Mongla wants same wine under new brand


According to the result of recent public meetings held by the National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS) popularly known as Mongla, the group is still opting to maintain the status quo of its force except in name, according to reliable sources from the Thai-Burma border.

The meetings reportedly concluded yesterday had discussed junta’s negotiator Chief of Military Affairs Security (MAS) Lt-Gen Ye Myint’s “advice” on 28 October to resign itself as 326 strong units, nominally commanded by their own officers but essentially run by 30 junta officers.

The meetings had passed a resolution to present the following 6-point proposal to Naypyitaw:
• No junta officers within the ranks at least during the trial period
• No military trainings outside the Mongla territory
• Not to discharge members over 50
• To keep Hsaleu and Nampan inside Mongla territory as it is (Naypyitaw has placed Hsaleu inside Mongyang township and Nampan inside Mongyawng township)
• Not to bring junta civil administrative apparatus to Mongla as yet
• To maintain the Mongla administrative apparatus

In March, when the group met Ye Myint in Kengtung, it was told that after the group transformed itself into Border Guard Force, officers would be chosen by the Burma Army to attend training. And trainees who don’t pass medical checkup and trainees over 50 will be retired from the service. Each would be paid Kyat 30,000 (US$ 30) in compensation. Selected trainees will be sent to training centers in Bahtoo, Southern Shan State. Continue reading “Mongla wants same wine under new brand”

A new charge was added to the existing ones against Burmese born American, Kyaw Zaw Lwin (alias) Nyi Nyi Aung

Additional charge against Burmese-American
by Mungpi
Friday, 06 November 2009 20:24

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A new charge was added to the existing ones against Burmese born American, Kyaw Zaw Lwin (alias) Nyi Nyi Aung by a district court in Rangoon on Friday, his attorney said.

Kyaw Zaw Lwin, who was charged with fraudulence and forgery under article 420 and 468 of the Criminal Code, has been additionally charged under the Foreigner Exchange Regulation Act Section 24, his lawyer Kyi Win told Mizzima.

“We don’t yet know the details of the new charge against Nyi Nyi Aung. We don’t know for what reason this charge has been added,” Kyi Win said.

The Burmese born American was arrested on September 3, on arrival at the Rangoon international airport and has been detained since then. He was later charged for fraudulence and forgery – cheating the immigration and possessing a fake Burmese national identity card.

While he was charged and was being tried by the Minglardon Township court, whose jurisdiction covers the Rangoon International airport, last week authorities transferred his case to the Southern District Court without any official reason given.

Kyi Win last week told Mizzima that while transferring the case is not out of procedure, he expressed his fear that the District court, which is a step higher than the Township court, would add extra charges.

“We will be collecting the files of Nyi Nyi Aung from the district court next week. Only then we will know about the additional charge,” Kyi Win said, adding that the court has scheduled the next hearing of the prosecution witness for November 13, Friday.

“Today we heard testimonies of the two witnesses, who had testified in the Township court. Because the case is not being handled by a new judge, the trial is required to start all over again,” Kyi Win added.

According to his attorney, if found guilty, Nyi Nyi Aung could be sentenced to 14 years in prison, seven each on charges of fraudulence and forgery. But Kyi Win said he still does not have any idea what the new charge is all about.

Nyi Nyi Aung was a student activist in the 1988 nation-wide uprising. But he fled from Burma for neighbouring Thailand in the wake of the ruling junta’s crackdown on protesters. He later resettled in the United States, where he was naturalized as a citizen.

His mother and sister are currently serving prison terms for their political activism.

US Mission’s Meeting with Burmese Ethnics Signals Hope

BANGKOK — The United States government’s diplomatic foray into military-ruled Burma made early inroads into an area sealed off to United Nations envoys in recent years—meeting the country’s oppressed ethnic minorities.

“We met with seven to eight representatives of ethnic minority groups in Rangoon,” Scot Marciel, US deputy assistant secretary of state, said Thursday during a meeting with diplomats, academics and journalists at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. “They expressed their concerns about (the 2010) elections and how the government will treat them militarily.”

“We are committed to begin a dialogue with the government, the (Burmese) opposition and ethnic groups,” added Marciel, shortly after he and US assistant secretary of state Kurt Campbell ended a two-day visit to Burma, also known as Myanmar. “The purpose of such dialogue is to move towards national reconciliation.”

The visit by Campbell and Marciel, from Nov. 3 to 4, was the first in 14 years by high-ranking officials from Washington. Madeline Albright, then US ambassador to the UN, was the last to do so in 1995.

The US government’s approach towards Burma is in keeping with the new tone in Washington under President Barak Obama’s administration. Engagement with oppressive regimes to spur political change is one pillar. It is a contrast to the policies of the former US administration under George W Bush, where a tough line was the norm.

Yet the Obama administration will follow the Bush position on the punitive economic sanctions that Washington has imposed on Burma since the mid-1990s. “We would maintain the existing sanctions pending progress,” said Marciel. Continue reading “US Mission’s Meeting with Burmese Ethnics Signals Hope”

Imprisoned female activist ‘too weak to speak’

Nov 6, 2009 (DVB)–The health of a female activist serving a five-year prison sentence in central Burma is rapidly deteriorating, according to family members who visited her last week.

