New ethnic militia commanded by Burmese Army officer

Kachin News Group

A newly-formed ethnic Kachin militia group in Burma’s northern Kachin State is now operating under the direct control of a Burmese Army officer of the Northern Command (NC), said sources in the militia group.

The Lawa Yang Militia is being commanded by Lt-Col. Aung Kyaw Soe of Kachin State’s capital Myitkyina-based Northern Command Headquarters (Ma-Pa-Kha) since it was officially transformed from the Lasang Awng Wa Peace Group on October 16, militia sources said.

The group’s conversion ceremony was held in the Lawa Yang village, around 20 miles northeast of Myitkyina. It was attended by the junta’s Northern Commander Maj-Gen Soe Win.

Troops of Lasang Awng Wa Peace Group in Lawa Yang base before it transformed to the Burma Army-controlled militia group
Under the Lawa Yang Militia, the group is divided into two with 30 personnel each with different bases— Lawa Yang village-based Militia led by La Ja and La Ring and Gwi Htu village-based Militia led by Labya Gam Ba and Zau Awng, according to the sources.

The militia leaders from the two sub-militia groups are former officers of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the main Kachin ceasefire group which rejected the junta-proposed Border Guard Force.

Lasang Awng Wa, former chief of Intelligence and National Security Department of the KIA split from the mother organization with around 300 KIA soldiers on January 4, 2004 and based itself in Lawa Yang, a territory given to them by former Northern Command commander Maj-Gen Ohn Myint as of December 26, 2005. Continue reading “New ethnic militia commanded by Burmese Army officer”

Burmese patients continue to flock to Mea Tao Clinic

Wed 11 Nov 2009, Asah
The Mae Tao clinic, which is located in Mae Sot, on the Thai side of the Thai–Burma border, has continued to attract thousands of ill and injured Burmese people not only with its close proximity to Burmese villages, but with its policy of treating migrants and refugees for little or no patient cost.

“This month [many] Mataotalay villagers from Myawaddy Township in Karen State have gotten the fever,” one Myawaddy resident reported. “Many of the people went to the Mea Tao Clinic because they do not have to pay for medicine. We can give donations as charity, but if we go to other clinic we have to pay 4,000 to 5,000 baht.”

A student studying in Myawaddy explained, “If my eye gets hurt, I can go to the Mea Toa [clinic] very easily and get it fixed. But I have to pay an admission fee of 100 baht; once there the cure is free and also it is very close to my native town Myawaddy.”

Many people who live along the Thai-Burma border are from inside Burma. While most of them are refugees, some are also migrants to the area to find work. For this population that often does not have the resources to visit a larger Thai clinic, when sick the majority of patients can find treatment at the Mae Tao clinic according to the Burmese patient who had come from Burma but has been living in Mae Sot. Continue reading “Burmese patients continue to flock to Mea Tao Clinic”

NLD to Discuss ‘Important’ Suu Kyi Proposals

The executive committee of the National League for Democracy (NLD) will meet on Monday to discuss “important” issues raised by Aung San Suu Kyi in a meeting with Nyan Win, the NLD spokesperson, on Wednesday.

Nyan Win, who also met with Suu Kyi on Monday, said she discussed certain issues during their private meeting. He declined to elaborate.

The NLD central executive committee will discuss the issues and probably issue a statement on Tuesday, Nyan Win said.

“The suggestions proposed by Suu Kyi are important because they are positive and profitable for the country,” he said.

In other matters, he said Suu Kyi thanked veteran Burmese politicians, ethnic leaders, her NLD colleagues and her supporters who celebrated Burma’s National Day on Wednesday at NLD’s headquarters in Rangoon.

About 1,000 people attended the ceremony for the 89th National Day anniversary, which marks of the birth of Burma’s independence movement.

The NLD released a statement on Wednesday calling for the release of Suu Kyi and Tin Oo, the NLD’s deputy chairman, and ethnic leaders such as Khun Htun Oo and Sai Nyunt Lwin.

