The Burmese military junta has banned the production and distribution of two Burmese indigenous medicines because of its lead and arsenic content.

by Mizzima News
Sunday, 05 April 2009 23:34

Rangoon (Mizzima) – The Burmese military junta has banned the production and distribution of two Burmese indigenous medicines because of its lead and arsenic content.

The medicines have been identified as Daw Htwe’s ‘Gawmotta’ and Daw Kyin’s, meant for children.

After US health officials found lead and arsenic poisoning among Burmese children, the Ministry of Health in Burma banned the production and distribution of these two medicines.

Recently both the medicine producers were given official permission for production for another three years by the Burmese Indigenous Medicine Department and Medical Research.

We submitted our samples in November 2008. They instructed us not to use two ingredients the ‘Saydan’ (Arsenious Trisulphide) and sulphur in the medicines. So we excluded these two ingredients and continued production with official permission and license which is valid for three years till 2011,” an official of the Monywa Gawmotta factory said.
Continue reading “The Burmese military junta has banned the production and distribution of two Burmese indigenous medicines because of its lead and arsenic content.”

Two human traffickers arrested in Thailand

by Usa Pichai
Sunday, 05 April 2009 23:38

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Two alleged Thai agents of human traffickers were picked up by Thai officials for deceiving workers and making them work in the fishery sector in slave like conditions, even as activists warned that the economic crisis would lead to more human trafficking.

Officials of The Children Juveniles and Women’s Division, The Crime Suppression Division and the Thai Royal Police held a press conference on Friday and said that the police arrested Chairat Nuanpan (49) from Songkhla Province and Jen Khumsap (44) from Bangkok for human trafficking. They sold the workers in the fishery sector.

The arrests took place after the workers managed to escape and informed the police.

Later the police arrested a member of another suspected trafficking gang called “Gang Je Taen” from Samut Sakorn province, a major fishery sector in Thailand. The suspect is Wisut Iempin (40) from Bangkok.

Malisa Promkote from the Anti-Human Trafficking Centre and The Mirror Foundation Bangkok told Mizzima that the current economic crisis would lead to an increase in human trafficking, particularly forced labour in the fishery sector. Continue reading “Two human traffickers arrested in Thailand”

Adjutant Gen. Thura Myint Aung said powerful countries use their media to ‘disseminate fabricated news reports,’ the Myanmar Ahlin Daily newspaper reported.

YANGON – A SENIOR figure in Myanmar’s military regime has accused foreign media of spreading lies to undermine national unity, a state-controlled newspaper said on Sunday.
Adjutant Gen. Thura Myint Aung said powerful countries use their media to ‘disseminate fabricated news reports,’ the Myanmar Ahlin Daily newspaper reported.

‘Some countries … are using the media as a weapon to weaken unity, to disrupt stability and to deceive the international community,’ it quoted Myint Aung as saying in a speech Saturday marking the 14th anniversary of state-run Myawaddy Television.

He stressed the need for state media to counter foreign reports and urged the staff of Myawaddy to be ‘loyal to the country.’ He did not single out any country or media outlet in his criticism.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, tolerates little dissent, and all major media are controlled by the state.

Some citizens therefore depend on radio broadcasts from abroad to get much of their news. Although listening to foreign stations is not illegal, it’s frowned upon by the regime as a defiant gesture.

Last year, the government accused foreign media of distortions in their coverage of Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar on May 2-3 and left nearly 140,000 people dead or missing.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962. The current junta – formally known as the State Peace and Development Council – seized power in 1988. It called elections in 1990, but when opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won by a landslide, the military refused to hand over power.

Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest. — Ap

Concerns Rise As More Chin Refugees Found Detained in Malaysia

Van Biak Thang
Chinland Guardian
04 April, 2009

An ‘unknown’ number of Chin refugees have been found detained in Malaysia after a team of three UNHCR officers and three interpreters visited the Langkap detention centre at Teluk Intan in Perak last Monday.

A source said more than an estimated 200 refugees are in the detention centre and about 40 percent of it are Chin including women. The Langkap detention centre has been known among the refugees as having the worst condition with caning punishment.

