Police claim the Thai suspects admitted to the crime, saying they worked for a Burmese couple identified as Jamie and Wai, who collected Bt5,000 from each immigrant and have been in the smuggling business for years.

All 32 suspects were arrested by a military unit while boarding a pickup truck to travel to destinations including Samut Sakhon’s Mahachai district, home for a large number of crews from fishing trawlers.
Two Thai traffickers and 30 Burmese illegal immigrants were arrested yesterday in Chumphon district, while about to travel to destinations in Thailand to work illegally as labourers.The immigrants are subject to fines for illegal entry and repatriation back to Burma, across the Ranong border line – the original entry point through which they had been smuggled.

Human Rights Flashpoints – August 4, 2009

MYANMAR – Tensions rise in anticipition of verdict

The situation in Myanmar (Burma) is getting more tense this week in anticipation of a verdict against Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday, August 11. She is currently held in Myanmar’s notorious Insein prison, awaiting her verdict in a trial that has gathered worldwide attention. Given the fact that the “Four Eights” anniversary is to take place only 3 days prior to the release of Aung San Suu Kyi’s verdict, these two highly politically charged events can prove to be a galvanizing force for major protests. Looking at the regime’s track record of violent suppression of any dissent, recent developments justify major concern of what will happen in the country in the next few days. Last week, authorities detained 30 members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), in an apparent attempt to block them from organizing protests on July 31, the day the verdict was originally expected. All those arrested are at risk of torture. While some of the opposition members were released, further arrests can be expected in the run up to the announcement of the verdict. If there are outbreaks of demonstrations in spite of government attempts to forestall them, there is the added concern that we will see violent tactics by the police and armed forces to suppress them like the ones we saw in the uprisings of August and September of 2007. Reports are indicating that the regime has heightened its alert and has deployed security forces in strategic areas of the country, something that is very characteristic of the government preparations to prevent suspected dissent.

Call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi

Press Release:UN top official requested to initiate development partnership and assessment of the rural economy in Myanmar

Bangkok (UN/ESCAP Information Services) — A team of statistical experts from the United Nations will be sent to Myanmar this month in order to organize a training workshop on national accounts, development goals reporting and computing human development indicators. The training is as a result of an official visit from the highest ranking UN official of the Asia Pacific region.

At the invitation of Mr. Htay Oo, Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation, Government of Myanmar, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP concluded a six -day field visit to Myanmar from 26 July to 1 August 2009. Dr. Heyzer called on H.E. Mr. Thein Sein, the Prime Minister, and met nine Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers as well as numerous mayors and local officials during her visit.

The ESCAP Chief was requested by the Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation and the Minister of Planning and Economic Development to jointly organize national seminars on development partnerships. The Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation observed that ESCAP “will be able to pave the way in diverting the resources back to agriculture, ensuring that food and agricultural producers, particularly small farmers, have the support they need to grow the food the world needs today.” In accepting the request to jointly organize the national seminars on development partnership, the Executive Secretary called for rural debt relief and an agricultural stimulus package as options for revitalizing the rural economy of Myanmar. Dr. Heyzer also pointed out that developing a supportive and enabling policy environment for the agricultural economy, including rice production, also needed the urgent attention of the policy makers. continue http://www.unescap.org/unis/press/2009/aug/g53.asp

Thailand: There is no truth to reports that Burma is planning to build a secret nuclear reactor and plutonium storage facilities with the help of North Korea and Russia, a highly placed army source says.

There is no concrete evidence to show Burma has any nuclear ambitions, the source said yesterday.

There is only cooperation between Burma’s military rulers and North Korea on conventional weapons.

Burma has built two unusual tunnels, but these were for security reasons, the source said. The tunnels are to serve as large bunkers in the event of a US air strike, which the junta fears, not for storing nuclear weapons.

The Central Intelligence Agency and other US security agencies have asked the Thai army to monitor Burma-North Korea relations, said another source in the army’s intelligence unit responsible for Burmese affairs.

The US agencies warned that nuclear technology transfer to Burma was imminent, but they had not shown proof to back the claim, the source said.

“We have listened to them, kept figuring out the alleged nuclear weapons development plans and monitored every movement ever since, but have still not found anything unusual,” he said. “The army is not worried at all because if this is true, the US would have come out publicly to confirm it by now.”

Acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the government had yet to discuss the reports on Burma’s nuclear ambitions first made public in the Bangkok Post Sunday of Aug 2 or taken a stand on the issue.

If Burma was planning to develop nuclear weapons, it would pose a threat to the security of the entire Southeast Asian region, he said.

BKK post

The National Political Party (Union of Myanmar), formed to contest the 2010 general elections, has split with Myo Thant, in-charge of the organising committee of Pakokku Township branch and several other members quitting because of financial mismanagement.

Political party splits over financial issues
by Myint Maung
Tuesday, 04 August 2009 22:13

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The National Political Party (Union of Myanmar), formed to contest the 2010 general elections, has split with Myo Thant, in-charge of the organising committee of Pakokku Township branch and several other members quitting because of financial mismanagement.

“The main problem revolves around the fact that we are unaware of the income and expenditure of the party. We have a deficit of about Kyat 4 million (approximately USD 3333), which was meant for party work. But when we raised the issue with the central executive committee, it refused to take any responsibility. The CEC hinted that we would have to bear our own expenses,” Myo Thant told Mizzima.

Myo Thant added that the central executive committee had not elaborated on party activities. He felt that he was a victim of conspiracy by other members along with central committee members.

“I raised the issue at our meetings. I told them that though we claim to be a democratic party, we do not adhere to democratic norms. But my suggestions were rejected. I told them that if suggestions by a CEC member are rejected, there is no point in continuing,” Myo Thant said.

The National Political Party (Union of Myanmar) is one of the few groups that believes the junta’s 2010 general election, which several opposition groups, including the National League for Democracy have dubbed as a sham, is the only solution to Burma’s political impasse.

Myo Thant said, with several members of the party from Pakokku withdrawing their membership, he will contest the 2010 election as an independent.

He also said the signboard of the National Political Party (Union of Myanmar), which was put up on July 1, 2008 has been pulled down.