“We are in fear of arresting and deportation. Beside that next year Thai government will not open for migrant worker registration which mean our future in this country will be more difficult .”

Women’s rights activists sought Thai gov grantee

Wednesday, 11 March 2009 22:51

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – International rights group in Chiang Mai organized an event on Sunday to commemorate International Woman Day, March 8th and call Thai government to guarantee rights of woman, include migrant woman workers from neighboring countries as a significant part of economic drives.

Hundreds of participants from several groups include Empower and Migrant Assistance Program (MAP) which are labour rights non-government organization and We Get Together which is a group of migrant woman workers gathered on Thapae Road and walked to Three King Monument in the heart of town where they organized an event in the Sunday evening.

Jackie Pollock, a founding member of the Chiang Mai-based Migrant Assistance Program , who works closely with migrant laborers in Chiang Mai called Thai government to halt policy to deport migrant worker from Burma.

“Migrant workers are important for Thailand’s economic, particularly to solve problem from global economic crisis.” She said. “So, deportation may lead the migrants worker to change destination to other countries that would be a negative impact to Thailand‘s economic.”

While, a participant from We Get Together group said that current situation of migrant worker from Burma in Chiang Mai is vulnerable because of the government restriction.
continue http://www.mizzima.com/

A nuclear scientist from Beijing University died at the Central Hotel in Rangoon while attending a meeting organized by Burma’s Nuclear Department under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

by Sein Win
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 22:56

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A nuclear scientist from Beijing University died at the Central Hotel in Rangoon while attending a meeting organized by Burma’s Nuclear Department under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Mr. Zhang Peixin (47) was found dead in his hotel room on the last day of the meeting.

Mr. Zhang arrived in Burma on February 22nd, but failed to appear at the meeting hall on March 1st, his departure date. Personnel from the host Ministry and an Assistant Hotel Manager then broke into his room, finding him dead on the bed. After receiving the information from the hotel, police and medical personnel rushed to the scene for inspection. They later confirmed the death without finding any marks or injuries on the body.

Doctors from Rangoon General Hospital’s Forensic Department conducted a post mortem and found Mr. Zhang’s heart’s main arteries were blocked and narrow, according to police sources.

Sources who investigated the case said that the deceased was alone in the hotel room when he died.

His wife and daughter traveled to Burma and cremated his remains at Yeway Cemetery on March 6th at 4:20 p.m., returning to China with the ashes.



နာဂစ္မုန္တိုင္း ကယ္ဆယ္ေရးလုပ္ကိုင္သူ တဦးကို ဒီကေနႛ မတ္လ ၁၁ရက္မႀာ အင္းစိန္ေထာင္ အထူးတရား႟ံုးကေန တရားမဝင္ အသင္းအဖၾဲႚတည္ေထာင္မႁ အပၝအဝင္ အမႁသံုးမႁနဲႛ ေထာင္ဒဏ္ ၁၇ႎႀစ္ ခဵမႀတ္လိုက္ပၝတယ္။

Cyberdemo_against Internet Censorship

UNESCO withdraws patronage for Online Free Expression Day

Reporters Without Borders learned last night that UNESCO has withdrawn its patronage for today’s Online Free Expression Day. “Several governments on today’s updated list of 15 ‘Internet Enemies’ put direct pressure on UNESCO” said the organization.
Reporters Without Borders learned last night that UNESCO has withdrawn its patronage for today’s Online Free Expression Day. We were notified of the decision by the director of its Freedom of Expression, Democracy and Peace Division. Defending the move, UNESCO said it gave its patronage for the “principle of this day” but could not support the various demonstrations organised to mark it.

“We are not fooled,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Several governments on today’s updated list of 15 ‘Internet Enemies’ put direct pressure on the office of the UNESCO director general, and deputy director general Marcio Barbosa caved in. UNESCO’s reputation has not been enhanced by this episode. It has behaved with great cowardice at a time when the governments that got it to stage a U-turn continue to imprison dozens of Internet users.”

The press freedom organisation added: “Unfortunately, it seems we have gone back 20 years, to the time when authoritarian regimes called the shots at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. UNESCO’s grovelling shows the importance of Online Free Expression Day and the need to protest against governments that censor.”