Mr. Bawi Ceu, who has been detained since July 2008 when he was arrested with many other Chin refugees at Cameron Highland, was quoted as saying: “We were sentenced by the court to two strokes of the cane and 7-month imprisonment last December. It is not easy as we are just being cooped up. There are many Chin refugees in this centre and please pray for all of us.”

The Chin detainees, according to one Chin witness, have no other places to sleep but on the cement floor without blankets and also get ill frequently as they are not given enough food. He said those who do not speak and understand Malaysian are shouted at, threatened and even slapped. The Chin refugees face harsh condition and abuses in detention camps where slapping and kicking are common and normal, he added.

On 1 April 2009, two lorries full of newly arrested refugees arrived at the Langkap detention centre and more than 20 Chin refugees were included. “We shouted if there were any Chin refugees in the lorries. Raising their hands, some women melted into tears and cried once they heard our voices in Chin. After encouraging them, we left uncomfortably,” continued the Chin refugee witness.

The Malaysian government has since January, 2009 stopped deporting refugees into the Thai-Malaysian border where a deported refugee could get into the hands of human traffickers.

The current situation of Chin refugees in Malaysia has raised grave concerns among the Chin communities and an email prayer request has been circulated and launched across the globe for especially those who are being detained and facing rough condition in Malaysian detention camps.

Anti-government protesters Sunday threatened to sabotage Asean Summit scheduled to start in Pattaya this Friday , if the government blocks the reception of their community radio stations.

Their leader, Natthawut Saikuea, told a press conference at the protest stie that Abhisit government has tried to prevent UDD supporters upcountry from joining their colleagues who are now rallying at Government House in Bangkok.

He also charged that officials had earlier disrupted signals of a taxi drivers community radio station but the problem has now been fixed.

He said Prime Minister’s Office Minister Satit Wonghnongtaey who supervises state- related media should assure that no signal disruptions would recur, otherwise the Asean summit would not take place smoothly.

The Asean leaders will meet their counterparts of six nations; China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand — between April 10-12.

However Abhisit told journalists in Chiang Mai that the anti-government protesters could rally in Pattaya during the Summit. “The authorities will prepare venues so that the summit itself will not be disrupted,” Abhisit said.

The Cabinet will hold its weekly meeting this Tuesday in Pattaya to see the Asean meeting venue arrangement, said the prime minister.

Conversation with Sayadaw U Kovida – by Maia Duerr and Hozan Alan Senauke

Sayadaw U Kovida is a highly respected senior monk who was born in Burma 81 years ago. Although he now lives in exile in New York, he was once the patron of Ma Soe Yein monastery, one of the oldest Buddhist schools in Burma.

In 2001, Sayadaw visited the U.S. and stayed at the Sasana Joti Center, a New York monastery. Every year he went back to Burma, but since September 2007, he has not been able to return. Sayadaw is now the patron of Sasana Moli – the International Burmese Monks Organization – founded in October 2007. Sasana Moli (which translates to “crown jewel of the monastic community”) is an alliance of more than 50 monks from the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, Canada, and Malaysia.

On December 15, 2007, BPF staff members Alan Senauke and Maia Duerr had the honor of a private audience with Sayadaw at the Mettananda Vihara in Fremont, California. The day before, Sayadaw was awarded an honorary degree from the University of San Francisco on behalf of all Buddhist monks in Burma. We met on the second floor of the vihara, with several members of the Burmese community joining us. Sayadaw welcomed us with a bow and a warm smile, and sat in a chair near the altar of the Buddha beautifully decorated with food offerings. Maung Yit served as our translator.

Maia: Please tell us about how you got involved in the movement for democracy in Burma in the 1990s, and what happened to you as a consequence.
Sayadaw: In 1988, there was a general uprising in Burma. I was not involved in that. In 1990, the army started shooting at people and shooting at monks. Some young monks came to me and showed me their bloody wounds. This is how I got involved. According to the Vinaya [Buddhist rules for the monastic community], the only way you should get involved in political matters is if the government starts hurting people. That was the first time that we overturned the alms bowls. We did this as a boycott because there were a lot of students who got shot and hurt. kovida

Dear Sayadaw you are always in our hearts