5 February (1947), Founding Day of Karen National Union (KNU)-5 February (1960), Kachin Revolutionary Day

5 February (1947), Founding Day of Karen National Union (KNU)
5 February (1960), Kachin Revolutionary Day
7 February (1947), Shan National Day
9 February (1972), Akha Revolution Day

2009 Burma Freedom Calendar http://documents.scribd.com/docs/vk6ownxjqtia4ujwb7z.pdf

also one of my pages

Junta builds weapons factory in central Burma-The source, close to the construction company, said the new weapons factory was being built in central Burma’s Magwe division in Seatottaryar Township, by the ‘Chan Aye’ construction company.

by Zarni
Tuesday, 03 February 2009 21:17

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burma’s ruling military junta has completed construction of nearly half of a new factory that will produce military weapons and tanks, sources said.

The source, close to the construction company, said the new weapons factory was being built in central Burma’s Magwe division in Seatottaryar Township, by the ‘Chan Aye’ construction company.

“The construction has been going on for about two years, and about half of the factory has been completed so far. As far as I know, the factory will produce weapons as well as tanks,” the source, who declined to be named for fear of reprisal, told Mizzima.

The Chan Aye Construction Company is a joint venture between several ex-military servicemen and is engaged in various military constructions.

Reportedly, local residents near the area of the factory construction said several acres of their farm lands, had been seized by the government, without providing any compensation.

“I had about 20 acres of land in the area and cultivated beans and other vegetables on it. But, the authorities destroyed my crops with a bulldozer and cleared my land for construction,” a local resident told Mizzima. http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/1649-junta-builds-weapons-factory-in-central-burma.html

Armed Clash Between Burmese Insurgents and Bangladesh Army

Dhaka: An armed clash took place on 30 January between the Bangladesh army and an insurgent group from Burma in Ruma Township in Bandarban District of Bangladesh’s southern Chittagong Hill Tract, according to a local press report.
The report said that the battle took place with the Bangladesh army when a group of insurgents from Burma entered Bangladesh territory on the Bangladesh-India-Burma border area.

The fight lasted for one hour but no injuries were reported from either side. The Bangladesh army arrested two people from the battlefield. continue

The body of the boy, 17, was found hanging from a tree in a wooded area behind his quarter in Three Pagodas Pass, on the Thai Burma border. A source that spoke with the family said they told him the boy had disappeared from home on January 28th.

Teenager commits suicide as drug use in Three Pagodas Pass increases
Tue 03 Feb 2009, Blai Mon, Mon Son
A family in Three Pagodas Pass is blaming the suicide of their young son on amphetamines, which they say he has been using since age 15. Meanwhile, drug use in the border town has skyrocketed say Mon civil society groups and community members.

The body of the boy, 17, was found hanging from a tree in a wooded area behind his quarter in Three Pagodas Pass, on the Thai Burma border. A source that spoke with the family said they told him the boy had disappeared from home on January 28th.

The source, which told IMNA he spoke with the boy’s father, said the father blamed the suicide on drug use. The boy had recently been called home from Mudon Town, Mon State, where he had been attending the 11th standard at the town’s superior high school. According to the source, the boy was called home when his parents learned he was using drugs.

Drug use has increased among children Mudon Township, a parent in Mudon told IMNA, who added that even students who live under the close watch of their families have been removed from school. “It is very easy to buy drugs,” added drug user in Mudon. “You can buy them as easily as candy or beans.”

Drug use in Three Pagodas Pass, meanwhile, has also increased. According to a report released in December by the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM), 30% of youth in the town regularly use amphetamines.

“We lost our elder son,” said a mother whose son was killed while driving a motorcycle on amphetamines. “We lost our money. We lost our family. All because of amphetamines.”

The cross-border drug trade has also markedly increased, said a source involved in anti-drug efforts by the New Mon State Party quoted by HURFOM.

The increased drug trade – and the related increase in drug use in Three Pagodas Pass – is being enabled by corruption in Burmese government officials. “[Government] authorities deliberately turn a blind eye to the trade,” says the report, which documents various bribes accepted by government authorities. “There is no conceivable way [officials] could be ignorant of such large-scale and poorly disguised narcotics operations continue http://www.monnews-imna.com/newsupdate.php?ID=1307

MYANMAR: Rats exacerbate food insecurity in Chin State

BANGKOK, 3 February 2009 (IRIN) – Food insecurity in Myanmar’s remote and impoverished Chin State, northwestern Myanmar, has worsened following a major infestation of rats.

“It has been well documented that food insecurity in Chin is chronic,” Chris Kaye, country representative for the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) told IRIN from Yangon, the former Burmese capital.

