New Delhi (Mizzima) – About 400 teachers from middle and high schools in Rangoon have been ordered by the Burmese junta’s Ministry of Education to draw up lists of people eligible to vote in the forthcoming elections, according to teachers.

Teachers have to enter the list on computers at the information technology section of the Basic Education Department No. (3) in Kyeemyindaing Township.

“Teachers from our school have to go to the Basic Education Department to draw up a list of people who are eligible to vote. But, I don’t know in detail”, a teacher from Basic Education High School No. (3), in the same township, told Mizzima.

A teacher from Basic Education High School No. (2), in Dagon Township, confirmed she and her colleagues had been told to go to the department to prepare the lists.

An employee from the department told Mizzima also confirmed the basic facts of the requirement but was unable to add anything more: “I don’t know in detail. You can ask my superiors when they are available.”

Rangoon has about 240 middle schools, more than 300,000 middle school students and 10,000 teachers, and 160 high schools with more than 120,000 students and 3,600 teachers, according to Wikipedia.

The current population of Rangoon is about six million.

Bangladesh to Build Railroad to Burmese Border by 2014

Dhaka: Bangladesh on Tuesday said it is planning to build a railroad up to the Burmese border by 2014, at a cost of 18.52 billion taka, with aims to provide a corridor for the proposed Trans-Asian Railway and to connect to China through Burma.

The statement was made during a press briefing by AK Khandker, Planning Minister, after a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council that was chaired by Prime Minister Sheik Hasina.

“The committee has approved an 18.25 billion taka project to construct a single-track rail route from Chittagong to Gongdoon on the [Burmese] border. The rail route is especially aimed at providing a corridor for the Trans-Asian Railway as well as building up communications with China,” the minister told the press after the meeting.

The proposed railroad will be a 128-kilometer long, single-track meter gauge, and construction is set to begin sometime this month.

Bangladesh signed as agreement to join the Trans-Asian Railway network in November 2007, after a three-year feasibility study conducted from 1999 to 2001 found connecting to the network would be beneficial.

By connecting to the Trans-Asian Railway, which will also be part of a trans-continental rail network, Bangladesh will be able to link with Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Singapore through Burma, as well as with Europe through Turkey.

Bangladesh is also keen on using the proposed Chittagong-Gongdoon rail track to connect with China’s Kunming through Burma.

Premier Sheik Hasina had also raised the issue of Chittagong-Kunming road and rail links during her recent official visit to China as significant steps in boosting bilateral ties between the two countries.

According to a senior official from the Bangladesh Communications Ministry, it is quite feasible for Bangladesh to construct the rail link with China by crossing Burma, as much of the railway network currently exists, despite some significant gaps.

A railroad was constructed between Chittagong and Sittwe after a complete feasibility study by the Burmese railway authority from 1917 to 1919, during British colonial rule, but it could not be completed due to the breakout of World War II.

In Chittagong District in Bangladesh and in Maungdaw Township in western Burma’s Arakan State there are some partial rail tracks that are still being found that had been constructed for the then proposed Chittagong-Sittwe rail line.’

The official said Bangladesh is seeking cooperation from China and Burma for implementation of the proposed tri-nation railway network that would also be part of the Trans-Asian Railway, by renovating the existing old tracks and connecting the newly constructed tracks through Burma.

The proposed 14,000 kilometer Trans-Asian Railway was initiated by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in the 1960’s, with the primary purpose of providing a conduit through which trains could pass without interruption between Asia and Europe.

By 2001, four corridors provided for the project had been closely examined. Of those four, the southern corridor runs from Europe to Southeast Asia, connecting Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Burma, and Thailand, with links to China’s Yunnan Province and Singapore via Malaysia.

Narinjara news

just the DKBA, KPF, SP’s trucks run….

Asah : Although the government announced that they will arrest drivers without legal licenses, and confiscate the vehicles, pro-government ceasefire groups and police continue to trade products from Myawaddy with out restriction.

At the end of June the Burmese State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) announced a campaign to crack down on illegal drivers. However IMNA has found that in the border trade town of Myawaddy the Burmese secret police (SP) and pro government ceasefire groups of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and the Karen Peace Force (KPF) all continue to operate unlicensed trade trucks.

Most of the normally 500 four wheels trucks, which run the routes from Hpa-an to Myawaddy or Moulmein to Myawaddy, have no licenses.  However since the crackdown, a little over 100 hundred trucks now run the route.

One truck owner who is close to a member of the KPF, but has since had to return to Hpa-an due to his lack of a licenses, said “After we heard the news about them arresting the cars which has no licenses in June, just the DKBA, KPF, SP’s trucks run.”

“I had to stop running my truck because I’m afraid [of being] arrested,” added the truck driver from Hpa-an. “That is why I had to sleep two nights in Myawaddy. It is very bad for people who have accesses to truck organizations [unions]. Some of the organization’s trucks have to [make the] run and avoid [the authorities].”

As a result of fewer trucks now making the trips to Myawaddy, truck drivers with licenses are cashing in.

From Hpa-an to Myawaddy truck owners – those with legal licenses as well as SP, DKBA, and KPF drivers – are asking for increased fare prices by 2X, according to one of traveler.

He explained, “[Before] we had to pay 5,000 kyat for the Hpa-an to Myawaddy [route] but now we have to pay 10,000 for one person…It is beneficial for traders in trading goods.”

A trader who trades commodities from Myawaddy to Hpa-an told IMNA, “As they still are arresting and checking, we are afraid to trade goods. Many of merchants have to stop because of the situation.  Then we heard that special police from Nay Pyi Daw had arrived in Myawaddy.”

However many traders, rather then face the prospect of arrest and confiscation of truck and goods, instead have opted to sell their products to local shops and dealers in Myawaddy, or store their goods until the security crack down on licenses passes.

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