Reporters Without Borders immediately informed the French foreign ministry of UNESCO’s decision as it was at the suggestion of the French National Commission to UNESCO that this UN body granted its patronage for this event. The commission is an offshoot of the foreign ministry. Reporters Without Borders is of the view that the French government cannot remain silent in the face of the rebuff it has received as a result of pressure from authoritarian governments.

Reporters Without Borders has issued an updated list of “Internet Enemies” as part of its actions to mark this day. There are 15 countries on the list – Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Cyber-demos are being organised in online versions of nine especially repressive countries. Internet users can create an avatar, choose a message for their banner and take part in one of these virtual protests.

Finally, a new version of the Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents has been posted on the Reporters Without Borders website (www.rsf.org). It offers practical advice and techniques on how to start up a blog and circumvent censorship.

At least 62 cyber-dissidents are currently imprisoned worldwide, while more than 2,600 websites, blogs or discussions forums were closed or made inaccessible in 2007.

Fun and Easy

While working on dam projects for hydroelectric power in northern Burma, Chinese companies are secretly spiriting away unidentified minerals to their country, said local sources.

Chinese company secretly spirits away minerals from Northern Burma

Two or more sub-Chinese companies in the Chinese government’s China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) have been taking away different kinds of minerals to their country from areas around N’Mai River (N’Mai Hka in Kachin) hydropower project in Chipwi (Chibwe) east of Burma’s northern Kachin State since the CPI’s hydropower inspectors arrived in Chipwi in 2007, according to residents of Chipwi.

Local eyewitnesses told KNG, that some unknown minerals are tidily put in wooden boxes and some are not. The trucks are covered with opaque plastic when minerals are loaded in the trucks and transported to China mostly at night, added the eyewitnesses.

Local Kachin villagers always see the Chinese taking away mineral from the areas around them but they have no idea what kind of minerals are being taken away by the Chinese, local villagers told KNG.

According to businessmen on the Sino-Burma border, minerals like Aluminium, Silver and Lead are found in the hydropower project site in Chipwi.

The project site is protected by Burmese army soldiers and no one is authorized to go inside the projects site or watch the activities of Chinese workers, said sources in the Kachin ceasefire group in the area, the New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K).

A NDA-K officer told KNG recently, Chinese trucks loaded with unidentified minerals from Chipwi hydropower project site cross the Sino-Burma border which is controlled by the NDA-K. However, both NDA-K and Burmese military authorities are not authorized to check Chinese workers’ activities in the project site and trucks crossing the two countries’ border. continue http://www.kachinnews.com/

The monk said, “In my opinion, the government is afraid that the monks will demonstrate this year before the election. For that reason they are trying to placate the monks by giving them back the seized trucks

Government plans to return seized trucks to monasteries

Wed 11 Mar 2009, Kon Hadee, IMNA
The government is planning to return trucks which were seized from monasteries in 2004 during a general crackdown on unlicensed vehicles, according to source close to the abbot of a monastery in Moulmein.

The source said he heard from the abbot that Military Intelligence had visited the monastery a month ago to inform him of the plans but did not give a date for the truck’s return or a reason for the government’s actions.

“I heard about the plans to give back the trucks but not when this would happen.” He added that, so far, there appears to be only plans and no vehicles would be handed over yet.

The monasteries’ trucks were seized in 2004, along with many others without licenses, but according to a source close to the New Mon State Party, the government had no use for the monks’ vehicles.

According to a monk who heard about the plans, the government will not return trucks to all monasteries. First of all, the larger monasteries where the Buddhist scriptures are taught will receive their vehicles back and then later only those monasteries which ask will be considered.

The monk said, “In my opinion, the government is afraid that the monks will demonstrate this year before the election. For that reason they are trying to placate the monks by giving them back the seized trucks. This also is the opinion of other monks who have heard about these plans.”

A second monk commented, “I’ve heard about these plans but it’s just a rumor. As we know, the government rarely gives anything for free. They just give us cement to build monasteries and we have to ask very hard to g

Burma is a moral minefield where we all need to tread carefully, critically and creatively, bearing in mind a number of “D” factors.

The D’s that could Determine a Viable Burma Policy

Some observers were alarmed when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently outlined a foreign policy based on the “three D’s” of defense, diplomacy and development.