“The rat infestation has made this acute in several areas and this acute situation remains, particularly among communities in Madupi and Paletwa [townships],” he said.

According to WFP, farmers are now struggling to meet day-to-day food needs and resorting to edibles gathered from the forests.

Others are migrating to border areas inside India in search of work.

“We are doing what we can to address these needs through an inter-agency effort and progress is being made. However, ongoing information collection and reports from the field suggest that we have a long way to go before we can say the situation is in any way improving,” Kaye warned. continue http://www.IRINnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=82722



The World Press Freedom Committee has nominated Mizzima News Agency —the heroic group founded by exiled Burmese journalists to keep their countryman and woman informed about Burma’s situation— for UNESCO’s prestigious Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

The nomination has been filed based on the believe that Mizzima has become the world’s dominant Burma news operation and a thorn on the side of that country’s ruthless military junta.

As we state in our form for presentation of candidature (below the fold), from their struggling beginnings in 1998, armed with a single computer and the determination of its three founders — Soe Myint, Thin Thin Aung and Win Aung— Mizzima has grown into a formidable force for press freedom and freedom of information in and out of Burma, a country repressed by a military dictatorship that has kept it under its iron fist for more than 40 years.

Mizzima’s accomplishments in those years are nothing short of astounding. And its capacity to produce world-class journalism was successfully put to the test during two tragic events, the 2007 Saffron Revolution and the 2008 Cyclone Nargis.

On both occasions, the military junta thought it could block the tragic news coming out of Burma the same ruthless way it successfully kept the Aug. 8, 1988 civil uprising away from the eyes of the rest of the world. On both occasions, Mizzima provided a public front seat for the international community to watch and understand what actually took place during those events.

Over its ten-year existence, Mizzima has increased its work force from three to 50, and has extended its presence to India, Thailand, Bangladesh, China and Burma itself. Today, it manages four web sites, http://www.mizzima.com, http://www.mizzimaburmese.com, http://www.mizzimaphoto.com and http://www.mizzima.tv.

Its English-language web site receives 9.2 million hits a year, and its Burmese-language site, considerably more than 4 million. Recognition of Mizzima’s online product clearly manifested itself right after the cyclone, on May 7, 2008, when the English language site went down because of the large number of hits. Mizzima got 5 million hits between May 1-6. But on May 7, Mizzima got 2 million hits just for its English-language site, as footage and details of the horrendous loss of life (more than 100,000) and livelihood from Cyclone Nargis surfaced.

Using the techniques of the new media to maximum effect, Mizzima has shown itself to be a media David to the military Goliath of the Burmese government. It’s because of its defiance in the face of overwhelming odds and its realized dream of bringing press freedom to a country starved for information that we believe Mizzima is more than a worthy candidate for this prestigious prize. http://www.i-times.org/interesting_times/2009/01/wpfc-nominates-mizzima-news-agency-for-prestigious-award.html

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Burma’s opium poppy growers return to their fields-Larry Jagan

Opium poppy cultivation in Burma has increased alarmingly in the past two years amid fears that region’s worsening economic crisis will encourage an even greater spurt in growth, warns the United Nations.

Falling international commodity prices and increase political instability in Burma’s border area has fuelled fears that many of Burma’s poppy farmers will find it impossible to resist the temptation to return to their old ways. In the past few years there has been a dramatic fall in the area under poppy cultivation and opium production, but these gains have been reversed in the past two years, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) annual survey just released.

“The problem of poppy production in the region has been contained but not solved,” the UNODC chief in Bangkok, Gary Lewis told Mizzima. “There have been significant increases, especially in Myanmar, which are threatening to rise further because of the worsening economic conditions faced by former poppy farmers.”

More than ninety percent of the poppy grown in south-east Asia – Burma, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam – is grown in Burma’s north-eastern Shan State, though significant strides have been made in Burma over the past decade to dramatically reduce the cultivation of poppy and the production of opium.

Poppy cultivation has fallen from more than 120,000 hectares under poppy cultivation to around 30,000 in 2008 in Burma. Opium production has fallen from more than 1300 metric tonnes to 410 during this period. This is the equivalent of producing 40 tonnes of heroin. This reduction has been largely the result of international pressure on two of the largest opium producers in Burma’s Golden Triangle – which borders China, Laos and Thailand — the Kokang and the Wa. Both are rebel ethnic groups, with large guerrilla forces, but have ceasefire agreements with the Myanmar government. continue http://www.mizzima.com/edop/anslysis/1647-burmas-opium-poppy-growers-return-to-their-fields.html

A general election proposed by the military government to be held in 2010 is likely to put off,because of its motive to prolong staying in power, according to sources close to regime.

