue http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/1542-china-provides-more-military-trucks-to-burma.html