Nemo Hlaing is one of more than 150 political prisoners in Burma suffering from poor health, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners – Burma (AAPP).
Her sister, Su Su Hlaing, told DVB yesterday that she had been ill since 6 October but that the family was notified only last week.
“We tried to visit her as soon as we got the telegraph on 27 October but we could not make it there until 31 October,” said Su Su Hlaing.
The 88 Generation Students group and National League for Democracy (NLD) party member was sentenced in June 2008 on four separate charges.
She had initially been treated by a prison doctor but was barred from leaving her cell. The doctor had reportedly given her antibiotics to treat a gastric complaint but with no result.
“After three days of no improvement, the doctor changed the diagnosis and gave her six injections for typhoid but her fever never went down,” said Su Su Haling, whose mother had visited the prison. Continue reading “Imprisoned female activist ‘too weak to speak’”

A Rebel Stronghold in Myanmar on Alert

MONG HPEN, Myanmar — Conquering armies of centuries past avoided this remote, mountainous area along the present-day border with China, a place once described by a British colonial official as “an unpenetrated enclave of savage hills.”
Inhabited by the Wa, an ethnic group once notorious for headhunting, neither the British colonial overlords nor the Burmese kings who preceded them saw much point in controlling the area.

But to Myanmar’s military government this rebel region is an irritating piece of unfinished business and an impediment to the long-cherished goal of national unity. Myanmar’s generals are demanding that the Wa disband their substantial army here and fully subjugate themselves to the central government, a call that has so far gone unheeded. Both sides are bracing for potential conflict.

The tensions here might be glossed over by outsiders as yet another arcane dispute in strife-ridden Myanmar between the government and a mistrustful minority, except that the Wa have a well-equipped army of at least 20,000 full-time soldiers — about twice the size of Ireland’s armed forces — and are considered by the United States government as hosts to one of the world’s largest illicit drug operations.
Conflict in the Wa-controlled areas, if it is not averted, could cause a ramping up of drug trafficking across Asia and beyond as the Wa government and other militias seek cash to buy weapons.

Northern Myanmar is very much a world apart, both lawless and heavily militarized, a medieval-style patchwork of obscure ethnic armies, borderland casinos, brothels and the walled compounds of drug lords.Many rounds of negotiations between Myanmar’s generals and the ethnic groups arrayed like an arc across the northern reaches of the country have yielded nothing but delay for what many analysts believe is a likely showdown. Wa soldiers have been put on standby.

“We were told to be ready and to keep a careful watch,” said Ai Yee, a soldier from the Wa ethnic group who is based in Pangshang, the headquarters of the United Wa State Army. “We are on the lookout for anyone coming in — 24 hours a day.” Continue reading “A Rebel Stronghold in Myanmar on Alert”

Rangoon-Mandalay highway toll tax doubled

Mizzima News
THURSDAY, 05 NOVEMBER 2009 13:50

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Mounting maintenance costs have pushed up the toll tax on the Rangoon-Mandalay highway twofold, representatives of two companies responsible for the upkeep of part of the road said.

Shwe Thanlwin and Olympic Companies have asked the Ministry of Construction in Naypyitaw to increase the toll tax to cover rising maintenance costs. The ministry in turn has permitted collection of taxes at new rates.

“We submitted our request to the ministry last. Other companies made such requests earlier. The ministry has permitted all companies to raise toll tax. We raised it two fold on 21 October,” they told Mizzima.

Shwe Thanlwin is maintaining the Pegu-Nyaung Laybin part on the highway.

An official the Olympic Company maintaining the Nyaung Laybin-Phyu part of the highway also said that they had doubled the toll tax.

The other companies connected to the highway maintenance followed suit after Asia World Company doubled toll tax on two parts on this highway since October 1.

The Rangoon-Mandalay highway is divided into nine parts and the Ministry of Construction has given maintenance contracts to seven companies namely Max Myanmar, Shwe Thanlwin, Yuzana, Thaw Dar Win, Olympics, Asia World and Kanbawza. These companies are responsible for regular maintenance of their respective portion of the highway.

There are nine toll gates and 11 car weighing stations on the entire stretch of highway. Continue reading “Rangoon-Mandalay highway toll tax doubled”

Extortion From Car Owners On Border Trade Route

Written by KNG
Friday, 06 November 2009 16:05

In a bid at extortion, seven passenger cars were stopped and fined heavily this week on the Myitkyina-Laiza border trade route in Burma’s northern Kachin State by Burmese Army soldiers. The practice had stopped on the route for over two months, said local sources.

All the Toyota Hilux passenger pick-ups were detained at the entrance of Aung Me Thit on November 3 by Burmese soldiers, while the pick-ups were heading towards Myitkyina from Laiza, said sources close to the car owners.

The pick-up trucks were carrying both passengers and Chinese goods from Laiza, the border business centre and capital of Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), said sources.
Each pick-up owner was fined 500,000 Kyat (US$474) for carrying Chinese goods, which were also seized by Burmese soldiers. The fine and Chinese goods seized, will be worth over 2 million Kyat (US$1,896), according to the owners of the cars.

So far, the Burmese soldiers, who stopped and fined the passenger cars, have not been identified. Aung May Thit is under the control of Shwe Nyaung Pyin-based Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 321, said local people. Continue reading “Extortion From Car Owners On Border Trade Route”