NLD-affiliated free school faces difficulty finding new location

New Delhi (Mizzima) – An NLD-affiliated free school in Rangoon, which has been asked to leave its location after military intelligence applied pressure on the landlord, is facing difficulties finding a new location, according to a school official.

Mom's Home, an NLD-affiliated free school in Rangoon, is facing eviction from its landlord because of its tie to the civic organization. Photo: MizzimaMom’s Home, an NLD-affiliated free school in Rangoon, is facing eviction from its landlord because of its tie to the civic organization. Photo: Mizzima

Thida Swe said that it was learned on Sunday that military intelligence officials pressured the landlord to tell the school to move. The school is located in North Okkalapa Township.

‘It’s very difficult now’, he said. ‘The information rapidly spread to the whole ward. The landlords don’t want to rent to us’, Thida Swe told Mizzima. The school opened in January.

Thida Swe said the landlord told him that military intelligence made a search of his home and told him that if the school did not move, the building would be sealed off.

The school, known as  ‘Mom’s Home’, has not been visited by officials, he said, and the officials have appeared sympathetic.

‘On May 12 or 13, the Ward Administration Office chief told us that they knew what we did and said thank you because we do as much as we can for the welfare of the people. And they told us to inform them whatever we do. So, I have no idea why they applied pressure’, Thida Swe said.

A student who is learning English in the school, said, ‘We are the grassroots. We can not attend the expensive training courses’. There are about 30 students in the school.

Similarly, the Bayda Institute, another NLD-affiliated free school in Thingangyun Township in Rangoon Region, also has been asked to leave its location for the third time.

Myint Oo, a teacher from the Bayda Institute, told Mizzima that the school hasn’t been stable because of the moves and if the authorities know where the school is trying to relocate to they talk to the landlord.

At first, the school was located in Tamwe Township but because of the authorities’ pressure it had to move to Sanchaung Township and finally it moved from Sanchaung to Thingangyun.

‘Moving to a new place is costly’, he said. ‘And we had to move again and again and that was not convenient for the students. It’s not good’.

The authorities should support the school, he said.

‘To improve the education of the country, we cannot depend on the government alone to do it effectively, especially our government. And the government budget for education is very limited in comparison with other countries. So, in an underdeveloped country like Burma, the government should support such organizations, which provide free education’, Myint Oo said.

School officials have asked for lawmaker Thein Nyunt of the Thingangyun branch of the National Democratic Force to try to intervene with the authorities.

The Bayda Institute offers courses in social relationships, world affairs, South East Asian studies and basic English to high school graduates and graduates. Presently, about 30 students from across the country are boarding at the school. The current enrollment is the sixth batch.


Three journalists released under presidential commutation

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A number of journalists were released from prisons under the one-year commutation ordered by Burmese President Thein Sein, according to their families and friends.

In this file photo, people wait outside Insein Prison in Rangoon. Photo: MizzimaIn this file photo, people wait outside Insein Prison in Rangoon. Photo: Mizzima

Poet and writer Lu Tin Win, 44, an 88-generation student member and Thaung Win Bo, 65, a former journalist on the state-runNew Light of Myanmar were released on May 17.

Lu Tin Win participated in the pro-democracy movement led by Buddhist monks in September 2007 and was charged under section 505(b) (inducing crime against public tranquility) and sections 145 and 147 (unlawful assembly) of the Penal Code and sentenced to four years in prison. He was released from Myeik Prison in Taninthayi Region.

A friend, who is also a former political prisoner, told Mizzima that Lu Tin Win was released. On September 29, 2007, Lu Tin Win was stopped by security police who found a book ‘88-Generation Students’ in his possession. Continue reading “Three journalists released under presidential commutation”

Missing Chinese workers still at large

WEDNESDAY, 25 MAY 2011 17:42 S.H.A.N.

8 days after they made their vanishing act on May 17, there is still no news of the 4 Chinese engineers and a local interpreter from the Chinese firm working at the Tasang hydropower dam site, on both their whereabouts and whether they are still alive, according to local sources.

The Shan State Army of Lt-Gen Yawdserk that has been fighting against Naypyitaw for autonomy has categorically denied the group has anything to do with their disappearance.

Gold digging boats on the Salween

Shan State East’s Mongton township, where the Tasang dam project is located, is the stamping ground of the SSA’s 727th Brigade, based at Loi Hsarm Hsip, opposite Chiangmai’s Fang district. “They have not been touring the area for many months now, since the Wa accused them of trying to worsen the relations between the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the Burma Army,” said a source close to Loi Hsarm Hsip.

Several clashes had taken place between the SSA and the Burma Army until January this year. The UWSA that had been on uneasy terms with Naypyitaw since its refusal to accept the Burma Army’s Border Guard Force (BGF) program without a political settlement first, had reportedly warned the SSA it was not helping the situation by its military activities.

Gold digging boats on the Salween

The Wa’s 171st Military Region is also operating in Mongton and Monghsat townships.

The Burma Army’s Military Operations (MOC) # 17, based in Mongpan, is responsible for the security of the dam project, on the western bank of the Salween, while MOC #14, based in Mong Hsat, is responsible for the security an its eastern bank. Each has 10 infantry battalions.

One other question was what the 4 engineers were doing on the holy day of Vesak, an official holiday.

According to the locals, several gold digging boats have been active upstream. Gold found in the Salween, known as Kham Khong to the Shans, is reputed to be high grade ore. “The Chinese workers at the dam site were really interested in Kham Khong,” said a local who arrived at the border. “It was usual to see them diving along the river to look for it.”

The SSA chief Lt-Gen Yawdserk has promised to look into the matter – if asked.

The Chinese firm is offering an unspecified reward for the safe return of its men, according to Laotian source on the Golden Triangle. However, so far there has been no demand for ransom, if the missing 4 engineers were kidnapped.

Latest information

According to U Aung Kyaw Zaw, Burma analyst based on the Sino-Burma border, 3 guides and the interpreter have been released, but the 4 engineers remain under custody by an unidentified armed group.

White Tiger party to for mining in Shan State

Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP), better known as the White Tiger party, the second winning party in Shan State at the 2010 elections, is planning to work together with some Thai companies in mining projects in Shan State  as well as others business projects, according to party’s finance chief Sao Than Myint.Apart from mining projects, the companies have also proposed, when the party members and some 10 representatives of the companies met on 23 May, at the party’s office in Rangoon, that they were willing to help develop local communities including their agricultural projects, said Sao Than Myint.“They said they wanted to help in agricultural and farming including technical methods,” he said.

The party however has yet to reach any agreement with the companies as it still have to discuss and hold meeting with Executive Committee (EC) again whether the projects should be conducted or not.

In addition, they party and the companies will also have to make some survey first what kinds of ore the companies are interested to extract, where and which part of the state that the projects would be set up, Sao Than Myint added. Continue reading “White Tiger party to for mining in Shan State”