They drew attention to a fourth “D”— democracy—and asked where it fit into the Obama administration’s foreign policy. Vice President Joe Biden mentioned this fourth “D” when he addressed a conference in Munich, Germany, last month.

In a recent interview with The Irrawaddy, US Ambassador to Thailand Eric John said: “Defense, diplomacy and development—the ‘three D’s’ as Secretary Clinton framed them—will indeed be the pillars of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, but I contend that all three of the components are intrinsically tied to democracy promotion and that this theme will remain central to the new administration’s foreign policy agenda.
In other words, democracy is inherent in all three pillars.”
The promotion of democracy has long been a central component of US foreign policy and will clearly continue to be so under the Obama administration.

When Secretary of State Clinton visited Asia last month she said that Washington’s Burma policies of sanctions and engagement had failed and she promised a policy review.

Her statement further fueled speculation about US policy on Burma, with some government officials, including Chinese, wanting to know more about such a possible policy shift.

In The Irrawaddy interview, Ambassador John indicated that the Obama administration’s Burma policy would remain essentially the same as Bush’s, saying: “The end policy goal remains the same: the start of a genuine, inclusive political dialogue in Burma and the release of all political prisoners.”

His answer should satisfy many Burmese democracy and campaign groups inside and outside Burma, who are united in their desire to see the US maintain a tough policy until the regime offers some genuine political gesture, such as releasing political prisoners and making the “road map” more inclusive.

Clinton would do well to stick to the four D’s on Burma and retain smart sanctions against the regime and its cronies until some genuine movement is seen. But it should be a two-pronged policy, not confined to sanctions alone.

The US needs to engage with Burma’s neighbors and such powerful allies as India and China. More importantly the US must be creative in finding a way to counterbalance China’s growing influence. continue http://www.irrawaddy.org/opinion_story.php?art_id=15280

‘Yaa-Baa’ Bust in Tachilek-Shan

About 2 million amphetamine pills and 1 million kyat (US $1,000) in cash were seized from a 10-wheel truck on March 8 by the Burmese authorities in Tachilek Township, near the Thai-Burmese border, according to a policeman in Tachilek who spoke to The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.

“We found two small oil barrels hidden beneath the body of the truck,” he said. “We were suspicious and searched them. We found the pills inside them.”

The policeman said that the truck had been driven from Kengtung Township in Shan State, some 105 kilometers (66 miles) north of Tachilek. The truck driver was arrested, but his colleague escaped by running away. The truck is reportedly owned by a Shan ethnic woman who lives in Tachilek.

The policeman said he believed that the truck brought the amphetamines from Kengtung to store at her house in Tachilek for distribution.

The pills were seized at a checkpoint in Mae Yan village, at the northern entrance to Tachilek.

Tachilek sits on the Thai-Burmese border in Shan State and is known to be the crossing point for the majority of amphetamine pills (known in Thai as “yaa-baa”) into Thailand. The drugs are reportedly manufactured and distributed by various armed ceasefire groups in Shan State.

On November 17, Burmese authorities seized 50,000 tablets at the Nine Stars Hotel in Tachilek, while last week Thai authorities confiscated an amphetamine-manufacturing machine in Mai Sai, on the Thai side of the border.

The United Wa State Army (UWSA) is the most renowned opium and drug producer in the region and several of its leaders are on the United States’ wanted list as drug traffickers.

The UWSA allegedly continues to produce large amounts of amphetamine pills, and Burma remains the largest source of the drug in Asia, according to the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.

Last week, authorities in Tachilek Township issued a warrant for arrest of Naw Kham, a alleged Shan drug lord who is also wanted in China, Laos and Thailand.

The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), a Kokang cease-fire group, started celebrations of its 20th anniversary of liberation from the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) on Wednesday in the Sino-Burmese border town of Laogai.

Aung Kyaw Zaw, a Burmese military analyst on the Sino-Burmese Border who is close to the Kokang, said the MNDDA started the three-day anniversary period in northern Shan State.

“About 4,000 to 5,000 people joined the celebration today, including special guests from China and alliance armed groups,” he said. “But officials from the Burmese junta were absent.”
“Kokang leader Peng Jiasheng (Burmese: Phon Kyar Shin) gave a 30-minute speech to a crowd at 8 a.m. at a stadium in Laogai,” he said. continue