Independence Day stamps




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Tay Za(The Htoo Trading Co Lt, listed on the US sanctions list) Granted Electricity Contract

The Htoo Trading Co Lt, listed on the US sanctions list and owned by Tay Za, a business crony of senior Burmese generals, and others have been awarded a contract to build, operate and transfer electricity for two hydro power projects in Burma.

Htoo Co Lt is the first private Burmese company to be awarded such a contract in the hydro power sector.According to a short report on Thursday in a state-run-newspaper in Burmese, Myanma Alin, the Ministry of Electric Power-1 and the Htoo Trading Co Lt signed an agreement on Dec. 29 to build, operate and transfer electricity from the Hsedawgyi and Htaka hydro power projects.
Continue reading “Tay Za(The Htoo Trading Co Lt, listed on the US sanctions list) Granted Electricity Contract”

POLITICS: Backlash against Rogue Chinese Investors Alarms Beijing

By Antoaneta Bezlova

BEIJING, Jan 4 (IPS) – As China moves up in the world and the need for investment in its own infrastructure declines, Chinese investors and financiers are eyeing lucrative contracts in less developed countries, winning bids to build dams, power plants and highways from Burma to Uzbekistan and Angola.

However welcome by local governments this influx of fresh Chinese financing may be, the wave of cheap Chinese labour and investors’ lack of concern for local communities are creating ripples of resentment in recipient countries, and gradually becoming a PR problem for image-conscious Beijing.

When economic historian Qin Hui recently gave a talk on China’s involvement in infrastructure projects in South-east Asia, he described Chinese investors as the new “Westerners” in Laos and Cambodia.

Speaking in Kunming – the centre of much Chinese investment flowing into the Mekong region – Qin said Chinese companies have a tendency to apply the lowest standards they possibly can. “Some companies look to see whether local standards are lower than Chinese standards – if so, they apply local standards,” Qin said.

This has created a lot of complaints about Chinese companies’ wrongdoings, agrees Zhang Xizhen of the School for International Studies at Beijing University. “There are multiple reasons for this: some Chinese companies only focus on profits and have little concern about local peoples’ benefits. On the other hand, the Chinese government has not taken strict measures to check companies’ behaviour but has only encouraged them to ‘go out.’”

While some of the companies that operate in Asia are small and obscure private enterprises, the most important players come from the state-owned sector – they are big, powerful and enjoy strong support from the government and the state banks.

In the first ten months of 2009, Chinese companies completed overseas projects worth 58 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 33 percent over the same period in 2008, according to data from the commerce ministry. Continue reading “POLITICS: Backlash against Rogue Chinese Investors Alarms Beijing”

2nd January pro-junta Karen army in eastern Burma kidnapped a village chief and tortured locals

Locals tortured following Karen defection
Jan 4, 2010 (DVB)–A pro-junta Karen army in eastern Burma have kidnapped a village chief and tortured locals after several of its members defected to an opposition group, locals say.

The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) have accused villagers in Kyar Inn Seik Gyi township in Karen state of assisting the six defectors, who last week joined the Karen National Union (KNU).
Several of the locals who fled Asoon village reported that around 40 DKBA troops and 60 Burmese army troops arrived at the village on 2 January and started torturing residents.
The village chief, Daw Kalal, has also been taken captive and the DKBA are demanding compensation from villagers for the weapons taken by the defectors.
One villager said the DKBA and the government troops also opened fire on villagers in their farms outside of the village on the morning of 1 January, injuring one man.
“[The troops] found him plucking some beetle nuts outside the village and interrogated him,” he said. “He was shot…in his arm.”
He added that the troops also opened fire on the house of a local government school headmistress, Ohn Cin, forcing her to flee.
The DKBA split from the KNU in 1995 and allied itself with the Burmese government, whose conflict with the KNU has stretched over 60 years.

Farmers in Mon State are in Trouble

January 4, 2010
Generally, in many countries, when the farmers are facing troubles – problems in crop production, traders’ business monopolies, crop price reductions, etc – the government intervenes and helps it’s nation’s farmers to overcome these problems. In many countries, the government is even required to help farmers in various ways.
The farmers in Mon State faced many problems this year, due to a series of insect attacks and dramatic crop reduction in the whole of Mon State. The insects infested rice plants in the paddy fields, and all paddy grains became weightless.
In some rice fields, the farmers lost parts of their crops, while some farmers said they have lost their whole fields. In general, it is estimated that farmers affected by insect attacks could get only 30-50% of their expected harvests this year.
In such a situation, the Burmese military government should go and help the farmers with some subsidies in order to aid their families. Instead, now the government is planning to pressure the farmers in Mon State to sell some amounts of their crops to the government.
In Mudon Township, the government authorities have pressured Mon farmers to grow more dry season crops in order to replace the crop harvests lost during 2009’s rainy season. In growing dry season crops, Mon State’s farmers again have to spend a lot of money to buy gasoline to bring water by engine pumps to their farms, and to buy chemical fertilizer to increase paddy crop production. The Burmese government authorities in Mon State have ordered that the acres of rice growing lands be increased from the 700 acres grown last year, to 2,500 acres for this year.
Some farmers who have less experience in dry season rice cultivation are facing many difficulties.
The plight of Mon State’s farmers is that their suffering has doubled, not only through natural disasters, but also through human-made disasters.
Written by HURFOM · Filed Under Commentary