The statement also urged the Burmese regime to release imprisoned activist leaders, monks and democracy supporters and demanded the regime allow the party to reopen it closed offices, and to allow ethnic political parties to register and freely conduct political campaigns.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday after a ministerial meeting at a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) in Singapore that the US would not impose any conditions on the Burmese regime to force democratic change, but that its sanctions would remain in place until significant progress had been made.

“We would like to see countries individually and through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) reach out to the Burmese leadership, and to persuade them to start planning for free, fair and credible elections in 2010,” Clinton said.

“Certainly, China has the opportunity to play a very positive role, as does Thailand, India and other Asean countries,” she said.

Digital democracy emerging in Cambodia

Niigata, Japan — Press freedom in Cambodia has gradually declined from “partly free” in 2008 to “no freedom” in 2009. But the same cannot be said if the medium of publication is the Internet. Rather, online press freedom is emerging as the new “digital democracy” in the country.
Compared to other media channels, news online and personal blogs are apparently enjoying more freedom and independence from government censorship and restrictions. A number of websites and blogs are disseminating news, entertaining the public, and mainly serving as a platform for political, economic and social discussions.

There are also an increasing number of young people in Cambodia, both male and female, who have joined the Internet bandwagon. While they come from different institutions with varying backgrounds, surfing the Internet for information, interacting on online forums, joining online social networks and creating their own blogs are reportedly their prime online activities. This emerging trend can bring some positive development in Cambodia.

First, it can promote gender equality, as many female Internet users indulge in online chats, social networks and blogs. Second, access to many news sources can enable people to increase their knowledge and enhance creativity. Third, it can increase the people’s awareness of global developments and make them better prepared to accept or critique changes in their own country that may impact their lives. Continue reading “Digital democracy emerging in Cambodia”

Xenophobia is not nationalism: Suu Kyi

by Phanida
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 20:32

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Xenophobia is not nationalism and patriotism, opposition leader Daw Aung Suu Kyi has said.

“She said nationalism is good with good intentions for the welfare of one’s own nationality and with Metta (love) and Cetana (benevolence). But it should not hate and hurt other nationalities,” the National League for Democracy (NLD) party spokesman Nyan Win quoted her as saying.

The detained leader spoke to her advocate and party spokesman this morning at her home on University Avenue, Rangoon.

Today is the 89th anniversary the ‘National Day’, which falls today on the Burmese lunar calendar Tazaungmung 10th Waning Day. This again marks the first boycott of university students of the University Act enacted and promulgated in 1920.

The National Day address delivered by junta supremo Senior Gen. Than Shwe was published in today’s state-run media the ‘New Light of Myanmar’.

In his address, the Senior General said that currently neo-colonialists countries were interfering in other countries’ affairs with the intention of manipulating them in all fields.

He also urged people to cooperate with the regime as it was preparing for the general elections in 2010. Continue reading “Xenophobia is not nationalism: Suu Kyi”

Case against funeral association withdrawn

by Kyaw Kha
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 19:45

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The civic case filed against film actor Kyaw Thu-led Free Funeral Service Association, for occupying the premises without permission from the Rangoon Division North Dagon Township Development Committee (Municipal), has been withdrawn.

The residential permit was granted by the municipality after a fine was paid leading to the settlement of the case against the charity organisation.

“The case has been settled. We got the building completion certificate and residential permit yesterday but we have to pay a small fine for altering a window design. We have been allowed to stay in the building,” film actor Kyaw Thu, known for his outspoken nature and his criticism of the junta, said.

“It should have been done long ago. I am relieved. We have to apply for a building construction permit to the civic body again. I don’t know what will happen then,” he said.

The association defied the directives of the civic body to dig a 5’x5’ drain in front of the building. The North Dagon Township municipal committee then filed a case against the association in the township court on October 29 charging it with occupying the premises without permission.

Kyaw Thu also runs a free clinic which serves an average of 200 patients daily. Free funeral service is provided to an average of 50. The ‘Thukha’ free clinic in North Dagon Township faces shortage of water and electricity. Continue reading “Case against funeral association withdrawn”