Truth about delaying 2010 elections
by Moe Thu and Htet Win
Monday, 02 February 2009 15:49

A general election proposed by the military government to be held in 2010 is likely to put off, not because of some reasons it has come up with, but because of its motive to prolong staying in power, according to sources close to regime.

“A government minister hinted about the junta’s continuation in power for 10 more years in the late 1990s, and it turned out to be true,” said a long-time Burma watcher. “Besides, army officers can’t whimsically say those things about delayed elections, as they must have been instructed along this line from above,” he added.

There was last Thursday a media report carried by Thailand based Shan Herald, quoting informed sources as saying that a high ranking military officer said the proposed 2010 elections could be put off for several reasons including the fact — disruptive activities by dissidents both inside and outside the country .

Lieutenant-Colonel Tin Maung Shwe, the military commander in southern Shan State did not elaborate. Referring to the government’s consecutive inability to unearth culprits in several recent bombings in the commercial city Rangoon, a local business writer said the military government was mostly believed to create such disruptive activities, while continuously blaming political opponents inside and outside the country.

“The government usually blames them, but never comes up with any evidence,” the Yangon-based writer said, adding that the junta was itself creating an unstable situation in Burma for the sake of military power.

Another informed source based in Naypyitaw said the military government conducted a training programme to produce several dozens of instigators.

“Probably, it is under a unit with the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the source said.

“Using such instigators, the military government has planned to spark communal riots between Bamar and local Indian community (known as Kular) in a couple of months, a means the Burmese military government uses to divert the general public’s political/development attention,” the source said.

Whatever means [it] would be used in order to postpone any elections as long as the process favours the army, the sources said.

The military government’s motive is to stay in power.

“Military-dominant governments so far — Burma Socialist Programme Party and State Peace and Development Council — would have reformed the country’s leadership, if they really loved the country,” said a young Burmese academic.

“They continue to create just a show-off area of development, but the people will continue to suffer. The haves will have more. The have-nots will lose more,” he said.

He said the poor would not only be materially impoverished but also intellectually. The poor may only get a few trickle-down benefits. Aides and investments may finally flow in, but Burma will remain a sweat shop with little respect for human rights, labour rights, and political dissent, ”

That is the way any military government has tried to tone down the general public’s urge for a democratic leadership, a change in high demand in Burma.

Another thing that bars the change from taking place is that the government’s ambivalence to include what kinds of representatives in a future parliament.

Major General Htay Oo, the Secretary General of the Union Solidarity and Development Association, whose patron is the Sr. Gen Than Shwe, the head of the junta, is said to be upset with the lack of reliable civilian partners in the future parliament.

And the Third Force that is referred to individuals inside Burma, who are seeking their own ways to a democracy, argues that the army needs civilian collaborators to make changes. They argue that those military-turned-civilians will need civilian partners who are willing to cooperate. Corporation of the moderate people from both sides will solve out the dilemma in evolution but to accept the junta road mp. However, they admit that there is still risk and the every decision is now only from Than Shwe.

Meanwhile, the army does not trust veteran politicians that pursue conventional ways forward. Some of the veteran politicians are those in the scene in the late 1940s.

Regarding one of the four reasons that could delay the coming elections — tension with Bangladesh over gas exploration, the Rangoon-based writer said it was just an excuse.

“It is a routine between or among countries, which most countries work out through a pragmatic approach, taking time,” he said, adding that the two countries’ maritime dispute need not be an issue to postpone the elections.

Another person, familiar with the relation between the two countries, said Burma was on the right side for most border and immigrant issues.

“However, Burma has political and/or image problems in the international arena, and its neighbour Bangladesh is intent on exploiting the situation,” he said.

He said Rohingya were no less a problem for Bangladesh than Burma, and Bangladeshis had also mistreated them. And both countries are yet to identify how many and which Rohingya are from either. Some are Bengali economic refugees.

The other two reasons the military government has made up are: Incomplete census and problems in the drug eradication programme.

For those, the military government refuses time and again more assistance from the international community, who is willing to offer so.

Another reason, cease-fire ethnic groups, particularly Wa and Kachin are refusing to surrender arms and only later announced their agreement on the 2010 election plan.

United State Wa Army or UWSA is the armed wing of United State Party with an estimated 20,000 soldiers. Wa started mentioning “Wa State Government Special Region” in their official papers amidst the Burmese government wanting them to continue as ” Shan State Special Region 2″. continue

Junta commander: 2010 elections could be postponed (Disruptive activities by dissidents both inside and outside the country)